David Foster Wallace

This is a blow. I’ve read only his nonfiction and have tremendous respect for it. The TV essay, the yacht essay, and the porn essay especially.

Here are some David Foster Wallace words that have been big for me this year (from “E. Unibus Pluram”):

“And make no mistake: irony tyrannizes us. The reason why our pervasive cultural irony is at once so powerful and so unsatisfying is that an ironist is impossible to tie down.”

The quote and the essay have served as my go-to reminder to avoid messy, directionless irony.

The best thing is to go back and read Wallace’s work, but it did me good to watch this interview (about half-way into the long video).

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6 thoughts on “David Foster Wallace

  1. m-ocean says:

    I’m going to get one of his works. I’d never heard of him until today, but I like what he had to say in the Charlie Rose interview. I’ve only read non-fiction these past few years (funny that we were creative writing!) so what can you recommend?

  2. He’s so good, man. I would advise you first read the title essay in his book, “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.” It’s a 100-page log of a cruise he went on. He observes himself becoming a brat and feels despair for it. It’s engrossing and hilarious and sad. You’ll never think of the word “pamper” the same way.

  3. Michael Ocean says:

    I’ve added that title and “Consider the Lobster” to my personal ‘Michael’s Wish List’ on Amazon, which is the nickname for my ‘As Soon As The Hype Around His Death Subsides and These Used Book Prices on Amazon Drop, I Will Buy and Read Them For Approx. $2.98 USD A Piece (Plus the Appropriate Taxes). Seriously, You Should Try Doing This (Not Typing Every First-Letter Of Every Word With a Capital Letter [Which, I Will Tell You From Experience Right Now, Is More Difficult Than It Seems]) But To Try Buying Your Books Used On Amazon. I Get Some Books For As Cheap As $0.01, And They Are Barely Used. Huzzah’ list.

  4. giovanni says:

    Where can I find his comments/material concerning personal terror aboard a luxury yacht?

  5. Giovanni,

    In the book or free PDF here.

    http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/09/hbc-90003557

    It’s called “Shipping Out.”

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