Welcome to Clementine’s Weekly Reading Series, where Clem the hedgehog talks about whatever she is currently reading. This week: Both Flesh and Not by David Foster Wallace.
DFW is a notoriously hard writer for hedgehogs. Because of his solid diet of irony and staunch moralism, you ask? Hell no. It’s the fucking footnotes. Everyone knows we have shitty eyesight, and I’d like to see you try to read size 5 font in the darkness of your snuggle sack. Anyway, the book is another set of essays from the patron saint of literary infamy. Like my BFF Michiko Kakutani has said, it ain’t the pick of the litter, but there are still a few keepers.
I’m not going to lie. I skipped around a lot. I tend to do that with essay collections. I wasn’t enthralled by the David Markson piece or the one on math. (It’s not because I’m a girl, you sexist prick. Hedgehogs have crap depth perception, and as a result, are terrified of any number higher than 1.) I honed in on any essay where DFW barred his fangs. When he was talking shit about “conspicuously young” writers of the late '80s, I was giggling with glee. Take that, Jay McInerney and your hedonistic wine cellar! Same when he set his sights on the plebeians at the US Open and the word “utilize.” Towards the end, with some of the short pieces, I could’ve sworn I was reading pre-Ethicist Chuck Klosterman. I love it when the high and mighty go slightly low-brow and write about Terminator 2. I don’t give two shits about DFW’s fiction (Infinite Jest gave me mites.) which is probably why I find his essays so digestible. Am I ashamed to admit this? Come on. You know I’m the first ‘hog at the party willing to break out the Boone’s Farm.