Elizabeth Wurtzel's Rant About Millennials Is Magnificently Incoherent


Elizabeth Wurtzel is pissed at today’s youth—which she dubs “the lamest generation”—because they suck at being in their 20s. And she should know, because she’s 46. Or something? Also, she finds Lena Dunham’s thighs “inexcusable.” Can 60 Minutes just give her Andy Rooney’s vacated segment already?

It’s no secret that Wurtzel is getting older and not handling it well. For someone who is so seemingly obsessed with appearing younger, her latest essay for The Daily Beast is an odd move — there are few things that push someone into crotchety-old-lady territory like complaining about kids today.

Unsurprisingly, she blames the Internet:

I blame the Internet, for everything really, most especially for the coarseness like sea salt that has taken over. But because of the World Wide Web, there is too much content and not enough filter, and the value of talent has been decimated.

Well, she’s right about there being too much content and not enough filter. Case in point: Elizabeth Wurtzel, writing on the Internet. But it’s kind of pointless to try and make any kind of sense out of Wurtzel. Or at least, that seems to be her editor’s stance, as the entire essay reads as though no one else bothered to give it a look. For instance:

Diddy made living in the Hamptons and having his Black & White Party more hip-hop than the penitentiary.

Why? Also, it’s actually called “The White Party.” But it does involve black people, so maybe that’s where the confusion stems from? Again, there’s no telling!

The crux of the piece (I think) is that Wurtzel believes that young people today aren’t as cool as young people from a long time ago. Like Led Zeppelin. Or the Beatles. Or herself. The one exception is Lena Dunham, whom she praises and insults within the same sentence.

It does not make sense that Lena Dunham with her inexcusable thighs seems to be the only twentysomething success story in the world of high art and entertainment. That is just too crazy. What is going on here?

What is going on here?

Well, for starters, part of Wurtzel’s problem—in this essay and with herself—is that she views life as a sprint, rather than a marathon. Why are people supposed to be super successful by 26? How did that work out for her? Not so well.

Bizarrely, she seems to think that because she watches TV where the actors are her age and the subject matter is more mature, that means that twentysomethings aren’t contributing enough to art. She doesn’t recognize that it might have to do with how she’s just knocking on 50 and maybe not relating to the humor on Adult Swim. Instead of acknowledging that she’s just not cool enough anymore, she’s blaming young people for making art that appeals to her.

It’s not surprising that Wurtzel isn’t making that kind of connection, though. Here are some sample sentences from her piece:

Hollywood is still a dream factory, but between piracy and China and digital, it is also all messed up.
Fall in the forest and die for all anyone cares, because if you can’t let people know you matter, you are just another tree.
If you don’t know what I mean, listen to Led Zeppelin II. Not just because it makes my point better than I just did, but also because it’s wonderful.

Just, WTF? Here is how she wraps it up:

The beautiful thing about creativity at that age is it is brutal and unpolished, and not virtual.
Everything should be that intense, or not at all.
Enjoy the last episode of Breaking Bad.

I don’t know. If anything, every time Wurtzel pops up with her occasional batshit loonball essays, it only reinforces how creative success at a young age can really fuck a person up. Or actually, this is what happens when you reward someone for being a young, fucked up person.

Wurtzel has long been chasing that high of being a hot 26-year-old with a bestseller. But because she was sprinting, she ran out of steam 20 years ago. She’s the last person who should be giving advice to millennials. Fortunately, she’s also the last one they’d listen to.

From Led Zeppelin to Breaking Bad: The Lamest Generation [The Daily Beast]

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin