Episode #1336

David Foster Wallace & Sadder Pop Hits

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Friday, September 07, 2012

David Foster Wallace David Foster Wallace (Giovanni Giovannetti Capri)

DT Max talks about his new biography of the late David Foster Wallace. Kurt Andersen asks rockers The Heavy, whose song “How You Like Me Now” is ubiquitous, why generations of Brits have reintroduced Americans to American music. And we find out why pop music has been getting sadder.

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Comments [8]

Ted from Salt Lake City, UT

Reading - or rather, TRYING to read - Infinite Jest sort of cracked my brain. I've handled everything from Huck Finn and Fear & Loathing to Garcia-Marquez and P. Roth. But, Infinite Jest was an existential struggle ... of the best type. I plan to get back to it one of these days when I'm feeling strong.

Sep. 15 2012 02:41 AM
C from NYC

Thanks, Josh! Keep up the great work.

Sep. 12 2012 01:45 PM
Josh from Studio 360 from New York City

C- The music before the David Foster Wallace segment is a track called The Ward Accord off the amazing 2012 Sara Watkins release (of Nickel Creek fame), Sun Midnight Sun -- the entire record is a knockout.

Sep. 12 2012 12:38 AM
Georgette from New York

I have a very special DFW memory. My husband and I discovered DFW around 2005 through his collections of essays "Consider the Lobster" "And a Supposedly Funny Thing..." We kept those books on our nightstand for years. In 2011, I was trying to entice my 16 yr old son to read ANYTHING over the summer. I gave him "Consider the Lobster" and he immediately got hooked on the first essay "Big Red Sun" about the porn film industry.I was a little worried that it was just the subject matter that was interesting to him but when I saw him finish reading the title essay ( and actually shut off the TV to do so!)I knew that DFW had done for him what we alway wanted for him as parents- give our son an appreciation for great writing. And for that and all the belly laughs, I will always be thankful to DFW. Rest in peace.

Sep. 10 2012 10:16 PM
C from NYC

Great program this week! What is the song that plays as the segment on David Foster Wallace begins?

Sep. 10 2012 03:08 PM
Matthew Mercier from NYC

Hello Kurt and Studio 360
Here is DFW memory.

Back in the late nineties, I was causally reading Premiere magazine and became fixated on a piece about the porn industry, in which the journalist attended the Adult Video News and encounters starlets, directors and all manner of what most of us might call a human freak shows. The piece stood out not only for its unconventional style and observations, but also for its remarkable empathy--it could easily have been a nasty piece of snark. I forgot to take note of the author's name, but it stayed in my head for years. Only years later, when I started to read more DFW, did I happen upon the same essay reprinted in his collection, "Consider the Lobster." The takeaway? Great writing transcends time and space and never lets you forgot. I think the same will be true for the name of DFW.

Sep. 09 2012 09:14 PM
Anne Lindberg from St. Louis Missouri

Dear Kurt Anderson & Studio 360,

My comment is also in regards to my experiences with David Foster Wallace. I am an artist living in St. Louis and I fell in love with DFW's writing about a year after graduating with my MFA and after reading "A Supposedly Fun Thing..." and his commencement speech to Kenyon College. After finding out about his collection of books housed at the Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin, I wrote a proposal to them asking if I could do a very large drawing of his books. They agreed and I've been working on the drawing for the past 4 months. It is hard for me to put into words why he had such an impact upon me, but I felt as though I needed to express it somehow. Thank you for your program on him.



Sep. 09 2012 06:24 PM
Laura Selinsky

Hi Kurt Anderson and Company,
This morning you asked us to comment on our experiences with David Foster Wallace. As a high school English teacher, I ask students to read authors whom I love, and I agree to return the favor. At students' prompting, I've read Robert Ludlum (Bourne), Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games), and many other popular fiction authors. So when a student brought me a collection of essays by his favorite author, I agreed to read "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again". David Foster Wallace's prose was the funniest, saddest contemporary writing I had experienced. His style is so far from what I usually read that I might not even have met him until the Pulitzer dilemma, except for the friendship of a 17 year old. Trust your students, otherwise you may miss something remarkable. David Foster Wallace, for instance.

Sep. 08 2012 07:54 AM

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