Intellectual smugness at its best. Book review: David Foster Wallace : A supposedly fun thing I’ll never do again – Essays and Arguments


David Foster Wallace about everything and anything, from youth American sport culture to a cruise in the Caribbean. It’s extremely clever and funny, so full with allusions you’re sure you’re missing about half of them. It’s the kind of book where chapters start with « Existentiovoyeuristic conundra notwithstanding », to give you an idea… Usually, when reading these kinds of essays I’m at first very satisfied by the feeling of smugness they give me, then slightly nauseous when I realize intellectual masturbation, even in it’s greatest form, is not really worth the trouble ; it’s too artificial for my taste (strangely). But those essays are about unsual things and DFW tries to take a down-to-earth point of view (sometimes harder than others), so it is still fun, and very well depicted, and sometimes so true it makes you stop for a moment in awe.

Quotes :
1st sentence : « When I left my boxed township of Illinois farmland to attend my dad’s alma mater in the lurid jutting Berkshires of western Massachusetts, I all of a sudden developed a jones for mathematics. »

« As each person’s sandal hits the pier, a sociolinguistic transformation from cruiser to tourist is effected »

« I’ve learned that there are actually intensities of blue beyond very, very bright blue »
« Can you “choose” something when you are forcefully and enthusiastically immersed in it at an age when the resources and information necessary for choosing are not yet yours?


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