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Sunday, March 13 • 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Infinite Jest and the Internet

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David Foster Wallace's 1996 novel _Infinite Jest_ imagines a not-too-distant future in which the equivalents of Hulu and Netflix streaming kill the advertising business to such an extent that the government decides to save the economy with "sponsored time": hence, a great deal of the novel's action takes place in the "Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment." The book is deeply (if hilariously) pessimistic about people's chances of connecting with one another in a culture built on one-way media consumption -- this pessimism, of course, is represented most baldly by The Entertainment, a technology-enhanced movie so entertaining that anyone who once sees it becomes incapable of doing anything other than watching it over and over again. This panel will, broadly speaking, address the question of whether David Foster Wallace was or would have been a Clay Shirky fan. In other words, would (did) Wallace believe that the Internet is better for us than TV because we are active participants in the creation of Internet content? Why are the digerati enamored of _Infinite Jest_, and what can the book tell us about the Internet's potential to help or hinder human connection?

avatar for Matt Bucher

Matt Bucher

AdminWallace-lMatt Bucher is the admin of wallace-l, the David Foster Wallace listserv. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Sideshow Media Group Press, the publisher of a reader's guide to Infinite Jest (Elegant Complexity by Greg Carlisle) and a volume of scholarly essays on Wallace... Read More →
avatar for Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Kathleen Fitzpatrick

ProfessorPomona CollegeKathleen Fitzpatrick is Professor of Media Studies at Pomona College, in Claremont, California. She is author of The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television, published in 2006 by Vanderbilt University Press, and of Planned Obsolescence... Read More →
avatar for Amanda French

Amanda French

Center for History and New MediaI have a doctorate in English literature, and I consider myself a member of the community of practice known as the “digital humanities,” which means that I think hard about how the study of literature, history, and philosophy has been and is being... Read More →
avatar for Molly Wood

Molly Wood

Executive EditorCBS InteractiveMolly Wood is an executive editor at CNET, host of the Buzz Report and Buzz Out Loud at CNET TV, and author of the Molly Rants blog. When she's not enraging fanboys of all stripes, she can be found offering tech opinions on CBS and elsewhere, and offering... Read More →

Sunday March 13, 2011 3:30pm - 4:30pm CDT
Hyatt, Hill Country AB

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