Two Quotes from ‘The Pale King’

I just finished up reading ‘The Pale King’, David Foster Wallace’s last (unfinished) novel. It was a fun read, I definitely recommend it. Especially if you read and liked Infinite Jest please do yourself a favor and read this!


DFW Deep in Thought

As you can expect from DFW, there are many great paragraphs, sentences, and phrases throughout this novel. However, two quotes specifically stuck out to me as significant. They were both very ornately worded, emotionally deep, and true.


IRS Drones

  • The first quote that hit me hard can be found on page 210:

“…my best guess as to his never dispensing wisdom like other dads is that my father understood that advice – even wise advice – actually does nothing for the advisee, changes nothing inside, and can actually cause confusion when the advisee is made to feel the wide gap between the comparative simplicity of the advice and the totally muddled complication of his own situation and path. I’m not putting this very well. If you begin to get the idea that other people can actually live by the clear, simple principles of good advice, it can make you feel even worse about your own inabilities. It can cause self-pity, which I think my father recognized as the great enemy of life and contributor to nihilism.”

What this quote means to me is that sometimes, fathers need to recognize that even though, in hindsight, a situation that their son is going through is straightforward; at the son’s age and maturity level, the situation is 100% complicated.


In these types of situations, DFW is saying less advice is actually more advice. And no advice is actually the best advice. This is because, by making the situation seem so simple in the manner in which the father gives advice to the son, the son will actually feel worse about his ability to deal with the situation.

This, in turn, leads to self-pity. DFW says that self-pity is the enemy of life and contributor to nihilism. Self pity is the enemy of life because it makes life lose all meaning and enjoyment. Nihilism is a philosophy where the individual does not care about anything and just “coasts” along in life. Nihilists never reach their full potential, rather they just take the easiest route through every situation.

  • The second quote that enlightened me can be found on pages 405-406:

“…the universe as an infinite system of neural connections that had evolved, at its highest point, an organism which could sustain consciousness of both itself and the universe at the same time, such that the human nervous system became the universe’s way of being aware of and thus ‘accessible [to]’ itself…”

In my mind, this quote actually seems to be an “answer” to the above quote. This is because DFW is explaining what he believes “the point” to human life is. Which is that humans are the universe’s way of being aware of itself. And vice versa.


The Universe

What this means to me is that, we as humans, have to achieve the most we possibly can in life, and that’s the universe’s way of knowing how great it really is. Additionally, by reaching one’s full potential, a person can realize just how great the universe is.

So, the conclusion I reach from these two quotes is that DFW believed that the point of life is to achieve the most things a person can. This is the opposite of the philosophy of Nihilism.

Maybe DFW struggled with these two extreme’s in his own personal life, and this is a brief glimpse into his inner psyche?

These are just some of my thoughts. Thanks for reading and have a nice day!



Why I Will Go to the Adult Video News (AVN) Awards Before I Die

Just Like the average American male, I am a huge porn fan and I am not afraid to admit it. I am frightened of what Iwould do for a simple clothed picture with my favorite actresses Priya Rai or Asa Akira. If I was given the choice to share lunch with Barack Obama or Lex the Impaler I would pick the latter 1O times out of 10.


Lex the impaler

I recently read Big Red Son (BRS) (1998) by David Foster Wallace (DFW) god rest his soul, an essay on his pilgrimage to the 1998 AVN awards, the annual award show for the best and brightest in the porn industry (it’s the Oscars of the porn industry). I am a fan of the porn genre (‘pornog’ to quote Adam Devine in the masterpiece that is workaholics) but my viewing is confined for the most part to youporn and xhamster; I’m a non paying user of both these sites. I’ve been to an actual porn store on only 3 measly occasions in my 24 year old life. I am sure I had heard of the AVN awards before I encountered the fascinating story that is BRS. However I never really thought twice about looking into the awards, any details or history about them, or physically going to the actual Award show in Las Vegas. Like Shakespeare said, sometimes reality is stranger than fiction, and BRS is a prime example of this.


DFW smiling like Mona lisa

Here are my reasons BRS has convinced this porn fan/industry outsider (according to industry lingo i would be considered a ‘mook’ by insiders) to put attending this fascinating award show on his bucket list:

1. The adult software exposition of the international consumer electronics show coincides with the AVN awards every year. The adult software exposition of the consumer electronics show is the annual pornog industry trade show; the public’s main and most significant chance every year to see what’s happening in the industry. Every pornog production company maintains a booth and display at the event. Most of the biggest stars in porn have contracts with one production company and they are usually at their company’s display. This would give me my opportunity to meet and take a picture with my favorite pornog actresses. My goal would be to meet at least 5 of my faves and get a picture. Pictures with my favorite pornog actresses would be one of my most prized possessions, I would put them in my will to be passed on to my closest family member when I pass away.


Priya please be at the expo when I am there I will do anything

Also, I think it would be very cool to meet the male porn stars I recognize. It would be awesome to be able to ask them a few questions and try to figure out what their philosophy on life is. I would also watch them and try to learn how to mimic their style, demeanor, and attitude in my own life. Hey if it worked for them it just might work for me! About this, in BRS, DFW says:
“It is difficult to describe how it feels to gaze at living human beings you’ve seen perform in hard core porn. To shake the hand of a man whose precise erectile size, angle, and vascular structure are known to you.”

2. It’s the perfect opportunity to get an inside view of the social dynamics of the pornog industry. What I would specifically be interested in is the cliques and rivalries involved as well as to learn the “lingo” of the industry. About this phenomenon DFW says, “…in a way that makes it seem like high school. There are cliques, anticliques, alliances, betrayals, conflagratory rumors, legendary enmitities, and public bloodlettings, plus involved hierarchies of popularity and influence.” As just an outsider, a mook, a basic pornog fan, I had no clue that behind the scenes everyone was so vicious to each other. The hierarchy described by DFW is as follows: performers > directors who have performed > directors who have never performed > studio execs and producers > film reviewers and industry journalists > non industry journalists > porn fans AKA mooks. 

DFW discusses a brilliant, as well as true scene of an actress attacking a pornog journalist. Specifically actress Ms. Nici Sterling was not happy about Mr. Harold Hecuba’s review of one of her recent movies. He said, “it was ‘unclear whether she’d win any beauty contests, but she sure could suck cock'”. So Sterling was pissed about this and when she saw Hecuba at the expo, she immediately physically attacked him. If you need more details on the imbroglio, read BRS. The scene sounded very intense, and could have been way worse than it turned out. When I go to the expo/awards I would consider myself luckier than a megamillions winner if I was able to witness this kind of impromptu confrontation. 


Woman getting ready to beat her man's ass

Like all industries, groups, etc the porn industry has probably a small dictionary worth of jargon and technical vocabulary. Going to the event would help me pick up more of the jargon than simply sitting at home watching porn. I think that because I would witness insiders talking to eachother and it would give the language better context; then when I would get home I would be able to use my new words with friends and at work! For example, In footnote 18, DFW introduces some industry jargon and challenges the reader to make a sentence with 8 of these interesting words, so here’s my attempt at this:
The b-girl just finished her enema to get ready for the DP SS, the good old tush and bush, and both the guys have been fluffed so their wood is ready and throbbing; I’m expecting to see them skeet a healthy money-shot right in her face.

3. Attending the actual awards ceremony! DFW’s description of the award ceremony sells it extremely well. It makes me feel like I haven’t existed until I’ve attended one of these things. I guess I could have looked up the specifics of what actually happens at the awards, but I never really even thought twice about looking to it. An interesting detail DFW describes is the outfits the performers, specifically the actresses, arrive in. He describes 2 starlets who arrive in “identical copper colored beaded gowns with myriad lengthwise slits in skirt parts’ fronts and backs and sides, so that when they walk to their table their upper halves look normal and their lower halves seem to be passing through an infinity of bead curtains”. This is just one example of attendees’ outfits but there are many and I think it would be inspirational almost to see so many people who are famous, in my eyes at least, dressed in such a way.

What interests me most about the AVN Awards is it sounds like a parody of the Oscars.  With nude women on stage, porn playing on screens throughout the event, the unpreparedness of presenters, etc. I know I would be beyond entertained. DFW says that the majority of the ceremony is unintentionally funny. For example, winning actors consistently thank their “directors and execs for giving them ‘an opening’ or ‘a shot’ or ‘my big shot’ and seem wholly unaware of the carnal entendres involved.” The ticket ($195 for the 1998 show, obviously probably more now) would be well worth it for this type of bizzarro entertainment. 


They wear less clothes than this, I would presume

Well I hope you found this interesting!  Thanks for reading! I’ll be back sooner next time than I was this time; I hope to take care of some stuff in my life the past few months and haven’t gotten around to blogging.

-ya boy Jules