A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments is a 1997 collection of nonfiction writing by David Foster Wallace.
In the title essay, originally published in Harper's as "Shipping Out", Wallace describes the excesses of his one-week trip in the Caribbean aboard the cruise ship MV Zenith, which he rechristens the Nadir. He is ironically displeased with the professional hospitality industry and the "fun" he should be having and explains how the indulgences of the cruise turn him into a spoiled brat, leading to overwhelming internal despair.
Wallace uses footnotes extensively throughout the piece for various asides. Another essay in the same volume takes up the vulgarities and excesses of the Illinois State Fair.
This collection also includes Wallace's influential essay "E Unibus Pluram" on television's impact on contemporary literature and the use of irony in American culture.
Essays collected in the book:
- "Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley" (Harper's, December 1991, under the title "Tennis, Trigonometry, Tornadoes")
- An autobiographical essay about Wallace's youth in the Midwest, his involvement in competitive tennis, and his interest in mathematics.
- "E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction" (The Review of Contemporary Fiction, 1993)
- "Getting Away from Already Being Pretty Much Away from It All" (Harper's, 1994, under the title "Ticket to the Fair")
- Wallace's experiences and opinions on the 1993 Illinois State Fair, ranging from a reports on competitive baton twirling to speculation on how the Illinois State Fair is representative of Midwestern culture and its subsets.
- "Greatly Exaggerated" (Harvard Book Review, 1992)
- A review of Morte d'Author: An Autopsy by H. L. Hix, including Wallace's personal opinions on the role of the author in literary critical theory.
- Wallace's experiences and opinions from visiting the set for Lost Highway and his thoughts about Lynch's oeuvre.
- "Tennis Player Michael Joyce's Professional Artistry as a Paradigm of Certain Stuff about Choice, Freedom, Discipline, Joy, Grotesquerie, and Human Completeness" (Esquire, 1996, under the title "The String Theory")
- Wallace's reporting of the qualifying rounds for the 1995 Canadian Open and the Open itself, with the author's thoughts on the nature of tennis and professional athletics.
- "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" (Harper's, 1996, under the title "Shipping Out")
- Wallace's experiences and opinions on a seven night luxury Caribbean cruise.
In popular culture
In his 2011 book That Is All, John Hodgman titles a chapter about taking a cruise "A Totally Fun Thing I Would Do Again as Soon as Possible." The name of the 2012 Simpsons episode "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again" also references the title essay. Tina Fey's 2011 memoir Bossypants also includes a chapter on her own cruise experience, entitled My Honeymoon: Or, A Supposedly Fun Thing That I’ll Never Do Again Either, in which she jokingly suggests that those who've heard of Wallace's book should consider themselves members of the "cultural elite", who hate their country and flag.
- Wallace, D. F. (1997). A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-92528-4
- Wallace, D. F. (1996). "Shipping Out", Harper's Magazine, January 1996 (292:1748)
- "Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise", Harpers Magazine. Also known as "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again".
- "Ticket to the Fair", Harper's Magazine. Also known as "Getting Away from Already Being Pretty Much Away from It All".
- "The String Theory", Esquire. Also known as "Tennis Player Michael Joyce's Professional Artistry as a Paradigm of Certain Stuff about Choice, Freedom, Discipline, Joy, Grotesquerie, and Human Completeness".
- "E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction", The Review of Contemporary Fiction.
- "David Lynch Keeps His Head" Premiere, 1996
- "Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley", Harper's Magazine. Originally under the title "Tennis, Trigonometry, Tornadoes"
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Wed, 14 Jan 2015 16:52:49 -0800
Soon one young woman is alone reciting a section of “A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again,” Wallace's existential and occasionally uproarious account of a cruise on what he calls the Nadir. These sections are funny, and the audience laughs at ...
Thu, 08 Jan 2015 04:09:13 -0800
You know the kind: mop-haired hipsters dragging themselves through The Broom of the System, Wallace's first novel, getting their angry fix from the essays of A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again and Consider the Lobster. I was one of them. I am ...
Fri, 23 Jan 2015 09:19:13 -0800
Jesse Eisenberg received an Oscar nomination for playing Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network,” and he takes on playing another, albeit much-lesser known, real person in “The End of the Tour,” which premieres at Sundance on Friday night. The drama ...
Bloomington Pantagraph (blog)
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 00:15:00 -0800
Answer: In 2012, “The Simpsons” did an episode titled “A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again” that was based on a David Foster Wallace essay that was titled “A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again.” Wallace wrote the piece after going ...
Sun, 04 Jan 2015 03:04:18 -0800
... Wang singles out “A (radically condensed) Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again,” which uses recorded readings by David Foster Wallace of selections from his writings, including the piece's namesake, “A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again ...
Thu, 04 Dec 2014 13:22:30 -0800
I envision what David Foster Wallace described in his uproarious essay "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again": a tacky all-inclusive resort on water, complete with cramped quarters, all-hours stuffing-of-face with mass-produced eats, sunburned ...
Wed, 23 Jan 2013 23:06:28 -0800
A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. For the late David Foster Wallace, it's a Caribbean cruise that leaves him slumped in the deckchair of despair. For me, it's the tenth masturbation joke in as many minutes. Watching stand-up comedy: A ...
New York Times
Fri, 16 Mar 2012 07:00:48 -0700
Mary Rasumussen, left, Therese Plaehn and John Amir rehearse a theater piece drawn from the words of David Foster Wallace. By CLAUDIA LA ROCCO. Published: March 16, 2012. Twitter; Linkedin; Sign In to E-Mail; Print. Reprints; ShareClose.
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