Friday, May 17, 2013

Roosh Can't Have My DFW!

One of my best friends is a former boyfriend I'll call "Max,"  if by "best" you mean the kind of friendship that doesn't require much maintenance.  In other words, Max and I will go for months without contact; then he'll suddenly swing through the front door unannounced, with a parcel of DVDs and CDs in his hand, demanding a drink and the next six hours of my time.

We're close enough friends that I served as the officiant at his wedding.   

Anyway, Max was a terrible boyfriend: a lazy, lying, mooching pothead (and I would say that to his face, and I often do).  He hasn't changed much, but somehow those qualities are more tolerable now that we are not romantically involved. 

Not that Max and I ever had a great romance, mind you, except insofar as I briefly wished it to be.  What Max and I shared was a common taste in music, and a mutual passion for one artist in particular.

Shortly after Max and I broke up, he learned I had played some songs by the same artist for another lover, and he was devastated by what he took to be the worst form of infidelity.  How could I squander something so intimate and significant on a roll in the hay?   Years later, he still brings it up: the betrayal of it.

You have to understand:  When Max turns you on to a singer or a band, to a movie or a book, he is giving you the very best part of himself.

I'm not as territorial as Max is, but I have the same tendency to guard what is precious aesthetically and emotionally.  That's why when Roosh twittered a reference to David Foster Wallace the other day, my hackles went up.  No!  No!  No!  You of all people cannot have my DFW!


11 May
Truly great speech Too bad he didn't listen to his own advice

It was with some relief, then, that I noticed that Matt Forney had posted a link to a review by Vox Day of Wallace's Infinite Jest, in which he suggests Wallace killed himself because he realized he (Wallace, that is, not Vox Day) was a terrible writer. 

Much has been written about why Wallace hanged himself.  He had valiantly struggled with severe depression throughout his life.  The sudden epiphany he was a "terrible" writer was almost certainly not one of the reasons.  As always with the manosphere, I suspect that there is a certain amount of projection going on here.

I'll concede that Wallace is not an easy read, and certainly not everyone's cuppa, and Infinite Jest is a bit intimidating, partly because of its length, but also because Wallace is not afraid to make demands of the reader.  You have to give Wallace the wheel, so to speak, and then just hang on to your seat.  I don't know if I would have been willing to put in the effort if he hadn't already won me over with his hilarious anthologies of essays and short stories.  I recommend starting with "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" (especially if you have ever been on a cruise).

Yes, Matt Forney et al., Wallace does use a lot of "big words."  Thank goodness for the dictionary in my nook.  Oddly enough, some of us wordsmiths actually relish the opportunity to expand our vocabularies.

It's so reassuring to see Matt Forney hates Jonathan Franzen too.


  1. Zosimus the HeathenMay 18, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    You know you've been spending too long wading about in the sewer that is the manosphere when you find the likes of Matt Forney popping up in your dreams. A few nights ago, I dreamt that I was sharing a house with the guy, although surprisingly he turned out to be a pretty cool flatmate. Except, in that weird way in which even the most important details of a dream can change drastically at a moment’s notice without your brain noticing the contradiction, it turns out he wasn't living with me, but my younger brother and his wife. Who I was visiting to see if they'd avoided being caught up in some mysterious and terrible disaster that had caused everyone on the roads at the time to die abruptly in their cars. And then, after discovering to my relief that they were OK, I went off with some old guy who I also apparently knew from somewhere; we ended up catching a train (or was it a bus?) for one of the routes in my city. Except that in my dream, the route in question turned out to be a lot more interesting and beautiful than it is in real life, passing as it did over lots of small, heavily-vegetated islands whose only signs of human colonization were the strangely majestic remains of abandoned factories and smokestacks. Um, where was I?

    I can relate to your horror at the thought that Roosh might have been a fan of one of your favourite authors. While I'm probably not too territorial when it comes to the media I love myself, it does sort of bug me that a lot of the Red Pill Crowd appear to be into heavy metal, a musical genre I've been a fan of myself for some 25 years now (it's also sort of disturbing that there're some genres of metal - most notably black metal - that seem to attract a lot of the sorts of neo-Nazi wankers these guys are constantly trying to forge alliances with. Oh well, what can you do?).

    Vox Day accusing others of being bad writers seems a bit rich, given the sort of pompous dreck he churns out. Many MRAs' idolization of him must surely rank as one of the more embarrassing aspects of their "movement" - it's amazing how many of them see him as pretty much the Greatest Thinker Of All Time, rather than the veritable embodiment of crank magnetism he really is. Indeed, one thing that never fails to disabuse me of any misguided notion that a particular MRA is a "moderate" is when he (or she) (almost invariably) starts praising VD and his "wisdom". (Another sure sign that someone in the manosphere is probably beyond help is when they start hailing Roissy (er, I mean Heartiste - snicker) as A Friend To All Men, rather than someone who clearly views the members of his own sex with nearly as much contempt as he does women.)

    1. Matt Forney poked his head up in your dream? I can relate. I've started to see "Matt Forney" everywhere, which always causes me to do a double-take. It must be a combination of paranoia and the fact that there ARE a lot of Matt Forney "types" around. Anyway, I'm glad your dream morphed into something more interesting and pleasant. It's interesting where our minds can take us while we're sleeping.

    2. Zosimus the HeathenMay 19, 2013 at 9:44 AM

      That's a bit disturbing. Oh well, just so long as he doesn't start popping up in clouds, stains, or grilled cheese sandwiches, you should be OK!

  2. Zosimus the HeathenMay 18, 2013 at 12:56 AM

    To add one other, miscellaneous ramble to a comment that's been full of them, I also have an aversion to people who dislike "big words" in writing. I do quite a bit of writing myself, and I never fail to be exasperated by advice for writers that basically boils down to "treat your readers as though they have the vocabularies and attention spans of six year-olds" ie short words! Short sentences! Rapid pacing! Excitement! Action! Adventure! on every page! (Sadly, when I first started getting serious with my writing, around 2000, most of the advice out there for aspiring authors seemed to be of this type.)

    Anyway, if I'm ever lucky enough to have something published and I'm criticized for my own use of big, fancy words, I have the following list of (occasionally snarky) responses planned:
    *if a word's in the dictionary, surely it's meant to be used;
    *avoiding the use of big and/or unusual words just leads to a vicious cycle ie don't use words like that because no-one will understand them (yet the main reason no-one understands them is because they're never used);
    *you're probably one of those hypocrites who tells writers not to use unusual words while at the same time preaching the virtues of expanding one's vocabulary;
    *next thing you'll be complaining that my books don't have enough pictures in them!

  3. My years of teaching ESL (always putting my ideas in the simplest possible way) have "dumbed down" my language use. Challenging myself with intelligent reading is an antidote. And yes, words exist for a reason: Each one has its own particular flavor and nuance. Someone once told me (or did I make this up?) "A writer keeps a lot of arrows in his quiver."

  4. Zosimus the HeathenMay 19, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    That's a good line. Must remember it myself.


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