Wednesday, May 11, 2005

David Foster DooDah #2

A few things to mention. One - Hannah has given up smoking on account of the widespread panic caused in our place by The Curious Incident of the Lump in the Mouth. It's now two days without a cigarette, a commendable amount of time.

We went to the Post Office today and we needed some help. There's something about sending packages, etc, maybe it's just the air inside post offices, but the intellectual capacities of anyone who walks into a post office with a package in their arms is severely diminished. By the time we reached the desk we were a pair of dribbling morons.

The Post Office woman treated us to a display of Total Rudeness, speaking to us like criminals. After about 1 minute of this, Hannah said, "Jason, let's go somewhere else, there are plenty more Post Offices." I advised the woman, "You're not being very helpful, ma'am." She looked genuinely shocked, like someone who has had a blue face for their whole life but is only told this strange fact on their deathbed.

"Oh my! A blue face??? Why didn't anyone say?"

Rude People go to Hell.

We went to the BookBank, the BookWorm Woman there is now even thinner. My theory is she wants to become as thin as possible and then market herself as some kind of Human Bookmark. Or maybe she plans to hide inside a pile of rare books and be transported to a glamorous private library. She will then slither out and burn the place down. Not a trace of her remains... a secret story... I bought a copy of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (I cannot believe I have never made it right the way through this) and Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser. I must be the only person who is NOT an english student reading these things. I'll be wearing a top hat and traveling by horse and carriage at this rate.

I am still reading David Foster Wallace, The Broom of the System - it's, in pathetico reviewerspeak, like "Douglas Coupland with Brain Cells after Metafiction 101" - there is just something so annoying about it. I'm not convinced it's actually all that clever, it's a selection of jokes stitched together and I can see where the jokes came from, for the "Desert in Ohio", why not just go and read Our Gang by Philip Roth. Then there's something left over from Pynchon, and Coupland, like I say. "Oh, look at the turn-taking and fluctuating power-relations among four female students, the economy of desire and desirability transcribed by the looseness/tightness of a bathrobe..." would say the English teacher...

I say - "STOP! Give me better jokes or just tell your story, give me better writing or just tell your story. Because you're really not hitting the funnybone or being inventive with words. William H Gass can kick your Ass with one sentence... so STOP!"


Blogger HF said...

Ahhh, Jase, mate! I'm sorry DFW infuriates you so profoundly. I would have kept my mouth shut. But I will keep to my opnion. He certainly hit a nerve with me. I don't think this is about trying to be funny at all. But I'm not going to get into defending his books as this is always the weaker position in an argument that boils down to being a question of taste. Or is it not?

4:53 AM  
Blogger Ian said...

You're not the only one with those two books -- Portrait happens to be my favorite novel, which I've read twice and large tracts of which I've memorized, and I read Sister Carrie about three months ago. Enjoy!

12:57 AM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

excellent news. there are at least two of us. i have now officially given up reading David Foster Wallace, as, in all seriousness, i think it is the most terrible excuse for literature it's ever been my misfortune to witness, and after 3 years at art college, that really is saying something

11:49 AM  

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