‘Infinite Jest’, in Music Video form

The video, which made its online debut on Monday, depicts the playing of Eschaton, a game invented by Wallace that he describes about 325 pages into “Infinite Jest.”

Adolescents from a New England tennis academy are seen ritualistically serving balls on a court onto which a map of the world has been superimposed. The balls, which represent five-megaton nuclear warheads, are aimed at objects labeled as military targets — power plants, missile installations — while a lone child oversees the game from a nearby computer terminal.

All in all, it ain’t exactly Battleship. Wallace himself wrote that the athletic skills required by Eschaton separated it “from rotisserie-league holocaust games played with protractors and PCs around kitchen tables.”

Yep, that covers it pretty well.

Also of note was this anecdote from the director of the music video, a David Foster Wallace fan, about DFW’s influence (or anxiety of influence) from Don DeLillo:

“During the visit, Mr. Schur said Wallace talked about his fear that he had unintentionally cribbed the Eschaton section from the Don DeLillo novel “End Zone,” which also uses sports and games as metaphors for war. Though Mr. DeLillo was ultimately unconcerned, Mr. Schur said Wallace “told me that for a week or so he had this really sinking feeling that his whole career was over.”

And don’t miss the end of that article — there’s an enticing bit of semi-news dropped. Infinite Jest … the movie? On the one hand, it would be all too fitting.  But, perhaps I’m betraying my bookish worries — would translating a book like Infinite Jest into movie form ruin it?

“He said he did not worry about seeking permission from Wallace’s business representatives because he had recently acquired the film rights to “Infinite Jest.”

(Mr. Schur added that he had no immediate plans to film an “Infinite Jest” feature. “I like my current job a lot,” he said.)


NPR (“First Watch: The Decemberists, ‘Calamity Song‘”) has a few more insights from Michael Schur, of Parks & Recreation fame, as well as Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy.

And check out the video, below:

#dfw #video

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