Jia Tolentino: Who's Afraid of Eating the Rich?
January 25, 2024 at 6pm
Location: Chan Centre for the Performing Arts
Equal parts compelling and devastatingly insightful, Jia Tolentino’s writing takes us deep inside the constructs and consequences of the age of social media, reality television, and the “feverish, electric, unlivable hell” that is the internet. Author of the instant New York Times bestselling collection of essays Trick Mirror, Tolentino’s work deftly mixes reporting, research, and personal history to shed light on the realities of our hyper-digital society.
Her Phil Lind Initiative talk—Who’s Afraid of Eating the Rich?—focused on the recent waves of TV shows and media that make the argument, with varying degrees of sophistication and subtlety, that extreme wealth is unjust, immoral, and corrosive to the human soul. What does this mean, when income inequality is only worsening and poverty itself is almost entirely absent from media and pop culture? Is critique in this case a release valve, a sign of unrecognized popular radicalism, or a form of elite capture? How might this change the way we think about our affective relationship to capitalism today?
Lauded as “an expert in the sweet spot where contemporary politics and youth culture meet and make out” (Vulture), Jia Tolentino is a staff writer at the New Yorker and formerly was the deputy editor at Jezebel and a contributing editor at the Hairpin. She grew up in Texas, received her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia, and got her MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan. In 2020, she received a Whiting Award as well as the Jeannette Haien Ballard Prize. She lives in Brooklyn.
“Tolentino writes with an inimitable mix of force, lyricism and internet-honed humor. She is the only writer I’ve read who can incorporate meme-speak into her prose without losing face.” – The New York Times