So now a post on Thought Catalog alerts me that my generation murdered irony? Transcontinental Ironic Bitchfight! Denver, go get the video camera!
New York blog Gawker, which once called “stunt novelist” Tao Lin “the single most irritating person we’ve ever had to deal with,” then told its friend it liked him, then told its other friend it like like liked him, seems to have started hating him again at some point, as if the rest of us give a flying fuck.
This past week Gawker called out those “rain-soaked latte zombies” in Seattle for their cover story on Lin, by Lin, and in doing so managed to step in a big squishy irony turd, which is gonna be tough to get out of those point-toed goth shoes you New York vamps always wear.
This all has something to do with some man who calls himself “Jonathan Franzen,” who apparently writes some sort of books or something, and whom Time magazine, which has made a habit lately of working my last Goddamn nerve, seems to like enough to light up like a neanderthal statue in the Houston Science Museum.
Now, I read lots of books. And yet, somehow, the sum total of my knowledge of Jonathan Franzen before this fandango was that I had seen his books on the shelves and I thought it was really weird that Time lit him up like a Neanderthal in a science museum, since he was the first living novelist on Time’s cover in ten years. Wow, this douchebag must be pretty hot shit, even if he’s no Neil Simon.
Turns out Franzen is the guy who didn’t want to be on Oprah because men don’t read, which is another can of worms I don’t blame him for. The only thing I can blame Franzen for, in fact, is the bizarre pull-quote generated when he just today told the Guardian that he must be near the end of his career because people are starting to approve, which comes as a great relief to those of us who read constantly, have barely heard of him and don’t give a damn.
But whether I approve of Jonathan Franzen, I’m sure, is as critical to his life and art as whether Gawker noticed that the Stranger piece on and by Lin was a parody of Time’s (by general consensus irredeemably pretentious) Franzen profile.
What leaves Sacramento so bewildered — and here I speak for my re-adopted hometown of Manure-Huffing Coke Zero Werewolves the same way Gawker seems to speak for the Big Apple whenever suckerpunching Seattle — is that this is apparently now a grudge match. I don’t know where the irony starts and where it ends. Gawker’s Seattle-aimed bitchslap last month had a lead that ended with a question mark:
Wait, I’m confused. Is his post insane or not? Are you being ironic or serious? Is that a typo or have you got some sort of speech impediment? Now bloggers can have speech impediments? Do you people even speak Yiddish? Wait, now I’m being ironic? I can’t tell!!! Help me!!!
I hold none of this against Franzen or Lin, of course — I haven’t read either of them, and it is my very weirdly non-ironic opinion that novelists should be judged primarily by people who read their novels. I haven’t read Franzen’s Time profile. I haven’t read Lin’s parody of Franzen’s Time profile. But “Rain-Soaked Latte Zombies”? Come on, Gawky. Drinking lattes doesn’t make you eat brains. It makes you write blog posts!
In fact, this has become a grudge match so ironic that I can’t tell who’s mad at whom or if they’re all just ribbing each other. Is The Stranger really mad at Jonathan Franzen? Is Gawker mad at Tao Lin? Is Time mad at me? Does anyone even know I exist? Do I exist? Somebody explain it to me!
We’re pretty dim-witted lately out here in California. I think all this sun is cooking the brains of our Pinot Noir Serial Killers. Honestly, I know we started this irony shit but we’re starting to lose track of it. Please, people, I’m old. Will somebody just sing me a Johnny Cash song?