Maud Newton on David Foster Wallace and the legacy of his postmodern semantic hijinks (viz. the internet). it’s a nice read. direct.
I’ve done a fair share of “like me” in my writing. also other stuff. (i’ve got more “fuck you” in store. but you know, maybe after the book…tee hee)
but there’s also the issue of feeling like most people, who are not writers etc., don’t necessarily read with the same sense of purpose, let alone rigor. they read for fun and likability. When Maud says, “Where the craving for admiration and approval predominates, intellectual rigor cannot thrive, if it survives at all.” it’s a nice declarative line, but it’s also wrong. People do stinkpieces on issues with a significant emotional quotient all the time, and no amount of diligence or intellectual rigor will necessarily yield an emotional truth. don’t believe me, ask the media power bachelors and bachelorettes. or a doting mother who raised a stern nerd. and in any case wouldn’t most people prefer to spend time with a likable person than a relentless debater? this is what my friends tell me at least. (and this is not to confuse faux-likability or whatever, which is a different and awful thing).
I could be wrong, or maybe I’m being evasive, but I’m not sure debating is a means to an end; it might just be something we like to do. a debate is more like an argument massage. and yes, i like a good rigorous one but the goal is just to feel good. get the endorphins going. I think Maud’s piece is awesome and appropriate for these days and times (I’m down to reign in the exclamation points), but the thesis should be a retreat from willy-nilly poorly executed fake charm and affectation. not charm itself. (plus, if you’re going to be direct then you might as well punch the too-smiley people in the mouth. if we wanna get “real talk” about it.).
…but y’know, I <3 <3 <3 Maud, read her stuff, think she’s great, and in terms of writing on the netzies, I agree a direct approach can perhaps more easily get us on the same page. sometimes life does follow the instruction manual and we should all be familiar. so read with rigor, follow the directions, get on the bus and sit down. but then it’s all Big Road Trip To Likable City (yayyy!!! amirite?? yay!!?)
anyways, this is all a tricky preface before saying that my excuse is serious mommy issues. so i don’t know what everyone else’s problem is.