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01 August 2015

Consider the Author

Lots of mention of David Foster Wallace on the air (and by that, of course, I mean NPR station WNIJ) lately:

WNIJ has its own Perspectives feature, in which a private individual (or a politician speaking as a private person) reads/speaks an essay on a subject and finishes with "I'm __________, and that's my perspective.  Recently, a teenager (probably the first, as she was introduced as "a young voice") spoke on no longer liking lobster, and her father giving her David Foster Wallace's essay "Consider the Lobster" to read.  She concluded on-air by saying that it would be morally wrong to eat lobster which must have suffered as it was boiled alive.  I thought about my childhood with lobster which was mostly observing the preparation of and eating Lobster Cantonese and not boiled lobster, which Dunphy relatives had often characterized as tasteless and only good as a medium for eating melted butter, probably akin to that comedian Jim Gaffigan's perspective.  Since baked potatoes, boiled sweet corn and broiled whitefish also seem to be more tolerable to most people if smothered in butter, lobsters cannot be the only barely edible foodstuff.  Lobster Cantonese is cooked and served in pieces.  Since young Madeleine Libman seems to have no objection to cut-up meat, I must believe this is the better alternative.  My perspective is that her father was secretly delighted to see his daughter forswearing this somewhat expensive (yet tasty!) form of protein & cholesterol and that just means more for us barbarians!

And, of course, we have all heard about the new film opening this month, based on David Lipsky's interviews with David Foster Wallace in 1996 as Wallace completed the book tour for Infinite Jest, originally for the Rolling Stone magazine, but ultimately not published in that periodical, but in a book Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace .  There is controversy regarding whether Wallace would have wanted this movie even to be made.  His literary agent, estate and family feel that he would have wanted his writing to be known, not David Foster Wallace the person.  However, are they not one in the same?

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