Instead of inserting myself into the discussion piling up in the comments today, I will pull rank and respond to them in all their diversity in a new post.
To respond to Mike's question about the icy reception of my latest offering on the Valve, I can only say this: John Bruce is a lunatic. I've said this before in a more entertaining manner (and once in a most entertaining manner). Quite frankly, the man's issues have little to do with me. Case in point: he's already written another screed, this time against Rich and I. (I'll let Rich defend himself, as he is more than capable of doing so.) The sheer stupidity and intellectual dishonesty for which Bruce is so deservedly known surfaces again. To wit:
I'm taken to task for choosing to be known by my entire name. (Because I haven't explained that before.) My responses to his palaver aren't monumentally unsubtle mockeries but "copious and near hysterical reactions." The etiology of his confusion baffles me. It may be that he can't recognize knee-to-balls satire and makes an honest but deeply stupid mistake. Or it may be that he can recognize it and chooses not to seem to because to do so would be terribly unflattering. The thing is, once you have your audience debating whether you're an idiot or dishonest, well, what's the point of continuing?
Now, I have to take issue with Matt, whose wrongness is wronger than any wrong has been wrong before: Oblivion is a wonderful collection. (Full disclosure: I've written, poorly, on Infinite Jest before.) The focus on corporate culture works pays off precisely because it refuses to partake of the "pity the poor white-collar slave" narrative so common now in contemporary fiction. (David Grand, I enjoyed your novel, but I'm still looking at you.) The significant thing about David Foster Wallace--not mentioned, I'm obliged to add, in Bruce's roster of those known by three names--is that his gimmicks should be tired by now. In literary historical terms, he should be the footnote he so loves. But he isn't. Oblivion is a masterful. Every one of his novels, if nothing else, is a compendium of pithy description. (From Oblivion, "rorschach shubbery" springs to mind.) Not that I prefer it to Infinite Jest. No book has embodied the Whole Sick Crew's "be cool, but care" mantra better than Infinite Jest. (I may have even said that before.)
Cam, I'm glad you didn't sneak a glance at Lyle Lovett's member. If you had you'd be no better than Larry David, who didn't so much as glance but stared at Muggsy Bogues' member. You, my friend, have bathroom etiquette.
Matt and Rich: your discussion will be discussed in a future post. The short answer is that I'm sticking to my guns. I believe that the debates over the legitimacy of theory produced far more sophisticated approaches to literature than current "debates" do. Which means that I agree with Matt on the uselessness of much of contemporary theory as applied to literature. I'm becoming increasingly aware that the segregation of "Theory" in literature departments has created a situation in which I feel duty-bound to attack the silliness of "Theory" when, in truth, my beef is with the misapplication of bad "Theory" by literary scholars. However, this will take more than an evening to work through, so for the moment I demur.