“… and asks does [he] remember the myriad thespian extras on for example his beloved ‘Cheers!,’ not the center-stage Sam and Carla and Nom, but the nameless patrons always at tables, filling out the bar’s crowd, concessions to realism, always relegated to back- and foreground; and always having utterly silent conversations: their faces would animate and mouths move realistically, but without sound; only the name-stars at the bar itself could audibilize. The wraith says these fractional actors, human scenery, could be seen (but not heard) in most pieces of filmed entertainment. And [he] remembers them, the extras in all the public scenes, especially like bar and restaurant scenes, or rather remembers how he doesn’t quite remember them, how it never struck his addled mind as in fact surreal that their mouths moved but nothing emerged, and what a miserable fucking bottom-rung job that must be for an actor, to be sort of human furniture, figurants the wraith says they’re called, those surreally mute background presences whose presence really revealed that the camera, like any eye, has a perceptual corner, a triage of who’s important enough to be seen and heard v. just seen. A term from ballet, originally, figurant, the wraith explains. […] you can’t appreciate the dramatic pathos of a figurant until you realize how completely trapped and encaged he is in his mute peripheral status, because like say for example if one of the ‘Cheers!’ ‘s bar’s figurants suddenly decided he couldn’t take it any more and stood up and started shouting and gesturing around wildly in a bid for attention and nonperipheral status on the show, [he] realizes, all that would happen is that one of the audibilizing ‘name’ stars of the show would bolt over from stage-center and apply restraints or the Heineken Maneuver or CPR, figuring the silent gesturing figurant was choking on a beer-nut or something, and that then the whole rest of that episode of ‘Cheers!’ would be about jokes about the name star’s life-saving heroics, or else his fuck-up in applying the Heineken Maneuver to somebody who wasn’t choking on a nut. No way for the figurant to win. No possible voice or focus for the encaged figurant.”

–D. F. Wallace, Infinite Jest, 834-5

Things on my mind

  • Watched The Nightmare Before Christmas and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Great movies, as good or better as the bits I remember from long ago.
  • The Container Store is a great store. So many containers, but unfortunately lacking in the display case department. I bought like a plastic shoebox instead, which will have to do.
  • GRE studying is going at a glacial pace. It wasn’t exciting the first time around, and is less so now. Why must they expire?
  • I’ve been reading through the New Testament. It’s kind of hard reading through the Bible. There are some interesting questions that come up with respect to faith and justification, which I may or may not write about.
  • Summer floats along, and nothing really changes.