We can’t let them replace literature with social justice propaganda
There are sections in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest that make me feel like I am not alone in the universe, that I am understood, that my fears are shared, and there is true kinship among souls. That doesn’t matter to Professor Amy Hungerford, Dean of Humanities at Yale, who decided that Wallace’s reported mistreatment of poet Mary Karr meant that he shouldn’t be read anymore. She replaced his work on her syllabus with a selection from graphic novelist Alison Bechdel, whose most important contribution is to insist that women’s dialogue in movies have a content quota system.
The argument against Wallace, and against so many of these male writers whose books are being ripped from college syllabi, is that their “genius” is no excuse for their bad behaviour. In the Atlantic article that reported on Wallace’s bad behaviour toward Karr, the concept of genius itself is derided as chauvinistic. “Genius, a male condition that inflicts its maleness on the individual soul. Genius, an object of worship. Genius, perhaps slightly demonic… Genius itself, the way we typically conceive of it, remains infused with the male gaze, or perhaps more aptly, the male haze: It is gendered by implication. It is a designation reserved, almost exclusively, for men.”