Friday, March 11, 2005

One of the Better Things You'll Read this Month

After I post something like the post immediately below, a screed on an unpopular topic where I'm even taking the designated wrong side (especially for a liberal), I feel I need to offer up something fun, informative - heck, just outright better - to read.

Well, here it is. Note: this does not allow access to non-subscribers, but see below.

David Foster Wallace1 researched talk radio to bring us one of his stellar articles on the same. Wallace's short fiction can be hit-or-miss because most of his short stories are experimental and many bomb quite badly. His novels are much better, though2, and his reports from the front, like this one, are perhaps his best. In the collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, the article that lends the collection its title is about his investigation of going on an ocean cruse. I've been on one, and he NAILS the experience, particularly that weird twilight zone mood where you're trapped on what's supposed to be a party boat but is really just a floating Vegas without the easy access to extreme sleeze, unless you count the topless sunning deck at the fore of the craft, punctuated by blasts of that accursed Buster Poindexter song "Hot Hot Hot." Because he was so close to the bone on that one, I've since trusted him implicitly with any reportage.

I don't listen to talk radio because radio to me is a device that's supposed to bring me an interesting mix of music. When it does not do this, it's merely an annoyance. And, no big secret, the vast majority of talk radio is wingnut Rush Limburger clones screeching at anyone who will call or tune in that they're not Americans unless they buy into the neocon's vision of war all the time, no social safety net, no increase in minimum wage, and their latest trick: making it much harder for the poor to declare bankruptcy while building in blatant loopholes for the ultrawealthy so they can do it easily and protect their money offshore at the same time. Let them eat Twinkies!

But, as the new reality show "The Contender" has demonstrated, you don't necessarily have to give a flying star-spangled fandango about the topic to enjoy the entertainment itself. Wallace's article is a grand entertainment, but informative, too. Further kudos, while I don't even attempt to walk the non-partisan line, Wallace trips down the wire gracefully. I don't believe anyone of any political ilk will object to how talk radio is portrayed here.

So, have a good time. It's long, so it'll take a good hour or two, all of which you'll thoroughly enjoy.3

"But, Yahmdallah," you say, "How can I read this thing if they don't allow you to see the whole thing on the site unless you subscribe?" To which I respond, "Dear, cherished reader, fret not. You can find a copy4 at your local library. But, if you don't have the time, or want to read it on the convenience of your own computer, just drop me a note, and I'll forward it on to you."5 Who's your buddy?




1 He of the copious footnotes which drive some readers to distraction, but I like them because they're funny as hell. (Well and I do the same thing, just with parenthesis, usually.)

2 (Since this is about the DFW, I'll stick these kinds of asides in footnotes as a pale homage to the master.) His Infinite Jest is one of my favorite novels ever, only beaten by A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, and neck-in-neck with the other denizen of my top three, Texasville by Larry McMurtry.

3 It even outs the scam of the herbal concoction Enzyte that's supposed to provide "natural male enhancement." That part alone is worth the read.

4 And a photocopier, no doubt.

5 See the upper left part of the page for my addy. Don't feel the need to compose any niceties for the request, a "gimme" will do.

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