Wait you found it – nah – good try – but wait already go

Voice is a funny thing to locate specifically because I’m in the middle of reading some Derrida.  Ideally voice indicates a possession of the language used.  This is MY voice.  As in not that guy’s even if some of the language being used was used originally by that guy by mine is mine and that’s that.  But I’m going to assume a nihilistic protest of  language and the horrific rigidity the artifice of phonemes and syntax and whatever I’m bored with this sentence.  So anyway as a method to find voice I generally look for the biggest clue of authorial identity language does perpetuate and this is the lovely pronoun “I” which granted is no longer “I” but close enough.  (Brief confession:  this is my first semester as a grad school student which was entered through the backdoor of non-matriculation due to some suspect undergrad work so there is a bit of worry on my part that perhaps I misread a lot of things and then consequently the things I write are essentially bullshit so this is a parenthetical “my bad”).  So here it goes anyway, the search for voice doomed to failure, I think.

Article 1 was written by Frank Louis Cioffi and it was also titled by the way.  In case you’re curious the title is “An Anguish Become Thing” : Narrative as Performance in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.  It was published in the Ohio State University Press and it was also quite useful regarding this assignment.  The author’s (as well as the next and I think its probably a recurring theme and also very probably why it was one of the professor’s instructions for the previous assignment as sitting down to write is a real pain in the ass and if one decides to do so it would probably help if you the one in question gave a shit about what one was writing)  voice is most apparent when he deviates from the performance of objective interaction with the text in question and the supplemental interpretative texts and takes a second to let the audience to know why it is he decided to pursue the idea with such an aggressive fervor:

“This is precisely the response I had to Infinite Jest: it haunted me for days, its images invaded or prevented me sleep, and I at once tried not think about it and then found myself referring to various passages either in the text itself or in my recollection of it.” (163).

I suppose the attraction of voice lies in its ability to attract people of like minded curiosity or even to create an exceptionally gravitational piece of phonemes so as to get people previously disinterested to stop and reflect on the potential of the article to illuminate.  For me in the most personal of instances I find that voice and its consequential production of pathos is what draws me to a text.  Upon opening a serious publication and reading an article by a professor who has read a bunch of things and knows a bunch of stuff the credibility is axiomatic.  The variant is the attachment.  As in why would a person of such self-evident credibility gravitate towards a work and how does this instance of relation to a text create a unique piece of interpretation to add to the proverbial “conversation.”  This is not to say that articles should not be perused with critical objectivity that looks to dissect an argument so as to offer a version of plural interpretation to exist in relation to an initially presented argument.  But this personal preoccupation (which kind of jives with the article in question (paradox never ends in this interpretative business)) does create the communal appeal of which conversation is an integral component.  Which brings me to a portion of voicy contribution from the second article which is by the way written by N. Katherine Hayles for the publication New Literary History and also by the way titled “The Illusion of Autonomy and the Fact of Recursivity: Virtual Ecologies, Entertainment, and “Infinite Jest:.”’”

“My intent in making these arguments is not to downplay the importance of the natural world or the complexities of our interactions with it.  On the contrary, I hope to show the valuing autonomy without attending to recursivity leads to destructive behaviors that are unlikely to change unless we are willing to rethink what it means to be a subject in the contemporary world” (678).

This “on the contrary” and “intent”  and  “downplay” and “hope” (for me anyway) show an appeal by the author to an audience of a shared experience that this article is like way serious and carries a magnitude of seriousness that the potential audience will most likely share.  With hope this blog has been written on task.  Perhaps this is not an exhaustive Roland Barthey examination of voice (which is paradoxical my bad, Barthes killed the guy that made the voice so it just never ends) but I guess my point is voice comes from giving a shit.  And these people seem to and show as much with the urgency and enthusiasm of their prose.  For me I think voice will sort itself out because in the end you’ll find that you just end up being yourself (even in the closed off no longer there but the producer of what’s there even though there is no a priori way back to never mind).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 Responses to “Wait you found it – nah – good try – but wait already go”

  1.    David Richter Says:

    Well, one thing you need to tell me is more than “Ohio State University Press.”
    You’re reacting to an article that needs a little more help to find it and take a look for ourselves. So give the data: Cioffi, Frank Louis, “An Anguish Become Thing: Narrative as Performance in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. Narrative 8:2 (2000) 161-181. Hayles’s piece also should be identified so that the reader of your blog can find it without a whole lot of trouble.

    The part of Hayles that I thought was very Hayles (I know her) was at the end of the article (maybe a bit long to quote but what the hell, it’s from an essay about an 1100 page book):

    If part of the text’s project is to explore the U.S. fascination with Entertainment and offer alternatives to it, what of the text’s own status as an Entertainment? Like the cartridge that is its namesake, does Infinite Jest create an imaginative world so compelling that the reader wants only to consume this text, a desire made all the more insatiable by the text’s excessive bulk, which stretches the process of reading into weeks, months, years, always offering just enough thrill in return so that reading Infinite Jest itself becomes addictive? Perhaps the author’s awareness of this possibility explains the narrative’s unusual structure. As the text draws to a close it becomes clear that the author intends to withhold from his readers the usual satisfactions of finishing a very long book. There is no climax, resolution, and denouement in any conventional sense. Rather, the main narrative (leaving aside the endnotes) is book-ended by the account of two Bottoms (recall that a Bottom in AA parlance is the low point an addict typically must hit before he accepts that the only alternatives are to change or die), opening with Hal’s disastrous failure to communicate and ending with Gately’s failing to intervene in Fackelman’s torture and death. These episodes illustrate the percolation of the dump at its most toxic, displaying the end results of believing in autonomy while being sutured into a complex system through multiple recursive loops. If the constructive potential of hitting Bottom is to spring the addict into change, to what change are we readers impelled? The answer, I believe, is to discover the text’s recursive patterns so we can see it, as well as the world it describes, as a complex system that binds us into its interconnections, thus puncturing the illusion of autonomous selfhood. Infinite Jest achieves unity through recursive loops performing a world in which actions against others have consequences for those who perform them; a world where dysfunctional families cannot be healed without becoming aware of the underlying ideologies driving their dynamics; and a world where interdependence is not just a corrupt political slogan but a description of the complex interconnections tying together virtual Entertainments, political realities, and real ecologies.

  2.    Electronic Cigarette Stores In San Antonio Says:

    Hey there, thanks for the content.

Leave a Reply


Spam prevention powered by Akismet

Skip to toolbar