David Foster Wallace Inspires ‘Calamity Song,’ New Decemberists Video

08/22/2011 1:52 PM |


Have you read Infinite Jest from start to finish, all in one, fairly continuous go? Well, even if you only made it to page 321 of the massive, thousand-plus page tome before putting it aside for “later,” a to-be-determined future time when you can work through the novel uninterrupted with a dictionary close at hand, you’ll be able to recognize the David Foster Wallace reference in the new music video for The Decemberists’ “Calamity Song.”

The video comes from an interpretation of Eschaton, a tennis-based game of nuclear-crisis role play that Wallace’s 12-14 year-old characters duke out on the courts of Enfield Tennis Academy, where much of Infinite Jest takes place. Frontman Colin Meloy, inspired after finishing the novel (on his third try), sought out Michael Schur, co-creator of Parks and Recreation, to direct. For Schur, whose favorite band happens to be The Decemberists (and whose favorite book happens to be Infinite Jest), said that the band’s manager asking him to take on the project was “was tantamount to telling me I had just won two simultaneous Powerball Lottery jackpots, on my birthday, which was also Christmas.”

Check out the result after the jump. It kind of makes me want to attend a Model UN conference, pick up Infinite Jest and swing a tennis racket again, maybe all at once.

[via NPR’s All Songs Considered]

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