David Foster Wallace would’ve been 55 today and you all should read Infinite Jest.
It’s the gateway drug to postmodernism and postmodernism is pretty much life as we know it today- meta everything, hyper self-aware and the failure of language wrapped in some IP packets.
but that’s all academic crap you can figure out in your local community college in about 60 min.
the main genius of Dave was he could take that dry stuff and make it real by applying it to life.
Dave’s main theme was empathy and it’s seeming impossibility for us to achieve since we are all prisoners of our own egos and conveying our thoughts/feelings thru language is at best like knowing what is inside a room by only looking thru the keyhole (actual metaphor in DFW short story Good Old Neon. you should read that as well).
but despite all that you still had to try to make that connection. and fiction/art at it’s best can get you there.
cos as Dave said, “Fiction’s about what it is to be a fucking human being.”
one of the reasons, if not the main reason, we are in this shit state we are in today is because of a failure at even attempting empathy.
so lose yourself so you can find yourself in someone other than yourself.
and read a book. a big fat long one with end-notes you have to keep turning to that make you aware you’re a human sitting there reading a book alone.
that will help too.
DFW 2/21/62- 9/12/08
The next person I vote for president will be a woman.
The next person I vote for president will be African American.
She will also be Muslim.
The next person I vote for president will be HIV positive.
She will struggle to make insurance payments on her meds.
The next person I vote for president was raped when she was 16 and had an abortion.
She was called a slut all through high school.
The next person I vote for president was always stopped at airports.
Her classmates called her “terrorist” and her hijab felt like a cross-hair.
The next person I vote for president once spent 2 days in a crappy hospital after drinking tap water with iron in it.
The parents of next person I vote for president were told their daughter was going to go to hell by their church members in the small southern town she was raised.
The best friend of the next person I vote for president once had a cross burned on her lawn.
The next person I vote for president sometimes feels like she’s being undressed when riding the bus home from her minimum wage job and her skin feels like its burning and her body feels like its someone else.
Then next time I vote it will be for someone like me and you.
The next time I vote it will be for America.
there’s something truly poignant about a middle aged guy using the perfect pop of the world’s highest selling record to work through his heartache.
or I’m just old.
but what I’m certain of is in the 21st century terms like indie and pop or authentic and artifice mean absolutely nothing and sales or lack thereof are no indicator of artistic merit.
we as music fans should celebrate.
and Taylor Swift will get the recognition she deserves as a song writer and Ryan Adams will get some mainstream notice from people who mistake him for Bryan Adams.
Oh yeah, and this cover of Out of the Woods is good enough to be on Heartbreaker.
plus changing “you’ve got that James Dean day dream look in your eye” to “you’ve got that Daydream Nation look in your eye” in Style is pretty slick and one of the many small pleasure of this album.
and I’m just probably old.
I want to believe Dean didn’t abandon Sal to a Mexican sick bed;
I want to believe I can still feel the green ecstasy of a leaf;
I want to know people aren’t bad or good;
They are just waiting to be understood.
if each time you came out with a new record people expected a masterpiece, what would you do?
well, you’d drop your next record for free with no fanfare, put a silly cat pic on the cover and give it a ridiculous title tossing it out like so much digital ephemera in our brand new disposable age.
are you lowering expectations or just allowing listeners to hear your music without prejudice?
or are you an album oriented band that is working out how to present your work to an audience that now consumes music in a very fractured way; sampling one tune here on youtube, another torrented down, a couple here on Spotify, etc. And never really listening to an album all the way through?
maybe what you ended up creating, something that sounds tossed off and lacking any unifying theme, is really the fragmented masterpiece (whatever that word means anymore) for our ADHD times?
seeing the words ‘Now a major Motion Picture’ on the cover of The Great Gatsby like a sunspot gin blossomed stain on a flapper’s face makes me want to chuck it out the window of the bookstore, past the entire aisle dedicated to various versions of the Bible,
and the single shelf of poetry.
I like to drive till the refill light wakes up orange day glow on my car dash before I fill my tank,
because I have hope
You and I will get back on the field,
Rubbing against each other’s armor till a spark files,
Becomes translucent blue;
A blue light in a dark that spreads around nothing;
A movement of nothing coiled,
Fighting for nothing and burning for nothing,
Burning burning boy.
A gyre of flame licking the black sky.
Am I the only one who can ride by night?
I can because I bite my lip till it bleeds blood red,
But the horses smell blood and get nervous,
And you yelling brown tree bark,
Till it scratches my ears;
But I can listen away because I know,
There is a love potion like in the old tale;
A calming balm I can slip into your drink,
But for now I still hear the teeth gnash like,
King Mark’s chain mail,
But there is no King,
There is me playing god and I don’t even believe in god.
I’m lost and then I’m angry.