A Supposedly Fun Thing Ill Never Do Again Ó EPUB BY David Foster Wallace – cogenlife.org
I d like to add a new category to GR called read Zack (Areion Fury MC enough for those books that leave you staggering to your feet wiping the blood from your mouth conceding defeat You know the gap between to read and read Amazinglynough I actually finished this book but only because the final 100 pages were footnotes followed by footnotes to his footnotes Are you kidding meThis is a collection of Shadow on the Crown (The Emma of Normandy Trilogy, essays coveringverything from playing tennis in the tornado belt to television and its relationship to US fiction to the 1993 Illinois State Fair the other ContamiNation essays were beyond my comprehension and may as well been written in Farsi I haven t been this restless since I had to repeat Algebra II in summer schoolHoly mother of Abraham Lincoln but Wallace is a long winded pretentious sack of sht he knows a lot and he s determined to impartvery last atom of it and after that he s going to Taxi ins Glück explain it all again in a slightly different wayvery bit as pedantic and boring with ven obscure references DFW you win I can t keep up with you Two of the ssays the one about the state fair and the other about cruise ship travel are much accessible these are the pieces that other reviewers have described as hilarious but with pathos FYI DFW most of us feel tiny and a trifle insignificant when we stand in a desert or meadow gazing up into the starry night really are these feelings poignant when poised at the deck rail of a high Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas end cruise ship Is lonelinessven harder to bear when on an all The Magic Rolling Pin expenses paid trip His humor Not irony but anlitist s musings on lesser fortunates say Midwestern fairgoers funny but cringe worthy in its mean spiritedness By the reviews on GR DFW is an absolute God Convince me Until then he s a depressive with a wry wit and superiority complex who looked down to show his inferiority to his nameless rabble of victims I have felt as bleak as I ve felt since puberty and have filled almost three Mead notebooks trying to figure out whether it was Them or Just Me By far my favorite review of this book and one of my favorite reviews on this site is Geoff s Indecent... Exposure (Indecent, energetic paean So I find it somewhat ironic that setting out to write my own review I am forced to begin with the opposite moral do not trust the American hype machine This is not becauseverything popular is bad nor because of any Orwellian or Adornoesue suspicions of mass manipulation This is rather for the very simple reason that inflated Not Without a Fight expectations can makeven genuinely joyful Garden Bouquets and Beyond experiences a touch disappointing and thusmbittering DFW is a sublime illustration of this Few authors on this site if any can compare with the gratuitous amount of praise heaped upon them by book worms and casual readers alike I mean for Pete s sake in one review there s ven a photoshopped image of DFW s face dited onto Jesus body an impressively literal The Management Bible example of idolatry And because I had thenthusiastic voices of so many fellow readers in my head as I opened the first page I couldn t get myself to stop thinking the same thought So this is what Zu schnell everybody s raving about And the other unfortunate conseuence of this superfluity of praise besides giving thexperience itself a tinge of discontent is that now I feel a bit defensive about my opinion as if not joining this chorus makes me a sinner Perhaps I am But listen let me be clear from the get go I Sleepless (Bird of Stone, enjoyed this book uite a bit It s just I have somemotional baggage to deal with Bear with me This book is a collection of ssays Wallace wrote during the arly half of the nineties In terms of both subject matter and uality it s a mixed bag Some are forgettable or worse and some are fantastic and hilarious These ssays however all share distinctive traits and in my opinion serious flaws Let me get the most obvious flaw out of the way first Every ssay is too long I m surprised any Invisible (The Curse of Avalon editor let Wallace get away with such meandering such overabundance and such aimlessness as one finds here He pursues tangents includes needless details and generally opines aboutverything which passes before his Yummy Supper eyes I know it would feel like bloody murder to cut lines from such a talented writer Butvery good writer knows at least in the back of her head that writing is ultimately for the reader not the writer The ntire profession of diting Deep Listening exists because of the all too human tendency to forget this This general too much ness to use a Wallacism often gives his writing a lack of focus and power turning what should be an act of communication into an info dump Another flaw which I admit is a bit petty of me to rag on is his unnecessary orthographic trickery Here s anxample The net 35 feet high at the posts divides the court widthwise in half the service lines divide ach half again into backcourt and fore The language in this sentence strikes me as deliberately annoying and ugly For one the word widthwise is awful and by saying backcourt and fore he forces the reader to perform a mental operation to get the sentence s meaning and an unsatisfying mental operation too And besides this sentence is xplaining what a bleeding tennis court looks like the sort of thing you can safely omit There s stuff like this throughout phrases and abbreviations which struck me as serving no purpose Evolution, Me Other Freaks of Nature except to be intentionally irritating A much deeper flaw is with some of the ideas he puts forward The whole point of hisssay about Michael Joyce the tennis player is that practicing to be a professional athlete reuires so much time it nds up warping you which is pretty obvious if you ask me And I cannot find a better way to sum up his book review about the Death of the Author xcept to say that it was intellectual masturbation to very dull porn But this lackluster theorizing was most apparent in his Trajan essay about television in which he argues that irony is becoming pervasive suffocating and dangerous Not only has this concern been rendered obsolete because of technological advancement an option which hexplicitly rules out but besides that I can t help but find Wallace s battle cry to risk the yawn the rolled Bunnys Book Club Goes to School eyes the cool smile the nudged ribs a bit feeble as if breaking out of your twenty something cage of irony is a heroic struggle All this is DFW at his worst pretentious show offy faux profound in other words that annoying guy in a turtleneck who lived down the hall in your college dorm That was me in my dorm in case you re wondering But DFW at his best is another creaturentirely He s friendly interesting funny and insightful He s charming the sort of guy I d love to have a beer with In fact DFW can be downright addictive by the time I got near the The Peculiar Pig end of this book I couldn t put it down I was stifling laughter on the metro and interrupting my girlfriend repeatedly to make her read a funny passage She liked these too and didn tven mind when I did it again two minutes later DFW is at his best in two Cherry Ingram essays in this collection his trip to the State Fair and his trip on a luxury cruise line They re similar works both involving the socially awkward delectably nervous highly oversensitive somewhat misanthropic thoroughly overeducated DFWntering an The Mermaids Shoes environment which caters to none of these ualities In these situations DFW is pushed to find humor in his situation and this search leads him to insights both about hisnvironment and himself His is the kind of humor that functions both as comedy and as philosophy providing perspective analysis and interpretation leading you to acceptance of yourself and your place in the world What also sets these works apart is a keen anthropological ye Details crowd these pages lined up into lists tucked into corners jammed into footnotes And although many of these details are unnecessary and some are simply distracting most are delectable and delicious The very best way to describe Scott Peterson s demeanor is that it looks like he s constantly posing for a photograph nobody is taking DFW combines a journalist s curiosity with a neurotic s oversensitivity and a novelist s voyeurism The result is a man xuisitely attuned to his The McKettrick Way (McKettricks, environment To sum up I ve decided I like the guy and I think he s a fantastic writer My only regret is that I met DFW withxpectations inflated to the size of the Hindenburg which caused me constantly to measure him against the literally godlike person he was described to be And the real shame is that baring some youthful inability to figure out which details of his life are worth writing down he strikes me as a humble decent and honest person not the kind of person who d want to be known as a Goodreads God It s a shame he s gone One of my obsessive habits on Goodreads involves comparing books with others If you re one of my friends chances are I ve clicked the little button on your homepage an average of three times sometimes if you have a particularly large library looking at you HadrianKris co Throughout my nearly two weeks of reading this book the prim and peppy currently reading would show up next to a record number of gleaming five stars up near the tippy top if listed in order of rating In short I am amongst good companyIt s been nearly three years since I added Infinite Jest into rank and file almost one since I pulled the beast out of the depths of one of the massive university libraries I read it at school I carted it back home for the holidays and finished in the kind of stricken rhapsody of composition that I ve been chasing Midsummer Masque ever since Saidver since included coming to terms with IJ s reputation replete with tales of pretentious woe ballads of fiendish glee and the moribund crossroads between the two Maybe This Time (Belonging embodied in the form of hipster lists It s likely that I held off for so long on coming back to DFW for fear of finding out that I really hadn t adored all that much and it was the internalization of all that hype both laudatory and inverse that had prompted that overwhelming favoritismI needn t have worriedOf course this isn t IJ and trust me when I say that that particular megalodon is not safe from a future reread However it is DFW and this collection of nonfiction has plenty of dots connecting over to the fictional bents math tennis debilitating awareness of self and that keenye of tangential cross sections of life and literature that raises the age I currently live in to something not uite art but interesting nough to hold its own against the sea of classics and other clectica that usually fills my The Midwifes Miracle Baby escapist needs In other words DFW liked a lot of the things I do and wrote about them in such a way that makes me likes liking them which doesn t happen so often when your main interests includengineering level calculations sociocultural treatises and hardcore critical theory of fictioning The best part of DFW is he can carry across all that in a manner both big worded and Mendozas Miracle esoteric taking the subject seriously in the complex systems rather than the ivory tower sense of the word Forxample he convinced me to try out David Lynch without The Millionaires Mistress Bundle ever straining my interest levels or coming off as an asshole an achievement greatly added by his obviousnjoyment of the guy s movies DFW may have had some Miami Menage extremely heavy interests but all that academic jargoning andor molasses with a noticeable veneer of you re sure you re goodnough punk Nada zero zilch Poof Did I mention he s hilarious in ways ranging from Miss Westons Masquerade erudite to funny as fuck filth Let me say it againAnd that retention of his I am a firm believer in his 500000 bits of discrete information statement as well as his ability to contextualize anything anywhere at any speed seen fit The sections in the titularssay succeeding an. David Foster Wallace made uite a splash in 1996 with his massive novel Infinite Jest Now he's back with this collection of The Millionaires Proposal essays In addition to a razor sharp writing style Wallace has a mercurial mind that lights on many subjects His sevenssays travel from a state fair in Illinois to a cruise ship in th.
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F our times As I said before really insightful humor runs right along an abyss of terror things that uplift keep a dialogue with things that destroy us they inform and Memoirs of a Millionaires Mistress expand awareness in the other Somewherearly in the titular Meet Phoenix essay of this book Wallace goes on one of his famous footnote digressions which also happens to be uite representative of his sense of humor and mode of observation about the despairing phenomenon of The Professional Smile I ll uote it at length the Professional Smile a national pandemic in the service industry You know this smile the strenuous contraction of circumoral fascia wincomplete zygomatic involvement the smile that doesn t uite reach the smiler syes and that signifies nothing than a calculated attempt to advance the smiler s own interests by pretending to like the smilee Why do The Mistletoe Melody (A Brookhollow Story, employers and supervisors force professional service people to broadcast the Professional Smile Am I the only consumer in whom high doses of such a smile produce despair Am I the only person who s sure that the growing number of cases in which totally average looking people suddenly open up with automatic weapons in shopping malls and insurance offices and medical complexes and McDonald ses is somehow causally related to the fact that these venues are well known dissemination loci of the Professional SmileWho do they think they are fooling by the Professional SmileAnd yet the Professional Smile s absence now also causes despair Anybody who sver bought a pack of gum in Manhattan cigar store or asked for something to be stamped FRAGILE at a Chicago post office or tried to obtain a glass of water from a South Boston waitress knows well the soul crushing Sid and Sam effect of a service worker s scowl ie the humiliation and resentment of being denied the Professional Smile And the Professional Smile has by now skewedven my resentment at the dreaded Professional Scowl I walk away from the Manhattan tobacconist resenting not the counterman s character or absence of goodwill but his lack of professionalism in denying me the Smile What a fucking mess I m confident David Foster Wallace was never giving us the Professional Smile he picked up a book he read the book it was him all over the best version of himself and the worst what is postmodernism really is it a way to understand the world to define the world to separate yourself from the world when you are actually a part of that world a part of the so called problem you want to put a layer between you and the world you are so much apart from it right an unwilling participant in all of those repulsive patriarchal and terminally corny signs and signifiers things that disgust you it s not fair just because you happen to have the misfortune to be born straight white male and as they say privileged you need the distance the alienation the angst of being someone something anything apart because you know you are different right you just know it you Screwball enjoy things and yet you don tnjoy them you njoy not njoying them your layer of hipster irony protects you and maybe fulfills you and you will never admit that you self deprecate in your own The Outlaw Jesse James egotistical way you are the boss of you no one can take that awayverything is so corny and full of bullshit surely they must see that and yet there must be truth there if you look for it you tell yourself that you write a book a great book about life and love and living and loving Up All Night etc you write a book or imagine yourself writing a book it is not this book this book is all about the unimportant things the annoying things the fake shit and all the bullshit does it satisfy you not really so you read a book you feel better let the irony take over it comforts you you are not angry not angry at all you laugh at all that fake shit all the bullshit angry is a hotmotion you don t feel those at least not any you go to a movie set Lost Highway you try to keep an open mind but it is all fake it is all bullshit there are too many assholes in the world and yet the director at the center of it all is not fake he is not bullshit he s not an asshole does he understand something about life that you do not what does he understand what does he know you want to know he is just being himself and you don t understand that or maybe you do it all makes you deeply uncomfortableyou go to a fair you go on a cruise both are depressing but funny the kind of funny that you can only sheepishly admit perhaps you are a part of the problem it is people who look just like you who created this world that you despise you try to The Spiral Dance enjoy the fair you try tonjoy the cruise you take The Erotic Mind enjoyment from your lack ofnjoyment you write a book a collection of short works at times Dancing at Midnight (The Splendid Trilogy, even a personal narrative that s the phrase right you personally inject yourself into the narrative into this ridiculous world you feel better but not really fuck this life fuck thisarth there is only one way to live in this life and that is through the glass of irony a postmodern form of protection the strongest barrier it will protect you just breathe you know you can do it it s not so badmy name is mark i m not white not really only half white does that count as white i don t feel white however that feels i am bisexual no really i veer gay if that it makes it It Hurts When I Poop! a Story for Children Who Are Scared to Use the Potty easier to swallow oh and i wasn t born in this country this US of fucking A and hey what s money i ve never had it i ll never get it and who the fuck is David Foster Wallace i dunno he s some dude thatveryone jacks off to apparently i have a friend named Benji a golden lad at least in my mind i look at him through the lense of my very first impression forever ingrained he is nothing like DFW once he talked about how he doesn t see race or class or sexuality because he s never had to he was raised by good progressives he was raised to love life nice life he talked about how he wished Here With Me (Together everyone could be like him not white or straight or a guy or from money or whatever but able to look at things like they were and not let all the bullshit get them down and so just live not assign guilt or blame just to understand or try to and then move on not judge you know it should beasy life should be Double Deception (Code Name: Danger easy why isn t it i listened to him say these things and i thought i wish i wish i could be that way you are so naive Benji i fucking hate you i fucking love you DFW is the opposite of Benji and yet and yet is the difference merely a uestion of awareness of critical distance i can t imagine being a person like Benji being that blithe now Benji couldnjoy a county fair an awful cruise he could Wicked Lies (Men of Summer, enjoy it without irony i think certainly without that underlying feeling of sadness and yep i won t pretend without the condescending irritation at the futility of all these fucking gestures the fake shit and the bullshit the power imbalances the need to make formual meaning i love Benji but i m not sure i understand him so why do i understand David Foster Wallace he is nothing like me he is like Benji straight white male money not a problem what do i have in common with David Foster Wallace nothing the idea is ludicrous and yet and yet why do i read him and feel like i am reading my own thoughts right there on the page my own thoughts staring back at me this book made me wet myself twice i wish to god i was Grave Tattoo exaggerating orlderly but poor dfw on a cruise ship no one has Georgia and the Tycoon ever paired genius with social awkwardness charminglycome to my blog Oh David I miss you with a plangency that belies the fact that I never met you never would have You were and are and will always be such a serious force in my life I ve read this two or three times and a few weeks after DFW died I picked it up again almost on a whim I d been having trouble finding something to sink my teeth into I rejected Anna Kavan William Vollmann and Fellipe Alfau in short order and I kind of pulled this book without thinking about the timing refusing to consider myself one of the jumpers on someone needing desperately to reread an author right after his sudden shocking death I mean I ve read all his books before right So I should be able to revisit them whenever I want without feeling like a scenester wannabeI didn t remember much about this onexcept a weird snippet about playing tennis in a tornado So try to picture my shock in the Churchills Trial early pages of the very firstssay when I came upon this On board the Nadir A Conspiracy of Ravens (Lady Trent Mysteries especially at night when all the ship s structured fun and reassurances and gaiety noise ceased I felt despair The word s overused and banalified now despair but it s a serious word and I m using it seriously For me it denotes a simple admixture a weird yearning for death combined with a crushing sense of my own smallness and futility that presents as a fear of death It s maybe close to what people call dread or angst But it s not these things uite It s like wanting to die in order toscape the unbearable feeling of becoming aware that I m small and weak and selfish and going without any doubt at all to die It s wanting to jump overboardCut to me hair blowing crazy in the wind outside my apartment with a cigarette in my hand and tears streaming down my faceSo you know I don t know what to say It really was very hard for me to get through this reading without feeling like a stupid bandwagon jumper It really was very hard not to notice all the despair slyly threaded throughout these Lakeside Redemption essays intermixed with the jokes the seriousness the brilliance Butven while doing all that noticing I kept second guessing and scolding myself for overemphasizing something that only now seems true in retrospect I mean if he d come out of the closet recently instead In Pursuit of a Princess everyone would be piecing together clues from his oeuvre about his homosexual tendencies you know I m having troublexplaining this but I guess I have a serious problem with how the soul baring ness of the autobiographical writer leads to this tacit agreement that readers can poke their noses between the lines to figure out than the writer is telling But then WTF these things are actually there Right I just kept looping myself around and around not feeling comfortable with anything I thought about anything So whatever This book is ungodly fantastic the fact that he is gone is so goddamn devastating the whole thing is beautiful awful but mostly just fucking awful If anyone is still reading or cares here are some thoughts on the individual Second Time Loving essaysThe titlessay and Getting Away from Already Being Pretty Much Away from It All are spectacular Hilarious too which is something we sometimes forget about DFW given how super serious intellectual he is In Greatly Exaggerated he is so fucking smart that I couldn t ven read the ssay because I am not and never will be his intellectual Dark Awakening eual E Unibus Pluram on the other hand was incredibly smart but also for the most part accessible to us mere mortals and was incredibly interesting if sadly a bit dated David Lynch Keeps His Head was a nice middle ground incredibly obsessive nerd y but it made me desperately want to watch Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks again I only read about half of the Michael Joycessay because my attention span for tennis Hawks Way (Hawks Way especially its accompanying statistics and arcana is pretty short Derivative Sports in Tornado Alley was plaintive and sad and the most personal maybe of thessays and though it was the one that stuck with me the most on my first read of this book this time I think the images of the bovine herds of fat sweaty Mid Easterners stuffing their faces with funnel cake and hot dogs at the State Fair will remain in my head for a long while God I am so depressed. Lue I have seen an all red leisure suit with flared lapels I have smelled what suntan lotion smells like spread over 21000 pounds of hot flesh It's vident that Wallace revels in both the life of the mind and the peculiarities of his fellows; in A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again he celebrates both.
Overindulgence in caffeine are specially demonstrative but only by a hair It s this hypersensitive intake valve combined with a strong desire to share that s resulting in my not giving DFW crap for throwing out the politically correct word and being so white and male and American in general Not Creative Participation everyone has my viciously obsessive interest in social justice so I will simply state that he s aware when it counts and move onBesides that Unibus Pluram Television and US Fictionssay Genius in the my life makes so much sense right now gist of the word Accuse me of favoritism but that little piece of work made up for Sabina Spielrein every niggling twinge and then some Finally there remains the fact that I discovered DFW and his writing after September 12 2008 What writings there are now are all the writings that remain for my future readings Thus I have decided to ration my DFW intake for one work per year a cycle that began with IJ and will last not nearly longnough Here s to you David Foster Wallace I ll never meet you but I will remember Goodness gracious As much as I revere Wallace s fiction his attempt to rescue American culture from the despairing morass of self aware ironical knowingness his nonfiction is in another league The sheer cinematic Cognitive Radio Networks exuberance the floatingye uality of these pieces is breathtaking and wonderful bringing the reader as deep into Personnel Management in Government eachxperience as is textually possible and as close to Wallace as we can be on the pageHis fiction has a surgical uality much like JG Ballard or Will Self whose own Out of This World essay style mirrors Wallace s though proves less compelling than his fiction bound up in high wire intellectual games which only connect when the reader is complicit in the clevernesses at the heart of these stories or serve to undo the story by adding meta layers about fiction writing itself And so metafictional by proxy Anxample would be the story Incarnations of Burned Children which on a deeper reading is a story about narrative positionPOV not the heartrending The Time It Never Rained events depicted within So despite his work going for directmotional shocks it is largely trapped in the craniumSo in this The Child of the Soul and Other Stories essay collection by making the focus tangentially on Wallace himself as filtered through the Illinois State Fair a revolting cruise ship or a tortured TV consumer the work has a deeply personal and directlymotional feel and although not as ambitious as his attempt to depict the grand throbbing alive ness of life as in Infinite Jest the work shines and sings with a reader friendly humour brio and natural warmth as well as the stylish feats of intelligence and logical probity that is his trademark PhewAn Childrens Phantasies essential text for any serious reader of contemporaryssays A Definitely Awesome Thing that I ll Most Certainly Read AgainFull disclosure I felt the smallest twinge of disappointment as I read these ssays not because of the uality therein there s hardly any disappointment to be had there but because it dawned on me that Infinite Jest a book that I had spent the better part of February and March slaving over and worshipping was not in fact some work of genius that grew out of the side of DFW s head and broke off one night in a fit of divinely inspired creativity but actually that IJ was a long arduous work that came about as a result of years of writing and rewriting as DFW honed his craft those winding serpentine sentences that wra This summer I got this book from the library I started on the cruise ship story and soon realized I would want my very own copy to dogear underline and do other dirty booknerd things toDavid Foster Wallace you are were genius I think I may be in love with you I love your footnotes footnotes that range from a simple duh or to 2 page long footnotes that have footnotes themselves Not a lot of authors could get away with that but you my love can Could Did WhateverAs I stated the first part of this book I read was A Supposedly Fun Thing I ll Never do again What a delectable read Your gift for detail so rich crisp clear hilarious delicious repulsive INCREDIBLE I m so smitten with you it s unbelievable I d leave my husband for you 1I never in my days wanted to go to a state fair but I willingly went with you in this book and was amazed Without your guidance through the fairgrounds I would have never gone And without stepping foot there I could smell the livestock the sweaty masses of people the greasy food Your detail rocks my world Your amazing observations you make me tingle And I njoyed the hell out of my trip to the fair Thank youI could kiss you DFW 2 Instead I ll read The Soviet Union everything of yours I can get my hands on Then I ll push it on any of my friends and family until they are sick of me raving about you And once I have readverything you wrote I ll read them again and again 3Yet in all these stories there s this underlying stench of depression and loneliness that truly breaks my heart Maybe having been visited by the black cloud of depression myself I feel you 4I m so very sorry you left the worldI m so very glad you left us with something amazing1 only if my husband left me first 1a1a and if you weren t dead2 but I can t because you are dead you sonofabitch3 because your punk ass had to commit suicide and there will be no DFW stuff out there you jerk 3a3a I find this depressing as hell thank you very much 3b3b Not because you care David Foster Wallace because you are dead 3c3c Now I m mad at you 3d3d But I still love you4 Oh and feel you I would if you were still breathing This my first xperience reading David Foster Wallace disabused me of a few prejudices that in retrospect seem shamefully naive one of which being that objects of the American Media Hype Machine are necessarily mediocre I believed that there had to be something vapid or cheap or sensationalist about things or persons that become loci of the intellectual creative next voice of our generation ballyhoo It s tough not to be cynical The whole zeitgeist of our times is cynicism aloofness a disdain of sensitivity bordering on neurosis and I mean a healthy cultured sensitivity one nurtured in restraint and consideration and taste not an mo ish horticulturally cultivated five o clock shadow thick glasses staring pensively over a latte and word document always always in public in sight of the pretty girls sensitivity Fight Clubs Heartbreaking Works of Staggering Geniuses American Psychos if these are the voices of our times let me be an anachronism In my narrow mindedness I lumped DFW in with these other bright young things figuring he was another spoiled product of moneyed media saturated hipper than thou America wielding an a priori standoffishness as crutch and sword It s what I d come to Science, Technology and Culture expect of popularntertainment as a whole I don t mean Harry PotterGirl with the X tattoo lit stuff that is immensely popular but actually has redeeming factors and is based in a solid tradition of plot No Beast So Fierce earnest character development involved dramatc but stuff that was supposed to represent the intellectual undercurrents of what it is to be a living mind in America in the arly twenty first century you know dgy stuff McSweeney s has some funny t shirts but in the nd all the irony can be fucking despairing Contrived coolness ultraviolence representing god knows what involuted sexual obsessions as supposed comment on middle class repression and nnui or some nonsense solipsistic unearned first person memoiric Whos Cheatin Who? (Thoroughbred Legacy explorations of what am I in this crazy work a day world it keeps on piling up to a vomitous apogee and I find myself saying fuck it and reading Proust or Walser or Pessoa or Flaubert just so I can fucking breath just to feel someonexpressing something honest and with an unmanufactured postureEnter DFW I can t comment on Infinite Jest a book for another day when I again have surplus hours to give to a tome hopefully soon but A Supposedly Fun Thing cuts through all of my above complaints like a glowingly hot knife through butter It has come to be the ubiuitous descriptor of Wallace that he was a decent guy and from what I can glean from this collection of Lawman Lover (Outlaws, essays the shoe fits and is there really a higher compliment but in addition to hisssential decency involving City Girl in Training empathy kindness a bullshit detector always set on 11 the keenestye for a telling detail I ve Mystery at Kittiwake Bay encountered in books of my times it is the way he subsumes the alienating cheapening aspects of our culture into his vast intellect deconstructs them into their vital parts analyzes their components and restructures them into a completely non ironic funny as hell andnlightening statement about what it is to be a human being And my god the humor in this book Never before have I bitten my lip to bleeding so many times attempting to restrain outright bursts of mad laughter reading this in public And it s consistent And underneath the laughter is that certain lattice within modern humor at its best form and I m thinking of like Louis CK here or Mitch Hedberg or Bill Hicks where the laughter is ringing above a potential abyss and that humor and the transformation of creeping despair into something luminous are the only ways of redeeming contemporary things and ideas from utter degradation and fitting them back into the lineage of a culture of thorough humanist Dangerous Waters (Cold Case Files examination Calling DFW the last humanist is tempting but then I d be falling into the same traps of cynicism thesessays made me believe it is possible to free ourselves fromGood readers go into books looking for an honest uniue interpretation of some facet of genuine The Husband (Smytheshire, Massachusetts, experience over the years I have found myself searching farther back into other cultures and otherras very distant from mine for that kind of fulfilling rounded perspective What A Supposedly Fun Thing has shown me is that while it is still an ssential component of a dedicated humanist to understand the history of thought and xpression An Italian Education especially in the face of the dulling warping aspects of rudderless progress and an increasingly fragmented reality that there are outposts of sincerity of good nature representatives of the decent guys of the creative temperament hard at work chewing on the problems that haunt us me you this very day dealing with the stuff of ourvery days in terms that Protecting the Colton Bride Coltons Cowboy Code elevate them above thevery day DFW in this book alone Look-Alike Lawman (Texas Twins, elevated tennis state fairs David Lynch television a week long cruise the athlete to the realm ofternal motif They re just working a lot harder being driven down tougher paths having to fortify their honesty and sensitivity and steel themselves in the face of fragmentation to a greater degree DFW disabused me of the notion that I have to look outside of my own times for some hero of the candid the honest the uniue and I think he would have considered that some sort of successOn a depressing note I understand now that the media hype that at first so turned me off to the David Foster Wallace machine was in a great part due to his suicide Suicide makes Daddy Wanted everything momentous gives a retrospective ur meaning to all the aspects of a life imposes an immediate posterity on a creative human being s works I can t fathom what it would have been like in 2008 had I known his work but I can sense the immense loss to our times that his passing has meant I mean imagine looking forward to Harper sxperiential Forbidden Stranger essays a complete Pale King laughter insights Overly sensitive souls run the risk of being so sensitive that all they feel is pain and the weird and baroue regimen of drugs Wallace was on somehow did not dull this sensitivity this awareness and in some perverse way made himven representative E Caribbean Snowy River Man explore how television affects literature and what makes film auteur David Lynch tick and deconstruct deconstructionism and find the intersection between tornadoes and tennisTheseclectic interests are Night Moves (Harlequin Blaze enhanced by anye and nose for detail I have seen sucrose beaches and water a very bright
David Foster Wallace worked surprising turns on nearly everything novels journalism vacation His life was an information hunt collecting hows and whys I received 500000 discrete bits of information today he once said of which maybe 25 are important My job is to make some sense of it He wanted to write stuff about what it feels like to live Instead of being a relief from what it fe