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On David Foster Wallace - Input Junkie
January 7th, 2010
08:36 am

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On David Foster Wallace
Having read this about the implications of popular and unpopular culture, I thought I'd ask....

David Foster Wallace and fame

Who?
18(32.1%)
Name sounds faintly familiar
12(21.4%)
Now that you mention "Consider the Lobster" and Infinite Jest I know who you mean
7(12.5%)
I've tried to read him a time or two
9(16.1%)
I've read some of his work
6(10.7%)
I've read everything of his I can get my hands on
0(0.0%)
Some of it more than once
1(1.8%)
All of it more than once
0(0.0%)
I missed a possibility and you're going to tell me about it
3(5.4%)

(20 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
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From:en_ki
Date:January 7th, 2010 02:00 pm (UTC)
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I've only ever heard of Infinite Jest but have so far resisted the endless peer pressure to read it. The kind of people who like that kind of thing seem to be into Pynchon and Eco, and I get the sense that Wallace is a lite-r version, which makes me strongly suspect I will hate him.

(I get their cultural references and that's nice, and I'm sure they're fun guys at parties, but out of the various books I've tried, only in Name of the Rose have I been able to give a damn about a character or plot of theirs.)

Also, hi!
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From:en_ki
Date:January 7th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
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P.S. "Never heard" of this "Lobster" thing before your poll, by which I mean I have probably heard of it but never cared enough to record it in my hippocampus.
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From:onceupon
Date:January 7th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
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To think of him as a lightweight Eco is an interesting idea. Hrmn. I actually really LIKE Eco but kind of hate DFW. I think the crucial difference is that Eco has things to say about other things while DFW really only has things to say about himself.
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From:bradhicks
Date:January 7th, 2010 02:03 pm (UTC)
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Heard of him. From the reviews, I could tell not my kind of thing.
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From:siderea
Date:January 7th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
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I've never read him, but I've certainly heard of him. Big famous (recently) dead white male author.
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From:tamnonlinear
Date:January 7th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC)
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I picked up "a supposedly fun thing I'll never do again" just for the title, and found it to be a interesting but not enthralling. I borrowed a coy of "consider the lobster" and had the same experience- very well written and the stories sounded good, but I lost interest before he ran out of words.
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From:beamjockey
Date:January 7th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
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Read ASFTINDA, enjoyed. Think an online Wallace essay recommended by PNH led me to the book. Checked out IJ but it had to go back to the library before I got a chance to start it.
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From:nancylebov
Date:January 7th, 2010 03:09 pm (UTC)
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I have a feeling I'd be interested in his information if he were less talky.
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From:andrewducker
Date:January 7th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
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Seen Infinite Jest in shops. Never read it.
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From:janetmk
Date:January 7th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC)
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I've not read anything by him but I've heard of him. His name was already familar to me and then there was much written and broadcast about him when he died.
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From:onceupon
Date:January 7th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
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I have read the majority of his published works and enjoyed them only marginally, if at all. I find him pretentious and trying-way-too-hard. I am aware of his literary influence and import... and I hate that he has defined a literary voice and has influenced many writers producing fiction today. Blargh.
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From:inertiacrept
Date:January 7th, 2010 07:01 pm (UTC)
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I agree. I blame him for eggers and chabon. But damn, nobody has facilitated crappy derivatives quite like David sedaris!
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From:richardthinks
Date:January 7th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
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your Sedaris comment made me snort tea. Yes. Although right now I can't name any of his imitators.
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From:inertiacrept
Date:January 7th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
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Sloane Crosley is the easiest and most obvious offender but I'm not inclined to spare Klosterman or that knob from The Onion AV Club either.

I mean, when I'm king. During the purges.
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From:agrumer
Date:January 8th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
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Eggers is a possibility. Chabon's first novel had already been written by the time Wallace's first novel saw print.
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From:inertiacrept
Date:January 8th, 2010 11:03 pm (UTC)
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Duly noted. So who do I blame for Chabon?
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From:agrumer
Date:January 9th, 2010 03:17 am (UTC)
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MacDonald Harris.
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From:inertiacrept
Date:January 7th, 2010 06:58 pm (UTC)
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I thought about doing this myself and didn't mostly because I was too sleepy to code up a poll and less becauseiwasnt curious. If you really want to prove the sullen point, you'd do another one of these about the twilight books. I don't know if my poor, quantiably pretentious heart could take it but it'd still be interesting to know.

Oh, another point that I didn't make in my post on the subject: while iconsider dfw immensely important, he ain't exactly my favorite author and the question of whether he mightve been over canonized is a wholly legitimate one.
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From:agrumer
Date:January 7th, 2010 10:48 pm (UTC)
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Instantly recognized the name, haven't given any of his books a try yet.
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From:ndrosen
Date:January 8th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC)
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I haven't read his books -- they didn't really sound like my kind of thing, though I can't be sure -- but I knew him back when. We were classmates (Amherst College, 1985), and lived in the same floor of the same dorm senior year. If I had known he would become so famous, I would have asked for his autograph. 8-)
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