Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Quotes

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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace
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“Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“And I was -- this is just how I was afraid you'd take it. I knew it, that you'd think this means you were right to be afraid all the time and never feel secure or trust me. I knew it'd be 'See, you're leaving after all when you promised you wouldn't.' I knew it but I'm trying to explain anyway, okay? And I know you probably won't understand this either, but --wait-- just try to listen and maybe absorb this, okay? Ready? Me leaving is not the confirmation of all your fears about me. It is not. It's because of them. Okay? Can you see that? It's your fear I can't take. It's your distrust and fear I've been trying to fight. And I can't anymore. I'm out of gas on it. If I loved you even a little less maybe I could take it. But this is killing me, this constant feeling that I am always scaring you and never making you feel secure. Can you see that?”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“the psychological need to believe that others take you as seriously as you take yourself. There is nothing particularly wrong with it, as psychological needs go, but yet of course we should always remember that a deep need for anything from other people makes us easy pickings.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“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, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“The trick to this solution is that you’d have to be 100% honest. Meaning not just sincere but almost naked. Worse than naked - more like unarmed. Defenseless. ‘This thing I feel, I can’t name it straight out but it seems important, do you feel it too?’ - this sort of direct question is not for the squeamish. For one thing, it’s perilously close to “Do you like me? Please like me,” which you know quite well that 99% of all interhuman manipulation and bullshit gamesmanship that goes on goes on precisely because the idea of saying this sort of thing straight out is regarded as somehow obsene. In fact one of the very last few interperonal taboos we have is kind of obscenely naked direct interrogation of somebody else. It looks pathetic and desperate. That’s how it’ll look to the reader. And it will have to. There’s no way around it.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“Who are we to say getting incested or abused or violated or any of those things can’t have their positive aspects in the long run? … You have to be careful of taking a knee-jerk attitude. Having a knee-jerk attitude to anything is a mistake, especially in the case of women, where it adds up to this very limited and condescending thing of saying they’re fragile, breakable things that can be destroyed easily. Everybody gets hurt and violated and broken sometimes. Why are women so special? Not that anybody ought to be raped or abused, nobody’s saying that, but that’s what is going on. What about afterwards? All I’m saying is there are certain cases where it can enlarge you or make you more of a complete human being, like Viktor Frankl. Think about the Holocaust. Was the Holocaust a good thing? No way. Does anybody think it was good that it happened? No, of course not. But did you read Viktor Frankl? Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning? It’s a great, great book, but it comes out of his experience. It’s about his experience in the human dark side. Now think about it, if there was no Holocaust, there’d be no Man’s Search for Meaning… . Think about it. Think about being degraded and brought within an inch of your life, for example. No one’s gonna say the sick bastards who did it shouldn’t be put in jail, but let’s put two things into perspective here. One is, afterwards she knows something about herself that she never knew before. What she knows is that the most totally terrible terrifying thing that she could ever have imagined happening to her has now happened, and she survived. She’s still here, and now she knows something. I mean she really, really knows. Look, totally terrible things happen… . Existence in life breaks people in all kinds of awful fucking ways all the time, trust me I know. I’ve been there. And this is the big difference, you and me here, cause this isn’t about politics or feminism or whatever, for you this is just ideas, you’ve never been there. I’m not saying nothing bad has ever happened to you, you’re not bad looking, I’m sure there’s been some sort of degradation or whatever come your way in life, but I’m talking Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning type violation and terror and suffering here. The real dark side. I can tell from just looking at you, you never. You wouldn’t even wear what you’re wearing, trust me.
What if I told you it was my own sister that was raped? What if I told you a little story about a sixteen-year-old girl who went to the wrong party with the wrong guy and four of his buddies that ended up doing to her just about everything four guys could do to you in terms of violation? But if you could ask her if she could go into her head and forget it or like erase the tape of it happening in her memory, what do you think she’d say? Are you so sure what she’d say? What if she said that even after that totally negative as what happened was, at least now she understood it was possible. People can. Can see you as a thing. That people can see you as a thing, do you know what that means? Because if you really can see someone as a thing you can do anything to him. What would it be like to be able to be like that? You see, you think you can imagine it but you can’t. But she can. And now she knows something. I mean she really, really knows.
This is what you wanted to hear, you wanted to hear about four drunk guys who knee-jerk you in the balls and make you bend over that you didn’t even know, that you never saw before, that you never did anything to, that don’t even know your name, they don’t even know your name to find out you have to choose to have a fucking name, you have no fucking idea, and what if I said that happened to ME? Would that make a difference?”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“Okay, you know, is it weird to get so depressed watching a children’s Christmas special— Oh, wait, I shouldn’t say that. I mean, that’s not a good word. It’s not just “sadness,” the way one feels sad at a film or a funeral. It’s more of a plummeting quality. Or the way, you know, the way that light gets in winter just before dusk, or the way she is with me.
All right, at the height of lovemaking, you know, the very height, when she’s starting to climax, and she’s really responding to you now, you know, her eyes widening in that way that’s both, you know, surprise and recognition, which not a woman alive could fake or feign if you really look intently at her, really see her. And I don’t know, this moment has this piercing sadness to it, of the loss of her in her eyes. And as her eyes, you know, widen to their widest point and as she begins to climax and arch her back, they close. You know, shut, the eyes do. And I can tell that she’s closed her eyes to shut me out. You know, I become like an intruder. And behind those closed lids, you know, her eyes are now rolled all the way around and staring intently inward into some void where l, who sent them, can’t follow.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
tags: sex
“The depressed person was in terrible and unceasing pain, and the impossibility of sharing or articulating this pain was itself a component of the pain and a contributing factor in its essential horror.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“She took a sort of abject pride in her mecilessness toward herself.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“The depressed person’s therapist was always extremely careful to avoid appearing to judge or blame the depressed person for clinging to her defenses, or to suggest that the depressed person had in any way consciously chosen or chosen to cling to a chronic depression whose agony made her (i.e., the depressed person’s) every waking hour feel like more than any person could possibly endure. This renunciation of judgment or imposed value was held by the therapeutic school in which the therapist’s philosophy of healing had evolved over almost fifteen years of clinical experience to be integral to the combination of unconditional support and complete honesty about feelings which composed the nurturing professionalism required for a productive therapeutic journey toward authenticity and intrapersonal wholeness. Defenses against intimacy, the depressed person’s therapist’s experiential theory held, were nearly always arrested or vestigial survival-mechanisms; i.e., they had, at one time, been environmentally appropriate and necessary and had very probably served to shield a defenseless childhood psyche against potentially unbearable trauma, but in nearly all cases they (i.e., the defense-mechanisms) had become inappropriately imprinted and arrested and were now, in adulthood, no longer environmentally appropriate and in fact now, paradoxically, actually caused a great deal more trauma and pain than they prevented. Nevertheless, the therapist had made it clear from the outset that she was in no way going to pressure, hector, cajole, argue, persuade, flummox, trick, harangue, shame, or manipulate the depressed person into letting go of her arrested or vestigial defenses before she (i.e., the depressed person) felt ready and able to risk taking the leap of faith in her own internal resources and self-esteem and personal growth and healing to do so (i.e., to leave the nest of her defenses and freely and joyfully fly).”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“She was terrified of everything, and terrified to show it.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“This is how I feel, I can't name it straight out but it seems important, do you feel it too?-- this sort of direct question is not for the squeamish. For one thing, it's perilously close to 'Do you like me? Please like me,' which you know quite well that 99% of all the interhuman manipulation and bullshit gamesmanship that goes on goes on precisely because the idea of saying this sort of thing straight out is regarded as somehow obscene.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“There’s been time this whole time. You can’t kill time with your heart. Everything takes time.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
tags: time
“In reality, genuine epiphanies are extremely rare. In contemporary adult life maturation & acquiescence to reality are gradual processes. Modern usage usually deploys epiphany as a metaphor. It is usually only in dramatic representations, religious iconography, and the 'magical thinking' of children that insight is compressed to a sudden blinding flash.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“With still, underneath, the old respectable-girl-versus-slut thing. It’s OK to fuck around if you’re a feminist but it’s also not OK to fuck around because most guys aren’t feminists and won’t respect you and won’t call you again if you fuck around.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“K--: 'When they say "I am my own person," "I do not need a man," "I am responsible for my own sexuality," they are actually telling you just what they want you to make them forget.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“I kept saying her name and she would ask What? and I’d say her name again. I’m not afraid of how this sounds to you. I’m not embarrassed now. But if you could understand, had I—can you see why there’s no way I could let her just go away after this? Why I felt this apical sadness and fear at the thought of her getting her bag and sandals and New Age blanket and leaving and laughing when I clutched her hem and begged her not to leave and said I loved her and closing the door gently and going off barefoot down the hall and never seeing her again? Why it didn’t matter if she was fluffy or not terribly bright? Nothing else mattered. She had all my attention. I’d fallen in love with her. I believed she could save me. I know how this sounds, trust me. I know your type and I know what you’re bound to ask. Ask it now. This is your chance. I felt she could save me I said. Ask me now. Say it. I stand here naked before you. Judge me, you chilly cunt. You dyke, you bitch, cooze, cunt, slut, gash. Happy now? All borne out? Be happy. I don’t care. I knew she could. I knew I loved. End of story.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“The depressed person was in terrible and
unceasing emotional pain, and the impossibility of sharing or articulating this pain was itself a component of the pain and a contributing factor in its essential horror. Despairing, then, of describing the emotional pain itself, the depressed person hoped at least to be able to express something of its context, its shape and texture, as it were-by recounting circumstances related to its etiology.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“This is what people call a view. And you knew that from below you wouldn't look nearly so high overhead. You see now how high overhead you are. You knew from down there no one could tell . . . There's been time this whole time. You can't kill time with your heart. Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“When they were introduced, he made a witicism, 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.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“The modern woman's a mess of contradictions that they lay on themselves that drives them nuts.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“Rhythms are relations between what you believe and what you believed before.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“In a nation whose great informing myth is that it has no great informing myth, familiarity equaled timelessness”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“...the only real significance she had attached to the memory was that it was funny what stuck with you.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“No, what they want is to experience a passion so huge, overwhelming, powerful and irresistible that it obliterates any guilt or tension or culpability they might feel about betraying their perceived responsibilities.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“Nor would I even begin to try to describe what she looks like as she’s telling the story, reliving it, she’s naked, hair spilling all down her back, sitting meditatively cross-legged amid the wrecked bedding and smoking ultralight Merits from which she keeps removing the filters because she claims they’re full of additives and unsafe—unsafe as she’s sitting there chain-smoking, which was so patently irrational that I couldn’t even bring—yes and some kind of blister on her Achilles tendon, from the sandals, leaning with her upper body to follow the oscillation of the fan so she’s moving in and out of a wash of moon from the window whose angle of incidence itself alters as the moon moves up and across the window—all I can tell you is she was lovely. The bottoms of her feet dirty, almost black. The moon so full it looks engorged.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
tags: beauty
“This by the way is known as Werther’s Axiom, whereby quote The Intensity of a desire D is inversely proportional to the ease of D’s gratification. Known also as Romance.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“Drawn lids one screen of skin, dreampaintings move across Day's colored dark. Tonight, in a lapse unfluttered by time, he travels what seems to be back. Shrinking, smoother, loses his belly and faint acne scars. Bird-boned gangle; bowl haircut and cup-handle ears; skin sucks hair, nose recedes into face; he swaddles in his pants and then curls, pink and mute and smaller until he feels himself split into something that wriggles and something that spins. Nothing stretches tight across everything else. A black point rotates. The point breaks open, jagged. His soul sails toward one color.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“This, of course, is because today’s postfeminist era is also today’s postmodern era, in which supposedly everybody now knows everything about what’s really going on underneath all the semiotic codes and cultural conventions, and everybody supposedly knows what paradigms everybody is operating out of, and so we’re all as individuals held to be far more responsible for our sexuality, since everything we do is now unprecedentedly conscious and informed.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
“Her expression is from Page 18 of the Victoria's Secret catalogue.”
David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

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