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The Daily Inquisition / September 15, 2008

Daily Inquisition: David Foster Wallace

Statement of the Grand Inquisitor: David Foster Wallace should have been dead to begin with—and it finally hit him, at age 46. That is, 46 years too late. The crime isn’t the suicide, but the belatedness of it. What took you so long, DFW—and why now, when the idiots who read you will mistake it for some grand existential act? He could at least have had the decency to make his death look more appropriate to his mediocre output—say, for example, death by bicycle accident, or death by some rare form of intestinal cancer. Most 46-year-old mediocrities die that way, why couldn’t he? His entire literary output barely ranked a step up from a Frasier episode; he leaves nothing behind but an embarrassing giant blowjob of John McCain from a 2000 issue of Rolling Stone, and some unreadable book as thick as an anvil, full of spot-the-literary-allusion games for middlebrow academics: Highlights magazine for grad students. His hackery was crime enough, and would have made him almost forgettable, except that he had the nerve to stink up the whole literary-suicide Grand Final Act. Now, no one with an ounce of literary vanity can kill themselves for at least another 50 years, until the stench of this fat-cheeked middlebrow’s suicide wears off, and the field is once again cleared of his three pompous whitebread names.

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