Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Somebody Needs to Learn the Meaning of the Word 'Exploitation'

David Foster Wallace is dead--but he has at least two books coming out soon.

One is the project he fretted over for years and expected to be published after his death.

Another is the commencement address he delivered to Kenyon College graduates in 2005. The transcribed address has been available online since...2005. For free. Now it is about to be published by Little, Brown and sold for $14.99.

This is exceedingly irritating to me and I read this review with clenched teeth. At one point, my teeth unclenched in an attempt to bite the head clean-off a man named named Tom Bissell.

It was at this point:
"While some may question the decision to publish Wallace’s address as a book — and its interior design of one sentence per page is not much of a rebuttal to that question — it would take a small, charred heart to find any impure motives here."
A 'small, charred heart?' Is you serious, Tom? You're trying to convince me that this is a pure endeavor? How exactly is this not exploitative and unnecessary? As you said in your own review, more people have read Wallace's Kenyon College commencement address than his magnum opus, Infinite Jest. For free.

Why start charging them now, if not out of greed?

--Small Charred Heart in Los Angeles


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