Sep 14, 2008

David Foster Wallace - Dead.

He hanged himself on Friday night. He was 46 years old. This is a terrible thing.

Most people don't know who David Foster Wallace is. He's not as household a name as other, more mainstream literary authors. But now he will be included on a list, a very exclusive list where people who were too sensitive for life and those too selfish to allow other people to co-opt and enjoy it reside.

It's a list full of great, sad people, people wonderfully inept at life. I think we're all bad at life, for the most part, but most of us are gracious enough to let it drag on and on, just to see what comes next. These people have too much distaste for life to let it continue on toward its logical - or illogical, depending on how you look at it - conclusion.

And we are also angry at times like this because the person in question cannot be reprimanded for his ineptitude. We can't say, Goddamnit, we're all going through this thing, too. You can't just pick out a spot and then get off the train, jackass. It's not as if this person has made a bad decision. He/she has done something beyond reproach, and, being human and alive, we naturally hate it.

If one in a similar situation were to go into treatment, he/she could be ridiculed, or thanked. But not now. There is no amount of disdain or congratulatory rhetoric that is going to make this person do anything. At all. Ever. Again.

I've never made it through his most well-know behemoth of a novel, Infinite Jest, a sprawling thousand page nonlinear work of fiction. I now intend to, because he's dead. Isn't that the way it works with art? We can't really appreciate something until someone's dead? Is that the secret of appreciation?

Now that Wallace is dead, we must cling to the words he's already written, in lieu of the ones he wasn't able to get down on paper, in a laptop window, etc.

Below is an extremely funny reading he does at (I can't remember where) but it's really great and funny and I hope you enjoy it.

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