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.
A prose magician, Mr. Wallace was capable of writing in his fiction and nonfiction about subjects from tennis to politics to lobsters, from the horrors of drug withdrawal to the small terrors of life aboard a luxury cruise ship, with humor and fervor and verve. At his best he could write funny, write sad, write sardonic and write serious. He could map the infinite and infinitesimal, the mythic and mundane. He could conjure up an absurd future an America in which herds of feral hamsters roam the land while conveying the inroads the absurd has already made in a country where old television shows are a national touchstone and asinine advertisements wallpaper our lives. Michiko Kakutani
None of these arguments would be worth rehashing if the dead man’s sentences, written in what he liked to call “. English,” weren’t still so gloriously alive. There was something in him that could absorb American language in all its registers and compound it into a voice that in its every deployment said more about the country than whatever Wallace himself happened to be saying. One of the most frequently aired complaints about Wallace was that he was a show-off, that his own voice drowned out those of his characters, that there was something self-indulgent about his massive forays into antic cultural comedy. But I think he knew, having the self he had, the only thing to do with it was to put it to work, like crippled Hephaestus, hammering together his warped and magnificent books.
The thing is that, of course, there are totally different ways to think about these kinds of situations. In this traffic, all these vehicles stopped and idling in my way, it's not impossible that some of these people in SUV's have been in horrible auto accidents in the past, and now find driving so terrifying that their therapist has all but ordered them to get a huge, heavy SUV so they can feel safe enough to drive. Or that the Hummer that just cut me off is maybe being driven by a father whose little child is hurt or sick in the seat next to him, and he's trying to get this kid to the hospital, and he's in a bigger, more legitimate hurry than I am: it is actually I who am in HIS way.