Neuron Culture

Every time I read David Foster Wallace, I think, that’s just classic David Foster Wallace. Which is to say it’s completely unexpected, novel, different from the way almost anyone else thinks, including David Foster Wallace the last time I read him.

This is a fun review in the NY Review of Books of a book about Wallace I think I now must get.

I like the title. That’s Wallace: Smarter than you think. And even smarter than you think or remember Wallace is from last time you read him.

Smarter than You Think

“What I would love to do is a profile of one of you guys who’s doin’ a profile of me,” David Foster Wallace told the journalist David Lipsky in 1996 during a series of conversations now collected as Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace. “It would be a way,” Wallace continued, “for me to get some of the control back”:

[excerpt] You can’t tell outright lies that I’ll then deny to the fact checker. But…you’re gonna be able to shape this essentially how you want. And that to me is extremely disturbing…. I want to be able to try and shape and manage the impression of me that’s coming across. [end excerpt]

As Lipsky tells us in his introduction, he loved Wallace’s idea of profiling the profilers:

[excerpt] It would have been one of the deluxe internal surveys he specialized in–the unedited camera, the feed before the director in the van starts making cuts and choices…. That’s what this book would like to be. It’s the one way of writing about him I don’t think David would have hated. [end excerpt]