Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

Wednesday

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* Via everywhere: “A Letter to My Students” from Michael O’Hare.

Now, your infrastructure is falling to pieces under your feet, and as citizens you are responsible for crudities like closing parks, and inhumanities like closing battered women’s shelters. It’s outrageous, inexcusable, that you can’t get into the courses you need, but much worse that Oakland police have stopped taking 911 calls for burglaries and runaway children. If you read what your elected officials say about the state today, you’ll see things like “California can’t afford” this or that basic government function, and that “we need to make hard choices” to shut down one or another public service, or starve it even more (like your university). Can’t afford? The budget deficit that’s paralyzing Sacramento is about $500 per person; add another $500 to get back to a public sector we don’t have to be ashamed of, and our average income is almost forty times that. Of course we can afford a government that actually works: the fact is that your parents have simply chosen not to have it.

* But the news isn’t all bad: Nike has filed a patent on the self-lacing shoes from Back to the Future, Part II.

* Should blogs count toward tenure? Cathy Davidson says yes, but as service work, not publication. More from Chutry, who approves.

* New Jersey in the news! The state lost $400 million in federal education funding for not following directions.

* Trailer for AMC’s The Walking Dead. I’m cautiously optimistic, even if some of this (particularly the washed-out, poorly acted opening scenes) seems really amateurish.

* John Krasinski’s adaptation of Brief Interviews With Hideous Men can be watched on Hulu until September 5. Speaking as a hideous man, I thought it was worth watching.

* “Competitive balance an issue in EPL.” Four 6-0 games in two weeks—you think?

* What’s in the Avatar special edition?

* And presenting the Next Generation that never (but almost) was, starring Wesley Snipes as Geordi La Forge.

David Foster Wallace & Me, Warts and All

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I’ll admit, I’m still a little shaken up over the news of David Foster Wallace’s suicide, and it’s caused me to go back through my archives looking at the last few years of DFW posts.

* An early post looking forward to Oblivion, followed by my review of it, which was more dedicated to the whole parody-footnotes routine than I’ve ever been, before or since1.

* My review of Everything and More, his brief history of infinity, which Cosmic Variance points out contains some evocative footnotes in light of his death.

* My review of Consider the Lobster, a review I’d now characterize as “frustrated with the slow pace of his writing.” Another barb at the lack-of-timeliness of his McCain book. And I wasn’t especially happy with the introduction to his Best American Essays collection, either, nor of the last story of his I read, from the New Yorker.

It’s hard to think of another writer that I liked so much by whom I was so often disappointed. I don’t quite know what to make of this fact yet. And understanding his suicide as a literary act—the only register in which I have access to it, having never met him—it’s hard not to think of it as the final disappointment, the final shutting of the door, the final, declarative proof that I will never get the work from him I thought I wanted.

* David Foster Wallace vs. Proust.

* David Foster Wallace, Zadie Smith, Jonathan Franzen, Jeffrey Eugenides, and some other guy met on the Isle of Capri to talk about language and identity.

* David Foster Wallace on a desert island.

* Interview with The Office’s John Krasinki about the film he’s made of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.

* n+1 wonders to what extent a follow-up to Infinite Jest is was would have even possible.

* When DFW tried to read one of his books aloud for the audiobook.

* Just an interview. But a good one.

* ‘Federer as Religion Experience.’ Say what you will, the man loved tennis.

* David Foster Wallace Visits the Adult Video News Awards.

* The Kenyon College speech I linked to yesterday.

* True story. As an undergraduate, my friend took a creative writing course from David Foster Wallace at Illinois State University. On the first assignment he turned in, Wallace wrote, “I swear to God if you ever turn in a piece of shit like this to me again I will flunk your ass. I shit you not.” The meaning of this anecdote is open to interpretation, but to me it suggests several things about Wallace’s way of relating to others.

* And I’ve had this Kottke post bookmarked forever for my long-planned second trip through Infinite Jest. Having lost my way through it the first time, I’ll still reread it—but not, I’m afraid, as the reader I was the first time.


1 or likely ever will be again

Written by gerrycanavan

September 14, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Monday Night Catchup

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Links from the weekend I’m only now having the chance to blog:

* It’s finally come to this: they’re remaking Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Via SF Signal, which has the only response one can have: Why?

* Stop the Planet of the Apes: Charlton Heston has gotten off.

* The Office’s John Krasinki has spent the last five years trying to make a movie out of DFW’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. Now he’s gone and done it. Here’s an interview.

* Seven superheroes who will never get their own movie (but should). The moral of this story is that the Legion of Superheroes has had a large number of silly superpowers in its pages.

* McSweeney’s hunts the most dangerous game, while Sisyphus enters analysis.

* The best UFO pictures of 2007.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 7, 2008 at 11:31 pm