Diversions on Tax Day

Friday, April 15, 2011

In The Guardian, Lindesay Irvine reviews a “spectactular piece of video art” being shown this weekend at the Haywood Gallery in London. Christian Marclay’s “The Clock”  is a montage of film clips denoting different hours of a 24-hour day, culled from thousands of popular films. In response, Irvine now proposes to amass a similar “clock” collage of literary quotes. Readers are invited to contribute quotes for any hour of the day. Post the time of day, the quote, and the citation at this link and you will be credited when the project is published.

John Richardson writes in Vanity Fair about Picasso’s mistress of many years, Marie-Thérèse Walter, who committed suicide after his death. He recounts their love story and decodes her appearance in some of Picasso's major works.

The flood of media attention for The Pale King is swelling. I found this piece by Jennifer Schluessler in The New York Times to have an interesting angle. She writes that David Foster Wallace studied the minutae of the tax code for a number of years and with great zeal, contrary to The Pale King’s mood of desperate boredom. As one example, he carried on a fascinating correspondence with Evanston accountant  Stephen Lacy, whom she quotes. On the subject of the rigidity and complexity of the tax code, Lacy wrote to Wallace:

Imagine someone who wants to have a purely realistic and Aristotelian outlook and metaphysic and wants to avoid thinking of how some of the radical insights of Gödel, Wittgenstein, Davidson, Derrida and Deleuze might chip away at his system. The complexity of language and its nature of being contradictory and deconstructing are there all the time. . . . Sooner or later this person’s world view will have major problems. Our tax system wants to be a ‘modernist’ enterprise in an increasingly ‘postmodernist’ world.

Lacy noted that he had no idea Wallace was writing a novel about the IRS until after Wallace’s death. Schluessler also notes that some of the people Wallace communicated with can be glimpsed as characters in the novel.