If you dislike the style of some writing on some blogs, blame David Foster Wallace. According to Maud Newton's essay "Another Thing to Sort of Pin on David Foster Wallace" in this week's New York Times Magazine, Wallace's "slangy approachability" might have been part of his appeal, but it's far less appealing in other people. "In the Internet era, Wallace’s moves have been adopted and further slackerized by a legion of opinion-mongers who not only lack his quick mind but seem not to have mastered the idea that to make an argument, you must, amid all the tap-dancing and hedging, actually lodge an argument," she writes. Newton says that "Wallace isn't responsible for his imitators," but she cites Wallace's 1993 essay "E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction" as the "ur-text" of this "movement." According to Newton, "In its soaring romanticism, its Orwellian fears, its I’m-just-riffing-here backtracking and its infuriating absence of question marks following interrogatories, this essay prefigures many of the worst tendencies of the Internet." Is it fair to pin the pervasive use of ironic punctuation on David Foster Wallace? Are equivocations and self-doubt a cultural byproduct of admiring Wallace's work? Did Wallace create this style, or did he just popularize it? Bring on the theories.
Most Viewed Stories
Amy Schumer Shares ‘Beautiful, Gross, Strong, Thin, Fat, Pretty, Ugly, Sexy, Disgusting, Flawless’ Annie Leibovitz Photo
Sinead O’Connor Posts Possible Suicide Note, Is Now Receiving Medical Attention
7 Steps to Living a Bill Murray Life, by Bill Murray
The Affair Recap: You Are Not Alone
Retro Star Wars: The Force Awakens Posters Send Powerful, Nostalgic Message
What’s New on Netflix: December 2015
Seinfeld Cast Members Send In-Character Videos to Terminally Ill Fan
Homeland Recap: Whack-a-Mole
The Leftovers Recap: The Meg Problem
The Walking Dead Recap: Hostile Takeover
Latest News from VultureGeorge Lucas Explains Why He Edited the 'Han Shot First' Scene
"Should he be a cold-blooded killer?"Bill Murray's Rock the Kasbah Was Forbes's Least Profitable Film of 2015
Scope out the other 14 biggest financial flops of the year.Fargo Recap: Fully Actualized
"Do you understand the difference between thinking and being?"After That 'Chicanery' Business at Fox, Bones Stars Have Joined the Fight for Proper Profits
Oof.Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Recap: Mom-ineering
"I need you to sleep with my mom. Just a little bit."Here's Why J.J. Abrams Likes Han Solo the Most
It has to do with that scene of Han in the new trailer.Gotham Recap: Tazed in the Face
If you watch Gotham for anything but its performances, it will almost certainly break your heart.Transparent Recap: Welcome Back, Pfeffermans
This season is going to be magic.Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Who’s Basically a Human Kermit, Duets With Miss Piggy
They sing "Fly Me to the Moon."Beyoncé and Coldplay’s Duet Is Like a Gospel ‘Drunk in Love’ Sequel Because Angels Need to Have Sex, Too (Hopefully)
The great debate rages on.Creed Perfects the Art of the Man-Cry, But Will Oscar Voters Feel It, Too?
Can the boxing blockbuster compete for Best Picture?This Month in Movies: Giving Thanks for November’s Blockbuster Bounce-Back
After a rough October, Mockingjay, Part 2 and Spectre, among others, were welcome reminders that movies actually can still make money.Why Jessica Jones’s Kilgrave Is Marvel’s Best Onscreen Villain Yet
And what this says about the failings of the franchise.What New York Magazine Editors Will Be Gifting This Holiday Season
(Spoiler alert.)Vince Gilligan Was Planning on Killing Off Breaking Bad’s Hank Way Sooner (Season One!)
There are silver linings!What’s New on HBO Now: December 2015
Lots of Heath Ledger.Did This YouTube Star’s Murder Prank Go Too Far?
Some fans are asking that Sam Pepper be banned from YouTube for pranking Vine star Sam Golbach.The ‘Pope Bars’ Meme Will Add Some Bass to Your Prayers
Blessing fingers turn to trigger fingers.Chewbacca Is a Can of Coke Zero Now
Nice to meet you, Cokebacca.