The NYT article fusses (inanely) over "fuck." What do her parents think? Her parents are 61 and 62 — i.e., my age, i.e., big Baby Boomers. Why the fuck should the New York Times think East Coast Baby Boomers struggle with language on the level of "fuck"? The mother is a psychotherapist and the father is "a television and film set dresser." And yet the article is headlined "Wash That Blog Out With Soap," as if the parents were from middle America and a generation or 2 older. I mean, it's been obvious to me for a long time that the NYT is aimed at aging, east coast, middle-class women.
(That's exactly what I am, despite my decades-long exile in Madison, a city which, it must be said, imagines itself as not really part of the Midwest wherein it finds itself.)
Perhaps the Times is craftily stroking me (and my kind) by luring us into the fantasy where we self-flatter: I'm more hip than this woman whose daughter is profiled in the NYT. You experience that envy — she's pictured there, kissing her adorable daughter — immediately palliated with feelings of bullshit superiority: I'm cool with "fuck"!
If you keep going in the article, you get past the faux "fuck" flap and on to the real sexuality of the inner pages of the New York Times: real estate. Would Koenig's parents finance her post-NYU-arts-school lifestyle in a Manhattan apartment?
[Koenig's mother Bobby] Bass made a spreadsheet of all her daughter’s friends who were in the performing arts. “I wanted to see who was making a living, who was making a living in their art and who was being supported by their parents,” she said. In a graph of 45 young adults, only 3 were getting no help whatsoever, and those 3, Ms. Bass said, were working full time either in a restaurant or baby-sitting, and had limited energy left over to pursue what they had studied.We're invited to admire the rationality and (apparent) computer use, but I'm marveling at the accomplishment of getting all that information on 45 individuals!
“It made me see that Emma’s social context was such that our helping with her rent was legitimate,” Ms. Bass said. “I didn’t feel like we were indulging her. I felt like it was a necessary fifth year of college where she had to stabilize herself without the structure and positive feedback of school.”Emma’s social context was such....
May the younger generation read that and learn — learn how to reason with your rational — emotional — Baby Boomer parents.
And Ms. Bass was familiar with the data points surrounding her daughter’s generation, otherwise known as “Generation Screwed,” as a Newsweek headline announced recently.Screwed? You mean fucked.
Anyway, over at The Atlantic, Richard Lawson is reviewing the NYT article.
Emma Koenig, 24, has a blog. It's called Fuck! I'm In My Twenties and is full of cutesily hand-drawn musings about the plight of the aimless millennial. This blog is popular enough to have been turned into an Urban Outfitters book and now Koenig is working on a TV pilot.An Urban Outfitters book. Are you familiar with that special category of books that are sold next to the comfy clothes and cutesy housewares at UO?
Reaction to the piece has been, let's say, mixed. Because of an implied privilege in Koenig's work (mom and dad are gainfully employed, her brother Ezra is in Vampire Weekend), and an abundance of clever cluelessness, the comments section on the Times profile is littered with people calling her a whiner or a spoiled brat, deeming her frivolous and self-obsessed.Lawson — who's not an aging Baby Boomer like me but a guy in his 20s, late 20s — assumes the article is about the daughter, which for him and for others who are at least somewhat young, I'm sure it is.
This is a common criticism of a particular set of young creative types who tend to blab on about their own lives....