412 LinkedIn connections. 746 Twitter followers. A profile on every social media site; a resume stuffed with a long list of internships, paid and unpaid. Sunday morning brunches; a closet filled with H&M professional wear. Sentences that begin, “During my summer co-op…”
These are the markers of success for a particular breed of ambitious youth. They are ambitious in name only; in the day-to-day business of their lives, they remain unconcerned with the content, just the image. Commerce, not creativity, rules their actions. Witness the entire career of someone like Taylor Cotter: list-filled clips and a relentless careerism aimed towards a job, any job, rather than producing a body of work that actually matters. It is telling that her apparent idols are Carrie Bradshaw and Harriet the Spy: one, a child, and the other, a grown woman characterized by her childish fixation with shoes. Both fictions, both surrounded by objects, endless objects. Joining them: the individual’s sense of self.