"Chu has Blott see whether he can lift a bulky old doorless microwave oven that's lying on its side up next to one wall, and Blott tries and barely lifts it, and pules, and Chu marks the oven down for the adults to lift and tells Blott to drop it, which invitation Blott takes literally, and the crash and tinkle infuriate Gopnik and McKenna, who say that scanning for rodents with Blott is like fly-fishing with an epileptic, which cheers Traub up quite a bit."
― tom west (thomp), Saturday, 10 December 2005 20:16 (fourteen years ago) link
― tom west (thomp), Saturday, 10 December 2005 20:17 (fourteen years ago) link
― Aimless (Aimless), Saturday, 10 December 2005 22:23 (fourteen years ago) link
I agree. And, I find his main characters exceptionally moving. Hal will always be one of my favorite fictional characters.
Aimless, I'd happily participate in an infinite number of Infinite Jest discussions!
― Cherish, Sunday, 11 December 2005 06:25 (fourteen years ago) link
― Casuistry (Chris P), Sunday, 11 December 2005 09:39 (fourteen years ago) link
Something amazing about it is reading ASFT after and realising how few of Wallace's obsessions actually made it into his first two books, like he was consciously holding off writing about them until he'd grown enough as a writer to do them justice...
― Gravel Puzzleworth (Gregory Henry), Sunday, 11 December 2005 12:34 (fourteen years ago) link
― Benito Cereno, Sunday, 11 December 2005 21:40 (fourteen years ago) link
― adam (adam), Sunday, 11 December 2005 21:53 (fourteen years ago) link
― tom west (thomp), Sunday, 11 December 2005 22:30 (fourteen years ago) link
orin's self-pity is just one aspect of his being a jerk, which i like, the way in which he has become a jerk and how it is handled.
big duh for missing out the first time that both steeplys were the same person: god i was dumb.
― tom west (thomp), Sunday, 11 December 2005 22:32 (fourteen years ago) link
― Casuistry (Chris P), Sunday, 11 December 2005 23:14 (fourteen years ago) link
first google result for 'consider the lobster' = www.lobsterlib.com! i guess wallace (or someone) gave them permission to reprint the article, which is kinda cool. i'm looking forward to it, his essays are pretty remarkable things.
― , Sunday, 11 December 2005 23:16 (fourteen years ago) link
― Clay (cws), Monday, 12 December 2005 02:00 (fourteen years ago) link
― Josh (Josh), Monday, 12 December 2005 05:30 (fourteen years ago) link
― tom west (thomp), Monday, 12 December 2005 06:02 (fourteen years ago) link
― tom west (thomp), Monday, 12 December 2005 06:42 (fourteen years ago) link
― Casuistry (Chris P), Monday, 12 December 2005 07:21 (fourteen years ago) link
"allegedly funny" is good: i do honestly think there's lots of stuff that's meant to look as if it's meant to be funny mostly as a kind of distraction. i dunno, i think it ties in with his stance on irony - also i think it's the upshot of a thousand-page manuscript, not that i've ever written a thousand-page manuscript: i don't think "Year Of The Depend Adult Undergarment" is going to seem all that funny to anyone, the ninetieth time they've written it ...
what the years thing does manage to do is obfuscate where everything you're reading about happens, chronologically, for the first half of the book or so. i dunno, the stuff with Incandenza's filmography is a better example of what i'm trying to get to.
like: 'Blood Sister: One Tough Nun'. okay, this is a pretty feeble gag. (although the better gag is that it's part of a whole genre of religious action heroes that exists in the postmillenial America DFW is writing, though this is only worth about a 4.5 out of 10, as a joke, to me.) the entire incandenza filmography (the longest footnote in the book, and the first one with any kind of substantial content) looks at first like it's just gags, and bad gags, but throughout the book his films get brought up in ways that require the reader* to re-evaluate it. Towards the end Hal is watching Blood Sister... and there's a lot on it, about why hal doesn't like it, about it's relation to his father's biography, making this silly gag serve the serious purpose of fleshing his father out as a character, about hal (and bridget boone's) reactions in a way that seemed (to me, last night, at least) really quite surprisingly poignant..
that said i don't think i've found anything actually funny in about 48 hours, so all of this might just be me.
*well, i hate saying that the author "requires" anything the reader: it sounds so bossy and formal and horrid.
― tom west (thomp), Tuesday, 13 December 2005 12:54 (fourteen years ago) link
― tom west (thomp), Tuesday, 13 December 2005 12:59 (fourteen years ago) link
― Gravel Puzzleworth (Gregory Henry), Tuesday, 13 December 2005 21:28 (fourteen years ago) link
― moriarty (moriarty), Wednesday, 14 December 2005 23:29 (fourteen years ago) link
Thing is, "essay"-wise, the guy is just a very good feature-writer, and judging by the new collection he's gotten better and better at it. Even his constant use of footnotes seems to have something to do with this -- reading the new collection it becomes clearer and clearer how he's writing magazine-style features and then more or less tucking all of the novelist's "thinkpiece" and "analysis" stuff at the bottom of the page. (I.e., it's almost more a genre thing than a stylistic one.) The lobster essay is both lousy and also bizarre -- he was sent by Gourmet to write about a lobster festival, and does so for approximately four pages before going off on lobster-pain and winding up going "I dunno, it's complicated, but I'm mostly just curious if Gourmet readers even think about that stuff at all?" Which is kind of fascinating and perverse but not exactly good writing.
But but. The Harper's grammar-and-usage essay is in there, and it's one of my favorites apart from that almighty television-and-fiction one. The Rolling Stone John McCain primary-season is in there in full, and reads even more terrifically than it did at the time. There's a piece called "Host" that I never saw on publication, I guess -- a profile of an average-seeming talk-radio host and the mechanics of his station -- and that was a great first-read, too; I'm a little wierded out sometimes by DFW-on-politics, because he has this kind of over-thoughtful moderation that can start to seem unimaginative (too much moral care and not enough moral vigor?), but like I said, he's a good feature-writer, part of which is knowing how to feature something other than your own thoughts.
(Ha: "good feature writer" = anyone even vaguely liberal who can spend weeks hanging around a shouty AM talk-radio station without picking fights / going nuts / killing self / becoming completely poisoned and uncharitable to the extent of not being able to "feature" the place at all?)
If there's any problem with collections like this, it's just the gap between what's a terrific piece in a magazine or newspaper and what seems worthy of single-writer collections, bought in hardcover or whatever. It's those big ones -- grammar, McCain, talk radio -- that can kinda sell this as a book. A lot of the others are great, but in a different way: there's a really sharp piece on a sports biography that would totally make your day if you caught it in a newspaper or alt-weekly or whatever, but I can imagine plenty of you growsing that a really well-written review requires something more than it's well-writtenness to seem worthy of going in a book?
― nabisco (nabisco), Wednesday, 14 December 2005 23:49 (fourteen years ago) link
― nabisco (nabisco), Wednesday, 14 December 2005 23:56 (fourteen years ago) link
is the harper's grammar one the one connected to the kerfuffle about his, uh, not overly wise comments to a black student?
― tom west (thomp), Thursday, 15 December 2005 01:07 (fourteen years ago) link
― W i l l (common_person), Thursday, 15 December 2005 02:02 (fourteen years ago) link
― ryan (ryan), Thursday, 15 December 2005 03:15 (fourteen years ago) link
nabisco I was talking about IJ! I am using ASFT as evidence of the obsessions, and saying how few of them made it into the first two fiction books.
― Gravel Puzzleworth (Gregory Henry), Thursday, 15 December 2005 20:02 (fourteen years ago) link
I think possibly if I were rereading Brief Interviews, rather than Infinite Jest, I'd not want to ask this question.
*the magazine articles as well as the novels! there's something (proceeds to speak from hindquarters) 19th-century magazine reportage about them, about their not quite knowing what's expected of confronting this particular form -
― tom west (thomp), Thursday, 15 December 2005 20:09 (fourteen years ago) link
leaving aside the narrative absurdities, which might be a little harder to categorise, i'm quite curious about wallace's 'style': in that there are lots of bits of writing in Infinite Jest and Brief Interviews where wallace is deliberately not writing his 'style', and lots of bits where he exacerbates particular bits of his 'style', or at least particular stylistic tics, either with some kind of result in mind or just to see what happens.
his regular prose style involves kind of fuzzying out of direct pronouncements of things in favour of either an academic(?) or a how-regular-people-talk circumlocutory way of putting them. there's a peculiar fondness for these dangling (modifiers? i dunno) post-comma, ending a sentence, like (at random):
"The whole thing started out looking like tit-on-a-tray, burglary-wise."
(in which we have a common-speech usage or two stuck together in a way on the page where they look pretty much like something someone would never say.) (actually i could do with giving about half a dozen more examples here but then this starts to look a bit much like work.)
one of the upshots of it is that his prose is very rarely limpid in that stereotypical literary prose way; combined with a tendency to decompress, to refuse to reduce a scene to the essentials, i think this is what a lot of people see as "cold" or "robotic" about the writing, maybe - ? anyway i recall being disappointed with 'oblivion' because I realised, reading it, that Wallace really did have a very particular style, almost a schtick. This effect being in part i) because 'oblivion' unlike the previous two books didn't have any particular "here-i-am-writing-in-a-non-david-foster-wallace-idiom" bits ii) because with the most immediately schticky aspect removed (the footnotes, duh) the almost-schtickiness rest of the writing showed up a little more.
― tom west (thomp), Thursday, 15 December 2005 20:28 (fourteen years ago) link
― tom west (thomp), Thursday, 15 December 2005 20:30 (fourteen years ago) link
― Laurel (Laurel), Thursday, 15 December 2005 21:31 (fourteen years ago) link
― Casuistry (Chris P), Thursday, 15 December 2005 23:38 (fourteen years ago) link
― tom west (thomp), Monday, 19 December 2005 02:43 (fourteen years ago) link
― tom west (thomp), Monday, 19 December 2005 02:45 (fourteen years ago) link
rereading this again. forgot i'd done this, the first time
― thomp, Monday, 5 April 2010 13:20 (nine years ago) link
by which i mean, started a thread to ramble on about it.
i do honestly think there's lots of stuff that's meant to look as if it's meant to be funny mostly as a kind of distraction
this has been popping out at me more and more. i think dfw uses this mode of, like, parodic science fiction (not parodic of science fiction, it's one that shows up in like 50s SF itself) to do these sweeping broad versions of his theme without having to invest them with seriousness or probability, which i think is valuable. the bit about the rise of videophones leading to downfall in self-confidence about how one looks leading to the demise of videophones is maybe the most striking example i guess. closing sentence:
"Even then, of course, the bulk of U.S. consumers remained verifiably reluctant to leave home and teleputer and to interface personally, though this phenomenon's endurance can't be attributed to the videophony-fad per se, and anyway the new panagoraphobia served to open huge new entrepreneurial teleputerized markets for home-shopping and -delivery, and didn't cause much industry concern."
― thomp, Monday, 5 April 2010 13:29 (nine years ago) link
which i find it kind of interesting, actually, how this novel (conceived in what, the early 90s?), which is set in i think 2010, though it's hard to tell, doesn't get the internet entirely wrong ...
― thomp, Monday, 5 April 2010 13:30 (nine years ago) link
he gets the internet/mass entertainment totally right!
― Mr. Que, Monday, 5 April 2010 13:47 (nine years ago) link
i kind of agree with you--the book takes a while to warm up. there's all this seemingly random stuff he throws at the reader. (the e-mail about the construction worker, the videophone stuff, filmography.) i think the book works better for me when he incorporates that sort of material into the story more--like, for example, Mario's movie about Interdependence Day.
― Mr. Que, Monday, 5 April 2010 13:54 (nine years ago) link
this (third time) is the first time that i've read it and basically known where this stuff is going and how it's connected, like, reading stuff about Mildred Bonk and Ken Erdedy and remembering well enough to skip forward to the bit where the residents of Ennet House are enumerated; though ha i did just cheat and google to work out who 'yrstruly' is.
― thomp, Monday, 5 April 2010 14:00 (nine years ago) link
(also found someone on a blog complaining that his attempt at "Ebonics" in that section was so bad as to be offensive, which uh)
― thomp, Monday, 5 April 2010 14:02 (nine years ago) link
that Ebonics section is pretty bleh, tho
― Mr. Que, Monday, 5 April 2010 14:05 (nine years ago) link
that was the only section in the whole book that made me go 'really, dfw?'
― rinse the lemonade (Jordan), Monday, 5 April 2010 14:20 (nine years ago) link
the narrator's white! and racist!
― thomp, Monday, 5 April 2010 14:45 (nine years ago) link
i'm reserving judgement on the actual ebonics bit, tho ("Wardine say her momma aint treat her right." etc.)
― thomp, Monday, 5 April 2010 14:46 (nine years ago) link
have this book taunting me from beside my bed for a while. its so fucking big and difficult to hold tho.
― plax (ico), Monday, 5 April 2010 14:46 (nine years ago) link
i wonder to what degree my tendency to enjoy this sort of overmassive encyclopedic stuff is biologically predicated by my ridiculously huge spider hands
― thomp, Monday, 5 April 2010 14:48 (nine years ago) link
oh duh i never linked mario's arachnodactyly with his father's fear of spiders before
― thomp, Monday, 5 April 2010 14:50 (nine years ago) link
"This is a thing I do know. They can't kick you out."
― thomp, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 00:31 (nine years ago) link
i cant imagine reading this book 3x
― f a ole schwarzwelt (Lamp), Wednesday, 7 April 2010 00:47 (nine years ago) link
Just finished this, it took me fucking ages.I liked the complete immersion in that world.I hated the word 'which' by the end.I found it hard to read sentences with so many acronyms punctuated with full stops (like O.N.A.N.) that don't serve as full stops.I didn't realise I was at the end when I was and am kind of sad that I am.
― kinder, Saturday, 7 January 2012 03:56 (eight years ago) link
All the rivers that flow into the Great Basin of the western USA never make it to the sea. They just flow down until they stop somewhere.
― Aimless, Saturday, 7 January 2012 04:00 (eight years ago) link
i feel like i ought to make it clear that that "so uh" of mine was about people identifying the bit that's the testimony of an illiterate white person as being "ebonics", not me going "hey, what could people possibly see wrong in the bit where dfw does ebonics", which is a different bit
― thomp, Saturday, 7 January 2012 14:50 (eight years ago) link
the other week my gf's dad gave me an annotated map of boston, which he said would 'make sense' once i finally read infinie jest.
― (The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Saturday, 7 January 2012 22:28 (eight years ago) link
This book will always haunt me, I think.
― Raymond Cummings, Friday, 10 February 2012 05:57 (seven years ago) link
this thread will always haunt me, certainly
― desperado, rough rider (thomp), Friday, 10 February 2012 09:00 (seven years ago) link
― just sayin, Saturday, 23 June 2012 08:04 (seven years ago) link
― 乒乓, Sunday, 14 April 2013 03:18 (six years ago) link
When you consider how desperately any public figure like Maggie wants to control their image, being willing to approve only the most flattering portraits for such use, that is one horrific pic.
― Aimless, Sunday, 14 April 2013 03:33 (six years ago) link
thatcher is a really excellent text for considering the differences between now & then; to hear recordings of her speaking almost defies belief, & it is impossible to imagine her flourishing in her natural state today. I feel like we are not able to see that picture the way it was seen.
― schlump, Sunday, 14 April 2013 04:18 (six years ago) link
― attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 14 April 2013 12:45 (six years ago) link
enhhh i remember an argument with my sister where i was arguing that major and maybe heath were the only two PMs of the past 50 years who didn't have a good grip on their public image and the media, and it emerged she thought thatcher was bad at manipulating her image. which seemed crazy to me. otoh she was a teenager and i was a kid in the 80s so i dunno.
i am trying to remember why she's in infinite jest. there's a line about someone being sexually attracted to margaret thatcher that ends up in there i think? that wallace had been looking for a place for, maybe used somewhere else, for years?
― attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or (thomp), Sunday, 14 April 2013 12:48 (six years ago) link
i watched a bunch of youtubes of thatcher the day she died and i was kinda stunned by how brutally, blatantly uncaring she was willing to behave in public. there's a clip out there of a mother angrily asking her about cutting off milk to schoolkids and thatcher's attitude is basically just 'go fuck yourself, it's your problem.' conservatives may have gotten worse in a lot of ways but i can't honestly say they've gotten meaner.
― (The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Tuesday, 16 April 2013 00:06 (six years ago) link
they are just the same thing. they are the same thing with a tree rendered in the style of a child's crayon drawing affixed to the logo. as close as I can get to noticing change is in some of them perhaps acting through deep & insulating ignorance, cf IDS, like an obliviousness that makes empathy impossible. but they are the same thing, constitutively unable to see outside of their narrow parameters while deciding how things should be. disability benefits.
― daft on the causes of punk (schlump), Tuesday, 16 April 2013 03:44 (six years ago) link
WINDSOR, Ontario — Assumption Park gives residents of this city lovely views of the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit skyline. Lately they’ve been treated to another sight: a three-story pile of petroleum coke covering an entire city block on the other side of the Detroit River.
Detroit’s ever-growing black mountain is the unloved, unwanted and long overlooked byproduct of Canada’s oil sands boom.
And no one knows quite what to do about it, except Koch Carbon, which owns it.
The company is controlled by Charles and David Koch, wealthy industrialists who back a number of conservative and libertarian causes including activist groups that challenge the science behind climate change. The company sells the high-sulfur, high-carbon waste, usually overseas, where it is burned as fuel.
The coke comes from a refinery alongside the river owned by Marathon Petroleum, which has been there since 1930. But it began refining exports from the Canadian oil sands — and producing the waste that is sold to Koch — only in November.
“What is really, really disturbing to me is how some companies treat the city of Detroit as a dumping ground,” said Rashida Tlaib, the Michigan state representative for that part of Detroit. “Nobody knew this was going to happen.” Almost 56 percent of Canada’s oil production is from the petroleum-soaked oil sands of northern Alberta, more than 2,000 miles north.
― j., Saturday, 18 May 2013 06:29 (six years ago) link
― j., Saturday, 18 May 2013 06:30 (six years ago) link
― the bitcoin comic (thomp), Saturday, 18 May 2013 10:14 (six years ago) link
― Beatrix Kiddo (Raymond Cummings), Sunday, 26 May 2013 04:16 (six years ago) link
― the white queen and her caustic judgments (difficult listening hour), Sunday, 26 May 2013 04:20 (six years ago) link
that would be a much better illustration for the deluxe edition
― j., Sunday, 26 May 2013 06:50 (six years ago) link
Mark Steyn on Zombies
― Clay, Sunday, 26 May 2013 07:06 (six years ago) link
j i thought you were anti this book
― the bitcoin comic (thomp), Sunday, 26 May 2013 09:13 (six years ago) link
you must have been projecting in order to feel more secure as you broke away from the core of the dfw community
― j., Sunday, 26 May 2013 20:36 (six years ago) link
reading this on a kindle screen feels quite different. the words have more precision, somehow. more of a center of gravity.
― j., Tuesday, 2 February 2016 16:59 (three years ago) link
also i have been reading a lot of old timey english prose the past couple years and i have to say aimless otm above
― j., Tuesday, 2 February 2016 19:15 (three years ago) link
How do you go about navigating those footnotes on a Kindle? I don't use one so I'm curious as to its effectiveness. I'd like to try it, though imagine something might be lost through not carrying around a book that continues to remind you of its physical presence even when you're not reading it. I think I'm approaching a second read...
― tangenttangent, Tuesday, 2 February 2016 19:56 (three years ago) link
i haven't gotten to one yet
― j., Tuesday, 2 February 2016 20:00 (three years ago) link
I read this on a Kindle like two years ago. Worked fairly well with a few hiccups. You'd click on the superscript in the main text and you'd get a pop-up of the endnote iirc. Issues arose when the endnote was too long which (lol DFW) happens a few times. You'd get to a line and then you'd get some programming babble and then everything past that was truncated. In these cases you'd have to manually navigate to the endnote instead of using that "pop-up" method.
IDK if this has been fixed/changed in the past two years.
― circa1916, Tuesday, 2 February 2016 20:24 (three years ago) link
cover of the 20th anniversary edition coming out in a few weeks is pretty ugly
why not stick with the sky motif? i really like the covers of the first three editions
― flappy bird, Wednesday, 3 February 2016 00:01 (three years ago) link
are you serious
― j., Wednesday, 3 February 2016 00:19 (three years ago) link
a very special christmas
― Toof Seteltha (Sufjan Grafton), Wednesday, 3 February 2016 00:35 (three years ago) link
I finished this 4 years ago and can't remember much about it! It's about tennis, right?
― kinder, Wednesday, 3 February 2016 14:31 (three years ago) link
what the hell is that cover
― johnny crunch, Wednesday, 3 February 2016 15:40 (three years ago) link
It was a contest. This is the dude who won, big blog about his process and all the designs he came up with first. Pretty much all of them suck. I don't like the TV motif. The sky was perfect...but whatever. No need to buy another copy of Infinite Jest. http://www.joewalshdesign.com/#/infinite-jest/
― flappy bird, Wednesday, 3 February 2016 18:25 (three years ago) link
Was he a Roky Erickson fan?
― Glissendorfin' Machine (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 3 February 2016 18:26 (three years ago) link
wow that's a bad cover
― Cornelius Pardew (jim in glasgow), Wednesday, 3 February 2016 18:34 (three years ago) link
tbf it's better than all the designer's other attempts
― mookieproof, Wednesday, 3 February 2016 18:38 (three years ago) link
i am... rereading this. idk why lol
― american bradass (BradNelson), Sunday, 11 August 2019 14:42 (five months ago) link
it's delightful of course, so readable and accessible for something so forbidding in shape. some of the things that bothered me about the novel ten years ago (for example: anytime a man's focus zooms in on someone's breasts; uss millicent kent's central trauma being that her dad is a transvestite is not a funny joke) are worse now because idk they do not seem to be ugly reflections of human nature that still get at some essential truth much as they are projections that aren't even necessary to the characters that have them. realizing this is a rich critique of a novel that is in many ways about projection but for me it's distracting not illuminating
it's a small complaint. i did enjoy reading nabisco on the "wardine say" section upthread
― american bradass (BradNelson), Sunday, 11 August 2019 14:48 (five months ago) link
novel definitely takes place in the interval of netflix still having mail-oriented dvd service but having also introduced netflix instant so yeah 2009-2010. i am usually not into determining what a speculative novel got "right" vs. what it got "wrong" (latter is way more interesting anyway) but the death of tv and the transition to all on-demand programming... that shit's pretty good
― american bradass (BradNelson), Sunday, 11 August 2019 14:54 (five months ago) link
I read this in the summer of '99 (mostly taking the long way to and from my job and reading while I walked through my mostly-empty college campus). Long before I ever heard another human utter his name. Loved it at the time and still vividly recall certain portions, but I'd be interested to see how it holds up now that I'm twice as old as I was then.
― Come and Rock Me, Hot Potatoes (Old Lunch), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:03 (five months ago) link
it's amazing how much of it sticks in your memory, i even kinda remember the order of scenes. it's been ten years!
― american bradass (BradNelson), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:15 (five months ago) link
also a little more fun to read now that i've been to boston several times
― american bradass (BradNelson), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:18 (five months ago) link
guess I should give it a try, eh?
― TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:18 (five months ago) link
why not? imo it goes fast for 1000 pages
― american bradass (BradNelson), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:25 (five months ago) link
Having grown up and lived in the places he describes was a big part of my enjoyment of the book. The school and half way house were situated just down the road from where my parents lived at the time.
― Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:31 (five months ago) link
It was my favorite book when I was a college. Recommended to me, a c-average high school honors student, by my straight-a AP friends. I always thought that despite its length and footnotes and digressions, all of which I still hear it assailed for to this day, it was incredibly readable in ways that other recommendations from them, such as Gravity's Rainbow, were not. I'm sure that, as a 19-year-old community college burnout, I didn't understand everything about this book, but I fell absolutely in love with it. It was the most important book in my choosing Literature as a major (regrets regrets regrets), hoping maybe to recapture the high I felt reading it.
My hardcover copy is one of the only books that I've held onto from that era that I've held onto throughout every move and life transition, but I haven't actually cracked it since the mid-2000s. I was incredibly disillusioned when Wallace committed suicide and the outpouring of his biographical details in the press afterward. It hadn't occured to me that this guy writing about depression, suicide, and drug addiction was actually experiencing these problems in his life. I had created this stupid platonic ideal in my head that he was just creating all of this, and supplementing his fantasical creation with research. That the acknowledgement of AA on the copyright page was just part of a totally-immersive, exhaustively journalistic research ethic.
So I haven't read it since then, and the Lit major broke me of my urge to ever read anything vaguely literary again. I stick mostly to true crime and rockstar autobiographies these days. But I thought about him last week when David Berman died. I had no such illusions about Berman's relationship with the depression - it all seemed very obvious to me that he was writing from a very real, very dark place. Wallace just seemed more academic, more removed to me. But they both had such warm voices and good humor, bringing me comfort in their discomfort.
― ☮ (peace, man), Sunday, 11 August 2019 15:50 (five months ago) link
When I first read this, as 20-year-old in the late 90s, I was thrilled by exactly the showy-precocious-clever angles that Wallace was nursing some embarrassment and dissatisfaction with, and I did not, I don’t think, properly absorb nearly enough of the useful stuff he was trying to push past those angles to get into. (This is an uncontroversial way to see Wallace, right? As someone who understood he had inbuilt impulses toward the brainy-funny-thinky stuff, worried those impulses were glib and empty and juvenile, and wanted to find a way to something more sustaining?)So for a long time, whenever I’d go back and reread sections, it was with a similar sense of how dumb and dweeby and irritating and point-missing I have been, a lot, in life, which I guess you could call an index of better reading and personal growth but doesn’t always feel positive or great, sort of like reading one’s own ILX posts from 2002 and marveling at what a shitty little disordered high-handed weasel one spent too much of one’s life being without even really realizing it.If this sounds suspiciously like an account of someone’s personal stuff wrapped around another guy’s fiction, well, yeah, and that is something I personally will probably always find interesting about this book.But an interesting thing is that maybe a year ago I looked at it again and I had finally come around, a little, and felt protective of some of the impulses the author may have worried about but clearly enjoyed and could not escape, because they are pleasurable and have that certain energy that was maybe more common and acceptable in fiction at the time — the pure pleasure of making up fun or funny or strange or dazzling things, playing with words and ideas and images in interesting ways, pulling off tricks because why not. Which clearly isn’t some kind of vestigial problem with this book, or a drag on some deeper or more sustaining thing. It’s its own joy, maybe, with its own value.
― ንፁህ አበበ (nabisco), Tuesday, 13 August 2019 23:49 (five months ago) link
Whoa, welcome back man <3
― Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 13 August 2019 23:59 (five months ago) link
― Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 14 August 2019 00:44 (five months ago) link