The Millenial Trend Piece Is Dead, And Elizabeth Wurtzel Killed It
By Virginia K. Smith
“A voice of a generation.”
Well, probably not. Definitely not. These things traffic well, and if there’s a more popular generational activity than old people talking a bunch of shit about young people, it’s young people reading about themselves, endlessly. You might even say millenials are “self-absorbed” and “navel-gazing?” Maybe even moreso than the generation who raised them, and is responsible for things like repeated threats to shut down the government for the sake of political theater, and also the Big Chill? Or you might just say that Elizabeth Wurtzel’s crazy-making new essay for the Daily Beast feels like it should be a nail in the coffin for this terrible genre of think piece. That would be fair.
So much so that it’s not really worth taking the time to pick apart the bizarre sentence construction here, or the circular logic behind arguments that amount to, “I do not pay attention to creative work by millenials, therefore they have not made any that is worthwhile,” what this actually has to do with Breaking Bad (which is technically the topic here), the Beast’s questionable decision to publish the piece, or really anything other than the bizarre one-off comment about Lena Dunham’s “inexcusable thighs,” which was, well, pretty inexcusable. And not the kind of dialogue that really encourages anyone to take creative risks and “rock the planet senseless,” as Wurtzel demands we do. (Though, she adds, if you do want to do that, there’s this band you should really check out. Led Zeppelin. Heard of ’em???)
No, it’s not really worth picking apart. Because aside from the crushing college debt and woefully underpaid creative economy that Wurtzel largely brushes off as silly excuses, if there’s any one thing getting in the way of young people actually getting out into the world and doing something, it’s spending any time at all reading trend pieces about their meaningless, unimpressive lives. As Wurtzel herself puts it, “the Internet makes it confusing as to whether anything is going on at all.” Though in her case, the answer seems to be pretty clear. It isn’t.