Jonathan Franzen

Start with a fun fact. Did you know: trust fund hipsters (allegedly there are a few different types) are sometimes looked down upon for converting real capital into cultural capital?

Onto much more sinister things.

Jonathan Franzen, speaking at a graduation, exposes some of the seductive trappings of our electronics.

Consumer technology products would never do anything this unattractive, because they aren’t people. They are, however, great allies and enablers of narcissism. Alongside their built-in eagerness to be liked is a built-in eagerness to reflect well on us.

I do think that smartphones these days are suspicously attractive.

The simple fact of the matter is that trying to be perfectly likable is incompatible with loving relationships. Sooner or later, for example, you’re going to find yourself in a hideous, screaming fight, and you’ll hear coming out of your mouth things that you yourself don’t like at all, things that shatter your self-image as a fair, kind, cool, attractive, in-control, funny, likable person. Something realer than likability has come out in you, and suddenly you’re having an actual life.

Related Topics