Darkness Visible, William Styron (1986)

First appeared as an article in Vanity Fair but later expanded into the best-selling memoir, Darkness Visible.  For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of Is come into me. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; Yet trouble came. —Job To many of us who knew Abbie Hoffman even … Continue reading Darkness Visible, William Styron (1986)

The Gospel of Wealth, (1889) Andrew Carnegie

“Wealth” is an article written by Andrew Carnegie in June of 1889 that describes the responsibility of philanthropy by the new upper class of self-made rich. Carnegie proposed that the best way of dealing with the new phenomenon of wealth inequality was for the wealthy to redistribute their surplus means in a responsible and thoughtful manner. This approach was contrasted with traditional bequest (patrimony), where wealth is handed down to heirs, and … Continue reading The Gospel of Wealth, (1889) Andrew Carnegie

E Unibus Pluram, David Foster Wallace (1990)

Originally published in The Review of Contemporary Fiction, this essay sketches a loose history of the American television industry advertising, U.S. fiction and advertisement. The title “E Unibus Pluram” means “from one, many” and is a solipsistic play on the American motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” which means “out of many, one.” While Wallace acknowledges that TV is fun, most evident from the fact that the average American watches … Continue reading E Unibus Pluram, David Foster Wallace (1990)

Politics and Conscience, Vaclav Havel

In February 1984, Václav Havel wrote this speech on the occassion of receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Toulouse. He was unable to deliver the speech on 14 May 1984 and was represented by English Playwright Tom Stoppard. The essay first appeared in Czech in The Natural World as Political Problem: Essays on Modern Man (Prague, 1984). Erazim Kohák and Roger Scruton translated … Continue reading Politics and Conscience, Vaclav Havel

Roger Federer as Religious Experience, David Foster Wallace

First published in the NY Times Sports section on August 20 2006 Almost anyone who loves tennis and follows the men’s tour on television has, over the last few years, had what might be termed Federer Moments. These are times, as you watch the young Swiss play, when the jaw drops and eyes protrude and sounds are made that bring spouses in from other rooms … Continue reading Roger Federer as Religious Experience, David Foster Wallace

David Lynch Keeps His Head, David Foster Wallace

1. WHAT MOVIE THIS ARTICLE IS ABOUT DAVID LYNCH’s Lost Highway, written by Lynch and Barry Gifford, featuring Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, and Balthazar Getty. Financed by CIBY 2000, France. An October Films release. Copyright 1996, Asymmetrical Productions, Lynch’s company, whose offices are near Lynch’s house in the Hollywood Hills and whose logo, designed by Lynch, is a very cool graphic that looks like this: … Continue reading David Lynch Keeps His Head, David Foster Wallace