December 20, 2017

Questions asked of a photograph of oneself as a 5-year-old: "I’m what you wanted me to be... You got me into this: now what do I do?"

A passage in David Lipsky's "Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace." I found this so interesting but it is a little confusing. The book is based on a transcript of an interview with David Foster Wallace. The words are the voice of Lipsky, the interviewer. And the key quote, which is why I'm writing the post, comes from John Updike's memoirs ("Self-Consciousness") — and Updike is talking to a photograph of himself. Got that? So the "you" Lipsky is talking to is Wallace, but the "you" in the quote within the quote is the younger version of Updike to whom old man Updike is speaking:
This is just for color; so the fact that you’ve gotten the readership that you might have wanted in your midtwenties … quote from Self-Consciousness: photograph Updike sees of himself in his mother’s house, as a five-year-old boy, which now looks kind of sinister. "I’m what you wanted me to be,” you know what I mean? “You got me into this: now what do I do? I await his instructions.” I mean, in a sense, you fulfilled the ambitions that twenty-five-year-old had in terms of the kind of impact you wanted to make …
I didn't really mean to be so labyrinthine, but I'm fascinated by the idea of an old man confronted by a photograph of his younger self, seeing that boy as sinister, and sort of chewing him out and demanding to know what to do now.

I wonder what your comparable encounter with a photograph of your child-self would be like. Maybe Child You didn't get what he wanted and you have to say, tough luck, kid, you didn't get what you wanted. But then you'd have the advantage Updike didn't have. You wouldn't await further instruction from the sinister kid. He'd have no power over you. What does he know? He got it all wrong.

But that's just me trying to untangle what I encountered as labyrinthine but too good not to share. I can do better. I can get the Kindle of "Self-Consciousness" and try to find what Lipsky was quoting. Ah, Lipsky was paraphrasing! I bought the ebook and tried many searches. "Sinister" is certainly not Updike's word for his five-year-old self. Lipsky's version of the scene is all I can give you right now. That, and Wallace's response to the prompt:
You know, it may be that those ambitions are what get you to do the work, to get the exposure, to realize that the original ambitions were misguided. Right? So that it’s a weird paradoxical link. If you didn’t have the ambitions, you’d never find out that they were sort of deluded. But there is, you’re right, once you’ve decided those delusions are empty, you’ve got a big problem, because... you can’t kill off parts of yourself. You have to start building machinery that can incorporate that part.
I wish Wallace had done more with that wonderful prompt, but I don't think he liked Updike too much. Earlier in the Lipsky transcript, he'd said:
Because Updike, I think, has never had an unpublished thought. And that he’s got an ability to put it in very lapidary prose. But that Updike presents one with a compressed Internet problem, is there’s 80 percent absolute dreck, and 20 percent priceless stuff. And you just have to wade through so much purple gorgeous empty writing to get to anything that’s got any kind of heartbeat in it. Plus, I think he’s mentally ill.
Here's hoping this post — being on the internet — is no more than 80% absolute dreck.

ADDED: Imagine President Trump encountering this photograph:
What is his version of the Updike-like conversation? I’m what you wanted me to be. You got me into this: now what do I do? I await your instructions....

IN THE EMAIL: The author David Lipsky writes to say that I'm first person who's noticed that the Updike "quote" is just a paraphrase and to help me find the verbatim Updike quote (on page 238 of "Self-Consciousness"). Here:
I rub my face. My forehead, full of actinic damage from all those years of seeking the healing sun, hurts. My public, marketable self—the self put on display in interviews and slightly “off” caricatures in provincial book-review sections, the book-autographing, anxious-to-please me—feels like another skin and hurts also. I look over at my younger self on the wall: a photograph taken in Earl Snyder’s studio on Penn Street when I was five, wearing a kind of sailor collar, the edges blurred away—“vignetted”—in old-fashioned studio style, an image cherished by my mother, nicely framed the workmanlike way they do things in Reading, and always hanging here, in this spot, for me to admire and remember: little Johnny, his tentatively smiling mouth, his dark and ardent and hopeful eyes. For a second he looks evil. He has got me into this.
I like Updike's version and I like the extra spin Lipsky put on it. I also think it's very cool that Lipsky wrote to me, and his explanation of the confusion makes good sense: The book is a transcription of audio tapes, and the transcription included whatever mistakes DFW made (and was no longer in a position to correct), so it seemed "only fair" for Lipsky to refrain from correcting his own mistakes.

99 comments:

corsair the rational pirate said...

Uhm, I love me some Althouse. But this post is positively more than 80% absolute dreck. A lot more.

Merry Christmas!

Ann Althouse said...

"Uhm, I love me some Althouse. But this post is positively more than 80% absolute dreck. A lot more."

That's before I added the Trump material. Did I dilute the dreck or increase the concentration?

David said...

"Self-Conciousness" is not exactly an uplifting read. Dive into it at your peril.

David said...

Little Trump is already washing his hands of something. Foreshadowing!

Will Cate said...

I like DFW -- so sad that his life ended as it did. I should read more of him -- the only one I finished (mainly because I liked the title so much) is "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again"

tcrosse said...

He's got the whole world in his hands. Wanna see ?

Ann Althouse said...

If you liked ""A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," you should read "Consider the Lobster" (the other collection of nonfiction essays). These are the 2 books I have enjoyed.

I can tell by the Lipsky interview that Wallace put much less effort into those essays than he put into his fictions, but the fiction doesn't work on me the way it's supposed to, which is — Wallace says this in the long interview — that it's supposed to be great fun... speaking of "a supposedly fun thing...."

The title essay of "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" is about going on a cruise, and many people really do experience cruises as fun. Obviously, Wallace didn't, and that's as close as I'm ever going to get to finding out if it would be fun for me. I'm taking Wallace's word on cruises just like I'm taking David Sedaris's word on nudist camps.

Meade said...

five-year-old Trump instructs present-day Trump:

"[You] have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people who cannot defend themselves. Nobody knows the system better than [you], which is why [you] alone can fix it. [You] have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders – he never had a chance.

"But his supporters will join our movement, because we will fix his biggest issue: trade deals that strip our country of its jobs and wealth. Millions of Democrats will join our movement, because we are going to fix the system so it works fairly, and justly, for each and every American."

Big Mike said...

You are going to sell your soul to Satan. In exchange you will be one of the wealthiest men in the world, you will be married to an international-class model, you will have beautiful daughters and handsome, skilled sons and sons in law. Oh, and yes, you will be President of the United States.

Sebastian said...

"Maybe Child You didn't get what he wanted and you have to say, tough luck, kid, you didn't get what you wanted. But then you'd have the advantage Updike didn't have. You wouldn't await further instruction from the sinister kid. He'd have no power over you. What does he know? He got it all wrong."

Wouldn't "not getting what you wanted" confer another kind of power--to induce guilt, disappointment, self-justification, denial?

Besides this odd instruction-begging, I wonder why DFW called Updike mentally ill.

rhhardin said...

Because Updike, I think, has never had an unpublished thought. And that he’s got an ability to put it in very lapidary prose.

Lepidopteran prose is prettier.

Nobody syllabifies it right. le.pi.do.pter.an

rhhardin said...

I wanted to fly, and I did that.

Then stumbled into a play-for-pay job right out of college in a field that didn't exist when I was a kid.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Can you tell us the real reason why you find Drumpf so interesting/exciting? The guy is as boring as spit. For real.

Come on. Tell us the real reason for these endless paeans to the professional one-man peanut gallery.

tcrosse said...

If you don't unclasp those hands they'll never grow.

Ann Althouse said...

Who says "lapidary" in conversation (except as a joke, as I just did, publishing this post and saying to Meade, "There's a new post... and it's lapidary!")?

"Lapidary" seems like it came from a word list for hackneyed book reviewers — where it appears along with "luminous" and "astonishing."

rhhardin said...

Trump has the media's number and ruins their act.

Yancey Ward said...

David at 5:14 p.m. wins the week.

Drago said...

TTR: "Can you tell us the real reason why you find Drumpf so interesting/exciting? The guy is as boring as spit. For real"

Can you explain why the entire left MSM has disagreed with that assessment for the last 2.5 years?

Fernandistein said...

It's funny how you can recognize some people as kids but others not.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

The title essay of "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" is about going on a cruise, and many people really do experience cruises as fun. Obviously, Wallace didn't, and that's as close as I'm ever going to get to finding out if it would be fun for me. I'm taking Wallace's word on cruises just like I'm taking David Sedaris's word on nudist camps.

Writers are a notoriously odd bunch and Wallace was a recalcitrant depressive who hung himself at age 46 from the rafters. I really wouldn't take his disappointments as any kind of good advice. And the right cruises are a lot of fun - assuming you like to sight-see/travel in a way that's not just confined to the lower 48 and wouldn't mind covering a lot of ground. Besides, you're in your sixties. Cruising is the way to go! Some of the lines are obnoxious 20-something party and vomit and orgy fests (Carnival? Princess?) but there are definitely a whole bunch to choose from and that includes a number that are classy and low key enough for anyone more mature than a six-year old or sixteen-year old to enjoy. Many retirees actually spend their golden years living aboard and going from cruise itinerary to itinerary. Not a bad way to do it, IMO.

YoungHegelian said...

I'm not trying to feed a myth that I don't believe, but, I swear, that photo of little Trump looks so Teutonic that you'd think it's a photo for National Socialist propaganda from the 30's for the Volksgemeinschaft movement.

Kinder, Küche, Kirche, ladies. Ve haf vays uff making you cooperate.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Can you explain why the entire left MSM has disagreed with that assessment for the last 2.5 years?

I dunno. Jealousy? Frustration? The fact that their opinions and interests are equally boring?

In an earlier thread today our hostess mentioned Trump as the anti-elitist, which I thought was funny. The MSM and their associated establishments of Hollywood etc. are so worked up by Trump precisely because of how much celebrity and elitism he chased around and to some degree achieved over the years.

Note: This doesn't make him "anti-elitist." It makes him an elite who is fixated on proving that he's even better than ("more elite") than all those other elites he envied all these years.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Of course, Hugh Hefner wore a skipper cap. But he's not the arbiter here. If you go to YouTube you can find a bunch of really cool videos of bucking young to middle-age bearded adults who live aboard small sailing vessels traveling from island to island while the missus flays and fries the fish after a long day laying aboard the deck in a bikini. I say that's the life.

Drago said...

In other "interesting" news, the left is now, courageously, willing to take on the truth of Chappaquiddick.

I'm in awe.

Drago said...

TTR: "I dunno. Jealousy? Frustration? The fact that their opinions and interests are equally boring?"

The ratings results tell a different story.

So, to summarize, other than the entire media and the viewing audiences of our nation, no one thought Trump was interesting.

That should pretty much close this thread down.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

In other "interesting" news, the left is now, courageously, willing to take on the truth of Chappaquiddick.

Individual Cape Cod bridge-crossing mishaps from the 1960s are so much more important to our political discourse than preventing the next 2008 or 2001 or whatever.

Talk about personalizing the target. What an emotional bunch. When do we ever get around to this latest boondoggle of tax fealty to the billionaires? I'm sure that will so much more cure our economic woes than it never did before.

Drago said...

TTR: "Individual Cape Cod bridge-crossing mishaps from the 1960s are so much more important to our political discourse than preventing the next 2008 or 2001 or whatever"

Yes. Better to let sleeping dogs lie.

Did you happen to catch person of honor Bill Clinton at the Gov Cuomo event last week?

Best to let that one go too.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

The ratings results tell a different story.

?

Oh, I get it! You're talking tee vee!

Conservatives are always one media innovation behind in what they find important. Let's forget the internet that they want to allow the same boring tee vee media monopolies to control ever existed. The internet is dead, long live the televisation of the internet! Pretty soon it will be as fragmented as Comcast cable. Thanks, Republicans!

pacwest said...

I don't think Trump's mind works along those lines.

I'd put a caption under that picture: "Someday I will drink their milkshakes".

Drago said...

TTR: "When do we ever get around to this latest boondoggle of tax fealty to the billionaires"

You mean, other than round the clock news and threads on this very blog dedicated to that topic?

Is that what you mean by "get around to this"?

I mean, could you remove the mystery and let us know, precisely, how many threads specifically dedicated to that topic need to be offered up to qualify for getting "around to this"?

Just so we know.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Did you happen to catch person of honor Bill Clinton at the Gov Cuomo event last week?

I was probably reading something about policy instead. But don't let your penchant for gossip and "personalizing the target" get in the way of that!

Hey, but at least you're no longer devoting your time to casting guilt on dead senators. That must be a real productive endeavor -- for a Republican.

Drago said...

TTR: "Oh, I get it! You're talking tee vee!"

Why yes, when referring to "viewing audiences" I often mean "tee vee".

I'm sorry that was difficult to discern.

Bumsurf said...

Did the 5 year old Trump grope a classmate? News at 7.

Drago said...

TTR: "I was probably reading something about policy instead."

Apparently not.

Sounds much more likely you were absorbing democrat talking points.

From the "tee vee" no less.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

You mean, other than round the clock news and threads on this very blog dedicated to that topic?

If those threads are devoted to that topic it's only thanks to the liberals and progs. The hostess makes sure to try to take the ever-more important angle of Trump's "personality" wars. And the majority conservative crowd here seems to prefer keeping it that way.

The one silver lining of the Trump Residency: Conservatives have stopped pretending that their policy arguments even make enough sense to keep trotting out.

Sydney said...

My five year old self didn't really think much about the future. My five year old self lived in the moment, as I think most five year olds do.

Freeman Hunt said...

Imagine President Trump encountering this photograph:

"Have you seen this picture of me? It's a great picture. Beautiful boy. Absolutely beautiful. And I have to tell you, I think it's obvious why my kids are so attractive. I mean, look at that. Have you ever seen a more beautiful little boy than that? No. Of course you haven't. People are always attributing kids' good looks to the mothers, but I don't know. I know we do that to be nice. But is it true? Eh, sometimes, maybe. But that's a great picture. Great looking kid."

buwaya said...

That bridge-crossing incident could have prevented a very great deal of decay in US institutions. Ted K and his mafia did a tremendous lot of harm to the US and the free world. Arguably, the suppression of that did even more harm, downstream. Institutions had to tell lies and defend lies on top of lies, on and on. Which excused later lies, and on and on.

Harm like this accumulates, and poisons the future. You all (we all) are still paying for Ted K.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Why yes, when referring to "viewing audiences" I often mean "tee vee".

Why stop there? If you were conservative enough you'd be yammering on about the power of the radio dial.

Or better yet, the telegraph key.

Any day now, conservatives will revert to their true nature and extol the virtue of relegating all information exchange to a town crier. The less technology and information, the better, they say!

Drago said...

TTR: "If those threads are devoted to that topic it's only thanks to the liberals and progs."

Sometimes you can tell what the threads are devoted to by reading the posted topic by Althouse.

But since you are now asserting liberal and prog pressure on Althouse is what caused her to blog specifically about the Tax bill, I guess the only thing left for me to say is "thanks".

Drago said...

TTR: "Why stop there? If you were conservative enough you'd be yammering on about the power of the radio dial."

I guess I'm not conservative enough.

Dang it!

Drago said...

TTR: "Any day now, conservatives will revert to their true nature and extol the virtue of relegating all information exchange to a town crier."

That sounds like a reasoned response.

Amadeus 48 said...

I would say to my 5 year old self, "This all turned out much better than you thought it would. I'm glad I didn't let you drive. You needed more imagination."

stever said...

My five year old self was really just trying to survive -- as I saw that -- and my sixty year old self is doing the same thing.

buwaya said...

I'd want to meet my fifteen year old self and give him good advice. Stock tips, buy bitcoin ("sell in 2017; I dont think you can handle anything after that; there is rich enough and there is too rich").

I dont think five-year-old me would have remembered or taken it seriously. Who was that weird old guy; much like any other weird old guy. Now to shoot my cousin with this cap gun.

Drago said...

BTW, since we are talking about "Town Criers", here's a link to "town criers" who are busy with their brand new slave markets that Hillary and the dems policies created: http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/14/africa/libya-migrant-auctions/index.html

Unfortunately for the these human beings that are auctioned off by the dems re-empowered "criers", your snark provides very little comfort.

Inga said...

When I see that angelic face of 5 year old Trump, I think of the children who no longer have healthcare because Republicans prioritized tax cuts for corporations over CHIP.

Freeman Hunt said...

"I wonder what your comparable encounter with a photograph of your child-self would be like."

It's sadder. I know that kid's life turns out great, but it's going to be not so great for about a decade. That kid thinks life is It's a Wonderful Life. Her adult self thinks it's more High Noon but would never tell her.

I think that kid wanted to be an apple picker to ride a bike and carry a ladder at the same time, so I don't know that there's any upset or fulfillment of ambition to address. "No, I don't pick apples. The ladder and bike idea lost its allure. I would suggest you ride around the neighborhood with a stepladder if that experience is important to you."

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

That sounds like a reasoned response.

It's one that finds the overwhelmingly sensationalized sound and visual effects of the FOX News broadcasts just one more way of keeping its conservative audiences here from being reasoned.

You folks really do like to have your buttons pressed, don't you? It's almost like a puppet show the way you respond to the strings they pull.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

When I see that angelic face of 5 year old Trump, I think of the children who no longer have healthcare because Republicans prioritized tax cuts for corporations over CHIP.

Careful. You're dangerously treading on the ground of finding individual, underprivileged American lives to be as important that of the overfed and overindulged Trump.

Which is sacrilege in the conservative Worship Trump religion.

Drago said...

I always enjoy the conversations TTR has with the people he creates in his head.

buwaya said...

The Internet, and whatever the flavor of the month user interface pretends to be high tech, does not initiate much news at all, nor does it usually inject new ideas. It still is something of a vampire off traditional media that actually have the $ to pay people to find and write up the "news".

The editors thereof still have the very great power, mostly, to determine what news is important; the internet is a dumb thing and generally still conforms to their agenda.

Freeman Hunt said...

My five year old self would probably be most surprised at the idea that her adult self hasn't been on a golf course during adult life. I spent a tremendous amount of time with my dad on golf courses at that age, though not playing golf. I don't think it occurs to kids that adults don't (and really can't) go to places like that to run around and play in the grass.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

That's it, Drago. Remember Africa!

Anything to keep the focus off of what's going on in America. The country that didn't popularly support Trump.

But then again, neither does any other country.

A true president for the minority! The white minority!

As a political bloc, it's like you're writing your own epitaph before everyone's very eyes.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

A white minority president for the new white minority voting bloc!

Not popularly supported. And no wonder.

Drago said...

Inga: "When I see that angelic face of 5 year old Trump, I think of the children who no longer have healthcare because Republicans prioritized tax cuts for corporations over CHIP"

LOL

How's that Rex Tillerson firing coming along?

Remember all the way back a couple of weeks ago that was a sure sign Trump had lost it?

Good times, good times.

I was also sorry to hear that Andrew McCabe had forgotten he had signed documents indicating he knew precisely when Fusion GPS was paid by Hillary for their made up allegations, despite his professed ignorance during testimony yesterday.

That's just a shame.

Drago said...

TTR: "Anything to keep the focus off of what's going on in America."

Note to self: TTR does not want to discuss anything beyond the shores of the US.

Isolationism!

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Trump is an inspiration to young white minority voters who wonder if someday, they too, will be able to use their aggrieved sense of entitlement to propel them into the (white) house.

Never underestimate the power of complaint and whining. Especially in this case.

If you're white, it will get you everywhere.

Drago said...

If I had to guess, I would bet Trump is enjoying 2 LARGE scoops of ice cream with a Diet Coke tonight.

And "lifelong 'Jen Rubin' Republican" Chuck weeps.

Drago said...

TTR: "Never underestimate the power of complaint and whining."

Imitation of the left and dems is a most sincere form of flattery.

Inga said...

“How's that Rex Tillerson firing coming along?”

How should I know, nor do I care. You laugh at the fact CHIP has expired? What sort of creature are you?

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

TTR does not want to discuss anything beyond the shores of the US.

I care more about what happens in America. Don't you?

Maybe you'd better. Trump's even more hated abroad than he is here.

What's up with all this imperialistic concern trolling for everything everywhere except for what happens in our own country?

I guess that, as with Bush, it's what he will point to when everyone reminds him how much his administration led this country to shit. Hey, at least I'd be an awesome president of the rest-of-the-world! Not.

Drago said...

TTR: "Trump is an inspiration to young white minority voters who wonder if someday, they too, will be able to use their aggrieved sense of entitlement to propel them into the (white) house"

Oh, to be young again.

Youth is wasted on the young, wouldn't you agree?

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Imitation of the left and dems is a most sincere form of flattery.

Conceding that you have no principles and justify everything you do based on what you say "he did first!" is a very satisfying concession to hear.

buwaya said...

But they are the best minority TTR.

The most important. The most powerful. The most trusted.
I'm not joking.

These are the people with their fingers on the "off" buttons.
There are just a few thousand critical control rooms in this country, staffed with a crew of Trump voters, nearly to a man (or woman, a few). I know quite a lot of these people. And a bunch more who are on call to fix truly important things, should they go wrong. Ditto Trump voters.

You can lose people by the millions and millions, and they really wont be missed. But not these few.

Without them your civilization is an entire sham.

Drago said...

TTR: "I care more about what happens in America. Don't you?"

No. I've completely absorbed the lesson from the left that we need to be much more like Europe and China.

Thank you for asking.

Drago said...

TTR: "Conceding that you have no principles and justify everything you do based on what you say "he did first!" is a very satisfying concession to hear."


I admit, I've absorbed the lessons of the left quite thoroughly. You're welcome.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

But they are the best minority TTR.

The most important. The most powerful. The most trusted.
I'm not joking.


Yes you are. And it's not due to their own merit. And they're not the most trusted.

These are the people with their fingers on the "off" buttons.
There are just a few thousand critical control rooms in this country, staffed with a crew of Trump voters, nearly to a man (or woman, a few). I know quite a lot of these people. And a bunch more who are on call to fix truly important things, should they go wrong. Ditto Trump voters.

You can lose people by the millions and millions, and they really wont be missed. But not these few.

Without them your civilization is an entire sham.


Any day you feel like translating this kooky campaign rhetoric into English let me know.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

I admit, I've absorbed the lessons of the left quite thoroughly. You're welcome.

Other than for empathy and reason, you robo-pseudo-lefitst wanna-be.

No one on the left says we need to be more like China. You've lost your own principles for so long that you can even keep right and left straight. It's the right that's pro-pollution and pro-wage slavery.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

And pro-creating a stranglehold over the internet.

Luke Lea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke Lea said...

To me Updike is the greatest literary talent since Shakespeare. His powers of description are without equal, and when he is at his best, as in the Witches of Eastwick for example, I can't get enough of his prose.

CWJ said...

"When I see that angelic face of 5 year old Trump, I think of the children who no longer have healthcare because Republicans prioritized tax cuts for corporations over CHIP."

Of course you do. Of course.

I remember you when you had interests other than political calculation. You had a family. You had a thing for crafts and dolls. You even had republican Wakesha friends with whom you regularly socialized. What happened?

Henry said...

I find Updike's fiction tedious. The short story collection I read once was best because each depressive slough of a story was got through with fewer words.

I do enjoy his art criticism, especially as he wrote during the modernist epoch and stood aback from its theoretical thickets. He is a very sly outsider.

Drago said...

TTR: "And pro-creating a stranglehold over the internet"

LOL

Like we had right up to 2015.......

The only thing that will keep us moving into the future is to dredge up a rule from the 1934 Communications Act!

That's the ticket!

And Ajit Pai is a Nazi!

Drago said...

TTR: "Other than for empathy and reason, you robo-pseudo-lefitst wanna-be."

Ah yes. I've seen the left's "empathy".

You can see it right now in Venezuela.

So, so much "empathy".

Not as "empathetic" as Castro ordering lobotomies for homosexuals in Cuba of course, but still.

But it's all cool. After all, he apologized for it years later!

Big Mike said...

When I see that angelic face of 5 year old Trump, I think of the children who no longer have healthcare because Republicans prioritized tax cuts for corporations over CHIP.

CHIP funding has not been renewed, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be renewed after the Christmas break. Some people invest too much in Democrat talking points.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Why stop there? If you were conservative enough you'd be yammering on about the power of the radio dial.

Or better yet, the telegraph key.


Toothless, I'd like you to meet rhhardin. RH, meet Toothy. I think you two have a lot to discuss.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Without them your civilization is an entire sham.

Any day you feel like translating this kooky campaign rhetoric into English let me know.

It's moral cowardice for you to turn your face from this reality. You're certainly intelligent enough to understand what he's saying. If you're not let me know and I'll explain it to you in small words. But I don't really think that's necessary.

Inga said...

CWJ, I try not to speak of my personal life here online. It’s not safe. But since you brought up some things I spoke of in past years, I’ll respond, this once.

“I remember you when you had interests other than political calculation.”

So you think you know my interests?

“You had a family.”

I still do!

“You had a thing for crafts and dolls.”

Knitting, not crafts. Italian cloth/felt dolls from the 20’s and 30’s. I still have them and treasure them.

“You even had republican Wakesha friends with whom you regularly socialized.”

Waukesha. Still do.

“What happened?”

Nothing. What do you think happened? When I express concern and dismay over the fact that Republicans put tax cuts for corporations over health care for children, it reflects who I was and who I still am. I don’t know who you thought I “was”.

buwaya said...

Not kooky. You just need to know things.
Like where gas pipelines are, for instance, and who runs them, and keeps them running.
Electricity, water, petroleum/gasoline, coal (in places); hydro plants, telecoms.
Those guys can turn off your civilization with a switch.
I have seen the switches, and the people by the switches.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Wikipedia has Updike as literary realism ... How does Witches of Eastwick fit in?

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Buwaya ... So did Ayn Rand know who and where switches come from.

Smilin' Jack said...

But that Updike presents one with a compressed Internet problem, is there’s 80 percent absolute dreck, and 20 percent priceless stuff.

With DFW the ratio is more like 95:5. Infinite Jest is far more infinite than jest. And speaking of the infinite, Wallace's biography of it, Everything and More, is full of errors.

Michael K said...

Trump has had an amazing life, haters and all.

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CWJ said...

Inga,

Speaking of your personal life was a big part of your comments in years past. That's what I meant by what happened. Your comments have a harder edge now.

John Smith Smith said...

I have read some John Updike and some David Foster Wallace. Guessing from the context, I would think Wallace thought Updike 'mentally ill' (which would not be an insult in Wallace's world) for a specific reason that people who talked to him a lot would know. I don't know any of those people, so I don't know.

My guess, in the absence of any accurate knowledge, is he (Wallace) was referring to Updike's constant guarded look in public (being a celebrity and all) - which is not a good look for someone who is just an artist/writer - they are supposed to look cheerful and empathetic, and not doing so is a sign of 'mental illness'. Wallace was probably insulted that Updike wore that look around Wallace, a fellow writer (pure speculation, I remind you)......Second guess is he was riffing on the expression "mental illness is trying the same thing again and again and expecting a different outcome" - and he probably thought there was some mental illness (sluggish depression, lack of hypomania, agoraphobia) in Updike's constant need to write yet another novel, yet another story, with only incremental changes in his approach to the world (when he could have, like a true artist who rises above mental illness, written less and only when he was writing at a peak state of inspiration)....

Third, and least likely guess of the three, is that Wallace was jealous of Updike's inborn talent and of the fact that Updike was not born into the boring academic liberal arts world Wallace was born into, and Wallace was just being academically mean (thinking, say, that while Updike might have been a one in 50 million talent while I am only a one in 5 million talent, well, at least he is mentally ill .... so I should not be jealous).

Or Wallace met Updike and after meeting him came away with some specific knowledge indicating Updike was mentally ill, and he was too good of a person to share the specifics.

Both good writers when they were writing at their best.

buwaya said...

Its a very curious thing about that very special lot, the men (and a very few women) at the switches.

You could characterize them -
- They are men, with only a very few women.
- A surprising number are "Hispanic"
- They are well above average intelligence (110-120 IQ probably), but not geniuses. They are trained, not educated, even in those cases where engineering degrees are required.
- They are NOT readers. They are only adequate writers, and I mean emails.
- They are small-town/rural; most such facilities are out there, or in outer suburbs.
- They are WELL armed. One crew I spoke to all, every man, had "black rifles".
- They barbecue, hunt, fish, and a fair number golf.
- They are almost abnormally normal - much more "normal" than any random group of men even in their area.
- Most are private sector, though many work in government entities.
- There is a high % of unionization
- They are well paid for their area, and this is valued.
- They were only vaguely political, generally, many were Democrats (union). The biggest political connection would probably have been the NRA.

That this lot has become so Trumpian, and vocally so, surprised me. My sociological revelation of 2015.

chuck said...

Rosebud.

John Smith Smith said...

For the record, I think that a thousand years from now people will wonder at the generation that is now middle-aged or old, at how they used to sit down and read a book from page one to the end. DFW was riffing a little bit on that by claiming 80 percent of what Updike wrote was dreck (and he would have been happy to get in a fun conversation - well, fun for people who care about that sort of thing - about who the 70 percent writers, who the 60, 50, 40 and so on writers were): he was a smart guy (although I find his world view to be 'off') and he must have known that he was only one of hundreds of writers who would never write a book of fiction really worth reading from beginning to end, but who did have something interesting to say here or there. He would have been happy to discuss this with you, as long as you were willing to give him a number larger than zero for his percentage of non-dreck (in his heart he probably hoped for a big number but he would have settled for something more realistic - like 5 percent - which is a big enough number for a writer of reasonable prolificness). (And for a writer who writes a million words a decade, 5 percent is pure bitcoin).

Longest book I ever read that was really, really worth reading from beginning to end was really long, by the way, but that is not relevant.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Ah yes. I've seen the left's "empathy".

You can see it right now in Venezuela.


Ah.. right. Venezuela. The only country where any ideology that is not of the right's has ever been in power.

Cool. Two can play that game.

I've seen the right's "nationalism."

You could see it right up until 1945 in Nazi Germany.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Trump has had an amazing life, haters and all.

For every hater, he apparently has a masturbator, too. Let's not forget that.

I mean, how can we? You're there performing that very function for him.

Awwww. Isn't that cute!

Drago said...

TTR: "I've seen the right's "nationalism."

You forgot the "Socialism"!

For obvious reasons.

Its quite the little narrative buster isnt it?

Michael K said...

Ankle biters show up late. Late shift at McDs ?

wildswan said...

The Picture of Donald Trump at 5 says:
Please God
Make America Great Again

wildswan said...

Recently I saw a picture of myself at five with a beautiful dress, angelic blonde curls and a
charming little smile and I could remember that little girl's burning curiosity about the camera she is smiling at which she wanted to hold and take apart and see the pictures inside. And I got be a computer tech which was that little girl achieving her wish in new circumstances. As it happens, I've concluded that wish was a way of taking a picture of something else I haven't reached yet. So I think the best thing to do is find out what kids want and give it to them for Christmas if you can, so that they will move on toward the wish behind the wish.

Kyzernick said...

Nobody wastes as many words saying so little of substance as TTR.

Inga comes close, but most of the words she wastes are copied and pasted from articles and authors she happens to agree with at that moment, and thus so should the entire rest of the world.

Since those words aren't hers, just ones she finds herself nodding along to and forgetting to mop the drool from her chin, TTR takes the prize.

And Buwaya - I am one of those people you refer to. My rifle is desert tan, however, and I don't golf.

MrCharlie2 said...

That kid looks like a little psycho.