DFW

December 9, 2012

From David Foster Wallace’s essay “Fictional Futures and the Conspicuously Young”, in the collection Both Flesh and Not.

“And if Marx…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 [Conspicuously Young] 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.

…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.

…If fashion, flux, and academy make for thin milk, at least that means the good stuff can’t help but rise. I’d get ready.”