Thursday, December 12, 2013

Infinite Jest Parody: too soon? Not at Bad Eminence.

                     Infinite 'Cest
             a successful merger
a parody
John Caruso

Sometime in The Year of the Profoundly Flummoxed Reader, a highly touted, yet mysterious, executive is hired to oversee the merger of two rival publishing companies--the former Real Books and Decon Editions into the newly formed RealCon Media.  He is D. Folly Wolly.  At first, his arrival is greeted with a tremendous sigh of relief by the beleaguered survivors of this hostile takeover.  After all, he's so modest and funny and wears a doo rag on casual Fridays.

Soon, the new boss issues a series of cryptic memos outlining his master plan for the merged company.  To their chagrin the employees must study and internalize the procedures and language of the memos, then write a critical response to show they understand the language game involved.  Those who get it right are promoted.  Those who don't get the ax.  Yet, Folly Wolly's plans cannot succeed unless they are made comprehensible.  Not coincidentally, only his buddies from the former Decon Editions are capable of explaining his memos and meriting promotion.  They in turn promote the wisdom of D. Folly Wolly's plan to the Board of Directors and shareholders alike.  The synergy between the author of the memos and his ideal readers is complete. ( 
Among the new companies' projects are a series of motivational dvds for the corporate executive, including:  The Donald with Curious Hair, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again in a Staff Meeting, The Doom of the Schism, The Zen of Corporate Takeovers and How to Use Wittgenstein to Obliterate the Competition.  Rumors begin to circulate that D. Folly Wolly is in possession of an old VHS video called Infinite `Cest.   It is said that anybody who watches this tape will completely understand his corporate system and the secret to building an empire the likes of which will arouse envy, and even curiouser (sic) hair, in Donald Trump.

The hunt for the video is on for a burgeoning cast of zany white-out sniffing characters--including Cal O. Extravaganza, an IT prodigy who dreams of being richer and cooler than the Google guys, and recovering toner addict Don T. Fencemein, who confuses himself with an old Country Western Song, the said title being a perfect simulacrum of his name, within which coexistensivity he alternately ignores people who call out his name, thinking they are talking about the song, and reacts to the singing of the song as if his name has been called or in the extreme as if people are talking about him behind his back.  Cal O. and Don T. take separate paths toward the mysterious video--which eerily may/or may not be a transcription of the narrative you are about to be kept from reading—only possibly/improbably meeting in a dream in which they are sifting through the contents of D. Folly Wolly's paper shredder, with the sad geek holding something with a temporal gap by the spine and making a face on his mouth’s lips of someone shouting in panic, "Too Late, too late; call it something I ate". They little know that they are doomed to be stopped in their tracks.  For the text of their adventure does not exist, except in this description and sparingly in the end notes of the non text, which are therefore mostly a self-referential parody not only of Infinite Jest, but also of the cooptive dynamic of academic professionalism between the author of that work and his inner circle of handpicked critics.  Thus, according to this text, Cal O. and Don T. may just be life forms of the heterogeneous language games of recovery and addiction swallowed up in the textless void called Infinite `Cest: A Successful Merger.   This facinating paper chase will draw the reader infinitely into its irresistible speculation: is the successful merger D. Folly Wolly's incestuous synergy with his corporate cohorts?  Or is it the merger of a textless novel with a non-existent motivational video as recursive pseudo-crypto-media mirror images of each other? (

Infinite `Cest(1)(1a) :
A Successful Merger
A parody


 Year of the Profoundly Flummoxed Reader(2)

(simulacrum of non-text)

"The End"?(11)

Notes and Errata

1. Either from late 20th century American slang, or 19th century Romantic poesy, possibly a fusion of both, `cest derives from incest.  Literary critic Adam Caine(12) was prescient in describing the contraction of incest as springing from "...a wild-eyed inventiveness, keenly aware of inexpressible human aspiration."  A more probable explanation for the contraction is its avoidance of the awkward alliterative echo of Infinite Incest and a certain unsavoriness as well, while making possible a resonance with a line from Shakespeare's Hamlet and a parody on a work of such magnitude
it need not be named.

1a. Given the derivation of `cest, scholars have sought, like, to engage the question of subversion or irony in the words `successful merger', although Caine has argued, in The Dialogic Frison of Silence:  the Transcendence of Descriptive Language over the Analytic, that the title is an elaborately constructed Wittgensteinian language game and any ironic exchange between the words “successful merger” and “’cest” (incest) arises from the juxtaposition of heterogeneous games attempting to signify the same life form with disparate vocabularies and ideologies, forestalling any analysis of the words themselves as meaningful, wherein the colon is complete and descriptive as it appears on the page, a mark of separation, not an execrable passage between the poetic vocabulary that precedes it and the corporate language that follows it.  Instead, they chase each other recursively, but ultimately crystallize in profound alienation.

2. A recent system of subsidized time involved corporate sponsorship of the calendar, featuring products as diverse as the Depends Adult Undergarment and the Perdue Wonder Chicken.  After little more than two decades of non-numbered years and products that bore no sequential relationship to each other--for example if such years had instead been named after a group of related products, like Year of Swiffer, followed by Year of the Disposable Swiffer Wet Pad, and then Year of Swiffer Jet (whereby the citizenry might have been able use the sequential introduction of the products as mnemonic devices)--an epidemic of Subsidized Time Dysphoria and Perceived Subsidized Time Dementia (S.T.D. & P.S.T.D.; the latter being a progressive and more serious stage of the former, and both being actual AMA diagnoses) threatened to paralyze the country, the only known cure for which involved either a 12 step program or a fresh start with a new sequentially coherent calendar.  The latter was undertaken by the indignant but no less resourceful Consortium of Universities and Colleges for Higher Learning and Dependency (C.U.C.H.L.D.), whose Academic Era proposed the naming of years after literary events--like the arrival of a great literary opus, the rise of a brilliant literary light, or the passing of an old one—beginning appropriately with Year of Academic Salvation AE (Y.A.S.A) (2a), and having as one of its aims to inspire the citizenry to read books once in a while, preferably those highly regarded by the Consortium.  The Academic Era proved far superior to the corporate era because, of course, it was thoroughly vetted by a bi-partisan think tank and because it allowed the citizenry to associate actual events with each year.  And but if then how could anybody alive at that time forget where they were and what they were up to during the most momentous year since the AD's took over the calendar from the BCE's: Year of the Literary Übermensch.  The beauty of it was that he required no explicit mention--he was on everybody's mind anyway--thus avoiding theft of the vast intellectual property associated with his name alone and forestalling any number of possible lawsuits and licensing bruhahas (we refer specifically to the one over the official intercranially correct, Literary Übermensch Bobble Head--doo rag and OED sold separately--and a cheap knockoff with like a faintly hydroencephalic anomaly  in the right hemisphere that in no way represents the LU’s actual noggin).  However, cultural critics, a handful of cranks at most (and weren't they always whining about quotidian details to distract from the incomparable genius of the Consortium's Academic Era), complained that because events could not be anticipated, the named year was always one year in arears of the actual event (though admittedly the problem of event driven calendars was not new, given that Christ's birth actually happened 3 or 4 years into the era that bears his name), and they suggested the addition of a numeral after each didactic year to avoid any future confusion. Fortunately, this old-fashioned and small-minded objection, which entirely missed the point of the Consortium's educational directives, was roundly ignored in the mainstream and never even so much as stirred the collective consciousness to form a question in the weekly news polls (such as, Do you want a freakin' calendar with numbered years again?(3); or one that gives you the Howling Fantods?(5)), where it might have raised the larger questions of why anybody, even in jest, would propose a calendar that so flummoxed the citizenry and destabilized the perception of time as to undermine the predicate of corporate mastery it projected, and why also would anyone fail to understand that time itself had not been subsidized at all, merely a description of time, or foresee the inevitable backlash against those annular products (the then young pitch man who had sold the concept of subsidized time to corporate execs, a certain D. Folly Wolly, was summarily fired without so much as a decent severance), and, elementarily, why wouldn't that genius have recognized the inefficiency of a marketing strategy that only allowed for a single low-end product to achieve total media saturation in a given year?(8)

2a.  The complete list of academic years is as follows (and but yet though not necessarily in that order):  Year of Academic Salvation; Year of the Literary Übermensch; Year of the Profoundly Flummoxed Reader; Year of the Public Castration of James Frey by Oprah; Year of the Literary Übermensch Bobble Head Knockoff; Year of the Non-Year (the Consortium swares that absolutely nothing memorial transpired in the literary world); Year After the Non-Year (A chronological clue); Year of the Death of Post-Modernism; Year of The Third Wave in Fiction; Year of the Non-Confluence (During the last six months of this portentous year all those employees of RealCon Editions involved in the dialogic possibilities of addiction, recovery and other forms of self-penetration, as well as the hunt for the video, went inexplicably silent—critic Adam Caine surmised a character strike, or some simultaneous act of intransigent non-disclosure that in no way undermined the democratic theory of Bakhtin’s heteroglossia.)  What became of their search for the video is a matter of pure speculation, the inexpressibility of which moves the parody Infinite ‘Cest:  A Successful Merger (ICASM) toward the same precipice of unintelligibility as the work it parodies.   Can it be that ICASM the parody is a transcription of ICASM the video, which its creator, along with his own head, ran through the office shredder? whereby Cal O. Extravaganza’s and Don T. Fencemein’s actions as characters in the literary parody ICASM searching for a fictional video were, like, necessarily contained in the plot of the video, which also must contain filmic versions of the jacket blurb, textless novel, notes and errata and critical responses, at which point we understand that the search for the video is only a transcription of a part of the plot of the video, which coextensivity is kind of like a dog chasing its tail, or being alone in a room full of mirrors and being told you must screw the other person in the room before they screw you and after a while, wondering why you feel kind of raw w/r/t/y/a/h, and finally seeing that you have screwed yourself, which at the end of the day is a kind of pointless and probably painful trick if you’re a big enough man to pull it off. Although a perfunctorily mind-boggling possibility, it is both existentially trivial compared to what it subverts--all the dissolute and transcendent human possibilities of hope under the apocalyptic specter of a corporate video master run amok.

3. Note the daring juxtaposition of colloquial and formal styles (Did you ever imagine you'd live to the see such an innovation?)(4),  * an assurance that though the narrator possesses a brilliant mind (not as brilliant as the Literary
Übermensch himself), he is one seriously hip and hilarious dude.

4. A feature perfected by the Literary
Übermensch in the Year of the
Profoundly Flummoxed Reader, it is not, as some argue, a style borne
of a desire to be all things to all people (intellectual without being stuffy; hip and cynical without being vacant), but *

5. Google Edward Gorey for the origin of the Fantod (6)

6. By now, admit that your stunted, television saturated, defeated, silly string intellect has completely lost the thread of the last sentence of endnote 2--a complex, grammatically perfect, force curve of thought, mega-annotated and antiphonally structured, which not only introduces a neat counter-analog of a hilarious futuristic calendar, but also imitates perfectly in the position and sequence of each endnote number, the precise angles, relative distance and number of shots in a particular cross-court rally at the vertex of the 1981 Wimbledon final between Bjorn `the Quiet' Borg and John `the Temper' McEnroe, within which said nicknames lies a simulacrum of their personalities (in lieu of actual characters), and providentially an algebraic formula (Poffenberger's theorum of impossible rallies at Grand Slam events)(7) for determining who served and won a point so perfectly played it defied such quotidian notions as winning and losing in the first place, and one so beyond the realm of language's descriptive power that any attempt at esthetic reproduction would be doomed (as say Cal O. Extravaganza's ill-conceived attempt at getting high sniffing the erasers of No. 2 Adirondack pencils by inserting them shaft and all into his nasal passages) and could only be postulated by placing the shots as silent numeric vectors on a page and following them via the text up and down and back and forth as possible simulacra of the perfect analog of the perfect point:  a truth evident only to the original viewers of the match, who had witnessed shots so perfect they precipitated the rally's sudden end by becoming humanly impossible to return, and who had then sighed, regarding the conclusion of the match superfluous and wishing that it had ended in the middle (the most powerfully affected of which abruptly left the match, went home and blew their heads up in their microwave ovens), regardless of the suspense and power of the drama to follow, or the glory of the winner's triumph and the bitterness of the loser's defeat--and now being likewise defeated for yet a second time in this monumental multi-clausal marvel, go back and humbly reread the entirety of endnote 2 straight through to experience its devastating critique of subsidized time.

7.  Sure you wanted to see Poffenberger's theorum expressed as an equation (just for a chuckle and the sheer novelty and mind bending pleasure of a math formula appearing in a novel), but because its existence is purely speculative, being non-linear and non-confluential, and therefore probably inexpressible, and none other than Himself has deemed you readers all too ready to peek at the answers to your math homework in the back of the book (kind of like an ending to a story), he therefore ultimately denies you the pleasure of Poffenberger for your own darned good--'cause frankly you're just a little too addicted to answers, and well, Himself is sorry, but there just aren't any.  And that's what took so many pages not to say.  And but if so nevertheless we submit it takes just as much genius to cut off the juice when the math is getting really tricky and you're afraid it's not going to work out on paper and the whole house of cards you built is about to fall flat, every bit as much genius as it does to commit the problem to paper and work it out in the hard experiment of mathematical language.

8.  You may now begin reading the simulacrum of non-text.

9.  In this controversial edition of Caruso's non-text, the 979 blank pages are replaced by a single blank underscore, a simulacrum of that vast silence, which itself is only a simulacrum of the inexpressible language of the soul, that which wherefore nonetheless(10) seems to say, in the immortal words of Cal O. Extravaganza, "I am in here".  So argue those who champion this recent edition as accurate in spirit and clarity of vision.  Critics argue that it destroys the vastness of the hunger for text with which the original version seemed to endlessly tantalize the reader.

10. Tautological affectation disguised as an edgy, schizoid transitional hiccup of generalized post-modern consumer overload (sort of like the verbal DT's). See And if but so.

11.  Just as the ever-expanding universe has no center or edge, so signifiers like The End are virtually meaningless in an amorphous non-text.  It is a matter of record that the author fought valiantly to no avail to have those words stricken from "the end" of the non-text.

12. Fictitious critic also an anagram for academian.

13.  Fictitious critic also an anagram for graduate student

What the Critics are saying about Infinite `Cest:  A Successful Merger--

"...never before has the metaphor of silence in the late stage Capitalist corporate boardroom been so heartbreakingly rendered, and never have 979 blank pages been so howlingly funny.  With every page I turned the joke got funnier.  It was even better the second time I didn't read it."  Adam Caine

"The genius of oblivion at last has a form: the textless novel. This makes the maximalist work of Foster Wallace look like a bloated tick feeding on a dog gorged on Toblerone chocolates and living on borrowed (err--subsidized) time.  Astonishing..." Üde Gunter-Staadt(13)
"The idea that the first page is identical to the last, and every other page in between (so that the heterogeneous forms of silence it represents calls on the reader to endlessly speculate about the novel and the characters that might have been) so totally blew my mind that I'm still reeling from the implications. 
Finally, fiction that overthrows the entrenched power of the text.  Think Eggers.  Think Eggo.  Think Ego."  (U. R. Sincken, The Atlantis Monthly).

"When I flipped the first blank page, a second and then a third, I knew I didn't have to read on, but the question of whether all the pages were blank, or whether some might contain the narrative, was staggering, kind of heartbreaking too.  It kept drawing me on and I couldn't put it down until I had flipped through all 979 blank pages.  I hadn't gotten through more than a few pages, though, when I knew that this had totally changed what the novel could be and the first thing I had to do was write a harsh review ( and the next thing I had to do was to begin a textless novel of my own, only I'd have to do something different like set the page numbers upside down so the reader has to flip the book and read the blank pages upside down, or something really cool and irreverent like that..." Dave Uggers, author of A Heartsickening Work of Stagnant Mimesis.

"At last the American reader has found a mode of expression commensurate to its capacity to chow down:  a novel composed of a book jacket blurb, neatly summarizing the speculative plot and expositing all the most valuable and obscure nuggets of literary theory embedded in the summary; a non-existent text to save the reader hours of frustrating, pointless plot; end notes referencing the non-existent text and possibly other non-existent texts and media; and a sampling of critical response from literary lites, wannabees and academic chums of the author, incorporating as much theoretical jargon as possible, while parroting something the author has said in a recent interview--out of which profound silence the readers themselves will speculate a novel of unrivaled genius and unparalleled magnitude." John Caruso (aka Himself), author of Infinite `Cest: A Successful Merger , a parody.