Buying This ‘Infinite Jest’ Poster Should Prove You Read ‘Infinite Jest’

For most people, simply having a copy of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest—once a cult doorstop of a novel, now a point of honor/contention among readers—on the bookshelf or coffee table is enough to impress. I’ve got two worn copies, just to be on the safe side. That way, when someone asks if I’ve actually read it, trying to get one over on me, I can say: “Yeah, but forever ago. Why, did you just finish?”

Seriously, though, I feel at this juncture that I’ve exhausted the set of strained academic conversations I could possibly have about Infinite Jest at a party where I’d rather be talking to someone attractive (the people who bring up Infinite Jest at parties, as a rule, are not). Which is why if I walked into a room and saw someone had tacked up this widely Internet-praised map of character relations, I’d turn tail and run screaming into the night.

Not least because the owner would have to explain to you in great detail what the solid lines meant versus the dotted, and why the Wraith doesn’t appear—the artist makes the appalling claim that the Wraith doesn’t speak and “is lame." No, sir, you are lame, and look, I’ve already gotten in an argument about Infinite Jest I never wanted to have. Oh fine, buy this poster if you really must. Just know that it’ll look something like decorating your wall with CliffNotes.

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