On Reading “Mr. Squishy” – At work

To be fair to the taxpayers, this is fairly well-compensated work – about what Einstein would have made, had he continued to be a patent examiner, and not a special relativist.  To try to read burners-on-high fictionist (The IFC supershow with Will Ferrell as Orson Welles stole that from me – no, I have 0 views 0 readers, so that cannot be true, but my coinage of the superterm goes back at least a decade)   David Fos-W’s “Mr. Squishy,” collected in the Best of McSweeney’s, is enter the sadness of social nihilism – 10 pages maybe of incisive, cutting, well-observed sociology of corporate persiflage, okay, but jeezus, over a 100? The reader takes “Mr Squishy” as punishment, like being forcefully injected with heroin against his or her will.

David Fos-W most likely did a lot of good social research to get the skinny of backstage corporate ad campaign shenanigans, but who needs to follow the dead commencementarian (like his foil Fratnzen) down the black hole? As in that grade-z snoozer End of the Line-Tour, there is no reward for observing an artist in extremis, without social purpose. Since  the ascent of social nihilism, speedfreak fictionists do not get to tap-dance spastically for your edification, as seems to be the career choice for them. The glaciers are melting, the ocean is rapidly acidifying, the world’s freshwater lakes are becoming eutrophic, species are going extinct in a rush, politics and work and writing are entropic, and yet novelists want to offer up their often well-chosen barbs and dissections of the contemporary scene in a rush of activated neuronal pathways? To achieve what? Our aging young writers have proven to be a sad colony, from Frantzen to Eggers to whoever you’ve got on the distaff side. To enter their worlds is to auto-inject madness.



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