David Foster Wallace: E Unibus Pluram

December 23rd, 2013

David Foster Wallace is one of my favorite modern writers.

Some authors create extrodinary scenes and elaborate on some great fantasy. DFW, on the other hand, has a way of describing perfectly ordinary situations while allowing them to retain their banality. To him, state fairs are still filled with herds of people fighting for their place in line at the food booth, and lobster festivals are still hot, loud, and sickening.

I’ve gotten fed up with the culture of irony that seems so pervasive in America today, especially for those in their 20s. Jokes are made sarcastically, media is pre-emptively mocking, and opinions are expressed disingenuously. Cultural ideas seem to spin around and become digested once, twice, and over again. These ideas are referential, often turning in and becoming self-referential.

DFW wrote a great piece on fiction writing that encompassed the topic of irony and self-reference within media. E Unibus Pluram is a work that helped me organize my feelings about the current state of American youth culture. It contains some great insights into TV advertising and media consumption, both of which play a big role in my day-to-day.

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