Rewatching Wet Hot American Summer recently with JD (who had never seen it), I was transported back to my freshman year of college. I had just recently discovered the power of the cult hit: doodled Donnie Darko references littered every page of notes I took in class, my nickname was “Jack’s Colon” à la Fight Club, a Napoleon Dynamite poster shared space on my dorm room wall with the fire exit and a low-sloping roof. But Wet Hot American Summer was the movie I proselytized to my friends, trying to seem as cool as the movie was: funny in a totally different, surprising way, messing with timelines, with expectations, with even the most faux-liberated college kid’s sense of decency (is that… Molly Ringwald… falling in love with an eleven-year-old?)
The End of the Tour was never going to escape the David Foster Wallace mystique; the famously expansive author has become paradigmatic of the “tortured artist,” to the point that his literature is now almost inextricable from the tragedy surrounding his life and death. He was (it already seems hard to remember) a flesh-and-blood man, but for better and for worse he embodies an archetype in American culture: the misunderstood genius, the voice of an alienated generation, the lotus flower who was too pure to stay mired in the crudities of this world for very long.
Adversion is a turning-towards, in attention. It is criticism without the animus of an animadversion.
We intend to keep a wry eye on contemporary television, movies, and literature; on social issues, cultural moments, and criticism itself; and, not least, on the canonical and canonizable works from our traditions.