A regular emotion in my life–I’m sure the Germans have a word for this–is that bipolar affection for something great that just has awful, awful fans. This is largely because of my love for New England’s sports teams, and also musical theater.
My familiarity with that emotion allowed me to recognize something in what Brett Easton Ellis said when he unloaded on David Foster Wallace on Twitter. DFW is my favorite author, but I still was moved to hate the fanboy spirit behind the nonsense that was “Infinite Summer,” though that also comes from an indie rock ‘I liked them before they got big’ place that makes no sense at all, since I didn’t read any of his work until years after DFW got big and was ten years old when his landmark work was published.
Still, it seems rather gauche to take shots like this at a dead man, but perhaps it stings to see a rival’s legacy written out while yours is still in question. Ellis’ own work never attracted me as much as DFW’s did, which I think is a common sentiment and one that Ellis is aware of. All this is merely preface to this story, by an editor who worked with both men and explains the roots of their conflict.