Join 3,497 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"Good People": A new short story by David Foster Wallace.
January 31, 2007 12:21 PM   Subscribe

"Good People": A new short story by David Foster Wallace. New to Wallace? Like "Good People"? Read "Incarnations of Burned Children", a story with a similar sense of tension and dread. Want more? Okay.
posted by HerArchitectLover (25 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
thx!
posted by Flashman at 12:22 PM on January 31, 2007


This will not wendell.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:27 PM on January 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just read this story the other day, and thought it was pretty good, but a little thin and straightforward - if Flannery O'Connor had written it, the narrator would've been in a car accident and lost a foot, or something. I usually read the New Yorker short stories on the Monday that they are published online, and have wondered if anyone has created an easily-searchable online directory of all of the short stories hidden in the New Yorker site. Anybody know if that's been done?
posted by billysumday at 12:27 PM on January 31, 2007


I like David Foster Wallace's work. Infinite Jest included. That is all.

Please proceed.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:31 PM on January 31, 2007


billysumday: That'd be an awesome little project for someone else. Thanks for the idea!
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:32 PM on January 31, 2007


I like David Foster Wallace's work. Infinite Jest included. That is all.

Please proceed.


Ditto. But I still believe his work is varied enough that he shouldn't be quite so polarizing. It's not all as intimidating (or pretentious) as some might think.
posted by HerArchitectLover at 12:37 PM on January 31, 2007


I like his short stories.
posted by Mister_A at 12:40 PM on January 31, 2007


The words "thin and straightforward" have surely never been used to describe his work before (except perhaps by a James Joyce scholar) so evidently Wallace is breaking new ground here.
He's obviously taken some of those earlier Metafilter threads to heart.
posted by Flashman at 12:45 PM on January 31, 2007


But I still believe his work is varied enough that he shouldn't be quite so polarizing.

But everything is polarizing on the Internet, especially when you bait the haters with a line like that. I'm surprised this thread has gone seven comments without Wallace hate.

By the way, I hear DFW (as the kids say) is co-authoring a book. With Richard Dawkins. About the barbarous practice of circumcision. And Mark Z. Danielewski is writing the afterword. There--that ought to do it.
posted by Prospero at 12:45 PM on January 31, 2007


Thanks, I hadn't seen the Esquire one.
posted by callmejay at 12:45 PM on January 31, 2007


By the way, I hear DFW (as the kids say) is co-authoring a book. With Richard Dawkins. About the barbarous practice of circumcision. And Mark Z. Danielewski is writing the afterword. There--that ought to do it.

You forgot to mention fat people and how it's not their fault.
posted by callmejay at 12:46 PM on January 31, 2007


By the way, I hear DFW (as the kids say) is co-authoring a book. With Richard Dawkins. About the barbarous practice of circumcision. And Mark Z. Danielewski is writing the afterword. There--that ought to do it.

are they being delivered by fat guys driving SUV's?
posted by jonmc at 12:54 PM on January 31, 2007


The new story is tripping on the thin line between sincerity and smartassery. Wallace is either going to getting better or worse, I can't tell.
posted by Football Bat at 12:54 PM on January 31, 2007


HerArchitectLover writes "It's not all as intimidating (or pretentious) as some might think."

I've never thought of it as either, but not being those things has never improved it in my estimation.

As far as DFW's pretensions go: this essay from our esteemed languagehat pretty much puts to rest any of DFW's rights to pretension.
posted by OmieWise at 12:54 PM on January 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


*not said in hate*
posted by Football Bat at 12:55 PM on January 31, 2007


Who's David Foster Wallace anyway?
posted by Dr.James.Orin.Incandenza at 1:16 PM on January 31, 2007


Note to self: don't piss off languagehat.
posted by landis at 2:05 PM on January 31, 2007


Nice link Omiewise. I used to hate some texts as much as Languagehat does in the post; in that you start fumingly to annotate it with refutations, taking it apart line-by-line.

Looking back the reason for my fury was always a perceived pretension on the part of the writer; a falsely taken position of intellectual status.
So maybe reacting to a text like that is all about competition?
posted by jouke at 2:05 PM on January 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


By the way, I hear DFW (as the kids say) is co-authoring a book. With Richard Dawkins. About the barbarous practice of circumcision. And Mark Z. Danielewski is writing the afterword. There--that ought to do it.

Is he working on it during breaks from dating Xeni Jardin?
posted by COBRA! at 2:08 PM on January 31, 2007


eponysterical
posted by Fezboy! at 2:25 PM on January 31, 2007


So maybe reacting to a text like that is all about competition?

Not in my case. I have no pretensions to competing with DFW; he's a major novelist and I'm a freelance editor with a blog and a linguistics education. But my linguistics education makes me extremely impatient with people who spout off about language while not knowing the first thing about it (which, alas, is 95% of humanity), and even more so when the spouter is a famous writer who is automatically going to get taken seriously because, you know, he's a famous writer, so he must know about language (just like Elvis Presley knew all about harmonic theory, right?). I wouldn't have bothered with such a detailed response to that piece if it hadn't been picked up with joy and linked and referred to all over the place as a brilliant putdown of those damn descriptivists.

Furthermore, it's very far from a line-by-line refutation. I could do that, but it would be (obviously) as long as the original article, and life is too short. So I settle for pointing out enough glaring examples of stupidity and ignorance that anyone who reads it (and isn't such a stone Wallace fan that he automatically dismisses any criticism of the Master) will henceforth discount DFW's nonsense about language and linguistics. He's a good writer (though not at the top level, in my estimation), but he's no more qualified to write about linguistics than I am to write about ichthyology.
posted by languagehat at 2:36 PM on January 31, 2007


Ok
posted by jouke at 2:43 PM on January 31, 2007


Xeni Jardin? REALLY (I'm quite dopey)???
posted by Dr.James.Orin.Incandenza at 4:27 PM on January 31, 2007


Good etiquette demands that in any online discussion of David Foster Wallace, at some point this must be brought up:

BLOOMINGTON, IL—Claire Thompson, author David Foster Wallace's girlfriend of two years, stopped reading his 67-page breakup letter at page 20, she admitted Monday.

"It was pretty good, I guess, but I just couldn't get all the way through," said Thompson, 32, who was given the seven-chapter, heavily footnoted "Dear John" missive on Feb. 3. "I always meant to pick it up again, but then I got busy and, oh, I don't know. He's talented, but his letters can sometimes get a little self-indulgent."


The Onion, blah blah blah, but on occasion, they are as adept as a senior cardiac surgeon at getting to the heart of the matter.

And haters: relax. All of the smart-ass criticism, it's all in and aimed at Infinite Jest.
posted by Tiresias at 8:03 PM on January 31, 2007


I usually read the New Yorker short stories on the Monday that they are published online, and have wondered if anyone has created an easily-searchable online directory of all of the short stories hidden in the New Yorker site. Anybody know if that's been done?

http://www.google.ca/search?q=site%3Anewyorker.com++intitle%3Afiction&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
posted by limon at 5:36 AM on February 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


« Older According to a recent Zogby poll, parents would ra...  |  Last Friday a YouTuber by the ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments