On AA all I can say (not having ever been a member) is that it is highly anti-intellectual; members are forced to believe that they are powerless against booze, and that their only survival lies in going to those meetings every week. The State loves AA because it is free, which is why you see AA in prisons, halfway houses, any warehouse for this society’s “garbage.” Alcoholics Anonymous has a 5-percent success rate while the anti-booze drugs have a 100-percent success rate (as long as the alcoholic keeps taking them, that is.) The only reason AA survives is that there are too many powerful people who have been through it, and they think it works. David Foster Wallace was not one of those people; he was an artist who mixed AA propaganda with his writing, so he was a sucker trying to pull a con on the “literary” public.
Of the many things DFW wrote we like his tennis pieces the most: his 1997 essay on the journeyman Michael Joyce (Tennis Player Michael Joyce’s Professional Artistry as a Paradigm of Certain Stuff about Choice, Freedom, Discipline, Joy, Grotesquerie, and Human Completeness) in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again showed us the endless possibilities of tennis writing. The fusion of nerdiness and passion, the hilariously accurate portraits built through the accretion of minutiae, the footnotes that went on like jazz riffs—there is no one like DFW. (When we read his Roger Federer essay ten years later our seatmates could hear our neural circuits crackling with joy.)
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– The Kafka reference is a good spot. The stuff about tragedy is lame tho. Hal isn’t meant to be comparable to Gregor Samsa: in IJ, the scene is about solipsism / private language while in the metamorphosis, it’s about (among other things) shame – hence the scenes in each one are supposed to inspire different feelings, not both aim at tragedy.
sure you’re in the end supposed to feel sorry for Hal, but not to think that he’s tragic, not in the capital T Greek or Hegelian sense. But then you’re not supposed to feel that about Gregor Samsa either….
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an apparent suicide in his Claremont, Calif. home. In his 46 years, Wallace fit journalism in. He was a novelist first, but several of his magazine pieces were classics of the form. Here are a few examples of his considerable skill.
David Foster Wallace new essay collection String Theory
A portrait of vagabond right wing radio host John Ziegler that penetrates the sad fluorescent-lit subculture of talk radio and expresses true disdain for some of Ziegler's politics. Yet Wallace is filled with admiration for the skills "skills so specialized that many of them don't have names" that make Ziegler good at his job. In one typically electric paragraph, he challenges the reader to appreciate some of these skills:
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This collection of essays contributes to a global discussion concerning the value and meaning of David Foster Wallace's work, providing fresh readings and.
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To prepare for the Infinite Jest tennis tour of the end of the world we got a copy of Consider The Lobster and Other Essays by David Foster Wallace. It is ten times more portable than Infinite Jest (which we plan to dip into when we are at home and stationary) and it contains an essay about tennis.