“My whole life I’ve been a fraud.”

March 6, 2009

The title up there is the first line from the stunning, heartbreaking David Foster Wallace story “Good Old Neon” which is in his collection Oblivion.  It seemed like a good place to start to address mental health issues from the inside out (the story is about suicide), and even though applying the phrase to google image search results seems cruel, cruelty seems right.

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One Response to ““My whole life I’ve been a fraud.””

  1. Will Says:

    The phrase reminds me of Billy Connolly’s comment about how, after
    a performing career of over 40 years, bringing huge laughs, warm understanding
    and sympathy and a fierce intelligence to millions of people around the world,
    he still gets terribly nervous before each show, always worried that he’s
    “about to be found out.” But then they announce his name, he walks into
    the lights, and relaxes into being the funniest man alive. He did badly in
    school so he thinks he’s not bright. If an artist (or anyone) devalues their
    life, or their work, they can call themselves a fraud. It certainly doesn’t make
    it true, but then, it’s people’s self-image that makes them suffer. Whether
    the reader of the David Foster Wallace story would agree with the character’s
    self-judgment is irrelevant, since the character sees only his own self-image.

    As a side note, it also reminds me of Colin Ferrell’s confession in the movie
    Phone Booth. He describes why he creates an overblown, cocky image of
    himself to others because he always feels like a small Bronx kid (in danger
    of being “found out” if he let anyone see him as he really is). I prefer that
    vulnerable, honest character to the cocky playboy he seems to be in real life.

    As for these pictures, they have a definite Post Secret feel to them, but what’s
    behind the words is far less clear here. I’d like to see intimate comments
    (like from Shere Hite’s Hite Report on Work, for example) written over
    shots of cold, impersonal office photos.


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