Don’t Be Shellfish


I took the bait like a famished fish devours the lure. On Entourage last night, Ari’s wife was reading in bed. The title of the book was plain to see: Consider the Lobster. I had to look it up.

Was it a dining guide to northern New England? Eddie Murphy’s homage to the short-timer crustacean, Larry the Lobster, from a long-ago SNL?

It was, in fact, neither. Consider the Lobster is a book of essays by David Foster Wallace. I’ve never read Wallace, because his books are a thousand pages long and he has a ponytail (or at least used to). But should you find yourself compelled to do so, Wallace—recipient of one of those MacArthur “Genius” grants and author of Infinite Jest—pens essays about the adult-entertainment industry (“Big Red Son”), American language (“Authority and American English Usage”) and, yes, the plight of the poor lobsters in Maine and elsewhere in the title track. According to, Wallace “argues on behalf of lobsters everywhere that they do, in fact, feel pain after being thrust into boiling water, and furthermore we (the eaters of these critters) should think twice about what actually happens after we throw them into the pot.”

So if Ari’s wife bypasses the lobster for something more humane next time at Spago, you’ll know why.

By Michael Malone