Described as coming from a kind of mold that “grows on other molds,” DMZ is an incredibly powerful and mysterious hallucinogen. It can have many different effects but often seems to transform a person’s ability to communicate It is also nicknamed “Madame Psychosis,” after Joelle’s radio persona. Michael Pemulis manages to acquire some, but it is stolen before he and Hal can take it. It’s suggested that Hal has been affected by DMZ by the time of the Year of Glad, but it’s unclear how—whether from eating a piece of mold as a child and then withdrawing from marijuana, or having his toothbrush laced with Pemulis’s drugs (possibly by James’s wraith). As a result of this presumed DMZ consumption, Hal is able to feel strong emotions (which was impossible for him before) but unable to communicate.
DMZ Term Timeline in Infinite Jest
The timeline below shows where the term DMZ appears in Infinite Jest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...taking an indirect route in case he is being followed. An extremely powerful drug called DMZ has become the second most difficult substance to find in North America; it originates in... (full context)
Michael Pemulis, Trevor Axford, and Hal Incandenza are in Pemulis’s dorm room with the DMZ tablets Pemulis has acquired. Pemulis explains how rare the tablets are and how many people... (full context)
...explains this is the third hardest drug to obtain in Boston, after Vietnamese opium and DMZ). Gately doesn’t feel anything as the Sunshine goes into his bloodstream. He watches as other... (full context)