As a parent born in 1963

(growing up free and strong) now with two Zellenials sons I choose NOT to raise them as anxiety filled kids coddled and encouraged to nurture grievance, deformed by political correctness, socialized to panic over pseudocrises ( that now disrupting college campuses, work places etc) and encouraging navel gazing about ill defined notions of grievances that have little to do with developing into a self sufficient productive adult.

Social justice ideology has conditioned young people to view society as hostile and unredeemable, Men as toxic,Climate change ending the world, Oppression everywhere etc.

While I gave my boys the blessing to be free strong ambitious humble grateful and to work hard they have also been equipped to navigate the dangerous minefield of the now woke world’s state of grievance identities, cancel culture and illiberalism.

I hope and pray I have prepared them well since it has been devastating to me,having been raised in a very progressive liberal household, to see those values having been deformed in such a hideous, illiberal and crippling way for my children’s generation.

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This review is hard to follow and doesn’t make me want to read his book or any of his books, which I haven’t heretofore.

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I guess I'm just not smart or hip enough but the point of this escaped me. And it seemed like a waste of the ten minutes spent. Unusual for the Free Press.

Also tiring of the endless prattle about Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, et al. One's generation does not define a person. Each generation includes worthies and fools. Sorry, this one just lost me.

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"An unslakable thirst for independence." Something in 1981the young still wanted. BOOM. That says it all.

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I’m a Gen Xer who grew up in the NYC area, have lived here for 20+ years since and have no idea that SoHo was ever a “douchetastic headquarters of Russians and Turks and other model-bangers.” I’m not sure what that even means.

During the 80’s SoHo transformed from an artist community that got priced out of Greenwich Village to a yuppified enclave of expensive lofts for bankers, which eventually became a Mecca for tourists and startups.

I might have known of one person who resembled the character from the likes of Less than Zero, and can hardly say that the book is an anthem for my generation. If anything we were the last generation with opportunities to out-succeed our parents and the first to laugh at racism (make fun of racist comments and ideas), but that’s a topic for another essay.

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Edison didn’t figure out how to make the light bulb with a single endeavor. It took over 10,000 failures before he figured it out. Effort and failure are the two best friends adolescents can have, but we’ve seemed to make them enemies. I just turned 65 and clearly remember my late teens and the desire to enter the “real world”. I’m delighted I was such a failure until I wasn’t…

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I am not really sure what any of this is about. I do have to say this much. I find the entire "gen" this and that labeling idiotic. It bears no real relationship to any of the many individuals of various ages (0+ one day to 94 in my case) I have known over the course of decades. None. Period. The generations are arbitrary divisions of little historic significance, let alone as windows into any one individual's nature. They are as dumb a set of abstractions as the racial and ethnic divisions the Census Bureau created and the DEI apparatchiks use to hector the rest of us and dumb us all down for their nefarious and contemptible purposes.

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When I first started reading this I got excited that FP was going to start doing book reviews! I’d love some rec’s on non-woke books so I don’t have to be irritated mid-read. However, this article was so pretentious and I can’t even explain why. But looking forward to the next one!

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I wonder what the adult Ellis is now saying to the younger Ellis. What piece of the adolescent puzzle is now completed. It's funny, because it would seem that the moral is that this freedom seeking, which resulted in providing sex to lecherous producers -- among other risky and humiliating moments -- would engender regret. I became very interested in (now I can't recall her name) the thesis that what spawned this whimpering, overprotected, ultra-sensitive weak cohort of people was Boomer parents who'd lived through the wilds of the sexual revolution (I did) which came to a crashing end (sort of) with AIDS. Now all that reckless sex, drugs, and rock n' roll was what brought on the plague. And there is a grain of truth to this. Many of us -- the women -- who offered ourselves up to strangers at 16 -- snorted copious amounts of cocaine and blabbed intimate details about ourselves to said strangers -- feel some residual sickness. It became difficult to separate sex from love, to know how love evolves after fucking someone right away.

But give me that reckless Wild West period over these annoying, entitled, morally superior asshats raised by the elites any day.

Of course now, the means to finding that "freedom" is to cut off your breasts, your dick and balls, take cross sex hormones -- what they're doing now is actually more damaging, while simultaneously crying that they can't hear this or that word without hurling themselves over the cliff into oceans of "trauma." Somehow I wound up on a trans porn site and saw a "transgender man" (with female genitalia, breasts cut off) enjoying sex with a "transgender woman" (a male with breasts and male genitalia). In other words, these are heterosexuals who've cross sexed their bodies claiming to "feel" like the opposite sex yet behaving like heterosexuals.

Instead of getting into bed with lecherous producers, youth gets into a hospital bed to get their bodies mutilated. What was cocaine and staying up all night to my generation is injecting testosterone and weeping over the wrong pronouns to this one -- while seeing how many points they can score by getting their professors fired.

I hope Ellis' novel can somehow inspire a new perspective. The problem is, young people aren't reading novels like we were. They read Tik Tok and Twitter. They're not immersed in the story of life. They're immersed in a damaging, sick, sadistic ideology.

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“I don’t think anyone can save us,”

As a Gen Xer, I agree with him sadly.

Less Than Zero AND American Psycho were excellent movies, in addition to the books(always better) by the way.

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It’s so sad that this reviewer believes there’s anything cool about Gen Xers’ nihilistic pursuit of drugs and sex. I’m a Gen Xer.

I thought I had to sleep with the first skeez who came along in order to get rid of my virginity, which was only a liability. I sensed the despair fraying the edges of the meaningless materialist universe that Hollywood and the music industry sold us, a universe populated only by the destructive pursuit of instant gratification, which was lionized as freedom from “The Man”. I escaped the permanent trap of the drugged-out parties and got myself an education. But only finding a worldview that healed pure materialism saved me from a life of despair. Gen X was a creation of a culture without values. Millennials are just the next step in that devolution. Hopefully today’s youth will find actual values and meaning by shrugging at the ridiculous drivel pumped out by pop culture and taught in schools and renew a rationale and moral culture.

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Ellis comes across as little more than an angy aging gay nihilist. I've heard of his books but after reading this I'm sure I never will - I guess it's suited to those embracing that lifestyle than permeates his writing

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Hello, Bret. Looks like you've penned a book about my life as a fellow 1982 grad. I'm now the mother of 3 twenty somethings who are independent and on their own just like I was at their age. An outlier parent these days for sure. But, I MUST comment that when I read this review, my heart stopped at "we had sex with adults." This happened ALL THE TIME AND TO ALL OF US. Is this the deep secret of our lives? We never discuss this but it definitely happened to everyone I know. I'm reading Shards to uncover other weird shit I've since forgotten about. We were wild and wild things run fast.

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This author's smirk and the premise of his book perfectly represents Gen X for me. Have a nice day.

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“We were very, very free to explore things that might hurt us, potentially might damage us,”

Growing up in the 70s and 80s was great. Total freedom and the lessons learned... We knew the boundaries - thankfully there were no smartphones :-D

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I haven't read "The Shards," which disqualifies me from having any sort of opinion of it.

But I _have_ read "Less Than Zero" and "American Psycho," which qualifies me to have an opinion about Brett Easton Ellis.

I kinda think the best thing Brett Easton Elllis has ever done from a purely literary point of view is champion the literary career of Donna Tartt.

"Less Than Zero" is a big "meh"—like "Big City, Bright Lights" before it (I mean, c'mon: How _schticky_ is it to write a complete novel in the second-person POV?) One of those books that was written to slipslide on that cocaine zeitgeist. People who use _cocaine_, the book seems to be saying, are people who get invited to parties to which _you_ will NEV-AH be invited. 😀

"American Psycho," on the other hand, is a book of genius (albeit a repulsive kind of genius) primarily because of its endless, merry recitation of brand names as a kind of background music. I don't think I had ever noticed the American fixation on _brands_ before I read "American Psycho."

But yes, Millennials with their endless trigger warnings and ceaseless censorship—just yesterday came the news that the British Museum is banning the word "mummy!" it's offensive to corpses that are 3,000 years dead—are completely cringeworthy.

As a young mother, I actually moved my family from the SF Bay Area to a small town on the Central California Coast just so my two sons would have the opportunity to run around safely without being constantly chaperoned by me. (I was lucky enough to have an occupational skill that allowed me to find work anywhere.) I still think the Tom Sawyer-brand childhood is the _best_ kind of childhood. Thus, my two Millennial-aged sons are noticeably less obnoxious than all the other Millennials I know.

Fortunately, Millennials seem to have an aversion to reproducing. Thus, their quaint attitudes are likely to go the way of the Shakers.

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