Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for March 1st, 2009

david_foster_wallaceThe author David Foster Wallace, best known for his novel “Infinite Jest,” “a vast investigation into America as the land of addictions: to television, to drugs, to loneliness,” committed suicide on September 12, 2008 at the age of 46. Wallace, who suffered from depression for more than twenty years, struggled for more than a decade with his unfinished third novel, “The Pale King,” which he hoped would surpass “Infinite Jest.”

In the March 9th issue of The New Yorker, D.T. Max writes about Wallace’s twin struggles:

Although “depression,” writes Max, “often figured in his work,” Wallace “never published a word about his own mental illness.”

As to the public display of grief over Wallace’s death, it was “connected to a feeling that, for all his outpouring of words, he died with his work incomplete. Wallace, at least, never felt that he had hit his target. His goal had been to show readers how to live a fulfilled, meaningful life. ‘Fiction’s about what it is to be a fucking human being,’ he once said. Good writing should help readers to ‘become less alone inside.'”

“From 1997 on, Wallace worked on a third novel, which he never finished—the ‘Long Thing,’ as he referred to it . . . His drafts, which his wife found in their garage after his death, amount to several hundred thousand words, and tell of a group of employees at an Internal Revenue Service center in Illinois, and how they deal with the tediousness of their work.” (more @ The New Yorker

An excerpt from Wallace’s unfinished novel can be found here.

The partial manuscript will be published next year by Little, Brown.

RelatedFor David Foster Wallace’s survivors, a paper puzzle (via LA Times)

[In 1999, Amherst [College] magazine writer Stacey Schmeidel interviewed Wallace by mail. The feature-length Q & A, titled “Brief Interview With a Five Draft Man,” ran in the Spring 1999 issue of the magazine, and is reprinted here.]

Read Full Post »

williamsburg_540

“A month after allegations of child sexual abuse surfaced in the mainstream press, the Hasidic community in Brooklyn, N.Y., is taking cautious steps to confront the scandal. Meanwhile, outsiders are tackling the issue head on.

“On Sunday, state Assemblyman Dov Hikind plans to host a community-wide ‘morning of chizuk’ (support) for the alleged victims of abuse. Hikind, an Orthodox Jew who is largely responsible for bringing public attention to the scandal, has recruited rabbis and community leaders to speak at the event, which takes place in Boro Park, the center of the Hasidic district he represents. Some community members believe the gesture is merely symbolic, but Hikind calls the event ‘unprecedented.’

“‘No one has touched this subject before,’ he says. ‘We’re telling the victims we’re sorry we didn’t see your pain before, and we’re turning the corner.'” (via NPR)

[The website for the organization Survivors for Justice, run by “survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community and their advocates who are committed to offering guidance and support to victims seeking justice through the criminal and civil legal system,” can be found here.]

Related

Read Full Post »

obamunism“Conservatives might be seeking a spiritual leader, organizing principle and fresh identity, but they at least seem to have settled on a favorite rhetorical ogre: socialism.

“As in, Democrats are intent on forcing socialism on the ‘U.S.S.A.’ (as the bumper sticker says, under the words ‘Comrade Obama’).

“It seems that ‘socialist’ has supplanted ‘liberal’ as the go-to slur among much of a conservative world confronting a one-two-three punch of bank bailouts, budget blowouts and stimulus bills. Right-leaning bloggers and talk radio hosts are wearing out the brickbat. Senate and House Republicans have been tripping over their podiums to invoke it. The S-bomb has become as surefire a red-meat line at conservative gatherings as ‘Clinton’ was in the 1990s and ‘Pelosi’ is today.” (more @ NY Times)

Read Full Post »

PD*4001807“Rather than killing it off, modern technologies like email, social networking sites such as Facebook and online media players are helping poets reach new audiences.”

Signs of growth, by the numbers:

  • The number of entries for the Foyle Young Poets Award more than doubling from 2003 to 2008 to almost 12,000.
  • The number of pamphlets sent to the Poetry Book Society for publication rose from 37 to 90 between 2006 and 2008.
  • Websites like Poetry Archive, which enables people to listen to recordings of poets like TS Eliot and Allen Ginsberg reading their work, are now enjoying unprecedented success. Poetry Archive . . . now receives 135,000 visitors a month and a million page hits. (via Daily Telegraph)

Read Full Post »

spockvulcanMaureen Dowd on President Obama’s Mr. Spock-like cool:

“Mr. Obama has a bit of Mr. Spock in him (and not just the funny ears). He has a Vulcan-like logic and detachment. Any mere mortal who had to tell liberals that our obligations in Iraq and Afghanistan are far from over and tell Republicans that he has a $3.6 trillion budget would probably have tears running down his face.”

Related: Obama is Spock: It’s quite logical

Read Full Post »