My Irrefutable Saga

Bitchin Man from Glad

The blood thrumming around the still-point of this light headache can be traced back to the first rain. That is, our blood just sort of drifts, like smoke, through time; with stops in the Cambrian, the Renaissance and so on.  It’s an impenetrable, infinitely-layered heap of unknowing. Okay?

(sighs) Yeah

The World (as it’s called) is a hopeless lucid dream, but not the kind where you can leap off a building, flap your arms and take joyous id-flight. It’s the kind where you  show up for just long enough to see yourself in a mirror and Know that You are Here. That apparently necessary bit of business having been addressed, thermodynamics or some other such fancy idiot enters with a tea towel over its forearm, takes you politely by the gnarled elbow and ushers you back into the soil, where the mostly irritating Circle of Life awaits to make of you a tree, then a shoebox, then wet mush in a landfill again. Bring me my slippers! Oh…never mind. But I’m not here to philosophishizzle. We’re doomed animals at the momentary top of a food chain of no eternal consequence. It feels like. That’s not meant to be a downer. Bacharach sprang from the Ur-ooze, so that recommends the place. Let us celebrate our moment in the hum de dum dum de dum de de de dum dum.

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13 thoughts on “My Irrefutable Saga

  1. Jeez. Thx, buddy. I don’t know you from Adam (as they say) but I’ll greedily take your kindness; praise from Caesar. Saw in another reader comment you wrote/write for LA Weekly? Why am I just finding this out now? Answer = I’m a busy blinkered inkfish. Happy I found you and anxious to dig into your (yeah) oeuvre.

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  2. Hi Jeff Wing, I came here via another website, where I noticed some grade-A trolling about DFW and his death. I thought I’d come check you out.

    This is in response to your many-titled/tagged essay on DFW,
    David Foster Wallace is Overrated
    David Foster Wallace, Peanuts and a Prize
    David Foster Wallace is a Boob All Three of Him

    Here we are, here:

    Can you tell me what you mean by “Post-Literacy”?
    Can you tell me what you mean by “The Bard of Save-on”?

    Now here, with “The Lilliputian Confucian” I have a sense that you meant exactly nothing by the previous catchy titles you give Wallace.

    Now here, again, we have an admission of the cruelty entailed in picking on “a dead pharma-guy”, cruelty and picking on being your words roughly as well. Why is this still your task? Luckily you answer in the same sentence, which amounts to: all his praise is due to the romanticization of his death.

    Now my main task here is basically to show that you are mere troll here and nothing else, though let me go ahead and tackle the “pharma-guy” quip. I want to really ask what you mean, but I’m afraid it’s nothing, but I’m more afraid that you mean something in particular here…which my stab at is something like: DFW is some kind of what, representative case study for “what happens when you go off your meds”? I suggest he was made into this, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that he was some kind of secret-spokesman. This stuff I’m getting at here, will be my secondary point, that you are upset with his character, and the superficial taking of his work, not upset with ANYTHING ABOUT THE TEXTS HE WROTE. Yet the sad and truly DFW level ironic thing is that your readings, or stabs at such are the pinnacle of superficiality for the sake of spectacle, as seen in the many obviously inflammatory tags and titles given this essay of yours.

    Being that I was only six years old when Infinite Jest came out, I hadn’t the chance of age to be so hurt and jealous of it. (I think THIS is crazy, because surely, very surely, you saw the magnitude of the praise delivered while he was alive. Was any of it valuable? DFW himself doubts that most of that praise was delivered by people that even had time to read it. Nonetheless, he was lauded like crazy while alive, even with his very first novel, Broom of the System, though far less publicity came with it.

    Another great and all too telling admission, with an even more telling tag of self-aware willful ignorance seemingly intelligently buttressed by the “dictate” of Steve Martin, (philosopher/songwriter/comedian), “criticize things you don’t know about” which was very likely some kind of fucked tongue in cheek. Something that does seem honest though in this song of Martin’s that you quote doesn’t seem so tongue in cheek,

    “Be courteous, kind, and forgiving
    Be gentle and peaceful each day
    Be warm and human and grateful
    And have a good thing to say
    Be thoughtful and trustful and childlike
    Be witty and happy and wise
    Be honest and love all your neighbors
    Be obsequious, purple and clairvoyant”

    Interesting to see what you put into practice here, interesting to see what is of use for you. To mention on the side, for a point I’ll bring up more closely to the front later, this song even suggests being “purple”…good, great coincidence here.

    “A conundrum wrapped in a dumpling, buried in absolute flapdoodle”? You could perhaps learn something of twisting a cliché into something less embarrassing and perhaps more meaningful from DFW.

    I hate this false presenting of both sides, suggesting the tragedy here, and suggesting a deeper farce. “his terribly sad but, it must be said, stagey demise”…Who are you talking to really? You seem most upset that you’ve ever been asked or compelled to show respect for somebody that you don’t think deserves it, which is unavoidable, but to tackle this issue by such really cute faux curtseys betrays the maturity and obvious superiority you seem to scream out for with every writing of yours that I’ve read thus far. A real rebel.

    The rest of this same paragraph appears to be the first time you really even speak of DFW’s writing, but this is an illusion perhaps, as I’d say you are (shittily) reading the public’s (admittedly shitty) readings of DFW, rather than DFW’s books themselves. Let me remind you and myself how quickly you wanted to suggest we readers keep in mind that you aim to “criticize what you don’t know”…as what, some kind of profoundly transgressive act?

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at by claiming DFW writes “broken Freshman English”. I’ve found everything but to be the case, if you know what I’m getting at!?!???? I doubt it. Along with Broom of the System, he had another thesis written for his philosophy degree, called Fate, Time, and Language. If you read ANY of this, you’ll find you’re wrong, or else be forced to admit you’re trolling out of bitterness.

    “Late-blooming scholarship”? Again, read the above mentioned essay if you can. What of us grappled with Wittgenstein so technically and so deeply in “high school”?

    The next paragraphs are basically character attacks, which is fine perhaps, when speaking to the said person, but why bother even highlighting that DFW had a bad attitude sometimes? Is one is also right to ask why YOU would write of DFW writing of Updike’s pretensions. Go ahead, ask me too, make it recursive enough, and nothing will be of use…it’s a great nihilistic move that entails a lot of irony in the service of yes, armor, as DFW would claim. Though, let me add that this armor is for protection from yourself as well, from what? The possibility of failure I would suggest. Don’t think I’m condemning you to continued failure, DFW once thought this way of himself, and then probably continued to in different ways after his success. He knew he wasn’t being read by many claiming to love or hate him. He knew that for many it would just be a badge of membership to love it. I know that it’s increasingly fashionable to take down giants (and yes “giant” is a metaphor, please remember the metaphor has only so many legs) instead of getting a lift on their shoulders. Nothing to be ashamed of, to respect somebody, to revere even, but I know you avoid it for insincere reasons. Mere contrarian fashion. Nothing else but, you know, character flaws.

    I challenge you to let my comment stand and refute it here. (Though an email doing the same would be happily received as well.)

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    • Matthew, thanks so much for writing, buddy! I wondered if anyone was going to push back! I don’t want to try to refute you point by point; that sort of thing gets stale quickly. As I’m always telling my kids, if an artist is able to move someone, even a single someone, to a different emotional plane, that is successful art. Your defense of DFW needs no refutation. If he works for you, he’s a success. You are a good stylist yourself, Matthew. Of course I’ll let your comment stand, it’s a great read and a rousing defense. I happen to believe DFW is a blaringly bad writer, and I included a representative handful of his strangely inept sentences as evidence. If those sentences don’t seem like grade school missteps to you, I’m all out of argument. Bottom line, though, if DFW makes you think and feel, he is a worthy artist.

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  3. How much do I love that comeback? Brick, if you truly don’t know, I don’t wanna be the one who screws up your Garden by foisting on you a certain stinking Apple. DFW is Knowledge you can live without, trust me.

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  4. My god Jeff, I have a bad habit of attacking what I think are trolls on the internet, and I’ve never heard a response like that. Am I trolling the trolls? I hope not. Either way you killed my antagonism, which is like really refreshing and much needed, I think I may be at peace and may drink tea or something, perhaps while reading something of yours without dark clouds on top.

    Let me tell you the source of the anger though, as an appreciation of DFW rather than a defense. I’ve been having a very bad time connecting with people and as you might be able to see, with arrogance. I was fortunate to be locked up when I read Infinite Jest, and unfortunate enough to not finish Broom of the System during this time. It was good to get out, but in my first day as a free man again, I discover the author of my only slice of hope for months killed himself, (though My Bloody Valentine had finally made a new record…???) From here things get dark and delusional, delusional about words especially, like Lovecraftian hauntings in language, some dark sequence of the right string of words deployed by an unseen master, probably my ex…(it get’s Pynchonesque too!) that will kill you. I nearly died on a few occasions. The last bout of this shit involved me suddenly jumping up from a stupor at a friend’s apartment, unable to walk, falling everywhere, somebody asks what is wrong, I whisper sinister, “interpretation…”, and fall down a very old and hard flight of stairs. Meanwhile, my best friend gets the call that I’m unconscious, speeds across town finishing his Hebrew Nationals in flight, and tells me that Broom of the System ends and lives on a kind of language gaming that had been the substance of my paranoia. (It’s my now hopefully sane opinion that there is something frighteningly magical about Broom, as I think it somehow cultivates coincidences and other spooky phenomenon, the extent of which is pretty scary.)

    Now, as is easy to tell, paranoia, like depression, puts you at the center of everything, to a frightening degree, though in different ways. I hate to end up telling you something like the personal basis for my appreciation or the therapeutic use of any art, as I think it has some higher aims than this, but this is the origin of the defense that was so personal, and my call to take DFW very seriously about the dangers of yes, as horrifyingly pervasive as it is in his work, solipsism.

    So, perhaps it’s terrible to run to DFW when feeling low and alone, but it seems to be a better a better aid of cooling my shit, and getting out of a busy head than Nietzsche, as is typical for me, which it’s safe to say embraces the centering and hard-headedness. This is what happened last night, I believe on something about DFW’s archive.

    Anyway, I can agree that DFW is a hypocrite, and a sham to some degree, but I think that there’s a certain heroism in fighting it as much as I think he did that is more genuine than nearly anything else I’ve read. (This is obviously something that strikes me too, as Joyce’s Shem the Sham was even a music-making moniker for me for quite some time.) And if Shem really is a sham, and if Shem really is Joyce, and Joyce is a sham, I know of nothing at all that is genuine in art.

    I hope that can double as a friendly gesture and a tmi self-introductory greeting.
    (I’m always wondering if this kind of thing is appropriate in a comment box, but hopefully I’m alright until I bring in the footnotes!)

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  5. Matthew, you are one in a million, and what’s more are capable of having your jets cooled with greater efficiency than I! Your recent missive is most excellent, and given DFW’s evanescent role in your life and times and healing you’d have to be a moron not to defend and even venerate Wallace. There is magic and there is the Inexplicable and there is healing through words and, and I said in an earlier, less pacific context, the proof is indeed in the pudding. Hang on to you DFW with all your strength, and please do tell wide-swinging jackasses like me to screw off. You’ve found something. And the way you convey it I hope you are a working or aspiring writer yourself.

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