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15 September 2008 @ 09:28 am
David Foster Wallace (and John McCain)  
Writer David Foster Wallace killed himself on Friday. Sad. I was always a bit put off by the massive page count of Infinite Jest, but I found his essays interesting and quite enjoyed some of the short stories in his collection The Girl With Unusual Hair.

At the risk of sounding flippant, I can't help but wonder if the recent surge in his depression had any connection to the all the praise he lavished on John McCain during the 2000 primaries. He seemed quite emotionally invested in the promise of McCain at the time, and so surely must have been a little heartbroken at how much McCain has changed since then.

 
 
Listening to: Belle & Sebastian - "Like Dylan at the Movies"
 
 
 
xterminal on September 15th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
Have you read his book of essays, Consider the Lobster? (I think it came out last year.) Like you, I'm put off by the doorstop-esqueness of Infinite Jest-- I've had a copy sitting here waiting for me to read it for, oh, ten years-- but I've seen some amazing reviews of Lobster, including from the guy who heads up CNN's entertainment area (whose reviews I implicitly trust, except for his odd baseball obsession, which I can't understand-- especially since he's an Atlantan who married a Clevelander, which would seem to make household tensions strain from April through October every year). And it's shorter!

Oh, and I should add-- Todd (the CNN guy), who is a diehard liberal, actually praised Wallace's McCain essays-- not because of their content, obviously, but because of the way in which they were written.

And while I can see where you're coming from in the theorizing, hell, I liked McCain in 2000. Back then he was a hell of a lot more Ron Paul than he was George Bush, and let's face it, the Republican choice that year was either shrubjr or McCain, and they looked like night and day.

...which does make me wonder if there's still enough maverick left in McCain to just be posturing for the hard-right, but to go off and do his own thing if he actually does get elected. Which might not be the best thing for the country, but if the McCain of 2000 surfaces, it'd be a lot better than what we've had the past eight years...

Edited at 2008-09-15 02:49 pm (UTC)
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: ballerina escapeassmonkeydiary on September 15th, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, don't get me wrong. I thought McCain was pretty cool back in 2000 as well. I just feel like Wallace was the kind of guy who might feel very shaken and betrayed both by his own judgment and by McCain's 180.

I shall indeed "consider the lobster."
Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zulu: Manga-style meoddharmonic on September 15th, 2008 07:58 pm (UTC)
I think the side effects of his medication really kicked him in the metaphorical junk. His father told the New York Times that DFW had gone off his medication at a doctor's suggestion June 2007, but had not found another successful treatment.

One of the ladies I met when I was hospitalized for depression a few years ago said ECT was pretty miserable for her because she was given relaxants before treatment and was all dopey-feeling and tired afterward. I would have gone Librarian-poo undergoing a treatment that left me feeling like that and only had little (if any) effect on my depression.

Feel free to come by dfw and read the discussion there; one of the posters had him for a class last year and was supposed to house-sit for him his summer.
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: blue bottleassmonkeydiary on September 17th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I'll check it out.