Monday, May 2, 2011

“This is the world”

“Irrelevant” Chris Fogle has walked into the “wrong but identical classroom” — not American Political Thought but Advanced Tax, where he hears an extraordinary lecturer. A sample:

He made a gesture I can’t describe: “Gentlemen, welcome to the world of reality — there is no audience. No one to applaud, to admire. No one to see you. Do you understand? Here is the truth — actual heroism receives no ovation, entertains no one. No one queues up to see it. No one is interested.”

He paused again and smiled in a way that was not one bit self-mocking. “True heroism is you, alone, in a designated work space. True heroism is minutes, hours, weeks, year upon year of the quiet, precise, judicious exercise of probity and care — with no one there to see or cheer. This is the world. Just you and the job, at your desk. You and the return, you and the cash-flow data, you and the inventory protocol, you and the depreciation schedules, you and the numbers.”

David Foster Wallace, The Pale King (Boston: Little, Brown, 2011).
Another Pale King excerpt
The Pale King, dullness

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