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Location: California, United States

Friday, June 07, 2013

David Foster Wallace, Dresden, and the state fair

Still reading Side Jobs and in one story, Harry Dresden, private investigator and wizard, searches the Illinois State Fair for a bad guy ...

The smells are what I enjoy the most about places like the State Fair. You get combinations of smells at such events like none found anywhere else. Popcorn, roast nuts, and fast food predominate, and you can get anything you want to clog your arteries or burn out your stomach lining. Chili dogs, funnel cakes, fried bread, majorly greasy pizza, candy apples, ye gods. Evil food smells amazing -- which is either proof that there is a Satan or some equivalent out there, or that the Almighty doesn’t actually want everyone to eat organic tofu all the time. I can’t decide.

Other smells are a cross section, depending on where you're standing. Disinfectant and filth walking by the Porta-Potties, exhaust and burned oil and sun-baked asphalt and gravel in the parking lots, sunlight on warm bodies, suntan lotion, cigarette smoke and beer near some of the attendees, the pungent, honest smell of livestock near the animal shows, stock contests, or pony rides -- all of it charging right ip your nose. I like indulging my sense of smell. Smell is the hardest sense to lie to.

This reminded me of an essay by David Foster Wallace on the Illinois State Fair - "Getting Away from Already Being Pretty Much Away from It All" (Harper's, 1994, under the title "Ticket to the Fair") Here's a video of him reading a bit from that essay ...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this.

11:22 AM  

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