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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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We Are The Table

It wasn't so long ago that we were talking about David Foster Wallace. I've been thinking a lot about addiction and depression, heading into the homestretch of this season, because grief and depression and addiction and fucking up your entire life kind of go hand in hand. It's hard for me to think of Doug as a person, because he is a cartoon. But I threw up when I heard David Foster Wallace died. It was very dramatic; I was alone and I haven't talked to anybody about it, because famous people you don't know dying invokes a massive anxiety about what you're allowed to feel or not feel that makes me really uncomfortable.

David spent forty-six years building up these beautiful, shimmering walls of words, these crystalline structures of just unimaginable complexity, so that you'd get so caught in the angles of the wordplay and the beauty of his thought, and that way you'd never have to look at the stuff in the middle. And apparently, neither would he. Depression is an inability to think your way around a dead engine. Not the inability to get yourself out of the handcuffs -- or a disinclination to get yourself out of the handcuffs -- but a literal inability to remember how you've gotten out of the handcuffs every time before now. It's not addiction and it's not grief. It's a bear, but it's not one you can afford to let eat you. Suicide is disgusting. It's literally, ethically, the worst crime I can think of. But honestly, that's forty-six years he beat out of the stony ground, with his fingertips, with a bear at his back. He's been sort of my guide in these recaps, because so much of my thinking about addiction and depression comes from discussing his work. I'm angry at him for making me sad.

The camera pulls back, and back, from Doug's suicide: but it's not suicide! It's autoerotic asphyxiation. Which besides being funny -- given that everything that happens on this show is pretty much solipsistic masturbation -- is pretty much an ode to life in the midst of encroaching rotting death. The passage of time there, the journey through his amends and his telling -- and every word was true, and his desire for death is real -- to Doug's response... In the face of disaster and fear and pain and complete self-annihilation, I think the only response you should ever have is something fun and funny and revolutionary. His jacking off, his orgasm, cross paths with the last of his suicide note, which turned out to be something else entirely: "So fuck you! And your lawyers! Come get me if you want, I don't give a shit! Because I'm broke, and when you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose! Take care, Doug." When you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose. Of everyone, I think I admire Doug's response to this episode the most. Well played, sir.

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