Monday, September 15, 2008

grooves in the brain caused by the news

David Foster Wallace died on Friday. Probably by his own hand.
I was recently introduced to his writing while attempting to date online. In preparation for the date I read DFW's essay on usage in the English language (his recommendation).

The first date did not lead to a second but I came out of it with an interest in usage and a great admiration for DFW. The guy's fucking brilliant. He's insightful and a hell of a writer.

I was pointed to his commencement speech at Kenyon College. Reading the line about choosing what you worship and how besides some concept of God or spiritual principle "pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive." felt like getting the wind knocked out of me. The capital-T Truth.

Another piece I was pointed to was this parody of his writing in the Onion. Perhaps I will devote a chunk of my life to reading "Infinite Jest." There may not be a movie out that can kill you through sheer entertainment, but I am starting to think that the time management computer games like "Diner Dash," "Wedding Dash" and "Cake Mania" might be addictive enough that I could see myself playing them to my death, if they had infinite levels.

Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. The government would not bail them out. Freddie and Fannie Mac, yes. The Brothers, no. I am the first to admit that I don't understand economics. I am very interested in it of late, but I don't understand it. Near as I can tell, people were worried that The Brothers didn't have the money to back up all the of the wacky financial shenanigans that they (and we the investors whoever and wherever we might be) were involved in. They claimed that they were fine but apparently not. And some folks who lent to them, wanted their money back. The government did not want to cover their asses, and no one wanted to buy them and their mysterious "financial" what's-it-hoozies. No one wanted to know what was behind the curtain.

And now everyone is waiting for my bank to fail. I chose this bank because they sponsored a really amazingly great free Yo La Tengo show two years ago at Prospect Park. And now the money guys are gleefully waiting to hear about a run on the bank. The trouble with marching right over there for your money tomorrow, is of course well described in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life." They claim to be good for it in the long run but the money is not there. The money has been lent to all kinds of folks regular and corporate with the idea that they will pay it back, with interest.

We'll see if they are good for it. Is the trick of it to hang tight and weather this. Or will my fellow depositors rush in a drain my bank into the ground with me left getting my money from the FDIC insurance which must come from us as taxpayers or something.... There is a whole government vs. private sector argument that is screaming for it's own post, along with a screed about how regulation is a good thing. I am suddenly glad that I did not move my saving to a high risk uninsured money market account with a brokerage.

I cannot help but wonder whether before all this is over, Walmart will be nationalized by the US government, only to transform it from within, leading to a dramatic changes in our bureaucracies as they bargain ruthlessly for crazy low prices, streamlined "distribution" and "supply chains," and Elderly greeters in blue vests.

If my bank weathers this, I respectfully would like to request that they sponsor a free Bjork concert at Prospect Park with a river of booze and the Tuba guy as one of the opening acts. Making it to the other side calls for a proper celebration.

There is more news, I am sure but I just read waaaaay too slowly. Someone did something somewhere for some reason.

"This is water.

This is water." - DFW

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