I was shown a essay in my Google Feed by a woman named Devon Price. She does not like David Foster Wallace. The article is hard to read because the essay starts with a long history of another writer named Junot Díaz who did terrible things to women. It’s hard to quantify if they are terrible or just kind of everyday types of things that happen in relationships. So, I had to read all of that, and then read his story in The New Yorker from the link to even get to the point she was trying to make on her Medium Blog.
The Medium Platform is changing from “free to read” to one in which they expect the readers to pay five dollars a month. Right now, it may still be partially free, but I expect it will soon go down behind a pay wall. They make you log in each time you read, and hit you will so many ads as to make the screen obscure. Once you log in, Medium know its you so they can start demanding that you pay the five dollars. I don’t know if Medium is really hard up for money or what, but I know I would be really pissed if I spend a lot of time creating a blog on Medium only to find it goes down behind a paywall.
So after all of this work and bother I get to the end of the article. Devon Price says she is glad David Foster Wallace is dead, and she can’t enjoy his writing any more in light of things he did things in his past, which seemed more extreme then the behavior of Junot Díaz. She points out that Junot Díaz got more negative feedback then DFW. Maybe that is because David Foster Wallace is dead, so the women who would write about don’t want to talk about it anymore? As far as David Foster Wallace being mean to his mother, I am sure she realized the character of the Moms was fiction. I think she was happy for her son’s success, but I don’t really know how she feels or felt. I looked her up and she wrote a book on grammar called Practically Painless English.
I already knew that he bought a gun to kill the husband of Mary Karr. I am not sure if she left her husband for David Foster Wallace and then they broke up? The Depressed Person is about Elizabeth Wurtzel, but she is very classy when she talked about it. Elizabeth Wurtzel did not write a piece slamming him. Devon Price forgot to mention Kate Gompert who sued DFW over the use of her name in Infinite Jest, when she was recounting all the bad things David Foster Wallace did to women.
It’s true that DFW did not do a very good job portraying female characters, but still that is not a reason to dismiss his work unless you find out for other reasons, that DFW is not for you and he’s not for everyone.
Spoilers to follow:
I think we should consider the character Orin Incandenza from Infinite Jest. He meets women and sleeps with them, but the next day he does not want them hanging out in his house and trying to make him breakfast. He does like to eat any breakfast, but a piece of toast with honey. He breaks up the women and sends expensive presents to their children.
Orin hates The Medical Attaché because he blames The Medical Attaché from having an affair with his mother Avril Incandenza. It was not clear to me if the Mother (The Moms) had an affair with this particular Medical Attaché or with others. The Medical Attaché’s guilt or innocence is something I have quite some time trying to figure out. I gave up as I could not find the answer. I even went as far was to post in group and forums to ask others, but no one really wanted to get that deeply in The Medical Attaché.
At any rate, Orin Incandenza sends a copy of the Failed Entertainment to The Medical Attaché as a revenge. This is what lets the Genie out of the Bottle and maybe causes the end to the entire world as more and more people watch The Failed Entertainment. Terrorists get copies or try to get copies of the cartridge which is like a VHS Master Copy to kill off even more people. The worst fate happens to Orin. He is trapped in a box filled with giant cockroaches by the Terrorists in a 1984 inspired conclusion to his story.
Also consider Ken Erdedy who sleeps with women to buy pot from them, and then dumps them because he is quitting pot and does not want to be tempted. When he dumps the woman he calls The Appropriation Artist she is so angry that she send him an art work she made to tell him that she hates him. He saves the artwork and hangs it up in his house.
David Foster Wallace may not have been able to write about the consciousness of women (maybe only women should attempt to write about the consciousness of women) but he does a really good job with writing about men who not nice to women in his book Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. I admit this is the one book by DFW I have not read yet. I may have read parts of it here and there online.
The next article I was shown was one about how Psychiatry killed David Foster Wallace. He took the drug Nardil for 20 years, but he stopped taking it after it caused a medical crisis. He was still depressed and he had more ECT, which (it is speculated by the author Megan Wildhood) made him unable to write and think clearly as well as he wished, and this caused him to commit suicide. I am not sure if this is true, but it could be a reason. I think it was the over all depression that caused him to commit suicide. I think Ketamine could have saved him. I don’t think he needed to write anymore after writing Infinite Jest. If he was unable to ever write another story or book after IJ he still had achieved literary immortality.
I have read that ECT works in the short term like Ketamine, but it causes brain damage and memory lose. Ketamine has to be repeated again and again and is too expensive for most people, but it does not cause brain damage. I think after a certain point ECT also fails to work. I think ECT should be made illegal. Ketamine should be used more widely, but I don’t really want to jump on the Ketamine bandwagon. I have never personally tired it. I think that is something that people who are not depressed would like to take recreationally, and it can cause serious health effects if someone takes too much or takes bad batch. It also builds up tolerance very quickly when used recreationally. I used Reddit to find most of my information from posts writing by people who take Ketamine recreationally. I don’t know where or how they get it, as it really hard to get now. If you want to read more about Ketamine I wrote a longer blog about it here.
Where is the Wallace plagiarism? Devon Price also mentions this in the long list of thing that she hates about David Foster Wallace. I looked at the evidence. Broom of the System was compared to The Crying of Lot 49, but I could see no similarity in the works. I forced myself to read The Crying of Lot 49. I read it very fast skipping over pages until I would come to something that I thought was important. As far as I am concerned Thomas Pynchon and Wallace are nothing alike, and there is no plagiarism. I even looked up and read an article saying the two books are alike, and I still don’t agree. There is a lot more to the book then just the character Lenore. I see Broom as being about Rick Vigorous’ obsession with Lenore and how Lenore is stolen away by Doug Dangler. At the end I believe Rick kills them both, but I am not sure. I don’t think the grandmother is a very important part of the story. What happened to her is never resolved. There could be some parts of Crying Lot had were slightly interesting, but I can’t see the similarity with Broom. Someone needs to go over the works line by line to convinced me that is any similarity.