Monday, September 22, 2008

Why Ask is David Foster Wallace Dead?

I read Elizabeth Wurtzel's piece on the death of David Foster Wallace this morning, and more or less had a meltdown. Not that her article was a fine portrayal of DFW-- really it did not try to say anything on person Wallace was-- but it captured, I think, what it at stake when we look at a life like Wallace's: a sense of hope that accomplishment, strength of thought and mind, will somehow stem despair.
The loss of this dogma is what is grieved by everyone in Wallace's passing, including those of us who didn't know him. It is a grief I so well avoided until Wurtzel brought me back to the essential. She writes it damningly,

"There is no happy ending to the story of sorrow if you are born with a predilection for despair."

Every fiber in my little depressed-but-trying-to-make-a-go-of-it being wants to fight that sentiment-- and every fiber does, normally -- but in a time like this, and in any time of grieving, optimism is just disrespectful to the dead.

Enter Xiu Xiu with the song of the day: Bog People.

Jaime Stewart explained the song in an interview with Pitchfork:

"'Bog People' was written in a melodramatic but truthful fit of sadness sitting on a couch alone late at night during a storm, feeling overwhelmed by a specific loss and how everyone I care for seemed to be perpetually under the boot of sadness."

Seemed fitting.

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