Bret Easton Ellis Wants Millennials to Get Off His Damn Lawn

Bret Easton Ellis, the literary bad boy of the ’80s, has turned into a brilliant old curmudgeon in his middle age, taking frequent aim at social media-obsessed youngsters. His rantings are not always on the money, but they’re always wildly entertaining, in the same way as when your drunk uncle takes to Facebook and Tells It Like It Really Is.
Ellis has been copping an especially large amount of heat this week for an an opinion piece he wrote called ‘Generation Wuss’, which appeared, of all places, in the French edition of Vanity Fair. Mais oui. The piece sees Ellis in peak grumpy old man form, as he laments the younger generation’s perceived inability to harden the fuck up.
He starts out, as he often does, making reference to his ‘anonymous’ 27-year-old boyfriend, musician Todd Michael Schultz, and grumbling about how today’s youngsters have been smothered by their parents and are really, super dumb because of it:
“[Sometimes] I’m charmed and sometimes I’m exasperated by how him and his friends – as well as the Millennials I’ve met and interacted with, both in person and in social media – deal with the world … My huge generalities touch on their over-sensitivity, their insistence that they are right despite the overwhelming proof that suggests they are not, their lack of placing things within context, the overreacting, the passive-aggressive positivity … all of this exacerbated by the meds they’ve been fed since childhood by over-protective “helicopter” parents mapping their every move.”
Ellis then goes on to rant about the suicide of 18-year-old Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi – which he awkwardly manages to misspell as ‘Tyler Clemente’ throughout the piece – and how this led him to a fight with his own boyfriend: 
“The fight I had with my boyfriend was about victimization narratives and cyber-“bullying” versus imagined threats and genuine hands-on bullying. Was this just the case of an overly sensitive Generation Wuss slowflake that made national news because of how trendy cyber-bullying was in that moment … or was this a deeply troubled young person who was brought down by his own shame and turned into a victim/hero (they are the same thing now in the United States) by a press eager to present the case out of context and turning Ravi into a monster just because of a pretty harmless – in my mind freshman dorm room prank?”
Ellis has copped and will cop a lot more shit for this piece, perhaps rightly so given the above and his assertion that young people of this generation are a bit self-involved (see also: every other generation).
Amid the ranting, though, he does make a pretty solid point about the internet and positivity, and how the need to be constantly liked – literally, in case of social media – creates its own special kind of anxiety, limiting the discourse by eliminating anything negative.
He made mention of a recent Buzzfeed policy of “no longer [running] anything negative” – possibly in reference to their newly-hired books editor, who has banned negative reviews – and laments the coming of an  “over-reactionary fear-based culture that considers criticism elitist.” 
The author contradicts himself a few times in the piece – for instance, while he doesn’t believe in cyber bullying, he nonetheless notes the “demeaning sexual atmosphere” that millennials face on sites like Tinder – but that’s Bret Easton Ellis for you. 
You can read his full rant here. Deal with it. Rock ‘n’ roll.

Photo: Pascal le Segratin via Getty Images