Excavated Heartbreaking Interview with David Foster Wallace

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I didn’t really understand emotionally that there are people around who didn’t have enough to eat, who weren’t warm enough, who didn’t have a place to live, whose parents beat the hell out of them regularly. The sadness isn’t in seeing it, the sadness is in realizing how phenomenally lucky I am, not only to have never been hungry or cold, but to be educated, to have access to books. Never before in history has a country been so blessed, materially and intellectually, and yet we’re miserable.

The quote above is from David Foster Wallace’s conversation with Chris Lydon on WBUR, a public radio station in Boston, in February of 1996. The interview was recently unearthed from a “dusty basement, nestled between shows about the ‘96 primaries and escalating violence in the Middle East.” Considering Wallace’s suicide, considering ISIS, considering America today, it’s definitely worth a listen. You can find to the full interview, for the first time, here.


Casey Dayan is a Rumpus intern and musician. He is finishing up his undergraduate studies in literature and anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he is working on a memoir and trying to one-up Jeff Buckley. Find his twitter here, @caseydayan. Find his band, “Moo,” here. More from this author →