Friday, July 07, 2006

Elizabeth Wurtzel annoys me

I just read "More, Now, Again", Elizabeth Wurtzel's memoir of her addiction to Ritalin (which she ground up and snorted) and cocaine. I can't really understand why I read the entire book, other than that I have been puzzling mentally over addiction and rehabilitation issues since our pet alcoholic relapsed (a childhood friend of Anton's stayed in our living room while going through rehab).

Wurtzel is one of those academically bright people who can't stop telling you, "I'm smart, I'm smart, I'm smarter than you and everyone else." She reminds me of a boyfriend I had for a while in college, who made sure everyone knew he was a National Merit Scholar (I was also a National Merit Scholar, but none of my college friends knew that, as I didn't bring it up all the time, although now I've mentioned it here and somewhat weakened my arguments vis-a-vis Ms. Wurtzel). Stop telling us how smart you are and instead let us infer it, puhleeze.

Even more irritating, Wurtzel finds the people around her are insufficiently interested in "culture." She brags that she is able to interest people in "culture" if she puts it right under their noses. And what is this "culture" which is so glorious, to which regular people do not sufficiently attend? Movies, popular music, and glossy magazines. Ms. Wurtzel's version of "culture" seems frozen at a high school level. She's not exactly attending Mark Morris Dance Group performances or current photography exhibits and performance art installations; she's not knowledgeable about opera or ballet.

Wurtzel's sense of entitlement is truly staggering. Arrested (and rightfully so) for shoplifting, she demands that her Ritalin and her glossy magazines be brought to her holding cell. Later, after she was bailed out, she calls a large firm lawyer she knows, haranguing the woman to file a civil rights lawsuit based upon the denial of her magazines and Ritalin. Oh, yes, the Constitution protects one's rights to "Vanity Fair" and the prescription drug that one is currently grinding up and snorting at a pace of forty pills per day.

Lastly, Wurtzel irked me no end in her dismissiveness of her well-behaved young adolescent nieces. She harangues the nieces to rebel, telling them that at their age, she was listening to punk and sneaking out to give guys blowjobs. What is wrong with these young girls, that they won't listen to the music Wurtzel prescribes? Wurtzel never asks herself why her nieces should take her as a role model, given that she has struggled with depression and addiction, is unable to manage her finances, has screwed up many professional opportunities, and is unable to get into a relationship.

Did I learn anything about the nature of addiction? No, not really.

13 comments:

Freewheel said...

Why does every smartypants coke fiend have to write a book?

Green said...

I think I read this book when I lived in Florida. Is this the book where she goes to stay in some relative's condo in Miami? I recall not liking the book but WANTING to, and therefore forcing myself to read the whole damn thing.

If I remember correctly Prozac Nation wasn't that great either.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Exactly, Green Yogurt. She stayed in her mom's condo in Florida for much of her Ritalin addiction. I haven't read "Prozac Nation" myself.

Susan said...

The nature of addiction? Well, a big part of it is having your reality totally out of whack. It seems that although the author may have recovered from her chemical addictions, she hasn't recovered from whatever the psychological stuff is that led her to become an addict to begin with.

Thinking she should be a role model? Man, anyone who suggests that their young neices should be out giving blowjobs is totally screwed up. She sounds like the perfect example of what kids should NOT look up to!

Of course I'm just going on your comments on the book! :-)

Anonymous said...

Narcissistic borderline OCD bi-polar addict/alcoholic. You name it she's got it. But Wurtzel's warped self absorbed perspective on life has obviously been reinforced since childhood and as long as it still rewards her why should she be compelled to grow up? She is another tragic example of peaking too early in life.

Anonymous said...

i dont have a clue who you people are, but your entire comment on her article, exactly depicts addiction. that she cant hold a relationship, or manage her finacnes....addiction gets you so far deep into some other reality that you just can't get out. So you went into the book with some preconceived notion that you were going to get a life lesson out of it...and meanwhile you missed the whole lesson. congradulations. AND if you had bothered to read Prozac Nation...you'd know that she is very knowledgable about theatre.

and its not about peaking at life too early...she suffered from depression since she was about 11. Also, there was a long history of drug addiction and mental illness in her family. try reading a book or two

Anonymous said...

You obviously don't have an ounce of empathy in your" drunken "housewife body. What are you drunk on? Self-righteousness? FUCK YOU.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Dear Anonymous, if YOU took the time to read more of my blog, you'd realize that I have waged a lifelong battle with severe depression myself, and there is considerable mental illness in my family. You also seem to have missed the part where I HAD AN ADDICT GOING THROUGH REHAB LIVING IN MY LIVING ROOM while I read this book. So yes, I'm so coldhearted a bitch that I let my husband's addict friend live with me while he struggled through rehab. I cooked him special homemade soups and looked up AA meetings for him.

I contend that Wurtzel is annoying. I have known many addicts who were not half so annoying as Wurtzel. Just because someone is addicted does not mean that they are automatically smug, superior, preachy, and rude.

Anonymous said...

OK I admit I have loved (read and reread) prozac nation...and now onto more now again - and well felt/feel like she speaks to me - but can't help feeling annoyed that she clearly has the resources to be at the best rehab centers; has endless friends ready to fly down and help her at a moment's notice, seems to have a lot more privilege than some and I guess after a while i feel annoyed by this...

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading More, Now, Again. I could relate to so much of what she did and went through. I found it refreshing to read something so raw and honest when it comes to the active addict lifestyle. In my personal experience addicts think they are the only one who goes through things or feels a certain way, i needed the reminder that maybe Im not so unique and different. Maybe she does come off as a bit arrogant and self-rightous, but what addict isn't? Lord knows i definantely portrayed myself the same. As meaningless as this book may seem to many of you, this book was an eye-opener and a reminder for me. Some of us addicts forget the ugliness of our disease and need to be reminded of the pain it does cause ourselves and others.

the Drunken Housewife said...

To the last anonymous commenter: thank you for your note. I am glad the book helped you; I agree that "terminal uniqueness" can be a problem. I wish you well and hope you vanquish your addiction(s).

Anonymous said...

wow, people get so worked up about wurtzel. Granted, she's self-absorbed, a bit whiney and pretentious but that's kind of the point. You want to know what addiction is? That. Wurtel's book may not succeed as the perfect explication of addiction but it's a grade A demonstration.
And that present-tense voice is what makes her so compelling and yet impossible to embrace. She isn't fully removed from her own object of investigation - which is always, well, herself. And that's kind of the rule of this sort of confessional work. it's not pristine. it's may not even be that great. that's the risk. and it probably "hurts" her more than it hurts her readers.

Anonymous said...

wow, people get so worked up about wurtzel. Granted, she's self-absorbed, a bit whiney and pretentious but that's kind of the point. You want to know what addiction is? That. Wurtel's book may not succeed as the perfect explication of addiction but it's a grade A demonstration.
And that present-tense voice is what makes her so compelling and yet impossible to embrace. She isn't fully removed from her own object of investigation - which is always, well, herself. And that's kind of the rule of this sort of confessional work. it's not pristine. it's may not even be that great. that's the risk. and it probably "hurts" her more than it hurts her readers.