My DFW rabbit hole started with his “This is Water” commencement speech (worth a watch on YT – posted at the bottom of this page) and trailed on for hours after that.
From what it looks like, a lot of people dislike him. I know very little about him, but wanted to post this clip because it resonated with me–a relatively disgruntled adjunct professor for the last 2 years. Too few folks are conversing about things like this. Higher Education is messed up. The system is broken.
My brief internet search of his work made it obvious to me why his cult following is still active, and why droves of young troubled folks still seek his gentle wisdom as cure, even after he tragically committed suicide in 2008.
Many folks don’t like him. I get it. He’s edgy. He’s probably said some questionable shit before. He’s an intellectual, certainly, but the attempt to grimly paint the world with dull colors (as he seemed to believe was his/our reality) often produced offensive writing and ideas that used dark humor and cunning sarcasm to get his point across. The things many folks are “up in arms about” these days, Wallace would sneakily play to as the cover for his real joke, using identity politics and low-intellectual trigger comments as a way to distract from the even darker reality that he was actually talking about.
That’s likely a poor description on my part, but if you read a bit of his work, you’ll see what I mean. I need to read some more. I’m not a fan of his. I haven’t read enough to be. But there’s something about him that glows, and it’s got me begging for more.