a literary journal +

Is Irvine the New Compton?

I was sitting in my room enjoying the sound of  traffic when I heard the buzz and squawk of police megaphones. Since it went on for a while, I went outside to find Irvine cops treating a carload of kids like a cross between Al Qaeda and NWA. I mean, those kids had guns in their face, had to kiss blacktop and wear the steel bracelets.
It made me think about David Foster Wallace. Why? Because I always consider DFW as the avatar of a certain white, liberal, NPR listening, Volvo-driving, college town, extremely twee, middle-class. The kind of person who would never in his life had to belly down on the pavement for a cop, yet who would, at the same time, cluck his tongue at the treatment of those kids.
I’ve been writing an essay for a while about a particular DFW piece. In my mind, the DFW piece represents the failure of a certain branch of the American left. Because DFW was smarter and more sensitive than a lot of his colleagues, you can see his awareness of this problem, his struggle with it, his unhappiness with it. Which is why he makes a good target.
But I’m not sure: at what point does it become fair game to kick a dead man?
– RA

1 Comment

  1. Sure would like to read that DFDoubleya piece. Hint. My comment on this post’s title is this: Irvine’s the new Irvine. That’s the primary non-criticism. It’s caught in a feedback loop of self-homogenization. It’s become so completely like itself in every way, it’s completely different from exactly the way it started out, but newer. The paint’s newer. But it’s the same shade. And the same paint. Just more. Of it. The paint. And Irvine.

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