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Stuff Jonathan Franzen Hates

Jonathan Franzen is an excellent writer. I loved the modern feel of The Corrections, and his 10 writing rules have generated a ton of traffic for this blog.

But let’s be honest: The guy comes off as a curmudgeon. He seems like an old grizzly curmudgeon who hates rainbows and doesn’t smile.

Franzen has been open about his disdain for ebooks (yeah, I’m not an ebook guy, but I’m not mean about it). He also hates Twitter and Facebook. All of this has been in the news again recently, when Franzen said this about Twitter (via The Guardian):

“Twitter is unspeakably irritating. Twitter stands for everything I oppose…It’s hard to cite facts or create an argument in 140 characters …It’s the ultimate irresponsible medium. People I care about are readers … particularly serious readers and writers, these are my people. And we do not like to yak about ourselves.”

The beauty of Twitter? People–obviously not Franzen’s “people”– immediately began poking at him, suggesting other things that Jonathan Franzen also hates because it seems like he hates a lot of things.

So that’s what today’s post is about. We know he hates Kindle, Facebook, and Twitter. What else does the curmudgeonish Jonathan Franzen hate?

  1. Jonathan Franzen hates water. Water breeds life. Water also breeds little, booger-faced kids who pee in the pool and play Marco Polo without volume control. That crap sucks, especially when you’re trying to write Pulitzer material.
  2. Jonathan Franzen hates gas-powered transportation. Freaking cars. Riding horses is so avant garde, and Jonathan Franzen is the king of the avant garde. He’s currently writing a screenplay for a silent movie version of Finnegan’s Wake, starring three mimes and a horse named Carlos. How avant garde is that?
  3. Jonathan Franzen hates light. Sunshine is so peppy. Jonathan Franzen hates peppiness. And artificial light is so artificial, like Twitter. Jonathan Franzen hates artificiality.
  4. Jonathan Franzen hates medicine. For Jonathan Franzen, medicine is just so 1990s. Gosh, you remember when people actually got flu shots? Losers. How ridiculous was that! That was back before the internet was so popular, and people could write blogs with pharmaceutical advice. Who needs a good pediatrician when you have the internet?
  5. Jonathan Franzen hates shirt pockets. We used to have shirts, just plain shirts. And then someone decided, “Hey, let’s put a nice little pocket on the shirt, in case someone wants to, you know, like carry a pen around or something.” In that moment, comfort met convenience and the evolution of the shirt advanced to a new level beyond Jonathan Franzen’s liking.
  6. Jonathan Franzen hates things that kill birds. Jonathan Franzen loves birds. I’m actually not making that up. So consequently, Jonathan Franzen hates things that kill birds, like large airplanes, clean windows, practical jokers with laxatives at the beach, and dudes from the south with large guns.

    (Image: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons)

  7. Jonathan Franzen hates Tim Tebow. Must you hate Tim Tebow, Jonathan Franzen? He’s the life-giving water of humanity. How can you hate that? But when Jonathan Franzen plays Madden on his XBox 360, he plays as Mario Williams so he can sack Tim Tebow 12 times. Jonathan Franzen also claims to have a better throwing motion than Tim Tebow. And he does.
  8. Jonathan Franzen hates astronauts. When we were kids, we all wanted to grow up to be astronauts. But not Jonathan Franzen. He wanted to grow up to be a guy who hates astronauts. Plus, airplanes make him dizzy.
  9. Jonathan Franzen hates weddings. For most people, weddings are joy-filled occasions filled with Bette Midler songs and birdseed. But for Jonathan Franzen, weddings are one big pile of meh. The only wedding Jonathan Franzen cared for was Shrek’s. But don’t call him sentimental.
  10. Jonathan Franzen hates hate. Wait a minute. How can Jonathan Franzen hate hate? If he hates something, like ebooks, doesn’t that, by its very definition, mean he likes hate? No it doesn’t. Jonathan Franzen, by nature, is obligated to hate 98% of all atom-based properties, as well as 99.6% of all human emotion, including hate. So, yes, he can hate hate while still hating. Clear?

Oh, I just hate that today’s post—on a Friday, no less—is filled with so much hate. Thanks, Jonathan Franzen.

What else might Jonathan Franzen hate? You tell me.

[Please note: This post is satirical. I do not know Jonathan Franzen and have no way of knowing whether he dislikes Tim Tebow, rainbows, or water.]

17 Comments Post a comment
  1. Shem the Penman #

    This is the sort of stuff Twain would be writing today if he were still dead.


    March 16, 2012
    • EddieB #

      SHEMP was always the Three Stooge who just wasn’t funny. He tried real hard, but he was just the pathetic Stooge that people laughed at, not with. Some things never change.

      Get a new hobby Shemp, this one makes you look pretty lame.


      March 16, 2012
  2. Tyler #

    I read that he also hates puppies and baby pandas.


    March 16, 2012
    • It’s probably because of all the baby panda videos on the internet, which he also hates.


      March 16, 2012
  3. I just have a mental block against reading authors who hate me. LOL


    March 16, 2012
    • Ha. I was able to overcome it enough to like The Corrections.


      March 16, 2012
  4. This post would be funny if it were funny.


    March 17, 2012
    • Thanks Paula. Welcome to the blog! Many more unfunny posts to come in the future. You should probably get out while you can.


      March 17, 2012
    • Tyler #

      Your comment would be witty if it were witty.


      March 17, 2012
  5. Robert – After reading Franzen’s 10 Rules of Writing, I tore into my new novel, removed 90% of the “thens”, and replaced them with “ands”. Why? Because Johnathan Franzen hates the word “then.” And if he hates it, then by golly I hate it. True story. Then, the Lord struck me with an epiphany. After I came to and picked myself off the floor, I knew the reason that Johnathan Franzen hates the Internet and all it magical orbiting sattelites of gloriousness. It scares the shit out of him. Why? Because it threatens him? Why, you ask? Because guys like me, rookie authors hacking a brand new novel, use the Internet for research. And we are growing like weeds, or grandpa’s ear hair, pick your poison. The Corrections was so thoroughly researched, impressively researched, to the point of overkill. Then then then, along comes the Internet and guess what? Anybody can research. So, connecting all these absurd dots makes me think that Johnathan Franzen hates self-published authors who research on the Internet. Which means that Johnathan Franzen hates me!


    March 17, 2012
    • Franzen is a great author, but he’s definitely an elitist. He’s an author you like to read but don’t really want to hang out with because he’s probably judging you for drinking a domestic beer.

      Keep writing and plugging away. There will always be people out there that don’t like what you do. That’s just part of the deal.


      March 17, 2012
  6. I share his disdain for Twitter and Facebook.

    …and things that kill birds. 🙂


    March 20, 2012
  7. traveler8 #

    Jonathan Franzen hates people who read Jonathan Franzen novels…anyone who would read a novel on a bestseller list isn’t avant garde enough for him.


    March 28, 2012

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. On Being a Jerkface (Jonathan Franzen) « Thinker For Hire
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