The Revolution Issue

David Foster Wallace

On literary rebels and those who back away from ironic watching.
David Foster Wallace

Don Usner

The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in US life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naïve, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “Oh, how banal.”

David Foster Wallace

29 comments on the article “David Foster Wallace”

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kiko

I am so glad to see a lit. reference on this site, and the reference being of one of my favorite writers made it all the more enjoyable.
Maybe we will see more in future issues/blog posts?
Either way thanks for this!

kiko

I am so glad to see a lit. reference on this site, and the reference being of one of my favorite writers made it all the more enjoyable.
Maybe we will see more in future issues/blog posts?
Either way thanks for this!

Anon Ymous

Remember that Canada is different than America, where a literary figure of one state doesn't necessary reflect the societal and literary needs of the other. We have Margaret Atwood; the US has Cormac McCarthy et al. Our histories are vastly different. Our politics is different. Our geography is different. And nothing save a medium of English on some makeshift linguistic Venn draws Americans and Canadians together.

Canadian 'rebels' have different historical ties. Louis Riel showed us how linguistic union, in combination with First Nation's roots, are an exponential step towards combatting systemic imeperialism. Ironicists in Canada are nothing but a simple minded breed of lesser critters in cities. Urbanites. Wannabe revolutionaries with less substance than marshmallows roasted on parents' campfires at chalets. Tricksters in costumes; tight jeans, manicured nails, and catchphrases. Thick glasses. Born privileged; taught privileged; logically, the privileged thinkers--despite arrays of rags.

David Foster Wallace wrote beautifully. Hands down; cap off. But he wrote for generations in a country who fought. HIS country had literary movements. HIS country had thinkers. They made Bell Jars and Big Rooms and the sun also rose on America. Not in Canada though. We haven't earned a place in literary history. Not yet. Not enough to consider ourselves so 'special' that Wallace included us when he wrote, "Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naïve, anachronistic."

We haven't done anything. We're a cowardly, obedient race of confused teens, and misidentifying ourselves with such comments as David Foster Wallace's above is fucked up. It's perverse. WE'RE perverse.

'I am not American' used to be a major focus of Canadians in Canadian literature. Now it's 'I am Canadian': Molson's slogan. I preferred Canadian Studies when Canadian's had identity crises. Now, with all this inadvertent Nationalism, it's just weird.

Think. Not different. Critically. Check out:

Judith Copithorne
Alice Burdick
Daphne Marlatt
Lance Lalarocque
Daniel F Bradley
bp Nichol
jw curry
John Stiles
Joe Blades
Frances Kruk

Anon Ymous

Remember that Canada is different than America, where a literary figure of one state doesn't necessary reflect the societal and literary needs of the other. We have Margaret Atwood; the US has Cormac McCarthy et al. Our histories are vastly different. Our politics is different. Our geography is different. And nothing save a medium of English on some makeshift linguistic Venn draws Americans and Canadians together.

Canadian 'rebels' have different historical ties. Louis Riel showed us how linguistic union, in combination with First Nation's roots, are an exponential step towards combatting systemic imeperialism. Ironicists in Canada are nothing but a simple minded breed of lesser critters in cities. Urbanites. Wannabe revolutionaries with less substance than marshmallows roasted on parents' campfires at chalets. Tricksters in costumes; tight jeans, manicured nails, and catchphrases. Thick glasses. Born privileged; taught privileged; logically, the privileged thinkers--despite arrays of rags.

David Foster Wallace wrote beautifully. Hands down; cap off. But he wrote for generations in a country who fought. HIS country had literary movements. HIS country had thinkers. They made Bell Jars and Big Rooms and the sun also rose on America. Not in Canada though. We haven't earned a place in literary history. Not yet. Not enough to consider ourselves so 'special' that Wallace included us when he wrote, "Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naïve, anachronistic."

We haven't done anything. We're a cowardly, obedient race of confused teens, and misidentifying ourselves with such comments as David Foster Wallace's above is fucked up. It's perverse. WE'RE perverse.

'I am not American' used to be a major focus of Canadians in Canadian literature. Now it's 'I am Canadian': Molson's slogan. I preferred Canadian Studies when Canadian's had identity crises. Now, with all this inadvertent Nationalism, it's just weird.

Think. Not different. Critically. Check out:

Judith Copithorne
Alice Burdick
Daphne Marlatt
Lance Lalarocque
Daniel F Bradley
bp Nichol
jw curry
John Stiles
Joe Blades
Frances Kruk

Sarah Jefferson...

Yes, true true, and also:

EJ Pratt
Nelson Ball
Louis Dudek
Irving Layton
Raymond Souster
Michel Tremblay
Rita Joe
George Elliott Clarke

Sarah Jefferson...

Yes, true true, and also:

EJ Pratt
Nelson Ball
Louis Dudek
Irving Layton
Raymond Souster
Michel Tremblay
Rita Joe
George Elliott Clarke

Johnny Canuck

Would that be the same Margaret Atwood that was asked by Palestinians not to accept the $1 million dollar Dan David prize, nor to travel to Israel to receive it, and did anyway? As did Atom Egoyan also? Shame on them both. Poseurs

Johnny Canuck

Would that be the same Margaret Atwood that was asked by Palestinians not to accept the $1 million dollar Dan David prize, nor to travel to Israel to receive it, and did anyway? As did Atom Egoyan also? Shame on them both. Poseurs

Sincerely

Of all the public voices who have left the world in my lifetime, the voice I miss the most is DFW's. His writing is courageous, insightful, hilarious and profound.

To become this kind of sincere anti-rebel isn't easy. It starts, I think, by admitting what you really believe instead of hiding behind comfortable masks, and assuming rhetorical positions like "devil's advocate" (a position which is, at present, chronically over occupied).

Sincerely

Of all the public voices who have left the world in my lifetime, the voice I miss the most is DFW's. His writing is courageous, insightful, hilarious and profound.

To become this kind of sincere anti-rebel isn't easy. It starts, I think, by admitting what you really believe instead of hiding behind comfortable masks, and assuming rhetorical positions like "devil's advocate" (a position which is, at present, chronically over occupied).

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