Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

37

Fictional Futures and the Conspicuously Young

bookmarker.dellsystem.me/s/fictional-futures
11
terms
8
notes

Published 1998, written late 1987. On the recent spate of "Conspicuously Young" writers (aka the Brat Pack): Bret Easton Ellis's Less Than Zero, David Leavitt's Family Dancing, Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City. How they were initially lauded by the media, then derided by it for being empty, trashy, etc. DFW explores the temporal reasons their writing has a tendency to be this way and why it's important to overcome it

Foster Wallace, D. (None). Fictional Futures and the Conspicuously Young. In Foster Wallace, D. Both Flesh and Not: Essays. , pp. 37-72

the highest point in the development of something; culmination or climax

38

formalized the apotheosis of McInerney in a gushy cover story

on the Village Voice and the Brat Pack

—p.38 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

formalized the apotheosis of McInerney in a gushy cover story

on the Village Voice and the Brat Pack

—p.38 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group, which lessens social cohesion and fosters decline; popularized by French sociologist Émile Durkheim in his influential book Suicide

38

Young Anomic White Novelists

on the Brat Pack

—p.38 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

Young Anomic White Novelists

on the Brat Pack

—p.38 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago
39

(1) Neiman-Marcus Nihilism, declaimed via six-figure Uppies and their salon-tanned, morally vacant offspring, none of whom seem to be able to make it from limo door to analyst's couch without several grams of chemical encouragement;

(2) Catatonic Realism, a.k.a. Ultraminimalism, a.k.a. Bad Carver, in which suburbs are wastelands, adults automata, and narrators blank perceptual engines, intoning in run-on monosyllables the artificial ingredients of breakfast cereal and the new human non-soul;

(3) Workshop Hermeticism, fiction for which the highest praise involves the words "competent," "finished," "problem-free," fiction over which Writing-Program pre- and proscriptions loom with the enclosing form of horizons: no character without Freudian trauma in accessible past, without near-diagnostic physical descripton; no image undissolved into regulation Updikean metaphor; no overture without a dramatized scene to "show" what's "told"; no denouement prior to an epiphany whose approach can be charted by any Freitag on any Macintosh.

wish i could find out what Updikean metaphors are like without actually having to read Updike

I'm also not entirely sure what he means by Hermeticism here. Is this just the noun form of "hermetic" (as in, closed, sealed off)? Or is he referring to the "religious, philosophical, and esoteric tradition based primarily upon writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus"

—p.39 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

(1) Neiman-Marcus Nihilism, declaimed via six-figure Uppies and their salon-tanned, morally vacant offspring, none of whom seem to be able to make it from limo door to analyst's couch without several grams of chemical encouragement;

(2) Catatonic Realism, a.k.a. Ultraminimalism, a.k.a. Bad Carver, in which suburbs are wastelands, adults automata, and narrators blank perceptual engines, intoning in run-on monosyllables the artificial ingredients of breakfast cereal and the new human non-soul;

(3) Workshop Hermeticism, fiction for which the highest praise involves the words "competent," "finished," "problem-free," fiction over which Writing-Program pre- and proscriptions loom with the enclosing form of horizons: no character without Freudian trauma in accessible past, without near-diagnostic physical descripton; no image undissolved into regulation Updikean metaphor; no overture without a dramatized scene to "show" what's "told"; no denouement prior to an epiphany whose approach can be charted by any Freitag on any Macintosh.

wish i could find out what Updikean metaphors are like without actually having to read Updike

I'm also not entirely sure what he means by Hermeticism here. Is this just the noun form of "hermetic" (as in, closed, sealed off)? Or is he referring to the "religious, philosophical, and esoteric tradition based primarily upon writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus"

—p.39 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

descended from the same male ancestor as a specified or implied subject, especially through the male line

41

This, that we are agnate, also goes a long way toward explaining the violent and conflicting critical reactions New Voices are provoking.

on how C.Y. writers are related less by chronology and more by similar environment

—p.41 default author
confirm
1 year, 5 months ago

This, that we are agnate, also goes a long way toward explaining the violent and conflicting critical reactions New Voices are provoking.

on how C.Y. writers are related less by chronology and more by similar environment

—p.41 default author
confirm
1 year, 5 months ago

a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole (as fifty sail for fifty ships), the whole for a part (as society for high society), the species for the genus (as cutthroat for assassin), the genus for the species (as a creature for a man), or the name of the material for the thing made (as boards for stage)

43

a young culture so willingly bombarded with messages equating what one consumes with who one is that brand loyalty is now an acceptable synecdoche of identity, of character

this is a great quote, incidentally

—p.43 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

a young culture so willingly bombarded with messages equating what one consumes with who one is that brand loyalty is now an acceptable synecdoche of identity, of character

this is a great quote, incidentally

—p.43 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

(noun) a person who has expert knowledge in a subject; connoisseur

44

Those cognoscenti whose values were formed before TV and advertising became psychologically pandemic are still anxious to draw a sharp distinction.

(between mass media and "quality")

—p.44 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

Those cognoscenti whose values were formed before TV and advertising became psychologically pandemic are still anxious to draw a sharp distinction.

(between mass media and "quality")

—p.44 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

(noun) a misrepresentation intended to harm another's reputation / (noun) the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to harm another's reputation

45

By presenting the intellectual with a more or less accurate image of the popular culture, advertising earns his enmity and calumny.

Quoting advertising scholar Martin Mayer

—p.45 missing author
confirm
1 year, 5 months ago

By presenting the intellectual with a more or less accurate image of the popular culture, advertising earns his enmity and calumny.

Quoting advertising scholar Martin Mayer

—p.45 missing author
confirm
1 year, 5 months ago
48

[...] My own aversion to Ultraminimalism, I think, stems from its naive pretension. The Catatonic Bunch seem to feel that simply by inverting the values imposed on us by television, commercial film, advertising, etc., they can automatically achieve the aesthetic depth popular entertainment so conspicuously lacks. Really, of course, the Ultraminimalists are no less infected by popular culture than other C.Y. writers: they merely choose to define their art by opposition to their own atmosphere. The attitude betrayed is similar to that of lightweight neo-classicals who felt that to be non-vulgar was not just a requirement but an assurance of value, or of insecure scholars who confuse obscurity with profundity. And it's just about as annoying.

—p.48 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] My own aversion to Ultraminimalism, I think, stems from its naive pretension. The Catatonic Bunch seem to feel that simply by inverting the values imposed on us by television, commercial film, advertising, etc., they can automatically achieve the aesthetic depth popular entertainment so conspicuously lacks. Really, of course, the Ultraminimalists are no less infected by popular culture than other C.Y. writers: they merely choose to define their art by opposition to their own atmosphere. The attitude betrayed is similar to that of lightweight neo-classicals who felt that to be non-vulgar was not just a requirement but an assurance of value, or of insecure scholars who confuse obscurity with profundity. And it's just about as annoying.

—p.48 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

a contradiction between two beliefs or conclusions that are in themselves reasonable; a paradox

48

television begins, the more sophisticated it gets, to produce and live by an antinomy, a phenomenon whose strength lies in its contradiction

—p.48 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

television begins, the more sophisticated it gets, to produce and live by an antinomy, a phenomenon whose strength lies in its contradiction

—p.48 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

(adjective) of, relating to, or suggestive of Bishop Berkeley or his system of philosophical idealism, whose fundamental proposition can be summed up as "esse est percepi" (Latin for "To be is to be perceived")

49

Imagine a Berkeleyan esse-est-percipi universe in which God is named Nielsen.

great quote in general

—p.49 default author
confirm
1 year, 5 months ago

Imagine a Berkeleyan esse-est-percipi universe in which God is named Nielsen.

great quote in general

—p.49 default author
confirm
1 year, 5 months ago
50

But now try to recall the last time you saw the "hero" die within his drama's narrative frame. [...] The natural consequences is that today's dramatic heroes tend to be "immortal" within the frame that makes them heroes and objects of identification [...] I claim that the fact that we are strongly encouraged to identify with characters for whom death is not a significant creative possibility has real costs. We the audience, and individual you over there and me right here, lose any sense of eschatology, thus of teleology, and live in a moment that is, paradoxically, both emptied of intrinsic meaning or end and quite literally eternal. If we're the only animals who know in advance we're going to die, we're also probably the only animals who would submit so cheerfully to the sustained denial of this undeniable and very important truth. The danger is that, as entertainment's denials of the truth get even more effective and pervasive and seductive, we will eventually forget what they're denials of. This is scary. Because it seems transparent to me that, if we forget how to die, we're going to forget how to live.

—p.50 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

But now try to recall the last time you saw the "hero" die within his drama's narrative frame. [...] The natural consequences is that today's dramatic heroes tend to be "immortal" within the frame that makes them heroes and objects of identification [...] I claim that the fact that we are strongly encouraged to identify with characters for whom death is not a significant creative possibility has real costs. We the audience, and individual you over there and me right here, lose any sense of eschatology, thus of teleology, and live in a moment that is, paradoxically, both emptied of intrinsic meaning or end and quite literally eternal. If we're the only animals who know in advance we're going to die, we're also probably the only animals who would submit so cheerfully to the sustained denial of this undeniable and very important truth. The danger is that, as entertainment's denials of the truth get even more effective and pervasive and seductive, we will eventually forget what they're denials of. This is scary. Because it seems transparent to me that, if we forget how to die, we're going to forget how to live.

—p.50 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind

51

lose any sense of eschatology, thus of teleology

—p.51 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

lose any sense of eschatology, thus of teleology

—p.51 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

unable to be resisted or avoided; inescapable

52

an ineluctably conditioned part of a pop-dominated culture

—p.52 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

an ineluctably conditioned part of a pop-dominated culture

—p.52 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago
54

[...] The writer of trash fiction, often with admirable craft, affords his customer a narrative structure and movement, and content that engages the reader--titillates, repulses, excites, transports him--without demanding of him any of the intellectual or spiritual or artistic responses that render verbal intercourse between writer and reader an important or even real activity. [...]

—p.54 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] The writer of trash fiction, often with admirable craft, affords his customer a narrative structure and movement, and content that engages the reader--titillates, repulses, excites, transports him--without demanding of him any of the intellectual or spiritual or artistic responses that render verbal intercourse between writer and reader an important or even real activity. [...]

—p.54 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago
63

[...] The climate for the "next" generation of American writers--should we decide to inhale rather than die--is aswirl with what seems like long-overdue appreciation for the weird achievements of such aliens as Husserl, Heidegger, Bakhtin, Lacan, Barthes, Poulet, Gadamer, de Man. The demise of Structuralism has changed a world's outlook on language, art, and literary discourse; and the contemporary artist can no longer afford to regard the work of critics or theorists or philosophers--no matter how stratospheric--as divorced from his own concerns.

—p.63 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] The climate for the "next" generation of American writers--should we decide to inhale rather than die--is aswirl with what seems like long-overdue appreciation for the weird achievements of such aliens as Husserl, Heidegger, Bakhtin, Lacan, Barthes, Poulet, Gadamer, de Man. The demise of Structuralism has changed a world's outlook on language, art, and literary discourse; and the contemporary artist can no longer afford to regard the work of critics or theorists or philosophers--no matter how stratospheric--as divorced from his own concerns.

—p.63 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago
64

[...] The refracted world of Proust and Musil, Schulz and Stein, Borges and Faulkner has, post-War, exploded into diffraction, a weird, protracted Manhattan Project staffed by Robbe-Grillet, Grass, Nabokov, Sorrentino, Bohl, Barth, McCarthy, García Márquez, Puig, Kundera, Gass, Fuentes, Elkin, Donoso, Handke, Burroughs, Duras, Coover, Gombrowicz, Le Guin, Lessing, Acker, Gaddis, Coetzee, Ozick. To name just a few. We, the would-be heirs to a gorgeous chaos, stand witness to the rise and fall of the nouveau roman, Postmodernism, Metafiction, the New Lyricism, the New Realism, Minimalism, Ultraminimialism, Performance-Theory. It's a freaking maelstrom, and the C.Y. writer who still likes to read a bit can't help feeling torn: if the Program is maddening in its stasis, the real world of serious fiction just won't hold still.

so is DFW saying he's read all these authors? Jesus

—p.64 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] The refracted world of Proust and Musil, Schulz and Stein, Borges and Faulkner has, post-War, exploded into diffraction, a weird, protracted Manhattan Project staffed by Robbe-Grillet, Grass, Nabokov, Sorrentino, Bohl, Barth, McCarthy, García Márquez, Puig, Kundera, Gass, Fuentes, Elkin, Donoso, Handke, Burroughs, Duras, Coover, Gombrowicz, Le Guin, Lessing, Acker, Gaddis, Coetzee, Ozick. To name just a few. We, the would-be heirs to a gorgeous chaos, stand witness to the rise and fall of the nouveau roman, Postmodernism, Metafiction, the New Lyricism, the New Realism, Minimalism, Ultraminimialism, Performance-Theory. It's a freaking maelstrom, and the C.Y. writer who still likes to read a bit can't help feeling torn: if the Program is maddening in its stasis, the real world of serious fiction just won't hold still.

so is DFW saying he's read all these authors? Jesus

—p.64 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

(adjective) highly pertinent or appropriate; apt

66

There's a marvelously apposite Heidegger quotation here, but I'll spare you.

love this quote. referring to our literary innocence being taken away without anything substantial to replace it

—p.66 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago

There's a marvelously apposite Heidegger quotation here, but I'll spare you.

love this quote. referring to our literary innocence being taken away without anything substantial to replace it

—p.66 default author
notable
1 year, 5 months ago
66

[...] Of course it's true that an unprecedented number of young Americans have big disposable incomes, fine tastes, nice things, competent accountants, access to exotic intoxicants, attractive sex partners, and are still deeply unhappy. All right. Some good fiction has held up a mercilessly powder-smeared mirror to the obvious. What troubles me about the fact that the Gold-Card-fear-and-trembling fiction just keeps coming is that, if the upheavals in popular, academic, and intellectual life have left people with any long-cherished conviction intact, it seems as if it should be an abiding faith that the conscientious, talented, and lucky artist of any age retains the power to effect change. And if Marx (sorry--last dropped name) derided the intellectuals of his day for merely interpreting the world when the real imperative was to change it, the derision seems even more apt today when we notice that many of our best-known C.Y. writers seem content merely to have reduced interpretation to whining. And what's frustrating for me about the whiners is that precisely the state of general affairs that explains a nihilistic artistic outlook makes it imperative that art not be nihilistic. [...]

—p.66 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] Of course it's true that an unprecedented number of young Americans have big disposable incomes, fine tastes, nice things, competent accountants, access to exotic intoxicants, attractive sex partners, and are still deeply unhappy. All right. Some good fiction has held up a mercilessly powder-smeared mirror to the obvious. What troubles me about the fact that the Gold-Card-fear-and-trembling fiction just keeps coming is that, if the upheavals in popular, academic, and intellectual life have left people with any long-cherished conviction intact, it seems as if it should be an abiding faith that the conscientious, talented, and lucky artist of any age retains the power to effect change. And if Marx (sorry--last dropped name) derided the intellectuals of his day for merely interpreting the world when the real imperative was to change it, the derision seems even more apt today when we notice that many of our best-known C.Y. writers seem content merely to have reduced interpretation to whining. And what's frustrating for me about the whiners is that precisely the state of general affairs that explains a nihilistic artistic outlook makes it imperative that art not be nihilistic. [...]

—p.66 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago
68

[...] Serious, real, conscientious, aware, ambitious art is not a grey thing. It has never been a grey thing and it is not a grey thing now. This is why fiction in a grey time may not be grey. And why the titles of all but one or two of the best works of Neiman Marcus Nihilism are going to induce aphasia quite soon in literate persons who read narrative art for what makes it real.

—p.68 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] Serious, real, conscientious, aware, ambitious art is not a grey thing. It has never been a grey thing and it is not a grey thing now. This is why fiction in a grey time may not be grey. And why the titles of all but one or two of the best works of Neiman Marcus Nihilism are going to induce aphasia quite soon in literate persons who read narrative art for what makes it real.

—p.68 by David Foster Wallace 1 year, 5 months ago