Response to DFW


Hmmm a few thoughts.

Yes, I read all of it. Yes, I hated it.

I want to make a clear distinction here. I understood the piece. I understood the objectives and the execution and I absolutely respect the heartfelt nature of the feelings behind the piece and the unique way in which it is presented. I think it is effective.

I did not relate to many of these emotions much at all. Nor did I find any enjoyment in the method of conveying those feelings.

In fact, if anything I actively work to become _more_ like the narrator. I work hard to be a person that can consider the feelings/desires/mental states. It helps stave off the autism.

That acknowledged, it’s not like this was all foreign to me. For example, this part was certainly poignant:

> yet another part was observing
the whole scene of a man in a dress shirt and no tie sitting at his breakfast
nook writing a heartfelt note on his last afternoon alive, the
blondwood table’s surface trembling with sunlight and the man’s hand
steady and face both haunted by regret and ennobled by resolve, this
part of me sort of hovering above and just to the left of myself, evaluating
the scene, and thinking what a fine and genuine-seeming performance
in a drama it would make

I’ve had that thought many a time.

So there’s two underlying elements here. First is the neurosis/state of mind of manipulation or “being a fraud”. As I said, I’d like to think like this a bit more, and I make conscious efforts to do so. I think the obsession about it is a bit odd, and seemingly borders on mental illness. This was especially clear with the character’s take on the meditation certificate. There is no evidence anywhere that it was sarcastic, and only an giant asshole or an insane person would chose to take that interpretation.

The clear tipping point is where Cheers quote shattered his reality… negatively?

>the flash of realizing
all this at the very same time that the huge audience-laugh
showed that nearly everybody in the United States had probably already
seen through the complaint’s inauthenticity as long ago as whenever
the episode had originally run

I thought that realization would accompany a change. If you realize that you’re your own problem, stop creating problems for yourself! This character, however, was too far gone or far too weak to take that realization as the clear catalyst it is.

I know what you’re thinking. I know exactly how you’re like, “Oh well that presupposes there’s a social norm that we all should follow and you can’t assume that objectivity…” Yeah. Sure. That joke is a hurtful societal conformist jab at the expense of people like this character. But at some point you either conform or die. At some point, you have to accept praise as sincere without a worry or doubt. At some point the picture is of a pomegranate and not gore. This is a story about failing that breaking point, and that’s why I don’t like it.

I understand this is how you feel a lot of the time (though I would hope not so egregious), and I understand this is not how you _chose_ to think of things but an innate perception. I don’t know what to tell you about that other than stop it before you drive into the bridge. Note: I am not a psychiatrist.

The second is the prevalent theme. That disconnect what accompanies humans as social creatures. This:

>with David Wallace also fully aware that the cliché that you
can’t ever truly know what’s going on inside somebody else is hoary
and insipid and yet at the same time trying very consciously to prohibit
that awareness from mocking the attempt or sending the whole
line of thought into the sort of inbent spiral that keeps you from ever
getting anywhere

That’s a bit of humanity. Every single person to have ever lived on Earth has dealt with that, and I can name three anime, three movies and three books at the drop of the hat that fully explore that theme with different trappings. You should watch Evangelion.

But that feeling doesn’t result in this type of outcome in and of itself. I think the mixture of those two elements, both very strong in the character’s mind (and without going into causation and correlation between the two), caused the character’s suicide.

It’s clearly autobiographical in some respect. I could never write this in a million years, even if I set out with the theme, form and objective in mind. I just don’t have the background to make it realistic. It’s honestly be surprised if the author hadn’t suffered from depression or hung himself.

I suppose that’s why I’m here though, and why DFW isn’t.

But no hey [read my piece]( I’m pretty sure I’ve shoved it in your face sometime in the past. It would make a great panel.


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