Tuesday, September 14, 2010

DFW Calls Out Bullshit

I was reading an interview of David Foster Wallace by Larry McCaffery, professor of English and Comp Lit at San Diego State University, when I stumbled upon this passage:
LM: . . . yeah, another commodity. I agree with Fredric Jameson and others who argue that modernism and postmodernism can be seen as expressing the cultural logic of late capitalism. Lots of features of contemporary art are directly influenced by this massive acceleration of capitalist expansion into all these new realms that were previously just not accessible. You sell people a memory, reify their nostalgia and use this as a hook to sell deodorant. Hasn’t this recent huge expansion of the technologies of reproduction, the integration of commodity reproduction and aesthetic reproduction, and the rise of media culture lessened the impact that aesthetic innovation can have on people’s sensibilities? What’s your response to this as an artist?

DFW: You’ve got a gift for lit-speak, Larry. Who wouldn’t love this jargon we dress common sense in: "formal innovation is no longer transformative, having been co-opted by the forces of stabilization and post-industrial inertia," blah, blah. But this co-optation might actually be a good thing if it helped keep younger writers from being able to treat mere formal ingenuity as an end in itself....[emphasis mine, obviously]
There were, perhaps, more polite ways of saying it, but still: who else has the balls to call out BS like that?!

You can find a link to the interview in its entirety here.

No comments:

Post a Comment