This morning I joined my partner and their friend out on the front porch after I made some tea, both of them are current/former punks/anarchists/squatters and have been so throughout their entire adolescent to adult lives, and they were talking about former squats and houses they've lived in, and people they have come across when the friend says:
"Oh yeah, [mutual friend] sent me an article the other day about people discovering my first squat!"
I fucking know it's gotta be this link.
I pull up this article and show them the pictures and they just start laughing,
"yeah! that's it! They think some like, old man or something lived there and it was just [mutual friend] who would go crash there when he got tired of being around people"
In short, some weirdo teenage/early 20s punks lifted building supplies from a nearby construction site in 2007, made it as super stealthily as a few stoners could possibly be, testing out how far away you could hear conversational-volume voices, hammering in sync with some nearby clocktower that would help disguise the sound, giggling the whole time, and no one was the wiser for almost 10 years.
But yeah, lots of people passed through there and knew the place, definitely a bummer it had to go.
According to his editor, DFW thought that everything in the novel was necessary for the work as a whole. Post-modernism operates partially in response to stream-of-consciousness modernist lit, wherein the authors (Joyce et al) admittedly vomited onto a page in order to authentically capture, without editing, the essential element of literature, the authorship and the artist's mind-gaze, so I would hesitate at thinking it is just a flurry of homeless ideas. Also, he admitted to using the footnotes as a way to disrupt the narrative and any linearity you even have. Confusion is only natural and this is part of the experience of reading the novel. You will not gain much by following just the plot while reading. The joy is simply reading the work and the thoughts pouring out.
There's a world of difference between post-modern philosophy and post-modern literature, but DFW was aware of both as the son of a philosopher and he incorporates some hard-line philosophy into his work, however, post-modernism in literature is also (partly) about the relationship of the author to the work, the reader, the voice, and other literary forebears. This is not to say these things were not taken into account beforehand, but previously was not so endemic in the writing.
The "asides" and plots tangential to the main thread is an stylistically classic example of post-modern literature. Italian Neorealism also contained some concurrent stylistic choices (though obviously the gaze is literally controlled by a director, so there are essential differences, but this video helps visually elaborate similar stylistic choices), namely a focus on the world inhabited by the characters and not simply treating them as background actors (or "figurants", DFW ruminates on this at a later point in the novel. the relationship of the characters to the main plot is very very important, and pay attention to that. Not necessarily what they are doing in the plot, but their relationship to the plot. ie, how many of them make choices, what choices does anyone make, are any of them drone-like in response to the robust environment around them? are you even watching the main characters of the actual story?)
The term for such a splayed-out world is an Encyclopedic Novel. The ability to not just regurgitate common narratives, but instead investigate their origins and the fractionation amongst the belief systems, and where the knowledge to build these ideologies comes from is central to this stylistic choice (he does this a lot with his elaborations on trope-y sayings ("One day at a a time") the context of their meaning and assmiliation). It is not a whimsical one done idly. This is a driving force amongst post-modern lit to discuss our relationship with knowledge and information, which I believe to be an important aspect considering we now live in such a fractalized and information-rich society.
In video games, I would say that that is less of an meaningful choice to establish an idea in the narrative, but to generate further environmental and emotional investment in the plot and characters. Not to say that they are not indebted to literary and film influence, but I don't think they have sufficiently matured to the point at which you can say either "This is an art form that encompasses all possibilities of the form" or "they contribute to the understanding of their place in society"
It's difficult to try and parse out exactly "Why" each character and plot is weaved in, but they have some significance and meaning, and a lot of times these digressions are used to reinforce and elaborate on particular themes (of which there are a lot in IJ), to provide counterpoints, or different interpretations.
Don't sweat too much trying to tease apart a plot, you will miss half of the real reason why this novel is so enjoyable and thought-provoking, and going back afterwards and finding a timeline of chronology is easy to (do not do this while reading). Really think about who's eyes you are looking through and what contains meaning in all the information. DFW did not just put the puzzle pieces on a table and say "figure it out", post-modernism is looking at the pieces, realizing most of the shapes don't even match or are redundant, then wondering about the economic system that brought the puzzle to the store you bought it from, what the worker's lives are like who made the thing, and if they've even know what or will ever see for themselves the Eiffel Tower on the front of the box.
Pabs, don't do it.
I've given this advice before, I'll give it again forever.
I've had 5 friends go into the military, only 1 of them came out okay. Not better, but okay. The rest in no particular order:
1) Extreme PTSD, still lives with his parents and acts like he's 17. He's 31 now.
2) Came home from the early Iraq days to be with his GF and his child after having an IED blow up 20 feet away from him, embedding shrapnel in his forehead and killing one of his buddies. Finally kicked heroin a few years ago.
3) Went in a kind young man, goofy as all get-out. Came back an unabashed racist and sexist asshole, constantly aggressive, and condemning me for being a "liberal pussy faggot"
4) On-again-off-again homeless, self-aware alcoholic with a penchant for the occasional meth binder
There is nothing waiting for you in the military, in a war zone or when you come home. There is no positive benefit that is worth it. You will be disciplined into being fodder. Your companionship and camaraderie with your fellow soldiers stems from your shared suffering.
Those in charge will make you into a sheep on the altar and have no problem slitting your throat.
No, no no, a thousand times no.
Those are just taglines. You are a lovely young man, you have plenty of character. Discipline? It's pretty self-explanatory, it's all about practice. Strength? For what? How to deal with a friend lying bloody next to you? How to avoid constant threat of sexual assault? How to be a fantastic team player?
What are you expecting to get out of military service?
If you must, at least figure out a way to stay far away from combat. That's the advice I gather from the one guy who made it out okay.
What you want from an auteur is hardly ever what you get or should get. Is your complaint that WA did not give this film the solemn treatment that such a travesty as WW2 deserved?
I think he spells it out pretty clearly and your comment
is appropriate but still misses the point, though the point may not offer any respite, because you are demanding something from a work that it doesn't offer.
I think this film is truly about what WA feels his job is as an artist, and addressing concerns about him approaching something, anything with a lil more gravitas. I think the hammer hidden underneath the sculpted sugar is the work itself and the journey. Life is almost constant tragedy (it begins and ends with his formal expose of a lifetime of grief felt by Zero) and, somehow, in a film set in Europe before the onslaught of World War 2, he manages to avoid almost any horrors, and instead focuses on a little world full of wonder, creating his most immaculate and wonderous film yet. This isn't set with the excuse of being around WW2 to bring about drama and desecrate the memories of the tragically slaughtered while giving us more "suffering porn." The fact that the fascists are rising in power is a central component to the film, that the world we enjoy cannot even dare to exist under brutes such as the nazis. His treatment of them seems less to me as "Keystone Cops" but more so that he feels everyone on earth is a child, that this is a good thing, and they are the most horrid children of all, brutish, cruel, dim-witted, and, worse yet, armed.
You may feel that this is disrespectful, I feel that this is in memoriam of a people almost completely eradicated by the whims of a few childish sociopaths and a homage to an idealized culture destroyed. We all surround ourselves with these little worlds and strive to defend them against brutish forces and this is the lesson that is still so relevant and that continues today.
I just finished Fanny and Alexander last night, it was probably an enormous influence on WA, but I think this final monologue] summarizes his ethos. There's always room to critique, of course, but I don't think you're being quite just.
also this too: