An Excerpt from The Pale King

In commemoration of tax day tomorrow (The Pale King‘s official release date) and in light of the oh-so-wonderful government budget-slashing going on everywhere, I thought I’d provide this nice little excerpt from Wallace’s The Pale King (a conversation set in 1980):

“Let’s get back to how a Bush or Reagan would triple the [IR]Service budget for a second? Is this good for us on a District level? What are the implications for a Peoria or a Creve Coeur?”

“Of course the marvelous double irony of the Reduce Government candidate is that he’s financed by the coporations that are the backs governmnent tends to be most oppressively on the back of. Corporations, as DeWitt pointed out, whose beady little brains are lit by nothing but net profit and expansion, and who we deep-down expect government to keep in check because we’re not equipped to resist their consumerist seductions by the strength of our own character, and whose appeal to the faux rebel is the modern rhetoric that’s going to get Bush-Reagan elected in the first place, and who are going to benefit enormously from the laissez-faire deregulation Bush-Reagan will enable the electorate to believe will be undertaken in their own populist interests–in other words we’ll have for a president a symbolic Rebel against his own power whose election was underwritten by inhuman soulless profit-machines whose takeover of American civic and spiritual life will convince Americans that rebellion against the soulless inhumanity of corporate life will consist in buying products from corporations that do the best job of representing corporate life as empty and soulless. We’ll have a tyranny of conformist nonconformity presided over by a symbolic outsider whose very election depended on our deep conviction that his persona is utter bullshit. A rule of image, which because it’s so empty makes everyone terrified–they’re small and going to die, after all–”

“Christ, the death thing again.”

“–and whose terror of not really ever even existing makes them that much more susceptible to the ontological siren song of the corporate buy-to-stand-out-and-so-exist gestalt” (David Foster Wallace, The Pale King [New York: Little, Brown & Co., 2011], 149).

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