Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Could Care Less

...that David Foster Wallace hanged himself. Yes indeed. Not a great deal, admittedly. But it is very sad, and there are hints in the press that he had been subjected to barbaric, profitable medical practises/tortures over many years, drugging and even electroshock 'therapy'. One could say he was 'softened up' for the cocaculture bombardment.

For me, Lynch's movies' deconstruction of this weird irony of the banal has affected the way I see and organize the world. I've noted since 1986 (when Blue Velvet was released) that a good 65 percent of the people in metropolitan bus terminals between the hours of midnight and 6 A.M. tend to qualify as Lynchian figures – grotesque, enfeebled, flamboyantly unappealing, freighted with a woe out of all proportion to evident circumstances . . . a class of public-place humans I've privately classed, via Lynch, as "insistently fucked up." -DFW


Could care less was one of the locutions David Foster Wallace - devoted Safiriste in more ways than one, indeed an extremist (he had some objection to the transitive verb to grow) - brought forward as evidence of the doomed, damned, dying culture. I'm not an offender personally in this case; I never say could care less. Whence I come, this was an exclusively Italian American thing, along with "this is beautiful" and "I trust you implicitly" to mean "what a disaster" and "don't think I don't know you're four-flushing". But I could not possibly care less than I do that others now frequently utter that form in my hearing. For DFW, as for so many of his complexion, could care less was, simply, wrong, not sarcastic like big deal. Once upon a rain delay, long ago, Tim McCarver asked his companion in the broadcast booth "whah duz sleeem chaince an' fat chaince mean thu syme thang?"

A small but influential group of writers who came of age during the Reagan presidency, to which DFW belonged, mistook the power shifts of their parents' generation, and capital's aggressive reaction, for a general decline of Authority and meaningfulness. It wasn't a random error; they were guided along this path to righteous, convinced wrongheadedness every step of the way by Safire, Lynch and the rest of the Reaganite culture posse.

This carefully packaged, deluded nostalgia for never-existing norms in grey flannel suits served as well to sustain a backdrop for the lovingly and meticulously depicted pseudo-eccentricity upon which their literary projects would rely. An historical accident - the belated introduction of Ignatius Reilly to the literature-consuming public - multiplied and intensified temptations to fraud, the seduction of which theoretical discourse probing Authenticity sweetened with guarantees of both legitimacy and fashion. Variations of histrionic self-importance resulted. The reader-consumer's ability to care less was challenged; it survived, but enfeebled.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:03 AM

    "NASCAR Cancels Remainder Of Season Following David Foster Wallace's Death"

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news/nascar_cancels_remainder_of_season

    -w.

    ReplyDelete
  2. they're really funny over there.

    ReplyDelete