Oblivion
January 10, 2006 12:28 PM   Subscribe

The David Foster Wallace Bibliography (in BibTex format) is ridiculously complete. The site also includes a zip file of DFW's essays and mp3s of a round table discussion. [via]
posted by painquale (55 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've read some of his work and he deserves every bit of praise but this is obsessive, and cool.
posted by stbalbach at 12:37 PM on January 10, 2006


Needs more footnotes.
posted by smackfu at 12:41 PM on January 10, 2006


Wow, thanks so much for this. I'll check it out tonight once I have time to figure out the BibTex necessities.

A note: If you've read some of his work, but if that doesn't include Infinite Jest, you should go out and get a copy as soon as possible. If bulk is an issue, the UK edition is thinner and thus more commute-manageable.
posted by nobody at 12:53 PM on January 10, 2006


This, and the various recent discussions about question-begging and the prescriptive/descriptive linguistics in general, made me want to dig up DFW's Harper's article ("Tense Present") about being what most people would call a grammar nazi. It's actually all I've read by him, and while I didn't agree entirely at the time, and perhaps less so now, I remember finding it a great presentation of a perennially under-represented view.

So, here's the article and a quote:

we SNOOTS know when and how to hyphenate phrasal adjectives and to keep participles from dangling, and we know that we know, and we know how very few other Americans know this stuff or even care, and we judge them accordingly.

Have at it - though, if you just react to the above quote without reading the article, you will look stupid, so please don't.
posted by freebird at 12:54 PM on January 10, 2006


God damn, I'm remembering why I loved that article so much. I don't want to cop y2karl's style, but I'm tempted to paste the following into every thread where the "descriptivists" are accusing everyone of elitist snobbery, and the "prescriptivists" are accusing everyone of destroying All that is Good about Human Language:

I submit, then, that it is indisputably easier to be dogmatic than Democratic, especially about issues that are both vexed and highly charged. I submit further that the issues surrounding "correctness" in contemporary American usage are both vexed and highly charged, and that the fundamental questions they involve are ones whose answers have to be "worked out" instead of simply found.

Though, I'm certain to find another paragraph that you all need to read in a few minutes. So maybe I will get all y2k on y'all, sorry.
posted by freebird at 1:01 PM on January 10, 2006


freebird: I'll preempt languagehat's having to point you to his attack on that article (scroll down).

DFW will never be able to leave that article behind. It comes up in so many discussions about him.
posted by painquale at 1:02 PM on January 10, 2006


Freebird, you can't talk about Wallace's "Tense Present" without mentioning this rebuttal by our very own languagehat.

Also this FPP fucking rules.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:02 PM on January 10, 2006


oh, and i just read "consider the lobster" and was left wanting.

in particular, the mccain essay for rolling stone and the maine lobster fest essay for gourmet embodied much of what i don't like about wallace (though i consider myself a fan).

and his 9/11 essay kind of sucked, too. the "host" essay for atlantic monthly was excellent, however.

i'd make these criticisms substantive, but i don't have the time at the moment.
posted by Hat Maui at 1:11 PM on January 10, 2006


This is totally fucking awesome.

I use to think this guy was a joke, but I read his lobster essay in Gourmet, a commencement speech, then Oblivion, and now I know. He's great. Like reading a slab of granite.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 1:11 PM on January 10, 2006


i just read "consider the lobster" and was left wanting.
posted by Hat Maui at 1:11 PM PST on January 10

"Big Red Son" was, for me, literally unputdownable; I made a sandwich and put on some music without moving my eyes from the page even once. And "How Tracy Austin broke my heart" reaches some pretty interesting conclusions that I'd never quite considered.

I hated "Host," though. I don't mind the footnote thing at all, but the anti-linear arrows and boxes made the whole thing horribly ugly and disjointed and inelegant. It was an extraordinarily bad choice.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:23 PM on January 10, 2006


If bulk is an issue, the UK edition is thinner and thus more commute-manageable.

Although, if you live in a dicey neighborhood, the hardcover edition can used as an effective bludgeon.
posted by jonmc at 1:27 PM on January 10, 2006


Yep, I know how Languagehat feels about the article, and as with so many things, I think we'll have to respectfully disagree. I think DFW overstates the case, but I think he does it well and it's a case that not many people are willing to make these days so I'm willing to cut him some slack.

I also like languagehat's rebuttal, some parts more than others. I think sentences like "People who eat this often get sick" are in fact ambiguous, and saying that the "meaning is clear if you say it aloud in context" is avoiding several issues. I also think languagehat's disdain for the notion that language came about to serve some concrete purposes goes too far - yes, no-one really knows how langauge evolved, and yes, it's a many-faceted complex thing, but surely the need to communicate phenomonological information about the surrounding physical world to another human in a fairly efficient and reliable way played a pretty major role.

In the end, I like the DFW article, because:

1) I found it a funny and enjoyable read. Period.
2) His idea that the answers aren't "truths" out there waiting for us, but issues we should struggle with and work out for ourselves is one I see people on both sides of this debate forgetting.
3) I think that despite the claims of prescriptivist oppression, there aren't many people willing to come out and say "Yes, I there are such things as poorly constructed sentences, and I don't care if they have become common usage. I don't like them."
posted by freebird at 1:28 PM on January 10, 2006


I think I'll just say I included several poorly constructed sentences intentionally to make my point, and leave it at that.
posted by freebird at 1:35 PM on January 10, 2006


I hated "Host," though. I don't mind the footnote thing at all, but the anti-linear arrows and boxes made the whole thing horribly ugly and disjointed and inelegant. It was an extraordinarily bad choice

yeah, i thought i might like the box-style notes on that until i actually read it.

but aside from the formatting, did you like the essay?

as for "big red son," i found it didn't do what it purported to do, which was to capture the sleazy essence of the porn industry in all its glory. his focus was too narrow, and he failed, in my view, to get at the sleazy black heart of max hardcore despite the time and words spent on him.

also, he gives you the outsider's perspective on the events, which i don't need since that's already my perspective (quite frankly, and embarrassingly, i found that i know more about the modern porn industry than does wallace), and does something similar in the mccain essay -- hanging around with the video crew guys (or in the case of "big red son," the bottom-barrel porn "journalists") as if that's where the truth lay. as a result, he misses a lot. i couldn't help but think that he totally blew an opportunity to expose bush if he had only explored the push-polling and other hateful shit the bushies did in south carolina a bit more.
posted by Hat Maui at 1:44 PM on January 10, 2006


Infinite Jest saved my life.
posted by Espoo2 at 1:55 PM on January 10, 2006


Just to rabblerouse: in word_notes.pdf, from the zip file, DFW weighs in on the 'beg the question' controversy. His diagnosis:

"beg the question will never mean 'invite the question' no matter how widespread the usage becomes."

There is little surprise in this being his opinion. In any case, that word_notes.pdf is an interesting read. Languagehat may like to note that in the entry for 'all of', DFW tells a story of a student catching him make a mistake in grammatical usage; he then admits, "there's nothing worse than a pedant who's wrong." Heh.
posted by painquale at 1:59 PM on January 10, 2006


Awesome post...DFW has been one of my favorite authors for a very long time...a few more links:

Two Google videos of DFW on Charlie Rose. I actually got all the way to purchasing it before I saw that Windows XP is required....anyone bought a Google video with a Mac yet?

A DFW mailing list I've been on for years

And finally, from the Harper's essay...I read this and immediately thought of all MeFites, everywhere:

We are the Few, the Proud, the Appalled at Everyone Else.
posted by nevercalm at 2:02 PM on January 10, 2006


it's a case that not many people are willing to make these days

I'm flabbergasted by this opinion. It's like praising the President for making a conservative case not many are willing to make these days. Prescriptivism and conservatism are bosom buddies, in fact, and both are riding tall in the saddle. Or haven't you heard about the (otherwise inexplicable) success of those stupid Lynne Truss books? If you like DFW's writing, that's fine, but don't think he's some brave voice crying out in a universe dominated by hardcore descriptivism. If that were the case, I could hang up my hat and sit at home drinking scotch instead of going out there with my vorpal sword to smite question-begging pedants day in and day out.

he then admits, "there's nothing worse than a pedant who's wrong."

Heh indeed. Thanks for that.
posted by languagehat at 2:56 PM on January 10, 2006


Languagehat, you must agree that there is a place for prescriptivism and pedantry, yes? An editor who is enforcing adherence to a style guide must be prescriptive. Contract negotiations are necessarily pedantic.

And some subjects of discussion invite prescriptivism and pedantry: when the common usage differs from specialized or expert usage and the discussion is between a lay person and an expert, someone has to amend their definitions for there to be much useful dialogue.

What I find most amusing about "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" is the number of errors. At my last Real Job, I was one of a team of 40-odd editors. The book was passed around and generally lauded for its tone and derided for its execution.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:20 PM on January 10, 2006


it's a case that not many people are willing to make these days

I'm flabbergasted by this opinion.


Good! It could well be wrong. But my experience is that the majority of people on the internet and in personal conversations fall on the anti-SNOOT side of things. My experience is that in most contexts, if you're seen as thinking good grammar is important - or even meaningful - you're associated with the William Safires and Bad English Teachers of the world - an association you yourself just made. If you think people should say they're "doing well" rather than "doing good" (unless they work for a charity or something), you're seen as a pedant. Whether or not the accusation of pedantry is valid is another question - my point is that most people will say they are doing good, and take offence at a correction.

This may represent a sample bias - I'm in the heart of PC California, and it may be that the rest of the world has a very different mix. It could well be that most of America is wandering around concerned about twoway adverbs and the "correct" usage of begging the question. But I don't think so. I think most modern people are very much on the "descriptivist", "you-know-what-I-meant-so-what's-the-big-deal" side of things. I'm actually curious languagehat - where do you see this prescriptivist hegemony? I don't see it in the media or on the internet in any of the places that really matter.

Lastly - you make an association between politics and linguistics above, but in your response to the Harper's article take DFW to task for doing in essence the same thing. I agree with you that he lumps too much together in too tight a bundle, but I think he's got a valid point. I was raised in a very liberal environment, and I would agree with him that in the progressive mind "free writing" and "open mindedness" and "not stifling creativity with rules" are all mixed up together. These are values I tend to share, but I also have been bothered by a tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I think there *is* some value in people learning "proper/traditional/prescriptive" grammar and Western History, and these things tend to get attacked by the same people for the same reasons. So DFW's grouping of them together is, I think, sociologically pretty accurate.
posted by freebird at 3:25 PM on January 10, 2006


This far into the comments and no ones blasted DFW for anything besides poor linguistics? Really? Does no one want to prove how ultra-hip they are by trashing Infinite Jest?
posted by iamck at 3:36 PM on January 10, 2006


It's been awhile since I read DFW on usage, nor am I a language genius of any caliber, but I respectfully submit that Languagehat misses DFW's point. The detailing of DFW's grammatical sins in the essay are low hanging fruit and do very little to bring any understanding to what he was trying to say. For example I doubt that DFW capitalized 'Wedgie' because he didn't know better, as is implied by the doctor who doesn't know tibia from fibia analog. DFW's point is that language is a tool; a tool is better if it is finely tuned; the rules of language evolve from the interests and purposes of a group to A) communicate and B) indicate group membership; the rules of language are useful and should be applied when one is trying to do either A) or B). He's deflating proscriptivism into a 'small "a" authority, instead of one with a big 'A.'
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:47 PM on January 10, 2006


With all of this discussion on the nature of language, I have one real question for the experts: can I still be pissed when someone says irregardless?
posted by xmutex at 3:49 PM on January 10, 2006


Does no one want to prove how ultra-hip they are by trashing Infinite Jest?

I tried to read it. I really tried -- it was loaned to me by a girlfriend, and she was able to make it through the (also difficult) book that I had loaned her. But I thought that maybe I failed because I wasn't hip enough.

I really enjoyed "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again".
posted by solid-one-love at 3:49 PM on January 10, 2006


xmutex: I think strict descriptivists would say "no, now that it's common usage you only prove yourself an elitist pedant by complaining about it".

Which is why, though I have certainly broadened my horizons of late, I will never be a strict descriptivist. I think irregardless is horrible, and I don't care if that makes me a Bush-loving, William-Safire-blowing stuck-in-the-mud fascist.
posted by freebird at 3:55 PM on January 10, 2006


Does no one want to prove how ultra-hip they are by trashing Infinite Jest?
posted by iamck at 3:36 PM PST on January 10


In lieu of that, here is the world's worst book review.

It sits there like a dare, like a reproach, like a doorstop. It is 1,079 pages long. It's a terrific book, I'm sure -- all the other reviewers tell me so. But right now INFINITE JEST (Little, Brown, $29.95), the defiantly dense new novel by the intriguing young writer David Foster Wallace, sits on my desk like an infinite burden. I cannot lift the thing to crack its wonders, and I'm beginning to despair.

Carrying the 3-pound, 2.7-ounce book to read while commuting is out of the question; I might as well heft dumbbells in my backpack. Propping it on my knees to read in bed or in the bathtub is tricky: Too much concentration and left-hand grip strength is needed to prevent the tome from toppling over while turning the pages. It is occasionally possible to read 20 or 30 pages at a clip while sitting at home in a special chair, but then I look up, realize there are 900 or 600 or even 400 pages to go, and fall into profound dyspepsia, longing for an unedited Joan Collins manuscript. Skimming isn't possible. Reading the last page first reveals nothing.

Reviewers far more disciplined than I can tell you what Infinite Jest is about. They'll assure you it's a masterpiece. They'll suggest that it's nothing less than a vision of the end of the American millennium, that its language echoes the cultish densities of Thomas Pynchon's work with lots of wise-kid associations and digressions sprinkled in, and that its subject matter ranges from drugs, tennis, and Alcoholics Anonymous to a near-future time when a certain territory comprising Canada and the U.S. has become the Organization of North American Nations (or O.N.A.N., tah-dah!), and when even the calendar year has been auctioned off for corporate sponsorship, resulting in knee-slapping entry dates such as the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. These reviewers say, "Stick with it, it's worth the work."

These reviewers also claim to have read A Brief History of Time, Foucault's Pendulum, A Suitable Boy, and It Takes a Village. With one crabbed hand gripping the cover like a claw and the other raised like a limp white flag, I salute them.


We salute you, Lisa Schwarzbaum, for daring to reach for the stars and become America's Dumbest Book Reviewer.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:58 PM on January 10, 2006


can I still be pissed when someone says irregardless?

That's a good example of why prescriptivists keep prescribing: "If you don't accept that there are rules that must be followed, the transition of 'irregardless' into the lexicon will be the rule, rather than the exception."

Thing is, as much of a pedant as I am, I know full well that the preferred spelling of 'supersede' will be 'supercede' in a hundred years. It's misspelled more than 90% of the time it's used, so it is inevitable that the misspelling becomes the preferred spelling (supersede: var. spelling of supercede, arch.), just as 'irregardless' is now in the OED.
posted by solid-one-love at 3:59 PM on January 10, 2006


I've read some of his work - well, maybe 200 pages of "Infinite Jest" - and I thought it was the most dreadful, precious, pretentious, grossly contrived, simpering, self-indulgent, sub-sixth-form foulness ever to assail my retinas. It sent Mr. Wallace soaring to the very top of my "People I'd most like to punch the living snot out of if I wasn't such a nice, non-violent chap" list.
posted by Decani at 4:07 PM on January 10, 2006


Actually, that's a great example of why I think there's room for prescriptive linguistics. If you maintain some rules for how words and sentences get put together, you can *extend* the language and predict the meanings of things you've never seen before. If I go to the trouble of learning a little latin and greek, I can do a pretty good job at interpreting new words. If I want to play a game creating tension between the semantics and syntax of a sentence, I can.

In a purely descriptivist world, it seems to me like you lose some of that. "Irregardless" is just as good as "regardless", even though it's a double-negative and hence cannot have its meaning interpolated from its parts. If any sentence structure is as good as any other, there is no tension when I depart from "the rules".

I think to some extent, it's a false dichotomy though. I think descriptivism is undisputably the right perspective for people who study how people speak, while prescriptivism has a role in teaching people how to speak. Perhaps the former is to the latter as sociology is to political theory - one studies how groups of people can, should or could act, the other studies how they actually do. Both have an important role, and aren't really in conflict at all as they serve different needs.
posted by freebird at 4:07 PM on January 10, 2006


Does no one want to prove how ultra-hip they are by trashing Infinite Jest?

Ooh, I only just noticed that. One thing I most definitely am not is "ultra-hip". I'm not even replacement hip. What I am is someone who knows damned well when the scrawny little punkass emperor has his todger hanging out. And I know the difference between good writing and smug, self-adoring verbal masturbation too.
posted by Decani at 4:10 PM on January 10, 2006


I've read some of his work - well, maybe 200 pages of "Infinite Jest" - and I thought it was the most dreadful, precious, pretentious, grossly contrived, simpering, self-indulgent, sub-sixth-form foulness ever to assail my retinas.

But, hey, congralutations! You did maybe 200 pages better than Lisa Schwarzbaum, who probably got paid money to tell the world she doesn't do her job.
posted by xmutex at 4:11 PM on January 10, 2006


^^^look upthread, xmutex^^^
posted by Hat Maui at 4:40 PM on January 10, 2006


Languagehat, you must agree that there is a place for prescriptivism and pedantry, yes? An editor who is enforcing adherence to a style guide must be prescriptive.

You betcha; in fact, that's how I earn my living (such as it is). I'm always pleased to meet a fellow editor, and of course you're absolutely right about Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

I respectfully submit that Languagehat misses DFW's point. The detailing of DFW's grammatical sins in the essay are low hanging fruit and do very little to bring any understanding to what he was trying to say.


I respectfully submit that you're wrong. I understand DFW's point perfectly well—he knows more than we do and he's going to tell us why we should listen to him and his buddy Garner—and I"m not trying to "bring any understanding to what he was trying to say" (that's his job, surely), I'm trying to show that he has no standing to make such proclamations. As I said here (there's much discussion of DFW in that thread):
The man is eloquent in his mixed-up, rambling way, but he doesn't know what he's talking about. Like you, like most people, he has strong feelings about his language, but since he hasn't studied it scientifically (the way doctors study medicine) he's basically just shooting off his mouth. Which is fine—this is America—but it's no more authoritative than anyone else.
can I still be pissed when someone says irregardless?

Absolutely. So am I, believe it or not. Look, I've never said we should all be bloodless observers of facts, making note of change dispassionately. Anyone who loves language has a stake in it and is bound to feel personally aggrieved when it's used in a way that they don't like. I don't like irregardless, I don't like disinterested used to mean 'uninterested,' and I hate hate HATE people saying "may have" when they mean (when I would say) "might have" (if he would have run harder, he may have caught the ball). The difference between your average prescriptivist and me is not the existence or intensity of such feelings, it's that I realize they're of no more significance than my attachment to the music of my youth or the Pan Am Building (fuck that "MetLife" shit!). We're all attached to what we're familiar with and want it to stay that way. But the world goes on its way and ignores our preferences, and that's fine. There's no god-given reason disinterested should mean one thing rather than another. My grandfather felt about the innovations of the late 20th century the way I feel about those of today, and my grandson (who will grow up perfectly happy with all the things that irritate me) will in his turn be annoyed by the innovations of the mid-21st century. It's childish and irrational to take one's personal preferences for objective truth.

(Which is a long-winded expansion of what s-o-l said.)

America's Dumbest Book Reviewer

Before you award the prize, you might want to check this out. This silly woman claims to be reviewing "a biography of Samuel Johnson, creator of the Oxford English Dictionary."
posted by languagehat at 4:56 PM on January 10, 2006


languagehat - but to continue your metaphor: I agree that most such preference is a matter of personal choice and should be treated as no more or less than such. There are people, though, who do have more to contribute than personal preference to buildings - architects, for instance. There is a modicum of personal preference, but there is also a level at which some aesthetic choices are simply not tenable for the long term utility of the building.

Granted, language is not a building and the metaphor falls rapidly apart, but what about the argument that some amount of prescriptive rules creates a "framework" for learning and extending language that is lost if it's reduced to descriptivism with some personal preference?
posted by freebird at 5:18 PM on January 10, 2006


The architect metaphor, of course, has its own problems. The point being *not* that someone should be architecting language, but that there is a level of good and bad design in buildings which is not a matter of taste, but of the physical properties of the materials used. Surely something similar is possible for langauge?
posted by freebird at 5:32 PM on January 10, 2006


Before you award the prize, you might want to check this out. This silly woman claims to be reviewing "a biography of Samuel Johnson, creator of the Oxford English Dictionary."
posted by languagehat at 4:56 PM PST on January 10


How the fuck did she read the book and not know the difference between the OED and Johnson's dictionary?

Hilarious tangent: Publishers Weekly's review of Defining the World compares that book to, and I quote, The Professor and the Madam.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:27 PM on January 10, 2006


thanks, i'd been trying to get my hands on a digital copy of the essay from the atlantic. an amazing piece of journalism. highly recommended for anyone interested in the inner workings of conservative talk radio.
posted by ism at 10:03 PM on January 10, 2006


I can read his short fiction from sun up to sun down. I think it's great.

However, I've tried to read Infinite Jest three times now, and cannot get more than 300 pages into it. I want to read this book. I really do. I enjoy his short stories so much. But I am also one of those people who keeps 15 or 16 books on my nightstand at any given time, and with so much else I want to read, I just cannot make myself do it. At what point, exactly, does IJ develop a plot?
posted by Meredith at 10:12 PM on January 10, 2006


At what point, exactly, does IJ develop a plot?

Spoiler....

I like Michiko Kakutani's description of it, "the book feels like one of those unfinished Michelangelo sculptures: you can see a godly creature trying to fight its way out of the marble, but it's stuck there, half excavated, unable to break completely free. " In other words IJ never really develops a plot in the traditional sense, it's like the middle 1000 pages of some 5000 page epic. Though I think I enjoyed it more knowing that there was no traditional resolution, and you might want to look up how subsidized time is handled so you know what the years are.
posted by bobo123 at 10:44 PM on January 10, 2006


I guess this makes me super-duper un-hip but Infinite Jest is my favorite book. It takes about 500 pages before things start to come together but it really is an amazing read. You do have to like DFW's writing though. It's a bit confusing for a lot of the first half but I love the way he writes so much I could still enjoy every page (and oh the footnotes!)
posted by supertremendus at 11:42 PM on January 10, 2006


Meredith - It is a plot, it's just difficult, dense, and fragmented (oh, and nonlinear).
posted by iamck at 7:49 AM on January 11, 2006


I loved Infinite Jest as well. I don't understand those who hate it with the white-hot passion of a thousand fiery suns, but didn't get more than a hundred pages into it.
posted by bshort at 7:52 AM on January 11, 2006


Does anyone have a link to that Lisa Schwarzbaum review? What was it reviewed in?

Oh, Google tells me it's most likely Entertainment Weekly. This now seems much less offensive.
posted by nobody at 8:06 AM on January 11, 2006


I guess this makes me super-duper un-hip but Infinite Jest is my favorite book.
posted by supertremendus at 11:42 PM PST on January 10


One of the reasons IJ is so great is that, like the movies Terminator 2 and The Shawshank Redemption, you can jump in at any random point and just go from there and it's still way fun.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:33 AM on January 11, 2006


In other words IJ never really develops a plot in the traditional sense

iamck sort of said this, but it really does have a plot. It's just pretentiously convoluted and the climax is implied. (SPOILER: It occurs between the last page and the first page, in that order.)

Optimus Chyme: Great point.

I loved IJ. I think it would have made a great book if DFW wrote in a less pretentious, masturbatory style, but it's also a great book with the style he went with. You have to see him as having fun with the big words and the footnotes and the shifting dialects. I've got no quarrel with those who don't enjoy his style, but I'm glad someone's out there using it.
posted by callmejay at 9:53 AM on January 11, 2006


Optimus Chyme: "I hated 'Host,' though. I don't mind the footnote thing at all, but the anti-linear arrows and boxes made the whole thing horribly ugly and disjointed and inelegant. It was an extraordinarily bad choice."

I agree that the formatting of the Consider the Lobster version is horrible, but its original design in the Atlantic was much better. The notes were presented as sidebars in the margin -- sort of like editorial markup, or a kind of hypertext. In fact the intent, I believe, was to offer "links" instead of DFW's traditional footnotes.

For what it's worth, include me in the "IJ is genius" camp. It does take several hundred pages to get into, but after that point I was completely hooked. As soon as I finished, I wanted to start all over. (And indeed the text is a closed loop, with the ending connecting back to the beginning, albeit with several key scenes omitted and left to the reader to reconstruct.)
posted by macrone at 11:18 AM on January 11, 2006


James Joyce is pretentious, mastubatory, crap.
posted by iamck at 11:57 AM on January 11, 2006


Enjoy your comic books.
posted by languagehat at 1:24 PM on January 11, 2006


I like both comic books and pretentious masturbatory crap so I just don't know what to say!!!!
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:40 PM on January 11, 2006


Hoo boy, is languagehat dissing comic books or Joyce? I like both, so either way I'm disappointed. But I am curious...
posted by freebird at 2:35 PM on January 11, 2006


Languagehat, you may be a brilliant linguist but you suck at sarcasm.
posted by iamck at 2:52 PM on January 11, 2006


Er, detecting sarcasm.

/See, I suck at sentences.
posted by iamck at 2:53 PM on January 11, 2006


Oops, sorry. I've got a cold, which may be affecting my sense of sarcasm as well as smell. (Maybe they're the same thing?) Anyway, I like comic books too, so it was a particularly dumb snark. I crave pardon.
posted by languagehat at 3:05 PM on January 11, 2006


I'll allow it. This time.

/sarcasm.
posted by iamck at 5:59 PM on January 11, 2006


This thread made me happy. (I'd love to contribute something more substantial, 'cause I'm all about this stuff, but my brain hurts at the moment.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:25 PM on January 11, 2006


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