Monday, September 15, 2008

All I can say is

if you think David Foster Wallace committed suicide - in a particularly grisly manner no less, although I'm struggling to think of a non-grisly manner - because he was stressed about writing a book(!), or because James Wood criticised his prose(!!), or because John McCain had somehow "let him down" by not being as decent as DFW had portrayed him in "Up, Simba"(!!!), or because he needed more Christ and less thinkin' in his life(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), or any of the thousand other simplistic "reasons" I've seen people offer on comment threads in the past 24 hrs, then you clearly haven't got a fucking clue about depression or, I'd wager, much else. Then there are the seen-it-all types who shrug their weary shoulders and say, "It's sad, of course, but I'm not surprised - he was obviously troubled." Well, who isn't troubled? Then we get an excerpt from the fiction, like it explains anything and everything. There's only one work of DFW's that might go some way to explaining why he's dead, and it - if it exists - is presumably in his wife's possession, and I doubt she's taking much comfort from it at present. I suppose it's natural - and acceptable - to ask the big post-suicide question: "Why?". It doesn't follow that people who didn't know the guy are entitled to try to answer it.

3 comments:

Tessa said...

Fuckin' A.

Richard said...

Well said.

A Grey Area said...

Just picked up the paper, went to the crosswords, and there the news was on the opposite page... and I didn't end up doing the crossword.

Only got to 'Infinite Jest' by accident (if you write a book that thick, it's easy to see in a library) and it was written by a vast mind.

RIP giant brain, RIP.