Did you know that according to online media, David Foster Wallace predicted everything about the future?
First, The Wire told us that he predicted selfies and that we would stylize ourselves to be presentable on video screens.
Now, Salon tells us that David Foster Wallace rightly predicted that irony would ruin our culture.
But according to this article and a host of others, irony wasn’t supposed to have even lived this long….so in that way, irony wasn’t supposed to be there to ruin anything.
Anyway, “David Foster Wallace Saw It Coming” was a mini-meme, employed by some popular pop culture writers.
Why is this happening?
Because of Wallace’s death, he became a semi-tragic figure and almost god-like to intellectual writers and wannabe writers (check out the credits by the Salon writers). He’s dense and he’s deep and writing articles like this shows that you’re a completist, that you made it through Infinite Jest alive, and that’s the card you have in your wallet to get into the non-existent writing clubs. Also, he wrote so much it makes it nearly impossible for an editor to fact-check you in this Upworthy atmosphere we’re all a part of.
Also, as David Foster Wallace becomes more eulogized by newly minted English and Writing profs (they’re of age now), they’re teaching younger students about him who are starting to make their foray into American letters. Well done shoutouts by the likes of Mike Schur (Parks & Rec / Brooklyn 99 head guy) or The Decemberists give it a sheen of pseudo-cool, you know just left-of-center for the tastemakers to wink at one another while contemporary art is happening in places they’ll never ever think to look.
Do I think Foster Wallace is good?
Yes, of course. He’s amazing. Brilliantly smart. And he made some great guesses about the near future, but you could also say this was (probably) predicted by Baudrillard or Foucault, it’s just that won’t get you as many clicks these days. And this feels like that Hipster vs New Sincerity debate from a few years ago.