Sunday, September 14, 2008


RIP times one million, David Foster Wallace. Not to compare them in the same breath or anything, but between him and Heath Ledger, the amount of potential talent we've lost this year is completely, astonishingly sad. I won't comment or speculate on the circumstances of his death, for mine is not to judge, but I'm super fucking broken up about it. Guess I finally have to get around to reading Infinite Jest now. I wish I could immediately put my hands on a favorite passage from one of his essays to quote here in memoriam, but the breadth of his brilliance makes it hard to come up with a quick few lines off the top of one's head. Please post in the comments if you can come up with anything.


SiD said...

Well I'd quote you my favourite DFW sentence but I there is a limit to the size of comments and you can't do footnotes in blogger comments.

I went looking for my copy of Brief Interviews... last night but realized I gave it away at some point. Hmm. I too will have to re-read some DFW. ...Curious Hair maybe? Wait I just realized I never finished Oblivion. So there ya go. My next queued book.

parowpyro said...

back in 06', i went to a gathering here in the city for the 10th anniversary of jest. people read their favorite passages & discussed their struggles, surprises, memories, etc with the book. that jim guy from the office was there & talked a little bit about the film adaptation of brief interviews (which appears to be in limbo or something last i saw) was a room full of people excited about what dfw did when he wrote. that's something he brought to the world, excitement about the possibilities of both the form of writing & the craft of storytelling.

so sad.

Anonymous said...

I've only read a few essays by DFW, but I occasionally laugh aloud remembering his piece about visiting the set of Lynch's *Lost Highway*. There's a running gag about the director's bladder that gets me every time:

"Lost Highway's cast and crew pretty much ignore Lynch's urinating in public, and they ignore it in a relaxed rather than a tense or uncomfortable way, sort of the way you'd ignore a child's alfresco peeing."

The whole article here:


anakin said...

now i feel like i have to read infinite jest and maybe reconsider my hatred for consider the lobster. just because he died. this is a totally uncomfortable feeling.

Michael O'D said...

Here's a rare pithy DFW quote, which like a lot of great observations is strikingly familiar--like we already knew this, but had never quite put it into words. From the essay "Roger Federer as Religious Experience":

"Beauty is not the goal of competitive sports, but high-level sports are a prime venue for the expression of human beauty. The relation is roughly that of courage to war."

And later in the essay:

"Roger Federer is one of those rare, preternatural athletes who appear to be exempt, at least in part, from certain physical laws. Good analogues here include Michael Jordan, who could not only jump inhumanly high but actually hang there a beat or two longer than gravity allows, and Muhammad Ali, who really could “float” across the canvas and land two or three jabs in the clock-time required for one. There are probably a half-dozen other examples since 1960. And Federer is of this type — a type that one could call genius, or mutant, or avatar. He is never hurried or off-balance. The approaching ball hangs, for him, a split-second longer than it ought to. His movements are lithe rather than athletic. Like Ali, Jordan, Maradona, and Gretzky, he seems both less and more substantial than the men he faces. Particularly in the all-white that Wimbledon enjoys getting away with still requiring, he looks like what he may well (I think) be: a creature whose body is both flesh and, somehow, light."