The Trumpism-is-not-normal reading list

Here is a bipartisan reading list I've put together as essential to understanding what's happening and hopefully what you can do to resist the normalization of what should not be normal.

Now Is the Time to Talk about What We Are Actually Talking About
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (02/12/16)

Spy chief adds to warnings of Russian cyber attacks on Germany
By Caroline Copley (29/11/16)

McConnell says he won’t recuse himself from wife’s cabinet confirmation
By Elise Viebeck (29/11/16)

The US election recount is a long shot – but the alternative is catastrophe
by Rebecca Solnit (29/11/16)

In Defense of Doomsaying
By Graham Vyse (28/11/16)

Why Outrage Is So Important
by Joshua Foust (28/11/16)

Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say
By Craig Timberg (24/11/16)

Former Bush Counsel: Electoral College Can’t Vote For Trump if He’s in Violation of Constitution
by Justin Baragona (23/11/16)

Journalism faces an 'existential crisis' in Trump era
by Christiane Amanpour (23/11/16)

White nationalist who led 'Hail Trump' chant to speak at Texas A&M, though school didn't invite him
by Lauren McGaughy (23/11/16)

Trump turning away intelligence briefers since election win
By Greg Miller and Adam Entous (23/11/16)

Want to Know if the Election was Hacked? Look at the Ballots
by J. Alex Halderman (23/11/16)

An Erosion of Democratic Norms in America: The president-elect is testing the limits of political convention.
by Claire Foran (22/11/16)

Now is a time when none of us can afford to remain seated or silent. We must all stand up to be counted....
by Dan Rather (22/11/16)

What Journalism Needs To Do Post-Election
by Carrie Brown (22/11/16)

Voting Rights in the Age of Trump
by Ari Berman (22/11/16)

A thought on reality: Fungible, at best. Things we're not blinking an eye at today would have been unthinkable a month ago....
by Linda Tirado (21/11/16)

Wisconsin legislative map ruled illegally partisan; case will go to Supreme Court
By Robert Barnes (21/11/16)

The Scramble Has Some Questions About Our New Trumpian Reality
by Jonathan McNicol (21/11/16)

Don’t Offer To Sign Up—Stop The Muslim Registry Before It Begins
by Josh Shahryar (21/11/16)

My name is Andrew Joseph Barkett. I was the first-ever CTO of the Republican National Committee. I am currently a Central Committee Member-elect for the Republican Party Central Committee in San Mateo County, CA....
by Andrew Barkett (21/11/16)

Alt-Right Neo-Nazis Exult[s] in Donald Trump’s Election With a Salute: ‘Heil Victory’
by Joseph Goldstein (20/11/16)

Wrong. Normalizing Trump is dangerous, because Trump isn’t normal. And his presidency is unlikely to be "just another conservative" presidency....
by Robert Reich (20/11/16)

Donald Trump Meeting Suggests He Is Keeping Up His Business Ties
by Eric Lipton and Ellen Barry (20/11/16)

McCain warns Trump on torture, waterboarding
by Michael Crowley (19/11/16)

Don’t let Donald Trump’s antics distract you from what’s really important
by Matthew Yglesias (19/11/16)

Normalising Trump: The US media whitewash - The Listening Post
by Al Jazeera English (19/11/16)

AM Joy panel: Trump will manipulate foreign policy so that he and his kids can reap billions
by Tom Boggioni (19/11/16)

Steve Bannon, chief strategist for President-elect Donald Trump, gave the above quotes in an interview with a major publication this week. Needless to say, this is not how political operatives normally speak to the media....
by Murtaza Hussain (18/11/16)

An updated 'First they came for' poem written on social media is worth remembering
by Walter Einenkel (18/11/16)

A Dark View from Flyover Country
by Sarah Kendzior (18/11/16)

#TrumpTreason?—and 99% of the mainstream news media have yet to report the story
by Reyesanfrancis (18/11/16)

We’re heading into dark times. This is how to be your own light in the Age of Trump
by Sarah Kendzior (18/11/16)

Still time for an election audit: Column
by Ron Rivest and Philip Stark (18/11/16)

1. Update on Russia hacking the US election and collective actions we must take now to stop Trump and Putin from stealing the White House....
by Andrea Chalupa (17/11/16)

Nation state made 'conscious effort to influence US election' by leaking Hillary Clinton's emails, NSA director says
by Samuel Osborne (17/11/16)

No, This is Not Normal Pre-Presidential Behavior | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ
by Keith Olbermann (17/11/16)

We have 100 days to stop Donald Trump from systemically corrupting our institutions
by Matthew Yglesias (17/11/16)

Trump’s Foreign Business Ties May Violate the Constitution
by Zephyr Teachout (17/11/16)

To all those who are requesting us to "give Trump..., and his band of regressive racist cronies "a chance"....
by Bill Sienkiewicz (17/11/16)

Look, people. Donald Trump told us who he was. And people didn't believe him....
by Imani Gandy (17/11/16)

The Lies Begin As Trump Takes Credit For Keeping Ford Plant In The US That Wasn’t Leaving
by Jason Easley (17/11/16)

So, first. While I appreciate the outrage at this Muslim registry thing, where have you guys been?
by Arnesa Buljusmic-Kustura (17/11/16)

#HamiltonElectors: Stopping Trump with A Vote of Conscience (Hamilton Electors)
by D.C. Douglas (16/11/16)

More than peanuts at stake in Trump business interests
by Rachel Maddow (16/11/16)

Russia's Involvement in the 2016 Election Is Growing by the Day
by Charles P. Pierce (16/11/16)

Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon suggests having too many Asian tech CEOs undermines ‘civic society’
by Ashley Carman (16/11/16)

White House Confirms Pre-Election Warning to Russia Over Hacking
by David E. Sanger (16/11/16)

This is not about political parties. This is about an authoritarian kleptocracy which will use extreme brutality....
by Sarah Kendzior (16/11/16)

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham wants Congress to investigate Russian cyberattack on DNC, election
by Lisa Mascaro (15/11/16)

A number of people have been asking me for resources with which to educate themselves on what's happening in the US....
by Christopher Stroop (15/11/16)

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience....
by Timothy Snyder (15/11/16)

This Is Not Normal
by Joshua Foust (15/11/16)

When 9/11 happened, the Muslim communities I lived in did register....
by Darakshan Raja (14/11/16)

Glenn Beck: Bannon has ‘clear tie’ to white nationalism
by Mark Hensch (14/11/16)

Post-election spate of hate crimes worse than post-9/11, experts say
by Melanie Eversley (14/11/16)

Christoph Waltz talking About Trump
(12/11/16)

What Now?
by Jay Ulfelder (12/11/16)

Irish Lawmaker: 'America Has Just Elected A Fascist' (Video)
by Aodhan O'Riordain (11/11/16)

An early New York Times article about Adolf Hitler catastrophically misjudged the authenticity of his anti-semitism.
by Alex Kasprak (11/11/16)

Autocracy: Rules for Survival
by Masha Gessen (10/11/16)

Day 1 In Trump's America
by Insanul Ahmed (09/11/16)

Call for a Congressional Investigation: An Open Letter from Concerned Scholars
Various scholars (Nov. 2016)

Trump’s unusual conflict: Millions in debts to German bank now facing federal fines
by Drew Harwell (30/09/16)

How Donald Trump is leading the transformation to turn the Republican Party into the new KKK
by Shaun King (09/09/16)

An American Authoritarian
by Ruth Ben-Ghiat (10/08/16)

Donald Trump’s distinctly American authoritarianism draws equally from the wacko right and wacko left.
by Jacob Weisberg (04/03/16)

Donald Trump's 2014 political predictions
by Donald Trump (listen around 2:03) (10/02/14)

Excerpt from They Thought They Were Free
by Milton Mayer (1955)

San Francisco Comic-Con 2016

I've been going to comic book conventions for decades, back when they used to be almost exclusively about comics and less about games, movies, and cosplay. Back then, admission was $3 or maybe even up to $7 or $10 depending on what artists were there signing. There wouldn't be tons of artists there, maybe two or three. I remember one convention I went to with a huge line for Todd McFarlane. David Mazzucchelli sat at a small table with no line. I was a fan and went over to get Mazzucchelli to sign something (Batman: Year One or Daredevil: Born Again—I forget which). There weren't artist alleys. There wasn't much visible cosplay. I think there was maybe one panel. No movie tie-ins (before that, we had Batman, Dick Tracy, and Rocketeer, and not a whole lot else).

Fast forward a couple of decades, and I'm in San Francisco attending Wonder-Con at the giant Moscone Center in SOMA. I remember seeing a completely packed large ballroom for a preview of Joss Whedon's Serenity, and as they emptied out, seeing the cast of Fantastic Four, randomly Christian Bale (for Dark Knight, I guess), and then Kevin Smith.

Comic conventions were huge, and this wasn't even San Diego Comic-Con.

But then Wonder-Con ditched San Francisco for Anaheim.

This year, another company decided to take on launching up a San Francisco Comic-Con, and it was bit rocky, but a promising start.

The logistics were a bit of a mess.

The line-up of celebrity guests kept changing. People kept cancelling, even last minute. A week before the convention, my spouse and I checked the panel schedule and mapped out time-wise what we'd like to see. The weekend of the convention, all the panel times had completely switched around.

The check-in process was also extremely confusing. For some reason, the Marriott had put two little metal gates in front of the main entrance of the hotel so that everyone (both conventioneers and regular hotel guests) had to squeeze into a narrow four-foot opening.

Then, we saw a lot of colorful signs up the escalator from the lobby, so we went up there, but the people up there said the check-in was downstairs. We followed the crowds of people downstairs... and then down more stairs, and then down even more stairs. There was no cell reception in the depths of the check-in area, so convention staff had to keep yelling that people with e-tickets should get the tickets up on their phones before heading downstairs.

When we got downstairs downstairs downstairs, we had a security check line with a Disneyland-like snaking line (about Toy Story Mania–length, for those of you familiar with California Adventure). They scanned our tickets and gave us bracelets.

We asked a Comic-Con volunteer where Golden Gate B was, and she had no idea, and told us to ask a staff member. What's a volunteer for exactly? Or why aren't they getting proper training?

The Comic-Con app was also a big fail. It wasn't mobile-friendly at all, and it didn't have everything offline. Some of the text you had to side-scroll to read. Every time you clicked into the panel information, you had to reselect the day (how often is the day going to change?).

Ultimately, it didn't seem the Marriott was equipped to handle a comic book convention. There was a major bottleneck right in the main lobby where guests check in. I felt bad for the hotel guests who wanted nothing to do with comic books.

Still a Good Time!

Logistics aside, we still had a good time. The first panel we went to was with Jenna Coleman: I thought she was the height of professionalism. You could tell she was tired of answering the same questions over and over again, but she kept trying to be respectful of her fans and make up new ways of giving the same answers. She didn't pretend she'd been a huge Doctor Who fan before being on the show. She didn't pretend to know who Death from Sandman is. And she connected really well with the little kids, who were totally adorable when asking their questions.

The convention didn't provide much in the way of food. There was a small concession area near the check-in area with mediocre food for okay prices (which is still better than mediocre food for exorbitant prices). That's fine, though. There are plenty of places to eat around the Marriott. We opted for Mel's Drive-In, which was crowded but didn't have too long a wait.

2016-09-03 11.51.48

The artists' alley had a lot of artists (not all unfortunately listed on the San Francisco comic-con website). We got to meet and speak with Gerhard, the mastermind behind Cerebus's beautiful backgrounds. (I'd recommend reading this extensive interview with Gerhard from 2011.) Chatting with Gerhard alone made the convention worth it.

Weirdly, a ton of people were lined up for these mystery boxes—giant boxes that look like power-ups from Super Mario or Tardises from Doctor Who. They sold out mid-day.

2016-09-03 13.33.34

The afternoon panel we went to was Women Write Comics with Trina Robbins, Dani Colman, and Anne Toole, and it was excellent. So much great stuff about writing, collaboration, sexism, differences in media (movies, TV, comics), authenticity... just too much stuff to list.

I've got to say, having gone to comic book conventions for several decades, I loved seeing a gender balance in attendees (lots of girls dressed as Rey from Star Wars, lots of women dressed as Ghostbusters) and lots of racial diversity as well (not all the stereotypical white neckbeards of yesteryear). Yes, this first San Francisco Comic-Con was a logistical flub-up (not exactly a disaster, but there's lots of room for improvement!), but people still looked as if they were having fun. I certainly had a lot of fun, and I hope next year the planners learn from their mistakes and make the process a bit smoother for everyone involved.

Movies/TV Shows with Asian American Leads

Rationale for List

I grew up in the 80s, when Asian American characters in Hollywood movies and TV shows were few and far between and often awful caricatures with fake accents. Unfortunately, these caricatures and lack of good roles for Asian American actors persist (Two Broke Girls, for example), when it's not just plain old whitewashing (Doctor Strange and Ghost in the Shell, for example).

So I thought I'd make up a little list of movies and TV shows for those who are looking for more than just the usual American film/TV portrayal of Asian Americans.

Criteria for List

Like the Bechdel Test, this list's criteria isn't intended to be comprehensive or to even say "This movie is good" or "This TV show isn't problematic in any way." But the criteria does set the movie or TV show as different from the usual Hollywood fare:

  • There must be as least one Asian American character either who is in a lead role or who is fully fleshed out and complex.
  • There must be at least one Asian American character who isn't faking an Asian accent.
  • If there is a lead female Asian American character, she doesn't just end up with the lead male white character. Nothing against that kind of romantic pairing on principle—it is just done and overdone. (The Mindy Project and The Joy Luck Club are exceptions, because the female leads are so fully developed and central to the narratives.)
  • If it's a movie, I have to have seen it. If it's a TV show, I have to have watched at least two episodes of it.
  • It must be somewhat watchable. I won't say these are all excellent movies/TV shows, but I at least don't think they're horrible.

The Actual List

I'm listing in reverse chronological order by year (not going to distinguish within a year—too much work for too little reward—to get exact months of release) and then alphabetical.

2016

2015

2014

2012

2010

2008

  • 21 (honorable mention)

2007

2005

2004

2002

1993

1989

1959

1947

Honorable Mentions?

Honorable mentions are for movies that have a fleshed-out non-fake-accented Asian American character who is a very side character or only supporting role. (My Favorite Brunette sneaks in there even though the one Asian American character isn't fleshed out. For a 1940s American movie to even have an Asian American character who doesn't have to fake an accent is relatively progressive for the time.)

The list is not complete by any means...

I'm open to suggestions, and I'll append to this list as I think of / see more movies and TV shows. Keep in mind I won't be adding to this list stuff that I haven't seen before. I haven't seen Marvel's Agents of SHIELD or the new Teen Wolf series, for example.

Faking Accents

I have absolutely nothing against Asian American actors who fake accents to get work. Getting jobs in acting is hard for anyone, and it's extra difficult for Asian American actors to get any acting jobs, even ones that are horrible parts. You do you. Get your work. Stay active. Build your résumé. That said, I still want to bring extra attention to the roles that involve not faking accents or reinforcing stereotypes. It doesn't mean those actors are better than actors who do other roles (in many cases, there is a lot of overlap—one Asian American actor having to do one role with a fake accent may sometimes score a role without a fake accent).

Asian American?

Yes, I know there are Asian movie stars in Asia, and some of them have even had some success in the U.S. (especially for action/martial arts). Why can't Asian Americans also have the same (or better) success in their own home country? And, yes, I know I did a big old lump of the diasporas into the umbrella of "Asian American" when some of these actors are Asian Canadian or Asian Australian (or Asian British?). If I narrowed it down to only U.S. citizens, the list would, unfortunately, be even shorter than it is.

Why does everything have to be about race?

Not everything is about race, but race is a real issue in Hollywood. It isn't by accident that almost all major movies and TV shows are about white (or white-appearing) characters. Don't tell me I don't need to go into surgery for my damaged right arm just because my left arm is fine. For more details on why ignoring race in America is messed up and doesn't actually fix problems, check out Why is it so controversial when someone says "All Lives Matter" instead of "Black Lives Matter"?

If, after reading that, you're still going to troll, I'm just going to delete you. There is plenty of that garbage out there in the Twittersphere and Tumblrsphere. I don't need to host so-called (i.e., fake) "color-blindness" on my blog. Go spout it somewhere else.

Pure *buntu is now a Python script

For years, I've been creating pure *buntu tutorials with commands to remove metapackage dependencies with almost every new Ubuntu release.

I figured I should probably script it to save myself some trouble. It's a Python script that just needs apt-rdepends and then will generate the list of packages to remove. Check it out!

purebuntu

Exploring nuance in the Talia Jane / Yelp-Eat24 drama

Recently, Talia Jane's An Open Letter To My CEO post on Medium has stirred a lot of emotions on the blogosphere (in other Medium posts, in the Medium comments on her original post) and on Twitter.

There seems to be a pretty sharp divide in how people react to the piece. On the one side, you have the "You're an entitled Millennial who made bad choices, and now you're whining? When I was your age, I worked five jobs and walked up hill both ways to work. Deal with it!" reaction. On the other side, you have the "This is absolutely horrible. I can't believe you went through this. Let me donate to your right away" reaction. And I haven't seen a lot of nuance in the reactions yet.

Just as with Angry Asian Trademarks from last year, I'm really trying to see both sides of the issue.

The English Major

Some of the commentary I've read on Ms. Jane's piece has been along the lines of "Well, you were an English major. You're an idiot if you think you can live off of that. Why didn't you pick a more practical major?" Thing is—there is nothing wrong with majoring in something impractical. Some of the best colleges are liberal arts schools in which the whole point is to major in something impractical. I went to a liberal arts school and majored in English. I didn't expect to make a lot of money. Very few English majors do. I haven't even seen Avenue Q, but I know of What do you Do with a B.A. in English?/ It Sucks to be Me, and I'm not the only one.

I ended up with an English major planning to be a teacher. I knew other English majors who wanted to go into academia or publishing or fiction-writing or journalism. None of those people imagined that being an English major would lead to raking in the big bucks. We did, however, want a living wage. We wanted to be able to pay our rent and eat food. There is (and should be) a middle ground between millionaire status and abject poverty.

Housing and Rent

The primary criticisms of Jane's piece with regard to housing are two-fold:

  1. She wants to move to San Francisco to be close to her dad (since we’ve never gotten to have much of a relationship), but she can't live with him to save money?
  2. She pays $1245 for an apartment far away from work, because that's the cheapest apartment she can get that's the closest (even though it's far from work), but there's no indication that she's sharing the apartment with roommates to save on rent.

Giving Ms. Jane the benefit of the doubt as much as I can, it's very possible that, because she and her dad haven't had much of a relationship, she didn't feel super comfortable asking to stay with him. I think the idea was that previously they didn't have much of a relationship, but her hope was that by living nearby she could foster one with him. Also, she says she wants to be close to her dad, but we don't know where exactly in the Bay Area her dad lives. If he lives in Milpitas, Danville, or Petaluma, then living with him doesn't really help her commute to San Francisco easily/feasibly.

The roommate thing seems to be a far more legitimate criticism. I get why you might not want to live with a roommate, but if you're getting paid minimum wage in San Francisco, sharing housing seems the absolute obvious thing to do to reduce rent. Instead of paying $1245 to live far away, Ms. Jane could be paying $900 to rent a room in a nice house with three or four other people. It really isn't clear from her piece why she didn't at least consider that possibility before rejecting it.

That's a Lot of Rice

In her piece, Ms. Jane says

I haven’t bought groceries since I started this job. Not because I’m lazy, but because I got this ten pound bag of rice before I moved here and my meals at home (including the one I’m having as I write this) consist, by and large, of that. Because I can’t afford to buy groceries. Bread is a luxury to me, even though you’ve got a whole fridge full of it on the 8th floor.
In response, someone has created a site called "That's a Lot of Rice" - Talia Jane debunked that shows photos from Ms. Jane's Instagram account (these photos were also cross-posted on her Twitter account) that involve expensive meals, elaborately home-cooked meals or baked goods, and just generally expensive random stuff.

I had mixed feelings about the debunking site. On the one hand, I get it. She's making it sound as if she's starving and has been living on rice alone. Maybe she's a fraud.

At the same time, there are a few things to consider here:

  • The shaming "See what pictures of food you posted?" exposé reminds me a bit of the extra scrutiny people get when using food stamps for luxury items. The thing is—people are human. Even when you're poor, you want to indulge every now and then. Did you read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and think Charlie was irresponsible for wasting money on an unhealthy-for-him chocolate bar? You also have to consider that people who are stressed out about money don't always make the best decisions. It's far easier to be prudent about your spending, ironically, when you don't have as strong a need to be prudent.
  • We don't know the exact context of these photos. In the social media age we live in now, there's a strong pressure (I believe especially among younger folks) to make it seem in your social media presence that you're always doing fun things or living a rich (doesn't have to be money) experience. It's honestly kind of a downer to post to your Instagram every day "Another serving from my ten-pound bag of rice. Yum!" Maybe the Lush product was an in-store sample. Maybe the baking was part of a baking party with friends. Maybe a richer friend of hers (who works as a software engineer or technical writer) treated her to a nice breakfast, which she usually doesn't get.
  • She says her meals at home consist, by and large, of [rice]. She didn't say "I exclusively eat rice and absolutely nothing else. When friends want to be nice and treat me to a meal, I always refuse, saying 'No, I must appear dirt poor at all times!'"

Sure, I think in her actual piece, she should have put more nuance in (instead of me, a total stranger, having to fill in the blanks with nuance after the fact). Again, if you're worried about money, feeling stressed out about it, and really angry... I don't think you're going to go for nuance. She may have, in fact, exaggerated. That doesn't mean she is a total fraud necessarily.

CVS

One story Ms. Jane recounts involves going to a CVS and an employee overhearing a conversation of hers and, unsolicited, giving her $6 of his own money. Some people have chided her for being condescending in consider the CVS employee beneath her somehow. I read the passage over again, and I'm not seeing that at all.

This is how she concludes that paragraph:

Did you know that after getting hired back in August, I’m still being trained for the same position I’ve got? But Marcus at CVS has six dollars in his wallet, and I’m picking up coins on the street trying to figure out how I’ll be able to pay him back.
Not seeing the condescension there.

Health/Dental Benefits and Commute

Some people have criticized Ms. Lane for complaining, even though she had full health coverage at Yelp (except for $20 co-pays) or for not knowing that her company probably had some kind of pre-tax commuter program for BART.

On this front, I'm a bit more on her side. It's awful that many workers in the U.S. have not-so-great (but technically still ACA-compliant) coverage for healthcare at their workplaces. To imply that means she should be grateful for decent coverage even though she's poor... I don't buy that. (Of course, I'm also a bleeding-heart liberal who believes that America should have single-payer health care instead of merely "Obamacare.")

And I remember being 25 and have very little money. I didn't fully understand pre-tax stuff and how it could benefit me and my spouse. I didn't get that money I was putting aside was money I would be spending anyway, and I would actually (with flexible spending or with pre-tax commuter) end up spending less from my paycheck. All I could think (and I'm guessing Ms. Lane thought the same thing) was "My paycheck is already so small—you want me to take more out of it before it hits my checking account?"

Per hour after taxes?

I've read some criticisms of Ms. Lane's piece that point to her saying I make $8.15 an hour after taxes as disingenuous, because it's making it sound as if she's making less than she really was (the pre-tax minimum wage of $12.25/hour). The context in which it comes up, though, is in talking about how much she has to spend on transportation and gas/electric. When you have to spend money on actual items, you are most likely focusing on the spending relative to the amount that's in your checking account—that is, your post-tax (take-home) pay.

PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash

I'm not sure what to think on the plea for donations at the end of her post. Before she wrote the post, she didn't know she'd be fired from Yelp. The responses to her post seem to indicate that at least some people donated to her. I don't know how many people donated or how much they each donated on average. Now that she's lost her job, even with a few thousand dollars, that'll probably last her a month or so.

I'm not tripping too much on the donation front. No one is coercing you into donating. I did not donate to her, I don't plan to, and I don't feel pressured to. She can certainly ask.

Career Impatience and Millennial "Entitlement"?

Up until this point, I may be coming across as a Talia Jane apologist. I tend to want to empathize before judging. This bit I just don't get, though:

I felt it was fair that I start out working in the customer support section of Yelp/Eat24 before I’d be qualified to transfer to media. Then, after I had moved and got firmly stuck in this apartment with this debt, I was told I’d have to work in support for an entire year before I would be able to move to a different department.
[Emphasis not added]

I'm scratching my head on this one, along with the rest of the peanut gallery. You took a customer support job (the kind of job in which you get hired the same day you interview), and you expected to be transferred to another department in less than a year? Maybe I'm just old school, but I think you generally put in your dues when you're in your early and mid twenties before you start zipping up and around career-wise, unless you happen to be a unicorn-successful tech entrepreneur.

I certainly don't judge Millennials as a whole. Most Millennials I've worked with have been hard-working and level-headed. At the same time, I can't think of any Gen X'er friends (or former co-workers) who, at 25, were appalled at having to fetch coffee or make photocopies (or do customer support) for more than a year before moving on to something more interesting career-wise.

I'm not a curmudgeon, though. I do think there is a balance to be had. If we can get to a point where people's lives can be more rewarding, we shouldn't make people's lives intentionally difficult just because life was difficult for us when we were younger. At the same time, nobody should expect and demand that life be less difficult when those who came before didn't get to magically jump ahead.

Talia Jane is not representative of Millennials or the attitudes (yes, plural) they possess. There is definitely some entitlement in the piece, and I do think that's where a lot of the over-the-top backlash is coming from... maybe slightly justified but still over the top.

Larger issues about affordability and a living wage

Some people have suggested this may be less about Ms. Jane's specific case and more about Bay Area (lack of) affordability in general. I don't think so. That is a real problem. Middle-class and working-class people (and—I hate to say it—even relatively well-off tech workers) are struggling to keep up with the rents and housing prices in the Bay Area. But those real debates are happening in the streets, at dinner conversations, in letters to The San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter and Facebook. Talia Jane's piece doesn't really bring a whole lot more to it. We all know there isn't enough housing and that minimum wage is tough to live on in San Francisco.

What's next for Talia Jane?

If I were Talia, I'd take some of the criticism to heart (Yes, I knew I wouldn't be paid a lot, and yes, I know I signed a lease for an apartment I couldn't afford, and I should have gotten a roommate), and I'd be a bit nervous (I just got fired. Who's going to hire me again?), but I'd also be excited. If her goal was to get more Twitter followers, she certainly got them. You can call her a troll if you want to be uber-cynical about it, but she certainly got attention, and—since she wants to be a writer—now would be the perfect time to strategize about how to leverage all this attention into an actual career.