He then turned his attention to DFW fans, saying: "Saint David Foster Wallace: a generation trying to read him feels smart about themselves which is part of the whole bullsh** package. Fools.”
Who does Ellis think he is “being exceptionally hostile and ungenerous toward a tragically tormented writer who, having hanged himself, is in no position to defend himself,” writes Salon.com’s Gerald Howard (who, incidentally, edited both Ellis and Wallace when they were starting out).
For starters, anyone familiar with Ellis knows he’s no stranger to the shock-and-awe method of courting controversy.
He is, after all, the guy who in 2010 suggested women are inherently ill-equipped for directing movies. The guy who just last month declared Matt Bomer unfit for playing the title role of Christian Grey in the film adaption of “50 Shades of Grey,” because he is gay. And the guy who, hours after J.D. Salinger died, tweeted, “Yeah! Thank God he’s finally dead. I’ve been waiting for this day for-****ing ever. Party tonight!”
But there’s more here than meets the eye. Ellis and Wallace are literary rivals that go way back, and Ellis’s hostile tweets are just the latest in a two-decades-old exchange of literary beef.
In 1988, Wallace criticized Ellis’s first published essay, calling Ellis and his category of novelists “Catatonics” for their “naïve pretension,” according to Slate. “Wallace’s argument, characteristically, defies easy summary,” Slate’s Forrest Wickman writes, “…but, in the context of literary critical essay,” is damning.