New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz raised eyebrows Wednesday over her claim that she, a prominent journalist, has experienced “exhausted despair” in her life. 

Lorenz was responding to a Times story about the so-called “YOLO [you only live once] economy” which focused on “exhausted, type-A millennial workers of America” who had abandoned their steady jobs to pursue their own passions and hobbies during the coronavirus pandemic. 

One author, Anne Helen Petersen, shared the Times piece on Twitter, writing “I’ve been hearing from a lot of people with similar stories to those interviewed in @kevinroose’s piece, but they are less motivated by boredom and more by exhausted despair, particularly the women”

Lorenz replied, “Exhausted despair is phrase that really resonates these days.”

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She then shared another Times piece titled, “There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing.”

“Personally I don’t think languishing captures the deep hopelessness, despair, and burnout living in this world leaves u with, wondering how everyone will cope w/ this collective suffering in years to come,” Lorenz wrote

Lorenz’s comments drew scrutiny from her critics. 

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“Can anyone explain where the ‘I’m so exhausted’ trope came from, and why it’s such a thing among people in upper class intellectual professions?” journalist Matt Taibbi asked. 

“Same reason that they manufactured a dramatic framework where critiquing the work of a front-page NYT reporter is re-cast as ‘inciting abuse against a “young” woman.’ They use their privileged platforms to self-victimize so they’re immunized from criticism and demand deference,” Glenn Greenwald told Taibbi. 

“Poor people can’t engage in performative self-pity and still get by, so someone has to do it,” journalist Zaid Jilani chimed in. 

The Washington Free Beacon also had some fun at Lorenz’s expense with an article titled, “Taylor Lorenz, Other New York Times Employees to Get Special Days Off for ‘Exhaustion.’”

Lorenz fired back, telling Taibbi, “Exhaustion extends far beyond ‘upper class intellectual professions’? I’ve never been as exhausted as [I] was working retail & food service. But the tragedy, death and horrific stuff that me and so many others have had to endure this year has been really draining.”

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“It’s not a ‘trope’ people are exhausted and it’s not just ‘intellectuals’ or whatever,” Lorenz continued. “Ppl from marginalized communities, parents, service workers and all of us are worn out. If you’re not exhausted after the past year idk what to tell you. Coping w/ death and loss takes a toll.”

Lorenz’s response, however, was further criticized. 

“Clever tactic. Rope oneself (a person of extreme privilege) into a long list of far less privileged people, then use their legitimate suffering as a shield,” writer Sarah Haider reacted.

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“And, of course, we knew it wasn’t limited to intellectuals because Taylor Lorenz claims it,” conservative commentator Charles C.W. Cooke wrote.

Lorenz, the tech and internet culture reporter who has built a reputation as a “tattletale journalist” among critics, suggested last month that she had been a victim of “online harassment.”

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“For international women’s day please consider supporting women enduring online harassment,” Lorenz began a lengthy Twitter thread. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that the harassment and smear campaign I’ve had to endure over the past year has destroyed my life. No one should have to go through this.”

The high-profile Times reporter continued, “I’m slightly open [about] some of what I deal w/ but the scope of attacks has been unimaginable. There’s no escape. It has taken everything from me. The only mild solace I’ve found is w/ other women who have had their lives destroyed in the same way. We’ve developed deep trauma bonds.”



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