A David Foster Wallace Technology Mad Lib

wallace_funI was reading this collection of David Foster Wallace essays, and there was this one about fiction writers. Well, it was actually more about TV and pop-culture has become more because of it.

Actually, no, it was about a lot of things, but what caught my attention was how it was a bit about how new technologies change subsequent generations and how those generations make things like art and culture. The thought occurred to me when I came across a passage about TV and realized how easily it can be ad libbed:

The [...] generation born after the era/decade is the first for whom technology/medium was something to be lived with instead of just pass tense verb. [Their] elders tend to regard technology synonym rather as the flapper did the automobile: a curiosity turned treat seduction.

Go ahead, try it — with “social media” or “smart phones” or whatever else you want. It kinda hits it on the button and is kinda funny at the same time:

The [...] generation born after the 1970s is the first for whom the Hitachi Magic Wand was something to be lived with instead of just fiddled with. [Their] elders tend to regard the Magic Wand rather as the flapper did the automobile: a curiosity turned treat seduction.

I dunno. Maybe Wallace is just stating the obvious, here, and I’m missing the point entirely. But maybe it’s being able to state the obvious that makes him so brilliant in the first place…

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