More On David Foster Wallace

Time.com’s brilliant and talented JT does the work of pointing us to some of DFW’s best pieces of journalism so I don’t, you know, have to. He smartly includes this bit, from a piece Wallace did in the Atlantic a few years ago, which is to my mind the best demonstration ever of how hard it is to be a talk radio host, and the uniqe skill that some one like Rush Limbaugh brings to the job:

“Try sitting alone in a room with a clock, turning on a tape recorder, and starting to speak into it. Speak about anything you want — with the proviso that your topic, and your opinions on it, must be of interest to some group of strangers who you imagine will be listening to the tape. Naturally, in order to be even minimally interesting, your remarks should be intelligible and their reasoning sequential — a listener will have to be able to follow the logic of what you’re saying — which means that you will have to know enough about your topic to organize your statements in a coherent way. (But you cannot do much of this organizing beforehand; it has to occur at the same time you’re speaking.) … You’re trying to communicate in real time with someone you cannot see or hear responses from; and though you’re communicating in speech, your remarks cannot have any of the fragmentary, repetitive, garbled qualities of real interhuman speech … So then, ready: go.”

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