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Saturday, September 13, 2008

David Foster Wallace dead by suicide? I'm stunned. I haven't seen this anywhere besides Ed Champion's, but Scott Eric Kaufman at the Valve vouches for its accuracy. Keep watching Google News and Wikipedia. Terrible news.

From the Kenyon commencement speech in 2005, this now sticks out:

This, like many clich├ęs, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger.

And I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out. That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense. Let's get concrete. The plain fact is that you graduating seniors do not yet have any clue what "day in day out" really means. There happen to be whole, large parts of adult American life that nobody talks about in commencement speeches. One such part involves boredom, routine, and petty frustration. The parents and older folks here will know all too well what I'm talking about.
UPDATE: Now confirmed by the L.A. Times. Jesus.

UPDATE 2: The MetaFilter post I put up.