It goes without saying that the death of anyone is sad. Then again, maybe not, because if I didn’t preface this with “it goes without saying,” then I did in fact say it. So maybe it doesn’t go without saying, which needs not be explained. Has this introduction gotten self-referential enough for you?
Because it should be enough for fans of David Foster Wallace, an author who I swear I’d never heard of until his death by self-hanging last week. The depths of top media outlets have, in response, spawned a bevy of praise has hit the Internet. (Remember when they talked about Steve Fossett’s death, and you felt left out?)
So now I’ve heard of him. And you, too, can expose your brilliant works of art to the mainstream public just like David Foster Wallace. All you have to do is hang yourself in a fit of postmodern irony.
(Note: Blogcritics Magazine and it subsidiaries do not condone the hobby of wearing a noose. Please consult a doctor before attempting suicide.)
It might have been his intent. Or not. All I know is that Infinite Jest has shot up to #10 on Amazon’s bestseller list as of Tuesday evening. This, of course, is the case for anyone who dies, even for people like Kurt Vonnegut, who had already lived a full life and written a full library at the time of his death. I suppose this blends Hunter S. Thompson into the gray area between being in one’s prime and dying peacefully.
So where does this put a brilliant man who nobody knows about, such as — oh — me? Well, I’m probably too young to commit self-lynchery. For one, I’ve yet to birth an illegitimate child, who grows up to both spurn me and generate amazing writing of his own. I’ve also never been married, which means I have no estranged wife whose name will be the highly empathetic antagonist in my signature book.
But the downside would be that I couldn’t revel in the popularity. I could fake the death, but I’d have to admire the book sales from afar. I wouldn’t be able to speak to starstruck fans, sign autographs, or my biggest dream — be seduced by a girl who is in love with me and my writing, only to reject her because I can do better.
Then what’s the point? Why’d you do it, Mr. Wallace? Maybe he was generally depressed and bored with life. It’s tragic, yes, for him to take it so many years before he’s done with it, but on the flip side he’s encouraged me, a guy who never heard of him prior to this week, to be genuinely curious about his works. The man might be twisted enough to appreciate that effect.
Then again, it’s probably coarse to mention the business aspect of someone’s suicide a week after it happened. Which means the topic probably goes without saying.