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Meet the Woman Who’s Been Eating ‘Infinite Jest’ For a Year

Editor's Note:

A new way to ingest Infinite Jest, the nonsensical connection between the shooting at the Congressional baseball practice and Shakespeare in the Park, and more in today’s roundup.

While thoroughly incredible, David Foster Wallace’s masterpiece remains one of the most over-recommended books of all time, and comedian Jamie Loftus is fighting back with a performance piece in which she literally consumes the book a bit at a time over the course of an entire year. The ensuing video montage seems like it’s aimed directly at fans of the book, “which she makes a point of displaying her total ignorance of.” Intentionally or otherwise, Loftus has raised the standards of literary fame forever — from now on, you’re nothing if nobody’s eating your book.

It didn’t seem possible that Shakespeare could become one of the most misunderstood authors of the twenty-first century, but here we are: In response to the shooting event that injured five people yesterday, including Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise, Donald Trump Jr. and others hastened to draw connections to The Public Theater’s current production of Julius Caesar, which notoriously features a Trump lookalike in the title role. This production has become a flash point for people looking for evidence of incitement of violence against the president, but as scholars keep patiently pointing out: Shakespeare portrays the murder of Caesar as a catastrophic event, presaged by spooky omens that spell out doom and destruction for Rome if this violent act is carried out. In the years to come, you can bet educators will be faced with tough questions about this play, which has already been a staple of high school English classes across the country. Will studying and performing it become no-go due to political climate, or has this widespread misunderstanding officially made it an essential part of American education?

Grownups of a certain age will remember the curiosity and occasional terror they experienced while reading “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, which have been republished in more recent years with a new feature: maps that show the variety of courses through each book. Fans have re-envisioned these and created their own lovely new maps, and Atlas Obscura’s presentation of these includes all sorts of little-known trivia about the famous series. For example, the book Journey Under the Sea remains one of the most psychologically ravaging, as “more than seventy-five percent of the endings are unfavorable or deadly.”

The next time you’re looking for poetic inspiration, why not choose words that can also serve as specific colors? This site has compiled every single CSS HEX color code that actually spells out a word. The classic HEX system has randomly assigned colors with combinations of numbers and the letters ABCDEF, resulting in lots of nonsense combinations, but more than a few actual words — especially if you factor in Leet speak, which enables choices like “c0ffee” and “d1e7ed” (that’s “dieted,” which happens to be a pale blue). Now you can arm yourself with a full palette of options when it comes to self-expression, and if a “fiasco” occurs as a result, you’ll know exactly which shade of pink it is.