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Memories of the Limbaugh Administration

1990s Politics, Conservative Media, and Infinite Jest as a Novel of Radio

Jeffrey Severs    University of British Columbia    

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abstract

This essay asks why radio host Rush Limbaugh appears in Infinite Jest as president and what this detail suggests about the relationship of the novel to conservative media, the later rise of Donald Trump, and radio’s role in Wallace’s imagination of narrative voice. Limbaugh is also threaded through Wallace’s analysis of US politics and potential fascism, from the early 1990s in which Wallace composed Infinite Jest through to his essay “Host” (2005). I closely analyze sonic elements of Infinite Jest and subliminal anti-Limbaugh agendas in the radio host Madame Psychosis, nuancing analyses of Wallace focused exclusively on visual media.

Published
March 16, 2022
Accepted
Oct. 18, 2021
Submitted
Sept. 26, 2021
Language
EN