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David Foster Wallace, 1962-2008.

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09152008_davidfosterwallace.jpgI read “Infinite Jest” in college. A friend passed it along, told me it was something she knew I’d like. Hefting the 1000-plus pages, I thought that I was duty bound, therefore, to hate it, and started reading right away to prove so — such is the unfortunate person I was. And still am. I ended up finishing the book in three days, at the expense of class, sleep and any social interaction, devouring it in great gulps of prose, propping it open on the kitchen counter as I poked at some occasional ramen on the stove and unsteadily suspending it, wrist trembling, in front of my face in one hand while I brushed my teeth with the other in the morning or at night. I didn’t like it — I grudgingly but thoroughly adored it, that brash, annoying, unbelievably smart and hubristically ambitious doorstop of a novel, and worked my way from there through his essays, short story collections, earlier novel and whatever other drips and drabs made their way into glossies and weeklies and other -ies. And I find myself more upset about the passing of David Foster Wallace than of any other person I’d never met. Glenn Kenny, who had and who worked with Wallace on three pieces for Premiere, remembers and mourns at his blog, while Michiko Kakutani posts an appreciation at the New York Times:

[T]he reader could not help but feel that Mr. Wallace had inhaled the muchness of contemporary America — a place besieged by too much data, too many video images, too many high-decibel sales pitches and disingenuous political ads — and had so many contradictory thoughts about it that he could only expel them in fat, prolix narratives filled with Möbius strip-like digressions, copious footnotes and looping philosophical asides. If this led to self-indulgent books badly in need of editing — “Infinite Jest” clocked in at an unnecessarily long 1,079 pages — it also resulted in some wonderfully powerful writing.

Laura Miller at Salon wonders “What will we do without him?” And Sam Leith at the Telegraph reminisces that “I tried, a couple years ago, to get Zadie Smith to interview DFW and wasn’t able to make it happen. Zadie later told me she was scared of him.”

There’s a lot of DFW non-fiction floating around the web to be read:

On David Lynch during the production of “Lost Highway”: David Lynch Keeps His Head, Premiere
On locking oneself in one’s cabin for much of a luxury cruise: Shipping out, Harper’s (PDF)
On “the American idea”: Just Asking, The Atlantic
On John McCain in 2000: The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys And The Shrub, Rolling Stone
On, with splendid disregard to editorial appropriateness, the ethics of lobster eating: Consider the Lobster, Gourmet (PDF)
On 9/11: The View from Mrs. Thompson’s, Rolling Stone
On John Updike: Is This Finally the End for Magnificent Narcissists?, New York Observer

The only film adaptation of Wallace’s work is an upcoming film that marks the directorial debut of “The Office”‘s John Krasinski, an adaptation of “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” that still has no distributor or release date attached.

[Photo: David Foster Wallace, Marion Ettlinger]

+ Dave Wallace (Some Came Running)
+ Exuberant Riffs on a Land Run Amok (NY Times)
+ In memory of David Foster Wallace, 1962-2008 (Salon)
+ David Foster Wallace’s Defunct (Telegraph)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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