Lorrie Moore has opinions about millennials, and they have sent Twitter into a frenzy.
On Wednesday, The New York Review of Books published an essay by Moore with the very NYRB-ish headline “The Balletic Millennial Bedtimes of Normal People.” In the essay, Moore offers her thoughts on Sally Rooney’s bestselling book and the popular Hulu series based on it.
She also offers her thoughts on millennials. They are “essentially suburban, no matter where they have actually grown up,” and “have no authentic counterculture.” “They seem like nice people. But not normal,” Moore writes. “They often seem like nice people who privately are doing terrible things to themselves.”
One passage in particular that set Twitter on fire was this: “Millennials are boundary-conscious and cannot be touched by anyone, even on the sleeve, without consent, but with consent will have hook-ups with total strangers and enact desire in frightening postures of BDSM—a term, and maybe even a thing—not to sound too much like Philip Larkin—that I’m quite sure did not exist prior to 1983.”
Twitter, of course, had a field day. Critic Stephen Piccarella, tweeting screenshots of the essay, asked if this was a declaration of war.
Good morning Lorrie Moore has declared war??? pic.twitter.com/1dsb2yQHoF— Stephen Piccarella (@spiccarella) July 15, 2020
“Lorrie Moore pretending [she] doesn’t know what BDSM is during her humiliation dom session with Millennials is LITERATURE,” proclaimed comedian Guy Branum.
Lorrie Moore pretending she’s doesn’t know what BDSM is during her humiliation dom session with Millennials is LITERATURE. https://t.co/3oXKhiSvS6— Guy Branum (@guybranum) July 15, 2020
“Not since ‘How to Be An Other Woman’ has Lorrie Moore flayed mine ass this way! Destroy me for never having read ‘Old Yeller, QUEEN Lor!!!” enthused Saturday Night Live star Bowen Yang.
Not since “How to Be An Other Woman” has Lorrie Moore flayed mine ass this way! Destroy me for never having read “Old Yeller,” QUEEN Lor!!! https://t.co/PmSRYkzsad— Bowen Yang (@bowenyang) July 15, 2020
And author Tony Tulathimutte noted, “Lorrie Moore baiting everyone into getting mad online means she beat us at our own game.”
Lorrie Moore baiting everyone into getting mad online means she beat us at our own game— Tony Tulathimutte (@tonytula) July 16, 2020
Unfortunately, Moore has yet to expand at length on what she calls the “admirable” Generation Z, but we can all look forward to her takes on VSCO girls and e-boys in, we’re hoping, a TikTok video later this year.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.