Watch | 16. May 2022

Blahblahblah with Friends

Have a look at this picture and NOT think - Oh, I know these people. They are my neighbours in Berlin Mitte, New York´s East Village, London´s Nottinghill or Zurich´s Seefeld. You might also think - not living in one of those fancy areas of the Western world - oh, those people come straight out of a Sally Rooney novel.

And that is right as much as it might be a cliché.

Never been a devoted fan of Rooney´s books, still I binched some episodes of the new series, because, why not.

If the idea of watching two middle-class types discussing radical politics as a method of flirtation sets your teeth on edge, you might want to skip the oeuvre. Because it is kind of Rooney’s shtick, to write conventional love stories about actors, writers and other creatives who announce their allegiance to extreme political ideologies but ultimately choose to live conventional lives of marriage, childbearing and heteronormativity while producing cultural commodities.

In that sense, Rooney is perhaps the voice of the Millennial generation, with its relatively high percentage of college-educated members participating in far-Left political groups while mostly living conventional lives.

And “voice of her generation” or “Millennial Jane Austen” are labels that have been bestowed upon Rooney since the 2017 publication of her debut novel "Conversations with Friends", about a love quadrangle between two aspiring poets and a slightly older married couple, one a famous writer and the other an actor. But for as long as she has been praised as being a chronicler of her time, she’s also been known as England´s most prominent Marxist novelist, as an important part of her promotional campaign has been to frequently mention in interviews that she is a Marxist.

And here come my objections. As a complete different generation I can only hope that those more than simple wannabe-intellectual conversations between the main characters are not based on the real IQ of that very generation. Because:

At the end of the day, Rooney is writing conventional little love stories, complete with happy endings tied up in coupledom and having babies, sprinkled with Marxist rhetoric to give them an edge.

Fair enough and maybe even: Enough!