Saturday, January 11, 2014
Such DFW. Very Orwell. So Doge. Wow.
Let's talk about doge, but first let's talk about the late great David Foster Wallace, who thirteen years ago wrote a classic essay about modern English* entitled "Tense Present," which, realistically, is better than anything I will ever write, so I should maybe just point you at it and end this post here. But I won't. Not least because I strongly suspect that if DFW had not taken his own life five years ago, he would already have updated "Tense Present" for the modern era. He almost would have had to. It is instructive that his essay includes the phrase You don't (despite withering cultural pressure), have to use a computer, but you can't escape language. That may have been true, just, in 2001, but it is not true today. You cannot escape computers any more -- and that fact has affected language in a way which is, if you ask me, nothing short of revolutionary.