In honor of President's Day and all the work you're currently not doing, I recommend that you read this rather luxurious essay that examines David Foster Wallace's successful career as a journalist—arguably in the vein of Hunter S. Thompson—as opposed to just a universally revered fiction writer.
In his nonfiction, Wallace most closely resembled another writer before him, a man who was also considered something other than a journalist: Hunter S. Thompson. Both writers took reportage a step further than the literary techniques of Gay Talese, Joan Didion and the New Journalism. Yes, both Thompson and Wallace shirked objectivity, happily injecting their own commentary and asides into factual reportage, but today scores of journalists reject objectivity (Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, Esquire’s Tom Junod or, to a lesser extent, Jon Krakauer, who certainly makes his own views clear by the end of “Where Men Win Glory”).
What Thompson did differently that Wallace emulated (consciously or not) is more about a slippery definition of honesty and truth. An essay Wallace wrote about attending the Adult Video News (AVN) Awards opened the collection “Consider the Lobster.” It’s a rollicking tour in which the author plays representative for the reader’s disgust and fascination (when a girl meets Wallace and brags about small valves in her new breast implants that allow her to adjust the size of the breasts by adding or draining fluid, she raises her arms to show him and Wallace can only write, “There really are what appear to be valves”).
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