Monday, April 18, 2022

David Foster Wallace

It was a dark day for literature when David Foster Wallace took his own life in 2008, at the age of 46. Wallace was hands-down the most talented American writer of his generation. Arguably he was one of the most striking and original prose stylists of the past century. And yet he’s never really been a household name, unless you live in an unusually highbrow household. He had enormous gifts, but an equally enormous propensity to get in his own way. Maybe that’s why America’s Wallace industry has been busier since his death than it was during his life. The man himself is no longer around to impose his artistic standards, which were both fanatically strict and strangely self-sabotaging ... [READ MORE]

Thursday, April 7, 2022

The Dropout

What is it about con artists that fascinates us? Right now our entertainment platforms are crammed with shows about real-life mountebanks and charlatans. 

On Netflix alone you have documentaries like The Tinder Swindler and The Puppet Master – both dealing with loathsome male grifters – and Bad Vegan, about a meat-hesitant female fraudster. There’s also the rambling mini-series Inventing Anna, which dramatises the exploits of the faux heiress Anna Sorokin.

And now on Disney+ there is The Dropout, starring Amanda Seyfried as the enigmatic Elizabeth Holmes, founder of the dodgy biotech start-up Theranos. Once feted as America’s first self-made female billionaire, Holmes was recently convicted of defrauding investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. When she’s sentenced later this year, she’ll face a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment.

The Dropout aims to “humanise” Holmes, which is easier said than done ... [READ MORE]