“There’s a ton of news right now, a lot is going on, and we have all these 24-hour news networks, and we could be covering everything. Instead, we’re covering three topics. Every hour is Trump, Russia, Hillary, and a panel full of people that remind you why you don’t go home for Thanksgiving.”
— Michelle Wolf
A few years ago, when the political horizon looked very different and the bags beneath my eyes were half as deep, I received lots of correspondence from aspiring writers. Seldom would a week pass without a familiar email pinging into my inbox — usually some preamble of admiration for a piece of mine the writer pretended to read, followed by a supplication for advice on how they might do the same for a living.
Perhaps it was to be expected. In those days, I’d carved out a modest niche as a travel writer, and there was envy in that lifestyle, with its carefree itinerancy and slow takes on foreign people and places.
Around five years ago, the emails dried up. Part of this was undoubtedly due to the diminution of my own output: I’d had kids, traveled less, so my reputation as a shoestring Marco Polo was less prominent.
But I couldn’t help wondering whether the tapering off said something else about the shifting priorities of the upcoming generation, who now had so much shit to worry about that considerations of how to blend paid work with experiential urges seemed irrelevant against the pressure-cooker backdrop of how they were going to pay off student debts, obtain stable work, afford a mortgage, survive.
And in its turn, this apprehension fed a hunch, which has since grown with each passing month, that the world is gradually turning in.