Don DeLillo’s description of the writer’s life, via David Foster Wallace:
This book of essays by David Foster Wallace is extremely smart but not snooty, Asperger-y in its obsessiveness but also quite moving. Federer fans are already familiar which the title essay, which first appeared in the New York Times as Roger Federer As Religious Experience; interesting to read it alongside Democracy and Commerce at the US Open, which talks about the business of tennis (On the overselling of tickets: “If there were rafters people would be hanging from them, and I will be shocked if there isn’t some major screaming fall-down-the-steps- or topple-backward-over-the-rim-of-the-wall type disaster before the match is done.”).
This selection covers mostly literary topics: David Markson, Jorge Luis Borges, conspicuously young writers, underappreciated novels, etc., but there’s also a very sharp and insightful essay on Terminator 2 and the new genre of big-budget film that emerged in the 90s: Special Effects Porn. (“‘Porn’ because, if you substitute F/X for intercourse, the parallels between the two genres become so obvious they’re eerie.”) We’ve always liked T2, but Wallace is right: it is the selling out of The Terminator. And it IS criminal that Sigourney Weaver didn’t win the Best Actress Oscar for Aliens. (“No male lead in the history of US action film even approaches Weaver’s second Ripley for emotional depth and sheer balls—she makes Stallone, Willis, et al. look muddled and ill.”) His analysis of Terminator is so thorough we’re surprised he doesn’t mention Chris Marker’s La Jetee, especially since he brings up Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys.
And there are word lists! Each essay is preceded by Wallace’s vocabulary lists (luteous—moderate greenish yellow).
Brilliant and fun—Buy it. (Unless you saved copies of these essays, which were republished on many websites. Most of them have been taken down.)