Tag Archives: dfw

David Foster Wallace on Attention

Here’s David Foster Wallace being interviewed by German TV in 2003

This sentence stood out for me:

It’s true that in the US, every year the culture gets more and more hostile — and I don’t mean hostile like angry — it becomes more and more difficult to ask people to read or to look at a piece of art for an hour or to listen to a piece of music that’s complicated and that takes work

Remember that DFW died shortly after the first iPhone debuted, before the birth of Twitter and Instagram and all that.

I have basically given up on going to the cinema at anything approaching what could generously be called a reasonable hour. Now I like to go to the cinema as early as possible — most recently, I went to see It at 12pm on a Sunday — not just because I’m a grumpy misanthrope, and not because I’m the father of a two year old and am exhausted in the evenings. I go at these stupid times because I don’t want to be surrounded by crowds when I see a film. Because, on the whole, multiplex cinema crowds are incapable of sitting through a two-hour film without checking their phones multiple times.

And I’m pretty sure it’s only going to get worse.