Wednesday, March 14, 2012

An Excellent Excerpt

[A secret meeting between a disguised-as-a-cross-dresser FBI agent, Steeply, and handicapped member of a Quebec based terrorist cell, Marathe, atop a desert shelf outside of Tuscan.]
   'There is the villain he saw you needed, all of you, to delay this splitting apart. To keep you together, the hating some other. [President] Gentle is crazy in his head, but in this "fault of someone" he was correct in saying it. Un ennemi commun. But not someone outside you, this enemy. Someone of some people among you won history sometime killed out U.S.A. nation already, Hugh. Someone who had authority, or should have had authority and did not exercise authority. I do not know. But someone sometime let you forget how to choose, and what. Someone let your peoples forget it was the only thing of importance, choosing. So completely forgetting that when I way choose to you you make expressions with you face such as "Herrrrre we are going." Someone taught that temples are for fanatics only and took away the temples and promised there was no need for temples. And now There is no shelter. An no map for finding the shelter of a temple. And you all stumble about in the dark, this confusion of permissions. The without-end point pursuit of a happiness of which someone let you forget the old things which made happiness possible. How is it you say: "Anything is going"?'

    'And this is why we shudder at what a separate Quebec would be like. Choose what we tell you, neglect your own desires, sacrifice. For Quebec. For the State.'
    Marathe shrugged. 'L'etat protecteur.'
    Steeply said 'Does this sound a little familiar, Remy? The National Socialist Neofascist State of Separate Quebec? You guys are worse that the worst Albertans. Cuba with snow. Ski immediately to your nearest reeducation camp, for instructions of choosing. Moral eugenics. China. Cambodia. Chad. Unfree.'
   'There are no choices without personal freedom, Buckeroo. It's not use who are dead inside. These things you find so weak and contemptible in us - these are just the hazards of being free'
   'But what does this U.S.A. expression wast to mean, this Buckaroo?'
   Steeply turned to face away into the space they were above. 'And now here we go. Now you will say how free are we if you dangle fatal fruits before us and we cannot help ourselves from temptation. And we say "human" to you. We say that once cannot be human without freedom.'
    Marathe's chair squeaked slightly as his weight shifted. 'Always with you this freedom! For your walled-up country, always to shout "Freedom! Freedom!" as if it were obvious to all people what it wants to mean, this word. But look: it is not so simple as that. Your freedom is the freedom-from: no one tells your previous individual U.S.A. selves what they must do. It is this meaning only, this freedom from constraint and forced duress.' Marathe over Steeply's shoulder suddenly could realize why the skies above the coruscating city were themselves erased of stars: is was the fumes from the exhaust's wastes of the moving autos' pretty lights that rose and his stars from the city and made the city Tucson's lume nacreous in the dome's blankness of it. 'But what of the freedom-to? Not just free-from? Not all compulsions come from without. You pretend you do not see this. What of child's greedy choices if there is no loving-filled father to guide, inform, teach the person how to choose? How is there freedom to choose if one does not learn how to choose?'
    Steeply threw away his cigarette and faced partly Marathe, from the edge: 'Now the story of the rich man.'
    Marathe said 'The rich father who can afford the cost of candy as well as food for his children: but if he cries out "Freedom!" and allows his child to choose only what is sweet, eating only candy, not pea soup and bread and eggs, so his child becomes weak and sick: is the rich man who cries "Freedom!" the good father?'
   Steeply made four small noises. Excitement of some belief made the American's electrolysis's little pimples of rash redden even in the milky dilute lights of lume and low stars. The moon over the Mountains of Rincon was on its side, its color the color of a fat man's face. Marathe could believe he could hear some out U.S.A. voices shouting and laughing in a young gathering somewhere out on the desert floor below, but saw no headlights or young persons. Steepy stamped a high heel in frustration. Steeply said:
   'But U.S. citizens aren't presumed by us to be children, to paternalistically do their thinking and choosing for them. Human beings are not children.'
   Marathe pretended again to sniff.
   'Ah, yest, but then you say: No?' Steeply said, 'No? you say, not children? You say: What is the difference, please, if you make a recorded pleasure so entertaining and diverting it is lethal to persons, you find a Copy-Capable copy and copy it and disseminate it for us to choose to see or turn off, and if we cannot choose to resist it, the pleasure, and cannot choose instead to live? You say what your Fortier believes, that we are children, not human adults like the noble Quebecers, we are children bullies but still children inside, and will kill ourselves for you if you put the candy without the arms' reach.'
    Marathe tried to make his face expressive of anger, which was difficult for him. 'This is what happens: you imagine the things I will say and then say them for me and then become angry with them. Without my mouth; it never opens. You speak to yourself, inventing sides, This itself is the habit of children: lazy, lonely, self. I am not even here, possibly, for listening to.'
    Unmentioned by either man was how in heaven's name either man expected to get up or down from the mountainside's shelf in the dark of the U.S. desert's night.

- Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

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