Apparently they're making a movie about David Foster Wallace. I don't understand. I remember... was it Salinger who complained about how people knew more about Percy Bysshe Shelley than they did about his poetry? Well... here's the thing: Two vast and trunkless legs of zzzz that sexy monster Byron, though, amiright? Sometimes art is interesting, sometimes artists are more interesting. I would think that ideally your art is more interesting than you are, since that's what will survive (to the extent that anything survives, see also: Ozymandius). Although you get some artists and the reason their art survives is because their lives were interesting. But with Wallace, is his life really that interesting? I mean, I'm sorry, is he more interesting than his art? Because I don't think he was; in fact I think he worked pretty hard to not be, to put this voice into his essays that was both extraordinarily personal and self deflecting at the same time. It makes me sad to see people so increasingly fascinated with him as a person when I feel like they probably haven't read anything he wrote beyond This Is Water.
Ironically in a conversation with Squire two days ago, regarding a comment someone had made about keeping good music under wraps, so as to protect it from "teenage fangirls"; I wrote "Great art is not cheapened by having stupid people like it... [If you're looking at art at the same time as a group of unappreciative schoolkids], the art itself isn't diminished, just your experience of it in that moment. And maybe in that school group there is one kid who is changed, who becomes a slightly better person. Do you keep the art out of the museum because somebody ignorant might see it? Or do you put it in the museum for that one kid? Because I would argue that art is PRECISELY FOR that one kid, you know? and the more people art reaches, the more likely that it can transform people."
So I'm here all "these people don't DESERVE to watch a film about him" and on the other hand, who am I to say, if some How I Met Your Mother fan who had never heard of Wallace comes to at least TRY Infinite Jest or A Supposedly Fun Thing, then that's good, right? His work will not be tarnished by a movie. And at least the movie is based on an interview with actual him instead of cobbled kiss-and-tell interviews with people who knew him. So I don't know. I'm uncomfortable. But I'm not going to dismiss the idea out of hand. I always felt like I knew him; I did not. That was part of his gift, that voice that felt like he was standing right beside you, telling you what he saw so that you could see it, too. I'm not unhappy if other people feel that way. The world is lonely enough; when we hear the voices of great artists, however we come to hear those voices, it becomes less so. I hope.