Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Anya Kamenetz Is the Most Annoying Person in New York

She graduated from Yale in 2002, has an apartment in a trendy neighborhood in New York, writes for the Village Voice (a job that could be considered crappy only if one has a perversely inflated sense of entitlement), and got a(n undeserved) book deal while in her early 20s. Yet she had the gall to write "Generation Debt," a collection of insufferably self-pitying, clueless "oh my god my NYC apartment is so not as cute as my Davenport dorm, plus there are all these black people everywhere" columns from the Voice from the past couple years, in which she demonstrates absolutely zero perspective or insight, as this review argues. She is singularly devoid of self awareness, or else how could one explain the following:

Someone like Kamenetz doesn't have much to kvetch about. In the press materials accompanying the book, she notes that just after she finished the first draft, her boyfriend "proposed to me on a tiny, idyllic island off the coast of Sweden." She continues: "As I write this, boxes of china and flatware, engagement gifts, sit in our living room waiting to go into storage because they just won't fit in our insanely narrow galley kitchen. We spent a whole afternoon exchanging the inevitable silver candlesticks and crystal vases, heavy artifacts of an iconic married life that still seems to have nothing to do with ours." The inevitable silver candlesticks? Too much flatware to fit in the kitchen? We should all have such problems.

And does her fiance have one of those crap temporary jobs all the drones in her generation are destined to hold forever? Not really. He's a software engineer at Google.

Seriously, Anya, if you're reading this, you're the reason the terrorists hate us.


  • At 2:13 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    OMG! An annoying 25-year-old! And a Yalie to boot!


  • At 2:51 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    She's certainly not more annoying than Bill O'Reilly, anyway. Or Katie Couric.

  • At 2:52 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Or frickin' Dov Hikind.

  • At 3:17 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    There are certainly more nefarious New Yorkers, but I think she's right up there among the most annoying. It's her sanctimonious earnestness combined with the fact that she has no excuse for being so clueless. Upper(ish) middle class Yalies certainly have every right to write about the class struggle (ahem); her offense was in using her own tragic plight as exhibit A.

  • At 3:21 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Also, she was nominated for a Pulitzer [barf].

  • At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Solomon, you are so ignorant. Perhaps if you had ever actually read her book you would know that she never, not even for a moment, attempts to use her own life as an example of someone who has had it hard. Not even for one second. It is a despicable aspect of the publishing industry today that insists every persons book MUST be an accurate reflection of themselves. Congragulations for falling into that trap, but please acknowledge that Kamenetz had nothing to do with it. I'm glad you use your blog to condemn those attempting to advocate for a cause because they don't have the experiences of those they are attempting to advocate for.

  • At 11:43 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Never, not even for a moment? Not even for one second? What about this moment and second (from her annoying little book):

    "No employer has yet offered me a full-time job with a 401(k), a paid vacation, or any other benefits beyond the next assignment. I have a savings account but no retirement fund. I can't afford preschool fees or a mortgage anywhere near the city where I live and work."

    Give me a break. On her shitty blog she even discusses her decision to use herself as an example.

    Read the Slate review that I linked to. It's true that I haven't read her crappy book, but I feel confident calling it crappy because I had to suffer through her seemingly endless crappy columns in the Voice, which were the basis of the book.

    As I have written many times, if she were a proper journalist writing about this issue in a responsible, clued-in way, it could have been a very important book. However, the way she approached the topic was insufferable and spoiled whatever good she may have been trying to accomplish (PLUS there's the fact that she didn't even come up with the idea (her editor did), and she's a major beneficiary of nepotism, plus she is only a so-so writer).

    Anyhow, I'm sure that Anya is going to do very well for herself, what with that Pulitzer nomination [GAG!] and all. What with the syndicated column (it's syndicated I gather, though I try to look the other way whenever her name flits across my screen) she'll even be able to return to the upper middle class lifestyle to which she is accustomed and from which she strayed for those two or three trying, torturous years. Oh what a burden to be Anya Kamenetz, to have struggling bloggers call her out on her bullshit as she lunches with Maureen Dowd.

  • At 11:57 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Also, for the record, I have nothing against bourgeois people or wealthy people (some of my best friends, etc.), and I certainly have nothing against privileged people writing about class. I want people to write about class. I just don't want them to be so clueless and annoying when they do it. Perhaps if she had studied history or economics or something, she might have had more of a clue. She always reads as if 2004 were the first year it had ever dawned on her that some people don't have it as easy as she has. She is hopelessly tone deaf when it comes to writing about class.

    The other issue I didn't even address yet is that in a better world, the Voice would have hired someone who actually knew what they were talking about to write about this. The City is full of aspiring writers with a lot to say about class. If one of them had had the opportunity, maybe they'd have written a really good book. Instead, the nepotistic publishing industry gives all the opportunities to overprivileged, overconnected bobbleheads like Kamenetz. She's the Paris Hilton of the literary set.

    She's part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  • At 12:49 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Or, as this blogger wrote more politely but to the same effect,

    Generation Debt author Kamenetz, on the other hand, is still mired in post-college flux, and her writing has some of the unfiltered indignation of first discovery. This is useful as a window into the angst that accompanies youthful financial and professional uncertainty, but complaints about economic inequality grate a little coming from someone whose parents covered a four-year education at Yale. Nor is it easy to muster much pity for a twenty-something journalist who has already published a book -- Generation Debt is based on her work for the Village Voice -- when she laments that no employer has offered her a job with benefits.

    Kamenetz empathizes with the plight of her less fortunate peers and clearly intends her book as a public service, but she doesn't seem entirely aware of her own good fortune -- or the difference between suffering under an oppressive system and not being handed your dream job immediately upon graduation. Whether you call it optimism or a sense of entitlement, that attitude plays into the cliché of a generation of Veruca Salts, clamoring for their golden ticket.

  • At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Sigmund said…

    I was trying to figure out why AK's piece on unpaid interns sent you into such a paroxysm of sputtering hatred, and then I figured it out: you are an unpaid intern, permanently. You write for free. You probably always will. She gets paid.
    She's been a professional for years. You are an unpaid loser. Could it be.. is it possible.. you are jealous?

  • At 11:38 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    lol, i just read this stealth comment a month or so after it was posted. i'm guessing, sigmund, that you're one of anya's skull and bones buddies?

    as you were writing, did you notice the irony that your reaction to my criticism of AK's annoyingly clueless class coverage was "you, solomon grundy, are just jealous of her because you're poor!"

    you yalies never cease to make me chuckle (and yes, half the people on this blog are yalies, and i'm in new haven at the moment).

    anyhow, i do have an abiding abstract and personal interest in class matters. which is probably why AK's drivel particularly rankles me.

  • At 5:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Solomon Grundy, you're not alone. I'm tired of seeing people like this clueless idiot trying to represent a class she's not a part of and will never understand.

  • At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love her

  • At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love AK too. All you jackasses are just mad because she tells the truth better than 90% of you lame writers. Don't be mad becasue she has done well for herself.

  • At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    as usual, kick the messenger and ignore the message.
    It could take a few dozen attempts before a grade A+ "quality" writer nails the issue perfectly (at which point the correctly academic .2% of the population will finally sit up and take notice.) Houston, we do indeed have a problem.
    Who cares about the whingeing, cringing, snivelling wailing - symptoms of the disease. Sould we die first, before we admit we're sick? The point is, when the sheer number of whiners grows to a size that cannot be ignored, what do we do with them then? Recreate some other new improved welfare? (free benefits, yum!)
    Do you really think that a lot of them would whine at all - if there were actually lousy jobs to fill? I hear the distant holler...please! Pay me $10/hr to be bored out of my tree!
    Sorry...that just doesn't fit the corporate worldview anymore.

  • At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Sildenafil said…

    I have not known Anya Kamenetz personally, but after reading she won this award I don't have so much eagerness to know her, nice post anyway!

  • At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Viagra Online said…

    I was reading her biography, and wow she is really a person who likes to be in the center of attention, it reminded me Courtney Love and her awful personality.

  • At 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can absolutely attest that she is more interested in getting a book deal than in writing about class struggles or any of the topics she has chosen or been assigned to write about superficially.

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