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David Foster Wallace Quotes
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David Foster Wallace Quote: “Seminal.” He keeps saying it. “Seminal, seminal.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “We’re a family that takes its home entertainment very seriously.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “If you really look at something, you can almost always tell what type of wage structure the person who made it was on.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Good old traditional audio-only phone conversations allowed you to presume that the person on the other end was paying complete attention to you while also permitting you not to have to pay anything even close to complete attention to her.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The sharply precise divisions and boundaries, together with the fact that – wind and your more exotic-type spins aside – balls can be made to travel in straight lines only, make textbook tennis plane geometry. It is billiards with balls that won’t hold still. It is chess on the run. It is to artillery and airstrikes what football is to infantry and attrition.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Let’s not sit around and give each other hand-jobs.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The Greeks were the real inventors of what we call math, because-again-they were the first people to treat numbers and their relations as abstractions rather than as properties of collections of real things.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “To make a long story short, Cantorian set theory helps unify and clarify math in the sense that all mathematical entities can now be understood as fundamentally the same kind of thing-a set.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Like most religious mathematicians from Pythagoras to Godel, Bolzano believes that math is the Language of God and that profound metaphysical truths can be derived and proved mathematically.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Disappear inside the game: break through limits: transcend: improve: win.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Unless he actually had a lit gasper going, Calvin Thrust always has this way of being only technically wherever he was. There was always this air of imminent departure about him, like a man whose beeper was about to sound. It’s like a lit gasper was psychic ballast for him or something. Everything he said to Gately seemed like it was going to be the last thing he said right before he looked at his watch and slapped his forehead and left.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I fully grant that mysterious invisible room-cleaning is in a way great, every true slob’s fantasy, somebody materializing and deslobbing your room and then dematerializing – like having a mom without the guilt.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Rhythms are relations between what you believe and what you believed before.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Her expression is from Page 18 of the Victoria’s Secret catalogue.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “By week’s end, when we’d had all manner of weather, I finally saw what it was about heavy seas and marvelous rest: in heavy seas you feel rocked to sleep, with the windows’ spume a gentle shushing, the engines’ throb a mother’s pulse.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Callers who even more unconsciously blemish-scanned or nostril-explored looked up to find horrified expressions on the video-faces at the other end. All of which resulted in videophonic stress.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I wonder if anyone feels as though they’re the same person they seem to remember. It would make them have a nervous breakdown. It probably wouldn’t even make sense. I don’t know if this is enough. I don’t know what anybody else has told you.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It’s painful to believe that the would-be “public servants” you’re forced to choose between are all phonies whose only real concern is their own care and feeding and who will lie so outrageously and with such a straight face that you know they’ve just got to believe you’re an idiot. So who wouldn’t yawn and turn away, trade apathy and cynicism for the hurt of getting treated with contempt?”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Once he’d been set off inside, it mattered so much that he was somehow afraid to show how much it mattered.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I think at seventeen now I believe the only real monsters might be the type of liar where there’s simply no way to tell. The ones who give nothing away... That they walk among us. Teach our children. Inscrutable. Brass-faced.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The thing is that there are obviously different ways to think about these kinds of situations.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “In other words, Cantor is able to show that real numbers themselves can serve as the limits of fundamental sequences of reals, meaning his system of definitions is self-enclosed and VIR-proof.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “People turned out so identical in certain root domestic particulars it made Gately feel strange sometimes, like he was in possession of certain overlarge private facts to which no man should be entitled.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The next year had seen them drop into the crazy-obsessive love spiral in which they’d break up and then not be able to stay away from each other, until one time she was able to stay away, and that was all she wrote.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “He said she went around with her feelings out in front of her with an arm around the feelings’ windpipe and a Glock 9mm. to the feelings’ temple like a terrorist with a hostage, daring you to shoot.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The happy pleasure of the person alone, yes?”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “That as people age, accumulate more and more private experiences, their sense of history tightens, narrows, becomes more personal? So that to the extent that they remember events of social importance, they remember only for example ‘where they were’ when such-and-such occurred. Et cetera et cetera. Objective events and data become naturally more and more subjectively colored.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “He was unsure what the thing inside him was and was unprepared to commit himself to the course of action that would be required to explore the question.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “But from special it’s not very far to Alone.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Time wasn’t passing so much as kneeling beside him in a torn tee-shirt disclosing the rodent-nosed tits of a man who disdains the care of his once-comely bod.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “When something large and oncoming passed, the windshield’s big rectangle was for a moment incandesced and opaque with water, which the wipers heaved mightily to displace.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “She was the kind of fatally pretty and nubile wraithlike figure who glides through the sweaty junior-high corridors of every nocturnal emitter’s dreamscape.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “He and Hal exchanged the very slight sorts of nods people use when they like each other past all need for politeness.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Certain things not only can’t be taught but can be retarded by other stuff that can be taught.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The far north of Manitoba. Forbidding wastelands. The center of nothing.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The really desolate areas can get pretty crowded, of course, sometimes, so it’s good to get there early, get as much wandering as you can in before noon.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I felt despair. The word’s overused and banalified now, despair, but it’s a serious word, and I’m using it seriously. For me it denotes a simple admixture – a weird yearning for death combined with a crushing sense of my own smallness and futility that presents as a fear of death. It’s maybe close to what people call dread or angst. But it’s not these things, quite. It’s more like wanting to die in order to escape the unbearable feeling of becoming aware that I’m small and weak and selfish and going without any doubt at all to die. It’s wanting to jump overboard.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “It’s not what you lift, it’s where you carry it.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The German logician Kant was right in this respect, human beings are all pretty much identical in terms of our hardwiring. Although we are seldom conscious of it, we are all basically just instruments or expressions of our evolkutiuonary drives, which are themselves the expressions of forces that are infinitely larger and more important than we are.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “When they were introduced, he made a witticism, hoping to be liked. She laughed extremely hard, hoping to be liked. Then each drove home alone, staring straight ahead, with the very same twist to their faces. The man who’d introduced them didn’t much like either of them, though he acted as if he did, anxious as he was to preserve good relations at all times. One never knew, after all, now did one now did one now did one.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The executive intern responded: ‘Do we all really value a painting more than a photograph anymore?”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “He didn’t reject the idea so much as not react to it and watch as it floated away.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Hence also the weird viewer complicity behind TV’s sham “breakthrough programs”: Joe Briefcase needs that PR-patina of “freshness” and “outrageousness” to quiet his conscience while he goes about getting from television what we’ve all been trained to want from it: some strangely American, profoundly shallow, and eternally temporary reassurance.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Two dry mouths bumping at each other, trying to kiss, his self-conscious thoughts twisting around on themselves like a snake on a stick while he bucked and snorted dryly above her, his swollen eyes red and his face sagging so that its slack folds maybe touched, limply, the folds of her own loose sagging face as it sloshed back and forth on his pillow, its mouth working dryly. The thought was repellent.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “In life, the microphone passes your lips but once... you had better be ready to sing.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I called a cab, still in my towel. I jumped in the cab before it had even stopped at the gate. I actually said, “The nearest library with a cutting-edge professional grief- and trauma-therapy section, and step on it.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “I was looking at my sneakers and making my feet alternately pigeon-toed and then penguin-toed on the bedroom’s blue carpet.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Believe what you want. I’m powerless over what you believe.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “Our leaders, our government is us, all of us, so if they’re venal and weak it’s because we are.”
David Foster Wallace Quote: “The immediate point of the fish story is that the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about. States as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude – but the fact is that, in the day-to-day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have life-or-death importance. That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense.”
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