piersrippey / Piers Rippey

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Huffduffed (49)

  1. David Foster Wallace on The Connection with Chris Lydon, February 1996 | Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon


    By Kunal Jasty and Max Larkin

    In February 1996, David Foster Wallace came to Boston. He was the not-quite recognized writer of the massive book, Infinite Jest, which was just beginning to capture the attention of reviewers, readers and a generation of writers. Chris interviewed David Foster Wallace on The Connection on WBUR in Boston, and told him he seemed to be living in between a moment of cultish obscurity and international artistic celebrity, perhaps even immortality.

    We went to the WBUR archives yesterday to see if we could find the tape. We found it in the dusty basement, nestled between shows about the 1996 presidential primaries and escalating violence in the Middle East. The conversation is almost heartbreaking to hear now in light of Wallace’s suicide in 2008. Back then he was attempting to explain the sadness he saw among the twenty- and thirty-somethings around him; he admitted to feeling lost and lonely himself. But he also spoke of his hope to have children and the prospect of a long career.

    “I was raised in an academic environment and in a pretty middle-class one. I’d never really seen how a lot of other people live. My chance to see that was here in Boston, and a lot of it was in the halfway houses for this book. I didn’t really understand emotionally that there are people around who didn’t have enough to eat, who weren’t warm enough, who didn’t have a place to live, whose parents beat the hell out of them regularly. The sadness isn’t in seeing it, the sadness is in realizing how phenomenally lucky I am, not only to have never been hungry or cold, but to be educated, to have access to books. Never before in history has a country been so blessed, materially and intellectually, and yet we’re miserable.”

    David Foster Wallace in conversation with Chris Lydon, February 1996.

    All the same, Wallace was skirting the subject of his own alcoholism and marijuana addiction. Now we know that Wallace came to Alcoholics Anonymous and Granada House, a halfway house in Brighton, not as a researcher but as a patient. In our show “Infinite Boston,” we spoke to Deb Larson-Venable, Granada House’s den mother and executive director. Wallace based his character Pat Montesian, one of the novel’s rare angels, on Larson. She knew Wallace as a man who fought for his life in Boston, and won.

    You can listen to the full interview at the top of the page, but here’s our favorite part, when Wallace talks about why his generation seems so “lost and lonely”:

    “When I started the book the only idea I had is I wanted to do something about America that was sad but wasn’t just making fun of America. Most of my friends are extremely bright, privileged, well-educated Americans who are sad on some level, and it has something, I think, to do with loneliness. I’m talking out of my ear a little bit, this is just my opinion, but I think somehow the culture has taught us or we’ve allowed the culture to teach us that the point of living is to get as much as you can and experience as much pleasure as you can, and that the implicit promise is that will make you happy. I know that’s almost offensively simplistic, but the effects of it aren’t simplistic at all. I don’t have children but I’m sort of obsessed with the idea of what my children will think of me, of what we’ve done with what we’ve been given, and why we are so sad.”

    David Foster Wallace in conversation with Chris Lydon, February 1996.

    In this clip, Wallace reads one of our favorite sections of the book, about why the seemingly trivial lessons of Boston AA simply work:

    And here’s Deb Larson describing Wallace at the Granada House in 1989. She describes his interactions with Don Gately and other residents of Granada House, bringing them to poetry readings at Harvard:

    We’ll be publishing more content about David Foster Wallace and Infinite Jest this week. Please subscribe to our podcast on iTunes here.


    We’re going to publishing lots more content about David Foster Wallace and Infinite Jest this week. Please subscribe to our podcast on iTunes here: radioopensource.org/subscribe/


    Just started reading Infinite Jest last week. Don’t know if this is perfect or if it will spoil my experience somewhat.


    There are many more interviews waiting to be digitized! If you remember a show on The Connection that you loved, please leave a comment about it and I’ll try to post it.


    —Huffduffed by piersrippey

  2. Episode 45: The Thumbprint Of Creation With Ryan North | The Titanium Physicists Podcast

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    the cosmic microwave background polarization`

    LOOK AT THIS FRIGGING THING ABOVE ME! it’s a photo of the cosmic microwave background, and the lines are the polarizations measured by the BICEP2 telescope at the south pole.

    note how the lines swirl.

    This effect is being caused by primordial gravitational waves: gravitational waves which were generated during the INFLATION epoch when the universe was less than a trillionth of a second old.

    up until now, no one was sure if Inflation occurred. There was circumstantial evidence in favour of it, but no one was sure. Well we’re pretty sure now! LOOK AT THAT.

    this is what we’re talking about in today’s show and it’s SO AWESOME.


    The guest today is Ryan North. are you reading his comics? Because you probably should, because they’re amazing.

    you should probably also look up Dr. katie mack, she is a twitterer , and a science blogger and also a mini podcast of her own.

    Physicists: Katie Mack, Mike Zemcov


    Intro Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists 

    Exit Music: John Vanderslice 


    —Huffduffed by piersrippey

  3. Your Dreams My Nightmares - Rebecca Mock

    Your Dreams My Nightmares Episode 070. An interview with Rebecca Mock. Music from Nameless: The Hackers RPG Soundtrack via freemusicarchive.org

    Have a question or comment that you’d like played on the air? Leave Your Dreams My Nightmares a message at (917) 719-0086

    —Huffduffed by piersrippey

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