From Jonathan Franzen to James Franco: What Your Hate-Clicks Say About You

Just when you thought it was going to be a quiet weekend, you get Jonathan Franzen talking about how modern life is rubbish and suddenly we’re all — yet again — sent scrambling to identify exactly what it was about his most current essay that got us the most riled up:

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I guess I see why Salman Rushdie got so upset; Franzen did confess to “feeling some version of his disappointment” at the Midnight’s Children author for getting on Twitter, since, according to Franzen, great writers don’t waste their time tweeting.

Rushdie obviously has Google Alerts for his name, a publicist, or a team of really good-looking MFA students who relayed the fact that the author of Freedom was bummed about Rushdie’s choice to tweet, so it makes sense that he read Franzen’s diatribe against his new computer and America, and admission that he’s “not even sure the original Luddites were Luddites.” I get why Rushdie clicked; but did you really click because you cared about Franzen’s nearly 6000 words on why he thinks everything is totally blah? Are you really so interested in his new book, The Kraus Project, that you care to read Franzen’s thoughts on nothing yet again?

I kinda think that the answer is no. I don’t think you care all that much what Franzen thinks, but you wanted another reason to get pissed at him, so you clicked the link, you skimmed through the piece. Maybe you fumed at your desk, wrote a good response essay, or tweeted something funny about it, then deleted it, and then tweeted about the deleted tweet:

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If there was a Mount Rushmore for people who excel at click-bait, it would prominently feature Jonathan Franzen. But why do we complain? Are we not the architects of a magical mountain built by angry mouse clicks that feature some of the faces on this list?