“LOUDON, NH—Shock, grief, and the overwhelming sense of loss that has swept the stock car racing community following the death by apparent suicide of writer David Foster Wallace has moved NASCAR to cancel the remainder of its 2008 season in respect for the acclaimed but troubled author of Infinite Jest, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, and Brief Interviews With Hideous Men.
In deference to the memory of Wallace, whose writing on alienation, sadness, and corporate sponsorship made him the author of the century in stock car racing circles and whom NASCAR chairman Brian France called “perhaps the greatest American writer to emerge in recent memory, and definitely our most human,” officials would not comment on how points, and therefore this year’s championship, would be determined.”
Leave it to The Onion to produce an absolutely brilliant, hilarious, ironic (or is it sincere?) tribute to David Foster Wallace. I think DFW, were he alive, would have found this piece to his liking. It’s a mock tribute that rings true than some real tributes, because the style and the substance of this satire is David Foster Wallace-esque.
But what really kills me is this:
“”Racing and literature are both huge parts of American life, and I don’t think David Foster Wallace would want me to make too much of that, or to pretend that it’s any sort of equitable balance,” Helton added. “That would be grotesque. But the truth is that whatever cultural deity, entity, energy, or random social flux produced stock car racing also produced the works of David Foster Wallace. And just look them. Look at that.””
It’s a perfectly pithy and absurd paragraph, but in its absurdity it only reveals what is even more absurd, namely, that while racing is a huge part of American life, literature, sadly, is not.