Novelist Walter Kirn's outlook has never been particularly sunny, and he's been known to make a big deal out of minor annoyances, like when he wasn't invited to the Oscars when Up in the Air got all those nominations. For close to twelve hours now, Kirn has been operating at peak crankiness on his blog and on Twitter. Even by his standards, the grievances are harsh, and his targets are varied. Notable people, institutions, and personality types Kirn is fed-up with:
Kirn's an active tweeter, but he doesn't like what social media does to people, other people, like those kids he saw at a Bright Eyes show who wanted to take Connor Oberst's picture, as if they had some "sort of compulsion to rid the here and now of its proximity and contemporaneity while still holding on to an image of the experience, suitable for 'sharing' on a Facebook page."
These he hates because they made it socially acceptable for adults to read books about tiny British wizards. Writes Kirn:
"Hey, intellectuals! My fellow weenies! Our culture totally, world-historically, down-to-the-sub-atomic-level sucks -- even our low culture sucks now, despite all our self-important ingenious attempts to elevate it or make it seem more complicated or subversive or internally self-critiquing or whatever than it really is; I mean Harry Potter, come on, it wasn't just the biggest children's movie ever, it was the biggest everyone-including-adults-including-ones-who-went-to-"good"-colleges adults movie ever -- and it's all our fucking fault!"
Another fictional character people insisted be taken seriously, despite the fact he wears a cape and fights crime in a pretend city. Kirn observes: "By finding a million brilliant ways to destabilize what we should have been defending...and ennoble what we should have been dismissing (comic books, let's start there; anything having to do with comic books. Period. Including the Dark Knight), WE LITERALLY BULLSHITTED OURSELVES OUT OF A JOB, AND PRACTICALLY RIGHT OUT OF EXISTENCE"
Journalists who refuse to "lose it"
After first endorsing "OFFICIALLY LOSING IT" as something every author should do once a year, he made the same recommendation to journalists.
@chrismeserole MORE JOURNALISTS SHOULD LOSE IT. NOT TO RAISE YOUR VOICE IN A SCENE OF MAYHEM IS TO LIE WITHOUT RUMPLING YOUR TIE.
Kirn's fancy alma mater didn't bother to teach him what words like recursiveness mean, he tweeted to John Podhoretz of Commentary. Instead, they just wanted him to know when to drop the word into conversation.
@jpodhoretz Apparently at your college they taught the definition of the word. At Princeton we just learned when and among whom to use it.
People who don't sew
Kirn says social media "is pretty much what everyone is doing now instead of reading" and also what they're doing instead of things that are "kind of like reading, including sewing."
There's a chance this could all be some meta experiment about how the Internet trades in grumpiness, but we feel like the frustration is genuine, or mostly genuine.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.