Monday, September 15, 2008


† dfw .

† David Foster Wallace .
Kenyon Commencement: May 2005 (text)
Charlie Rose March 1997 (video)
Salon article 1999, referencing above video (text)
"Host", The Atlantic 2005 (text)
"Good People", The New Yorker Feb. 2007 (text)
Fresh Air March 1997 (audio)
"Incarnations of Burned Children", Esquire, Nov 2000
NPR Obituary September 2008 (audio/text)

They have to stop calling his endnotes "footnotes". He'd try not to say so, but it would bother him. It bothers me. Imprecise. "Tense Present", Harper's, April 2001


"There are many elements of the MCain2000 campaign -- naming the bus "Straight Talk," the timely publication of Faith of My Fathers, the much-hyped "openness" and "spontaneity" of the Express's media salon, the message-disciplined way McCain thumps "Always. Tell you. The truth"--that indicate that some very shrewd, clever marketers are trying to market this candidate's rejection of shrewd, clever marketing. Is this bad? Or just confusing? ...the only thing you're certain to feel about John McCain's campaign is a very modern and American type of ambivalence, a sort of interior war between your deep need to believe and your deep belief that the need to believe is bull****, that there's nothing left anywhere but sales and salesmen."

That is essential David Foster Wallace: aware of the manipulation yet yearning for a deeper meaning (any meaning, really.) Essential post-modernism, but with soul.

I wondered what David Foster Wallace would make of McCain now, eight years later. He declined our request for an interview. That was a couple of months ago. I found out today that he had had a particularly rough summer. His father, James Wallace, told the New York Times that his son couldn't find a treatment for his chronic depression that worked. "He had been in the hospital a couple of times over the summer and had undergone electro-convulsive therapy. Everything had been tried, and he just couldn't stand it anymore."
I didn't say that, I just copied it from some comments at the NPR website.
RS McCain article
Harper's Archive
New Yorker fiction (sidebar links)
"...sarcasm and jokes were often the bottle in which clinical depressives sent out their most plangent screams for someone to care and help them."
- concerning Katherine Ann Gompert, Y.D.A.U.

He had knack for seeing and describing the spirit and motivation of others, finding something enjoyable about even the most despicable of individuals.

He was probably too good at it.

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