February 6, 2013

"[U]ntil recently DFW was in that place in the dusty warehouses of my attention economy occupied by the things people have been a little too insistent I should check out..."

"... a place also occupied by Hemingway, Khalil Gibran, 'E.T.,' 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show,' and for reasons that would take a lot of tedious explaining, Cointreau."

DFW = David Foster Wallace.

What are you keeping in the dusty warehouses of your attention economy? And what, by your insistence are you causing other people to store in their warehouses?

40 comments:

Mitchell the Bat said...

It's high time for a Bob Newhart revival.

MadisonMan said...

Means Dallas Fort Worth to me.

Thanks for clarifying what DFW meant.

Ann Althouse said...

"Means Dallas Fort Worth to me."

Yes, and I'm Alcoholics Anonymous.

John said...

What are you keeping in the dusty warehouses of your attention economy?

David Foster Wallace. I keep trying to forget that he and his awful writing ever existed. But his fans in the media keep insisting that it did.

Tim said...

Oh, a few thoughts:

1) Cointreau is critical to a properly made Margarita. Poseurs, and those who serve poseurs, use Gran Marnier.

2) The comments following the linked blog-post seem masturbatory, but what the hell do I know?

Tim said...

"Grand Marnier," I meant to write...in English, if you don't hear the 'd', it isn't in the word.

Strelnikov said...

Life is too short to waste any of it reading DFW, whose chaotic writing borders on the psychotic. And not in a good way.

edutcher said...

I thought we were getting our Gatsby sentence early.

Ann Althouse said...

Means Dallas Fort Worth to me.

Yes, and I'm Alcoholics Anonymous.


Does that mean we all have to introduce ourselves by our first name and say, "... and I'm an Althousian"?

PS Could be American Airlines (if they're still around)

bagoh20 said...

For me it would be books recommendations. I almost always buy them on a recommendation, but I've only read about half the books I've bought in the last year. I just read too much on line to have time for books, but my attention span is minuscule, so this medium works much better for me. I'm fine with that, because I think I have easily tripled my knowledge and perspective in the last decade, and down roads I never would have discovered with books. Thanks Al Gore!

The recommendation most inflicted BY me is for people to start their own business. Every time someone complains about their job or wanting to go back to school, I explain how they could do their own thing. Virtually nobody takes me up on it even when I offer to help. It's scary, I guess.

After years of this, my sister is finally taking me up on it, and will be closing on her very own restaurant next week. For a long time I was the only one excited about it, but now as she is about to quit her own job and take on 10 employees, she is fired up and ready to go. 30 years as a waitress, bar tender, cook or manager, and she will finally be free. I'm very happy for her.

bagoh20 said...

Another one is those nasty mixtures of beer and clam juice called "Cheladas". No I don't want one right now. Ask again next year.

Nonapod said...

bagoh20 said...
my sister is finally taking me up on it, and will be closing on her very own restaurant next week.

Good luck to her. I guess the restaurant failure rate isn't quite as high as a lot of people seem to think (3 out of 5 go out of business in the first 3 years)

Freeman Hunt said...

Proust, Pushkin, Gogol, Chekhov, various critically acclaimed television series, the AeroPress coffee maker, and David Foster Wallace.

Wallace just because he keeps being mentioned here.

The guy hasn't checked out E.T.? C'mon!

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is one of those things that people are absurdly insistent about that is also horrible. I would imagine watching it is not much different than being pricked in the shoulder with a needle every minute for two hours.

edutcher said...

I know what you mean about Chekhov. Never could see what the fuss was about.

Now Sulu OTOH...

(thank you, I'm here all week

Smilin' Jack said...

""[U]ntil recently DFW was in that place in the dusty warehouses of my attention economy occupied by the things people have been a little too insistent I should check out...""

A partial solution to this problem is to have the word "moron" tattooed on your forhead. Then people will know not to bother you with DFW, Hemingway, and Cointreau, though you will still have to deal with Khalil Gibran and 'E.T.'

Bob R said...

In my warehouse: Nassim Taleb

I put in other's warehouses:

Eizabeth Laprelle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soHmyn2BQik

wyo sis said...

Except for Hemingway not one of those things even makes init to my dusty warehouse.
I notice that my BS meter is getting less and less tolerant as I age. Some things just don't even make the dusty warehouse cut.
Other things I've eliminated from even the dusty outskirts of the dusty industrial park of my attention economy: network TV, many modern writers, anime, and movies.

Bob R said...

The problem with making margaritas with agave tequila, fresh lime juice, and Cointreau is that there are a lot of people who say they like margaritas but really like corn syrup and grain alcohol. On the other hand, it's good to know who these people are.

bagoh20 said...

"I guess the restaurant failure rate isn't quite as high as a lot of people seem to think"

We know. She has lost her job more than once working for failed restaurants, but she is very experienced and has seen all the mistakes from the inside, and she is buying a currently running and successful business. The main question is will she be able to make her loan payments to her loving bank. X

bagoh20 said...

I think anal sex is one of those things.

edutcher said...

Now that I think about it, nothing is my attention warehouse is dated later than 1965.

John said...

I went to a legal writing course taught by Bryan Garner a few years ago. He spent half of the class slurping DFW and his Kenyon College graduation speech in particular. So after the course I read the speech. It was expecting something of the quality of Feinman's famous cargo cult address to Cal Tech. Instead, it was the most boring and pretensions piece I had ever read. The whole thing was about the old joke about the fish being asked "how is the water" and not knowing what it meant. It was barely worthy of a C 11th grade theme paper.

DFW was just a mediocrity. He was a bright guy. And he certainty tried hard to think big thoughts and do big things. But despite his efforts at being taken so seriously, he never made a single interesting point.

The best thing I can say for DFW is that he might have been the greatest con artist, satirist and literary troll of the last 50 years. I am willing to entertain the possibility that his writing, as awful and pretentious as it was, was not the embodiement of all that is wrong with the genre of workshop fiction that infests our age. But that instead, DFW was writing satire and trying to write the worlds most awful literature and getting nitwits in the workshop fiction world who don't know any better to proclaim it great. If that was DFW's purpose, then my hat is most certainly off to him.

mccullough said...

John,

We get it. You don't like DFW. You're getting repetitive.

John said...

Maybe Mcullah,

If it ever turns out that he was in fact a satirist, I would change my opinion. I am half convinced he was. No one could actually have meant to write all of that crap. An entire novel complete with footnotes on the complexities on the tax code? The more you think about that and the entire phenomenon of workshop fiction, the more brilliantly funny it is.

The larger question of course is what does it matter if DFW meant to be a satirist? The work, when taken as satire, speaks for itself.

John said...


The guy hasn't checked out E.T.? C'mon!

Freeman, as an adolescent boy in 1982, I can assure you that there is an entire generation of us who were too old for it when it came out and never bothered to watch it later.

phx said...

Now you are young and foolish, the milk is hardly dry on your lips, and it seems to you in your foolishness that you are more wretched than anyone; but the time will come when you will say to yourself: 'I wish no one a better life than mine.' You look at me. Within a week the floods will be over and we shall set up the ferry; you will all go wandering off about Siberia while I shall stay and shall begin going from bank to bank. I've been going like that for twenty-two years, day and night. The pike and the salmon are under the water while I am on the water. And thank God for it, I want nothing; God give everyone such a life."

Now you love Chekhov.

Chip S. said...

No one who would write "dusty warehouses of my attention economy" is competent to evaluate anyone's writing.

In this guy's case, it seems more likely to be "the stagnant waiting room of the inert DMV that is my mind".

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm not anti the stuff in my warehouse. If I were, that stuff wouldn't be in there. It's stuff that I always mean to get to but haven't yet.

Big Mike said...

Agree with MadMan -- DFW is an airport in Texas.

Yes, and I'm Alcoholics Anonymous.

Hope the twelve steps are helping you, Professor.

ken in sc said...

Bago, good luck to your sister, but you of all people should know she is going to be anything but free. My dad owned a restaurant and lounge for a number of years. I helped him out when I was in town. I think it is one of the most stressful businesses to be in. He was constantly harassed by inspectors, liquor license officials, and police who wanted free food. He had cooks and waitresses who would not show up frequently. If you make any changes, such you start serving breakfast, you have to have enough money to loose money for six to nine months. Owners have no vacation and no off time. As I said, Good luck to her.

ken in sc said...

Oh, I forgot, my dad's business was before all that OSHA and hazardous material, and hostile work environment crap came along.

Tim said...

Bob R said...

"The problem with making margaritas with agave tequila, fresh lime juice, and Cointreau is that there are a lot of people who say they like margaritas but really like corn syrup and grain alcohol. On the other hand, it's good to know who these people are."

Yes, but that's really not a problem.

Those people like a tequila drink that isn't a Margarita. I let them fix their own, with their own tequila.

They probably also think an "assault weapon" is an "assault rifle" too.

It's good for the poseurs to smoke themselves out - it helps one in navigating life.

Triangle Man said...

I hope I can be forgiven for preferring a margarita made with tequila, fresh lime juice, agave syrup, and orange juice. One day I made due with adding a bit more tequila and some OJ when we ran out of Cointreau and decided I liked it better.

Chip S. said...

Just don't say you love a really well-made appletini.

traditionalguy said...

Is this another Gatsby sentence with AA attending her twelve step meeting at the Dallas Airport?

I do see use of light and darkness in the words dusty warehouse, but my attention economy, like my voice mail, is full.

Sigivald said...

Rocky Horror is crap.

There, I was helpful.

Brian McKim & Traci Skene said...

For some months now, I've had a .pdf
in the dusty warehouses of my hard drive that I've been meaning to get to... or should I say get _back_ to. It's a smirky, snarky piece on cruise ships that more than one of my friends insisted was tremendous. I downloaded it, read the first page or three, compared it to my experience on cruise ships (as a passenger and as a "fly-on entertainer") and concluded that DFW might be (at least on this topic) one of the laziest, hackiest writers ever to grace the planet. Too bad, as I'm told that smart people really love him.

m stone said...

I love DFW, a writer's writer who was far more masterful with language and syntax than Fitz, as bizarre as his thinking was.

Sorry, John.

In Pale King, DFW left us his notes that were freely published and are an insight into the writers' craft, an invaluable gift. Not for everyone, but at least one writer was inspired.

betamax3000 said...

DFW made sense to me. Reading his biography now (not far enough in to render an opinion).Perhaps a few too many drinks right now, but he aligned. His words worked the needle though my (psychological-diagnosis-here) head and resonated.

Every footnote mattered to me.

I can see why may people find him off-putting: the digressions alone could be maddening.

Myself, I lived for the footnotes.

I've read him straight, and with medications for (psychological-diagnosis-here) and understand how the input varies: I could start a lateral monologue on how Fitzgerald works for the romantically depressive but that may lay best for another thread.

Same block, different corner:

If you happen to be be in Van Gogh's diagnostic head-space does that mean you see other levels or just have an ear ache?

Cheech-and-Chong: Earache My Eye.

All of this stated with plausible deniabilty -- perhaps the Naked DFW Robot is coming...

betamax3000 said...

Those Who Listen in the Walls love DFW.

Those Who Whisper Beneath the Floor told him Bad Things.

kentuckyliz said...

I am mass-energy equivalence.

I am a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that can be a normal part of your gut flora...or could give you food poisoning.

Solve that puzzle.