American Snapshot


Something to do with the 7/2/15 Slate article reviewing the film “The End of the Tour” about the life & death of  writer David Foster Wallace.

Nobody’s really interested in the long game. It’s the short game that gets us. Even if the rights to the Garden of Eden themselves pass over to your own name, the fruits are never again enjoyed. When you’re alive, you can spit them out if you don’t like the taste of this leaf or that shrub very much, too. Nobody’s going to complain or harass you for it. Had I been able to point out Kafka’s own delight when he saw “he was able to substitute ‘he’ for ‘I’” in the short stories he wrote, I think I could have kept David Foster Wallace here a while longer on our good earth. Nobody’s really interested in careers or money. People are interested in the things these things seem—careers and money—to represent. Such as ‘energy’ or ‘freedom’. But they’re not, or they don’t.

When you look at stubble-faced photos of DFW, he comes off looking like a homeless beggar or a hobo most of the time, like someone who has traded in the magnificent, glorious “I” for a “nobody.” But the sadder irony of this is that that half-grinning hobo became well-enough known, well-enough recognized, that no train conductor would beat this freeloader off his boxcars. Conductor Ernest Borgnine gave this “A” Number One bum a free pass to ride his trains. I think the guy just wanted a boost to Seattle, perhaps, and somebody to join him on the trip there. And on the way, between the clackety-clack sound of train ties, or “sleepers” underneath, and eating dumpster carrot stubs and turnips, to read maybe a couple goods books by a little campfire with a friend in the woods when they’d hopped off the dizzying monotony of the rails to rest their weary bodies for the night.

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