Infinite Jest

In Praise of Narrative Ambiguity (or, Why You’ll Never “Solve” the ‘Mad Men’ Finale)

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A strange thing happened on the Internet this morning: pretty much every news outlet, reputable and otherwise, that has any interest in Mad Men (so all of them, basically) reported that Matthew Weiner had explained the ending to the show’s last episode at a talk with novelist A.M. Homes last night. As an example of the perils of churnalism, it was pretty impressive, because if you watch the video of the event, Weiner does no such thing. Instead, he explains that the end of the show is as ambiguous as it appears: “People are like, ‘Which is it?’ and I’m like, ‘Well, why does it have to be one or the other?’”
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Flavorwire Interview: The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn on Writing for Middle-Aged Bros, Slogging Through ‘Infinite Jest,’ and the ‘Fargo Rock City’ Movie

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There are few bands left quite like the Hold Steady, and even fewer frontmen like Craig Finn. He’s the Hemingway of modern indie rock bros, known for his quick turns of phrase and his drawn-out tales about nights that are hard to remember (and the substances that fueled them). At 42 and with six Hold Steady albums under his belt, these days Finn comes across more as the Springsteen everyman when it comes to chronicling a distinctly American life. This week, as the Hold Steady release Teeth Dreams, we spoke to Finn, discussing writing about troubled women for large crowds of rowdy men, what he wish he’d known about tour buses when he was young, how long it took him to read Infinite Jest, his favorite rock bios and new albums, and what’s going on (or rather, what’s not going on) with his screenplay adaptation of Chuck Klosterman’s Fargo Rock City.
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An Annotated Guide to Last Nights ‘Parks and Recreation’ David Foster Wallace References

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Yesterday, Parks and Recreation showrunner Michael Schur alerted us via tweet that last night’s episode would include “a few IJ references. [“A few” = like 18]).” While it seems a little strange for the show — we can’t imagine any of the characters (other than Ben, maybe) having a working knowledge of David Foster Wallace’s epic postmodern novel — it makes total sense for Michael Schur, an established fan, who directed The Decemberists’s Eschaton-themed video. Ultimately, the references amounted to name dropping, with only one really good joke, but we still got a lot of nerdy fun out of looking for them. After the jump, we break down all the David Foster Wallace references we spotted in last night’s episode of Parks and Rec. Did we miss any? Let us know what else you noticed in the comments.
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