Which essay does David Foster Wallace mean?
January 16, 2008 12:51 PM   Subscribe

To which essay is David Foster Wallace referring in his final footnote in the introduction to "Best American Essays 2007?"

The footnote reads "You probably know which essay I’m referring to, assuming you’re reading this guest intro last as is SOP. If you’re not, and so don’t, then you have a brutal little treat in store." The footnote refers to an essay about "the revelation that most of what you’ve believed and revered turns out to be self-indulgent crap."

Anyone who has read the book, do you know which essay this is?
posted by rjacobs to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm taking a guess that it's "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again". Which is a pretty interesting piece of writing.

But I have no idea.
posted by sully75 at 1:11 PM on January 16, 2008


Actually I'm probably totally wrong. Sorry.
posted by sully75 at 1:12 PM on January 16, 2008


It's Edward O. Wilson's "Apocalypse Now" which is the last essay in the collection.
posted by mattbucher at 1:36 PM on January 16, 2008


You can read the essay here. It's about how Christian fundamentalism is anti-environmental. I wasn't really blown away by it.
posted by mattbucher at 1:39 PM on January 16, 2008


I thought the one he was referring to was Cynthia Ozick's "Out from Xanadu," in which the author describes herself going through this experience in early adulthood (i.e. discovering that what she believed in was self-indulgent crap.) But I could be wrong.
posted by Daily Alice at 1:46 PM on January 16, 2008


...and which you can read here.
posted by AngerBoy at 1:53 PM on January 16, 2008


Uh, the footnote (#9) appears at "The last one's of especial value, I think." Meaning the last essay in the collection. The previous line in the introduction is the one about "the revelation that most of what you’ve believed and revered turns out to be self-indulgent crap" so the question you've asked is not set up right.
posted by mattbucher at 1:53 PM on January 16, 2008


Here's Wallace's introduction.
posted by mattbucher at 1:54 PM on January 16, 2008


Quite right. Thanks for sending that link and correcting.

(But the Ozick article is still damned good!)
posted by AngerBoy at 2:00 PM on January 16, 2008


I think mattbucher is misreading it. I'm sure the footnote is either referring to the Ozick essay or the Jerald Walker essay, on why he abandoned reading (and writing) African American literature as a history of victimhood. He must be talking about an essay with a self-revelation, otherwise there's no object for the "That" of "That last one's...".
posted by roofus at 4:21 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


When he says "That last one" maybe he does mean the Ozick essay since it's mentioned last in the preceding sentence. I was wrong. My bad.
posted by mattbucher at 4:29 PM on January 16, 2008


Thanks everyone...just read all the essays mentioned and it seems like the Ozick essay is probably it, although I thought the Walker essay was more compelling and could conceivably be the one in question. Hopefully David Foster Wallace will Google his own name and answer our question himself, with a footnote about how embarrassed he is that he's been caught Googling his own name.
posted by rjacobs at 8:10 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


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