Words by MC Lars | Intro by David C. Obenour
MC Lars was rapping about his wide assortment of nerdy interests for almost a decade before the Marvel Universe exploded on the silver screen. From hosting his own podcast, to running Horris Records, to publishing his comic 27th Street, to doing a TEDx talk, to touring the country on three Warped Tours in support of over his over a half dozen releases, he is a modern day renaissance man.
Teaming up with fellow nerdcore legend, Mega Ran, the two have a new album, The Dewey Decibel System on Horris Records / Random Beats, out on June 7. Here’s what Lars is currently interested in.
Recently, I finished David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, a dense 90s novel about a father who runs a tennis academy in Boston and creates a DVD that kills you when you watch it. It’s circuitous, non-linear, strange, funny and a literary experience. After writing a few stories about the characters for my Patreon, I become very obsessed with the fan community surrounding this book and its various interpretations.
Loosely modeled on Hamlet, it tells the story of a father who possibly commits suicide, and haunts the academy he helped start. Hal Incadenza, the novel’s protagonist, traces his father’s story as he works to try to get into college. As if all of this weren’t enough, a group of Canadian separatists are working their way into the community surrounding the tennis academy, to try to grab a copy of this DVD, to help lead a revolution and break off from America which has annexed Canada in Wallace’s future.
I love the book because it is a cerebral workout. There are dozens and dozens of characters to keep track of, and a confusing timeline, where corporations have bought the rights to each year, so piecing together the chronology is difficult. But, Wallace writes with humor, poignancy, passion and joy, and the book draws on his experiences as a star tennis athlete in college. Additionally, the book predicts many things about the early 00s and today, namely: the invention of the Snapchat filter, isolation through social media, and revolution from within.
Klosterman talks about Wallace’s opus in But What If We’re Wrong?, an analysis of why certain works become canonized, and others do not. He speculates that Jest might become what Moby-Dick did in retrospect, that is to say, a novel that defined the turn of the century, just as Melville’s classic defined a changing 19th century America. He also argues that Wallace “predicted” 9/11, where a terrorist group uses part of a country’s infrastructure to try to wake people up for change.
My favorite thing about Infinite Jest is how, in a world of distraction and “surface” experiences, Wallace’s novel has remained engaging and rewarding, and the footnotes are worth the experience. For anyone who has the time, I highly recommend it, and am glad I took the time to read it.
For anyone interested further, I interviewed Wallace scholar Greg Carlisle on my podcast, talking about various interpretations of the book.