Chances are you stumbled across this article in the New York Times this morning. If not, you’re in for a doozy.
If you follow this blog — which I assume you do, if you’re reading this — you know that I am prone to bouts of anger. I usually deal with said bouts of anger by retreating into the Internet and spouting off a lot of thoughts in an impassioned manner. This is one of those times.
To spare you the agony of reading the NYT profile on 24 year-old blogger/actress/??? Emma Koenig, let me instead summarize this wonderful, shining golden turd. It will spare you 15 minutes of groaning, eye-rolling and bashing your head against a wall.
- Unremarkable hipster-type 20-something goes to college, can’t get a “real job” so starts a gigglish, girly blog full of hand drawn, semi-autobiographical doodles and charts — like a diary you kept in middle school, but on the Internet! Yay!
- Parents pay her Brooklyn rent so she can write said blog
- Several instances of “quirky” lifestyle bashing-over-the-head anecdotes
- DID WE MENTION HER BROTHER IS THE FRONTMAN FOR VAMPIRE WEEKEND? OH, WE DIDN’T?
- Cue Urban Outfitters book deal! Mommy and daddy are proud.
- America! Your future is shining and bright and filled with unemployed artsy types!
The underlying “thesis” of this waste of editorial space? That this lifestyle is somehow emblematic of my generation — Generation Y, the Internet generation, whatever you want to call it.
How utterly and horribly offensive. This girl and I are the same age, so, naturally, the NYT assumes that she and I must relate to one another via a twisted logical fallacy: 20-something college educated female + big city + artistic tendencies = ALL PEOPLE LIKE THIS MUST HAVE QUIRKY BLOGS AND PARENTS THAT FOOT THE BILL FOR EVERYTHING!
Let’s be real: I would love for my mother and father to pay for all my expenses — rent, gas, food, drugs — but the fact is that they can’t. My family is as middle class as an American family can be. Both my younger sister and I were put through years of private schooling, my parents paid my rent while I was in college — and for that, I’m eternally grateful. But, taking that into consideration, I don’t hold anything against Mom & Dad for cutting me off (financially) the second I received my undergraduate degree and got a stable source of income. I am done “mooching” off my family; most people in my social bracket are also off the family teat. This is, as much as the NYT would like to lead its readers to believe otherwise, is the norm for a majority of individuals between the ages of 21-28.
Taking all that into consideration, it’s no surprise why this recent influx of “20-somethings are an entitled generation of artists milking their families’ financial assets to support weird artsy endeavors” news-type features — especially from the NYT, who seems to be the biggest player in this sad journalism trend — makes my blood boil. To put it less elegantly: It pisses me the fuck off.
Why? Because, unfortunately, the larger whole of “American society” takes these pieces at face value and projects this notion of the lazy 20-something weirdo onto all people within that age bracket. Similarly, it’s pretty disheartening to see someone who appears to be no more remarkable than yourself get a NYT feature; like it or not, the “WHAT ABOUT MEEEE?” soundtrack starts cuing up in my brain whenever I stumble across these articles. Why aren’t the 20-somethings who work hard to support themselves financially — while also exploring artistic endeavors or engaging in community activism or looking to do something worthwhile or etc etc etc — getting this same recognition? Or the 20-something who had to forgo college to help their families through the financial downturn? Or the 20-something who is racking up a lot of debt in medical school while working on in-depth cancer research. Or…I could go on and on.
I’m sure Vampire Weekend bro’s little sister is a nice, charming young woman; I’m not looking to attack her character or her lifestyle choices — just as I hope she wouldn’t seek to criticize me and my boring day-to-day activities. That still doesn’t change the fact that this piece is both completely unnecessary and completely insulting to the hundreds of thousands of men and women in this age bracket who work their asses off for little (if not no) rewards or accolades. The sad reality is that most 20-somethings, stifled by the fact that they are not bolstered by the financial support of their mothers and fathers, cannot devote their daily routines to activities and interests they hold a deep, unwavering passion for. It’s not their fault, it’s not their family’s fault — maybe it’s the country’s fault? I’m not sure. All I know is that it’s “fucking lame.”