Just looking at William Deresiewicz’s piece on Mark Greif in Harper’s, where he writes:
Like David Foster Wallace, albeit in a very different key, Greif is willing to be vulnerable, to forgo the protections of irony and nihilism.
True! (At least of DFW; I don’t know enough about Greif.) And satisfiying, because I complained before about Deresiewicz mischaracterizing Wallace:
As for the slackers of the late ’80s and early ’90s (Generation X, grunge music, the fiction of David Foster Wallace), their affect ran to apathy and angst, a sense of aimlessness and pointlessness. Whatever. That they had no social vision was precisely what their social vision was: a defensive withdrawal from all commitment as inherently phony.
Maybe he reads my blog!
…And I was enlightened.
What is protective about nihilism? The rejection of the possibility of revelation seems rather dangerous.