C M Wallace Quotes

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But he’d also gotten a personal prickly chill all over from his own thinking. He could do the dextral pain the same way: Abiding. No one single instant of it was unendurable. Here was a second right here: he endured it. What was undealable-with was the thought of all the instants all lined up and stretching ahead, glittering. And the projected future fear of the A.D.A., whoever was out there in a hat eating Third World fast food; the fear of getting convicted of Nuckslaughter, of V.I.P.-suffocation; of a lifetime on the edge of his bunk in M.C.I. Walpole, remembering. It’s too much to think about. To Abide there. But none of it’s as of now real. What’s real is the tube and Noxzema and pain. And this could be done just like the Old Cold Bird. He could just hunker down in the space between each heartbeat and make each heartbeat a wall and live in there. Not let his head look over. What’s unendurable is what his own head could make of it all. What his head could report to him, looking over and ahead and reporting. But he could choose not to listen; he could treat his head like G. Day or R. Lenz: clueless noise. He hadn’t quite gotten this before now, how it wasn’t just the matter of riding out the cravings for a Substance: everything unendurable was in the head, was the head not Abiding in the Present but hopping the wall and doing a recon and then returning with unendurable news you then somehow believed.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
From the line, watching, three things are striking: (a) what on TV is a brisk crack is here a whooming roar that apparently is what a shotgun really sounds like; (b) trapshooting looks comparatively easy, because now the stocky older guy who's replaced the trim bearded guy at the rail is also blowing these little fluorescent plates away one after the other, so that a steady rain of lumpy orange crud is falling into the Nadir's wake; (c) a clay pigeon, when shot, undergoes a frighteningly familiar-looking midflight peripeteia -- erupting material, changing vector, and plummeting seaward in a corkscrewy way that all eerily recalls footage of the 1986 Challenger disaster. All the shooters who precede me seem to fire with a kind of casual scorn, and all get eight out of ten or above. But it turns out that, of these six guys, three have military-combat backgrounds, another two are L. L. Bean-model-type brothers who spend weeks every year hunting various fast-flying species with their "Papa" in southern Canada, and the last has got not only his own earmuffs, plus his own shotgun in a special crushed-velvet-lined case, but also his own trapshooting range in his backyard (31) in North Carolina. When it's finally my turn, the earmuffs they give me have somebody else's ear-oil on them and don't fit my head very well. The gun itself is shockingly heavy and stinks of what I'm told is cordite, small pubic spirals of which are still exiting the barrel from the Korea-vet who preceded me and is tied for first with 10/10. The two brothers are the only entrants even near my age; both got scores of 9/10 and are now appraising me coolly from identical prep-school-slouch positions against the starboard rail. The Greek NCOs seem extremely bored. I am handed the heavy gun and told to "be bracing a hip" against the aft rail and then to place the stock of the weapon against, no, not the shoulder of my hold-the-gun arm but the shoulder of my pull-the-trigger arm. (My initial error in this latter regard results in a severely distorted aim that makes the Greek by the catapult do a rather neat drop-and-roll.) Let's not spend a lot of time drawing this whole incident out. Let me simply say that, yes, my own trapshooting score was noticeably lower than the other entrants' scores, then simply make a few disinterested observations for the benefit of any novice contemplating trapshooting from a 7NC Megaship, and then we'll move on: (1) A certain level of displayed ineptitude with a firearm will cause everyone who knows anything about firearms to converge on you all at the same time with cautions and advice and handy tips. (2) A lot of the advice in (1) boils down to exhortations to "lead" the launched pigeon, but nobody explains whether this means that the gun's barrel should move across the sky with the pigeon or should instead sort of lie in static ambush along some point in the pigeon's projected path. (3) Whatever a "hair trigger" is, a shotgun does not have one. (4) If you've never fired a gun before, the urge to close your eyes at the precise moment of concussion is, for all practical purposes, irresistible. (5) The well-known "kick" of a fired shotgun is no misnomer; it knocks you back several steps with your arms pinwheeling wildly for balance, which when you're holding a still-loaded gun results in mass screaming and ducking and then on the next shot a conspicuous thinning of the crowd in the 9-Aft gallery above. Finally, (6), know that an unshot discus's movement against the vast lapis lazuli dome of the open ocean's sky is sun-like -- i.e., orange and parabolic and right-to-left -- and that its disappearance into the sea is edge-first and splashless and sad.
David Foster Wallace (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments)
I am not sure whether you could call this abuse, but when I was (long ago) abroad in the world of dry men, I saw parents, usually upscale and educated and talented and functional and white, patient and loving and supportive and concerned and involved in their children’s lives, profilgate with compliments and diplomatic with constructive criticism, loquacious in their pronouncements of unconditional love for and approval of their children, conforming to every last jot-tittle in any conceivably definition of a good parent, I saw parent after unimpeachable parent who raised kids who were (a) emotionally retarded or (b) lethally self-indulgent or (c) chronically depressed or (d) borderline psychotic or (e) consumed with narcissistic self-loathing or (f) neurotically driven/addicted or (g) variously psychosomatically Disabled or (h) some conjunctive permutation of (a) … (g). Why is this. Why do many parents who seem relentlessly bent on producing children who feel they are good persons deserving of love produce children who grow to feel they are hideous persons not deserving of love who just happen to have lucked into having parents so marvelous that the parents love them even though they are hideous? Is it a sign of abuse if a mother produces a child who believes not that he is innately beautiful and lovable and deserving of magnificent maternal treatment but somehow that he is a hideous unlovable child who has somehow lucked in to having a really magnificent mother? Probably not. But could such a mother then really be all that magnificent, if that’s the child’s view of himself? ...I think, Mrs. Starkly, that I am speaking of Mrs. Avril M.-T. Incandenza, although the woman is so multileveled and indictment-proof that it is difficult to feel comfortable with any sort of univocal accusation of anything. Something just was not right, is the only way to put it. Something creepy, even on the culturally stellar surface.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
Here is how to turn down an extramural date so you won't be asked again. Say something like I'm terribly sorry I can't come out to see 8 1/2 revived on a wall-size Cambridge Celluloid Festival viewer on Friday, Kimberly, or Daphne, but you see if I jump rope for two hours then jog backwards through Newton till I puke They'll let me watch match-cartridges and then my mother will read aloud to me from the O.E.D. until 2200 lights-out, and c.; so you can be sure that henceforth Daphne/Kimberly/Jennifer will take her adolescent-mating-dance-type-ritual-socialization business somewhere else.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
Apparently the term refugee can be plausibly denied if both - I'm quoting direct from Neil's memo here - if both, a, no homemade wagons piled high with worldly goods are pulled by slow bovine animals with curvy horns, and b, if the percentage of children under six who are either, a, naked, or b, squalling at the top of their lungs, or c, both, is under 20% of the total number of children under six in transit.
David Foster Wallace
to, and some like the engineer never do get comfortable with them and use the less garish auditory side-doors; and the abundant sulcus-fissures and gyrus-bulges of the slick latex roof make rain-drainage complex and footing chancy at best, so there’s not a whole lot of recreational strolling up here, although a kind of safety-balcony of skull-colored polybutylene resin, which curves around the midbrain from the inferior frontal sulcus to the parietooccipital sulcus—a halo-ish ring at the level of like eaves, demanded by the Cambridge Fire Dept. over the heated pro-mimetic protests of topological Rickeyites over in the Architecture Dept. (which the M.I.T. administration, trying to placate Rickeyites and C.F.D. Fire Marshal both, had had the pre-molded resin injected with dyes to render it the distinctively icky brown-shot off-white of living skull, so that the balcony resembles at once corporeal bone and numinous aura)—which balcony means that
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
wheelchair-accessible front ramp, take a bit of getting used to, and some like the engineer never do get comfortable with them and use the less garish auditory side-doors; and the abundant sulcus-fissures and gyrus-bulges of the slick latex roof make rain-drainage complex and footing chancy at best, so there’s not a whole lot of recreational strolling up here, although a kind of safety-balcony of skull-colored polybutylene resin, which curves around the midbrain from the inferior frontal sulcus to the parietooccipital sulcus—a halo-ish ring at the level of like eaves, demanded by the Cambridge Fire Dept. over the heated pro-mimetic protests of topological Rickeyites over in the Architecture Dept. (which the M.I.T. administration, trying to placate Rickeyites and C.F.D. Fire Marshal both, had had the pre-molded resin injected with dyes to render it the distinctively icky brown-shot off-white of living skull, so that the balcony resembles at once corporeal bone and
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
Television’s greatest appeal is that it is engaging without being at all demanding. One can rest while undergoing stimulation. Receive without giving. It’s the same in all low art that has as goal continued attention and patronage: it’s appealing precisely because it’s at once fun and easy. And the entrenchment of a culture built on Appeal helps explain a dark and curious thing: at a time when there are more decent and good and very good serious fiction writers at work in America than ever before, an American public enjoying unprecedented literacy and disposable income spends the vast bulk of its reading time and book dollar on fiction that is, by any fair standard, trash. Trash fiction is, by design and appeal, most like televised narrative: engaging without being demanding. But trash, in terms of both quality and popularity, is a much more sinister phenomenon. For while television has from its beginnings been openly motivated by — has been about—considerations of mass appeal and L.C.D. and profit, our own history is chock-full of evidence that readers and societies may properly expect important, lasting contributions from a narrative art that understands itself as being about considerations more important than popularity and balance sheets. Entertainers can divert and engage and maybe even console; only artists can transfigure. Today’s trash writers are entertainers working artists’ turf. This in itself is nothing new. But television aesthetics, and television-like economics, have clearly made their unprecedented popularity and reward possible. And there seems to me to be a real danger that not only the forms but the norms of televised art will begin to supplant the standards of all narrative art. This would be a disaster. [...] Even the snottiest young artiste, of course, probably isn’t going to bear personal ill will toward writers of trash; just as, while everybody agrees that prostitution is a bad thing for everyone involved, few are apt to blame prostitutes themselves, or wish them harm. If this seems like a non sequitur, I’m going to claim the analogy is all too apt. A prostitute is someone who, in exchange for money, affords someone else the form and sensation of sexual intimacy without any of the complex emotions or responsibilities that make intimacy between two people a valuable or meaningful human enterprise. The prostitute “gives,” but — demanding nothing of comparable value in return — perverts the giving, helps render what is supposed to be a revelation a transaction. The writer of trash fiction, often with admirable craft, affords his customer a narrative structure and movement, and content that engages the reader — titillates, repulses, excites, transports him — without demanding of him any of the intellectual or spiritual or artistic responses that render verbal intercourse between writer and reader an important or even real activity." - from "Fictional Futures and the Conspicuously Young
David Foster Wallace (Both Flesh and Not: Essays)
Here is how to turn down an extramural date so you won’t be asked again. Say something like I’m terribly sorry I can’t come out to see 8½ revived on a wall-size Cambridge Celluloid Festival viewer on Friday, Kimberly, or Daphne, but you see if I jump rope for two hours then jog backwards through Newton till I puke They’ll let me watch match-cartridges and then my mother will read aloud to me from the O.E.D. until 2200 lights-out, and c.; so you can be sure that henceforth Daphne/Kimberly/Jennifer will take her adolescent-mating-dance-type-ritual-socialization business somewhere else. Be on guard. The road widens, and many of the detours are seductive. Be constantly focused and on alert: feral talent is its own set of expectations and can abandon you at any one of the detours of so-called normal American life at any time, so be on guard.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
For Hal, the general deal with his maternal uncle is that Tavis is terribly shy around people and tries to hide it by being very open and expansive and wordy and bluff, and that it’s very excruciating to be around. Mario’s way of looking at it is that Tavis is very open and expansive and wordy, but so clearly uses these qualities as a kind of protective shield that it betrays a frightened vulnerability almost impossible not to feel for. Either way, the unsettling thing about Charles Tavis is that he’s possibly the openest man of all time. Orin and Marlon Bain’s view was always that C.T. was less like a person than like a sort of cross-section of a person. Even the Moms Hal could remember relating anecdotes about how as a teenager, when she’d taken the child C.T. or been around him at Québecois functions or gatherings involving other kids, the child C.T. had been too self-conscious and awkward to join right in with any group of the kids clustered around, talking or plotting or whatever, and so Avril said she’d watch him just kind of drift from cluster to cluster and lurk around creepily on the fringe, listening, but that he’d always say, loudly, in some lull in the group’s conversation, something like ‘I’m afraid I’m far too self-conscious really to join in here, so I’m just going to lurk creepily at the fringe and listen, if that’s all right, just so you know,’ and so on.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)