Sunday, September 14, 2008

You Gotta Be Stronger Than That

In writing about the suicide of writer and teacher (and MacArthur "genius" award-winner) David Foster Wallace, the New York Times described his vision of America as "a place besieged by too much data, too many video images, too many high-decibel sales pitches and disingenuous political ads". But, thank goodness, that's not how I see it. I'm one of those people who spends most of his time looking for more data, and more video; I like sales pitches and, if lying political ads bother you, then your punk ass shouldn't be anywhere near politics.

What can depress me is how other people can't make sense of it. Not as I can, anyway. Not without religion, or "spirituality", or some other pretty lie to mask the ugly ideas we all possess and encounter. Even worse, for me, is how others rarely appreciate someone who "gets it" trying to take them by the hand and walking them through it, preferring instead to act like petulant children, insisting "I can do it" when, clearly, they can't. (Look at Rielle Hunter, claiming to be a guru while searching for gurus, and seductively telling John Edwards she'll improve his credibility as she proceeded to destroy it.) Why's that so awful for me, personally? Because then I've got nothing to do but take in their shitty complaints, their bad taste in music and art, their off-the-wall political analysis, and always, always, always, their wrong-headed assessments of their own perspectives as spot-on and brilliant. That - and the fact that many of those idiots have jobs assessing these things and I don't, allowing them to pass along their twisted misgivings instead of my gee-whiz enthusiasm - can be enough sometimes, when coupled with yet another pancake dinner, to make me also want to die. But not today. No, not today.

Today, I'm sure Mr. Wallace's death is going to put someone other than me (especially his students) in a really bad place. And, I'm also sure, if someone inspired by his vision kills themselves as well, it won't make the papers. So, just in case they find this in time, I want to send them a message - with no disrespect to the memory or work of Mr. Wallace: no matter how well he phrased it, or how wittily it was presented, David Foster Wallace was a liberal and he-was-wrong. The problem is not with the modern pace of life, or American culture - or anything, other than the NewAge myths that were allowed to fester and, in part, were wrested loose from poor Mr. Wallace's head. Do not doubt me on this. I'm as sure of it as Mr. Wallace was of his perspective, and I'm still here. I'm a Conservative.

And right now, it's those two facts which make all the difference.