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February 12, 2009


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Yeah. This article takes a lot of interpretive liberties and makes a lot of erroneous assumptions. A shower is almost a requirement after reading it. I thought the RS article was better. Better still is just reading DFW.

steven germain

Yes to what you say but you too drop the ball - what of DFW's criticisms of higher education (lets all stipulate - having nothing to do with his clinical diagnosis). Push the "on" button of your horseshit detector - what does it say about higher education?

Julian Gough

Hi Isaac,

I gather we see David Foster Wallace's life, and death, from slightly different angles. Certainly we have some differences of interpretation, but...

"preeningly shallow"

"self serving faux intellectualism"

"using someone's suicide to advance one's ongoing agenda"

"totally disgusting and offensive"

"preposterous conclusions"



seem to indicate that you think I was writing in bad faith - that I was twisting the truth and, as you say, “deliberately ignoring the established facts of Wallace's life and work “, and "using someone's suicide to advance one's ongoing agenda".

That's not really how it feels from here, or how it felt while I was writing the piece. I was writing in the direct aftermath of David Foster Wallace’s suicide (Prospect, being a monthly magazine, needs its articles well ahead of their publication date). I was very upset by his death, and I tried to write about his life, death, and work as honestly as I could.

Your anger would be justified if the interpretation you have put on what I said, and on my motivation for saying it, were correct. But I think you’ve misunderstood (or perhaps just over-interpreted) what I was saying. Perhaps the failure is mine, I tried to compress a lot of ideas about David Foster Wallace, academia, and American prose into a very short space, and I may have failed to make my meaning clear. But, just to clarify, my intended meaning is not the one you attribute to me.

Best of luck with your blog, and with your own work.

-Julian Gough

Todd Lord

Julian only makes it worse defending himself here. My mother works for a small private "American" university in an art department and her professors are happy as shit. They get summers off, more money than people working their asses off over forty hours a week and pop into campus only once or twice a week. WTF? The guy had a great job and even if it sucked he only had to be there once and a while. Depression is clinical and taking medication makes it worse. Also having academic parents and following in their footsteps is also something that might make someone depressed. Nobody wants to feel like their life has been lived by default. But blame a job like that? Fuck off, dumb ass!

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