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Video: The Decemberists – “Calamity Song”

By ; August 22, 2011 at 12:36 PM 

Who out there has read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest? Well, now thanks to The Decemberists, that sense of pride at having managed to get through the opus and the opportunity to enter into quasi-intellectual discussions with others who have achieved the feat are not the only two rewards you get for getting through it. The video for “Calamity Song” is a visual re-telling of one of the book’s most funny and memorable chapters, in which the children of the Enfield Tennis Academy partake in a game called Eschaton. For those who haven’t read it, here is my best description: “Eschaton” means the end of the world, and the game involves various children representing different parts of the world after the ultimate thurmonuclear war has begun, lobbing tennis balls at each other in an attempt to cause more distruction in their territory. As with all children’s games (not least ones so serious and meticulously calculated as Eschaton) things get a little out of hand.

Those of you that haven’t read Infinite Jest will hopefully get a kick out of it, and those of you who have had better enjoy it too: this is a truly unfilmable book so this is the closest to a movie we will ever get. You can read about how the video came to be over at NPR. (If the below embed doesn’t work – which is often the case with NPR videos – make sure you head over there to watch it.)


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