… But then I’ll happen to hear Alanis Morissette. On the radio. And you know just for some reason – that squeaky orgasmic quality in her voice will just hit me. And so I’ll go like listen to nothing but Alanis Morissette for two months.
One person mentioned that, thanks to me, they would place Activate last
on the ballot paper. This was unintended. I wrote my paragraph about leeches, lice, and watersnakes with the hope of attracting the Addams family vote. I did not wish to defame Activate by claiming that they were planning to flood Union House and turn it into a candiru sanctuary. Their campaign promises are entirely their own! Please vote Activate! You are in no danger of being attacked by unusual animals!.
Hipsters may love DFW, but DFW was pretty much the antithesis of a hipster. He saw ironic detachment as the enemy and was desperately searching for a way to end it and bring back sincerity. Read his essay "The View from Mrs. Thompson's" or even Infiinite Jest and you'll find a man yearning for sincerity.
He was a sweet, overly sincere kid from the Midwest who happened to be a genius who suffered from depression. Nothing hipster about him.
DFW: But I often think I can see it in myself and in other young writers, this desperate desire to please coupled with a kind of hostility to the reader.
Q: In your own case, how does this hostility manifest itself?
DFW: Oh, not always, but sometimes in the form of sentences that are syntactically not incorrect but still a real bitch to read. Or bludgeoning the reader with data. Or devoting a lot of energy to creating expectations and then taking pleasure in disappointing them.
If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything. Look man, we’d probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what’s human and magical that still live and glow despite the times’ darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it’d find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it.
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