David Foster Wallace on Forum with Michael Krasny (w/call-in Q&A) (06/1999)

An interview in promotion of “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men”
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30:08
“It sounds to me like you and I are using “sentimentality” in a different kind of visceral way. For me, sentimentality is a bad thing. Sentimentality is goo. Sentimentality is –“
“Bathos.”
“Bathos. There you go. And hugs and ten years of mourning over the death of a pet bunny at age eleven and all that kind of stuff. For me, what’s pernicious, is that sometimes stuff that is just about emotions gets muted because of our fear of appearing sentimental. For me, there’s a certain amount of sentimentality in the culture – probably more where I live than here – but it involves things like Martha Stewart and Hallmark cards and sweater vests for poodles and Lifetime television and all that stuff. And for me the surfeit of goo in the culture is sort of the flipside of the fact that we don’t have a way to talk earnestly about very simple deep emotional stuff like sadness and fear outside of like shrink’s offices.”
“Of course, you may be more inured to our emotions. That’s part of it, you think?”
“I think it’s possible. I get very suspicious of the reason that we are this way is that it’s the damn media and the media burns our neurons with a blow torch. As far as I can see, the media is this dumb beast that is only trying to figure out how we can be pleased and how to please us.”
“Your grad students in that title piece blame the media, though.”
“Well, it’s extremely easy to do. News flash: most of the men in these interviews are not speaking for me.”
“I didn’t mean to suggest or intimate that they were. But they’re bright men. I mean, they’re certainly perceptive men. Not necessarily as perceptive about themselves as perhaps we’d like them to be.”
“Well, it’s – you, I can tell by your facial expression, know very well that intellectual attainment and having your head up your butt are completely compatible.”

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