Re-running for president
Re J. Hoberman's 'What We Learned at the Movies This Summer' [September 17–23]: I find weak the comparison between Eisenhower and McCain. Eisenhower was a statesman and an inspirational leader. McCain is ill-tempered and wedded to "principles" that will drive our nation to new lows and never-before-seen desperation if he steals this election.
Re Benjamin Strong's 'David Foster Wallace, 1962–2008' [September 16, villagevoice.com]: You hacks use the clichés even for the poor guy's obit. I saw that he wrote about the reviews for his book, a decade ago, saying that they were totally wrong—that he was not postmodern. Again, you hacks with the trite expressions—no wonder he killed himself. The depression explains it, though.
I've been consuming DFW tributes obsessively this week. Yours is my favorite. Thanks. For various things, among them: addressing how pissed off I am in a way that understands, and for making me laugh with your great DFW-esque sentence: "And but so then why did he have to go and kill himself?"
Wallace once wrote: ". . . Modern politicians make us sad, hurt us deep down in ways that are hard even to name, much less talk about. It's way easier to roll your eyes and not give a shit." If this line doesn't strike you as suspect, then I understand how you can appreciate him. A fine writer, yes, though often quite naïve.
I have been a fan of DFW for years, ever since my son turned me on to his writing. I feel a deep loss, deeper than one might suppose about a person I didn't really know. After reading what you write, I see only another death at the hands of incompetent people calling themselves "professionals" in mental health. Isn't it obvious that the "meds" (read: poison) didn't work, that the "shock therapy" (read: torture) didn't work?
I hate psychiatrists and their flying monkeys. DFW was a genius, one of the most creative and interesting writers of our time. It pisses me off to lose him. It's good for me that I believe in past and future lives.
Like other readers here, I too have been scouring online observations and interviews for understanding and closure. But alas, your conclusion—or really DFW's final "choice"—made me cry: "You fuckin' sonofabitch."
Personally, I feel he let us all down, but I didn't even know I was counting on him until it was too late. And while many of us love him anyway, it will never make a difference. Goddamn it all.
Re Scott Foundas's 'Year of the Ram' [September 24–30]: Foundas forgot to mention Rourke's other great film from his '80s peak: Angel Heart (1987), in which Rourke's '50s detective is hired by Robert De Niro's Lucifer to find himself—a perfect metaphor for Mickey's self-destructive trajectory.
This is a brilliant performance, and I am glad to see it getting this sort of regal reception. If you would have told me before I saw The Wrestler that Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei would be delivering the two best performances from American actors this year, I would have called you crazy.
Writing an article about the Lubavitchers without mentioning their core belief that only Jews are truly human is like writing an article describing the Ku Klux Klan as a Christian fraternal order.
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