As I was reading this story, I couldn’t help but think “what would he say now?” Towards the end of this essay, DFW dwells upon the difficulties of a being a young voter in todays world, that is, how we as a generation are so used to being sold to, that we can’t really believe in anything anymore. This thought process is a constant theme in Wallace’s work of what’s gone wrong in today’s TV obsessed, irony saturated youth culture, that being that we don’t believe in anything anymore. So much of political campaigns is tied up in getting people to believe in a candidate, not so much to believe what they say. Reconciling that goal with today’s culture where supposedly nothing can be said with sincerity is what makes this article so interesting.
Much like after reading “E Unibus Pluram” we discussed what Wallace would say today about TV and fiction writing, what now would Wallace say about youth involvement in politics about the great Obama campaign of 2008. He dwells in “Up, Simba” about how young Americans would simply roll their eyes at the famous JFK musing; “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country!” yet we saw very little eye rolling at Obama’s Grant Park speech in November claiming “Yes we can!”
Does this mean that the cynical age is over, and we as Americans are ready to “suck it up” and believe in a politician or even just another human being again? The overarching theme I found in this essay collection is simply the Wallace yearned for the world of yesterday where people had ideals and morals and codes, and while at times it seems that we are as far away from that as ever, occasionally we can see glimpses of a simpler time. A time where people don’t role their eyes at an inspirational speech, where the media circus around a politician is there to make sure we believe in him, not just sit by as we are sold to his politics.
In short, this post is just simply here to ask exactly what you guys think Wallace would say if he wrote a similar article about Campaign 2008. Are we as Americans ready to drop the cynicism?