Genre Face-Off, Part II: American Needs More Books About People in Their TwentiesS

You can never be too rich or too thin or have enough portmanteaus for your post-adolescent generation. It's Twixters, now. Who is a Twixter? Everyone, probably. Any woman who has ever listened to music while wearing a hat is a Twixter. Any man who has ever looked at a picture of Mila Kunis is a Twixter. You are, just for having read the word. Welcome to the Twixter generation. Here is your knit cap and sense of purposelessness. Characteristics include "ESPN" and over-employment.

People in this group are over 18, but as they head toward 30 they still act and think like adolescents. They bounce from job to job and relationship to relationship, live with parents at home or in a house with five friends, watch ESPN and play video games (the boy-men) and read "Twilight" and ponder whether he's just not into you (the girl-women), while all of them sprinkle "like" and "'n stuff" and "ya know" in their speech.

You know, all those superfluous, bounceable jobs that everyone in their twenties has nowadays (many of which have been featured here). The point is, these young people are having too good a time "playing Quidditch" at their reasonably-priced colleges and reading E.L. James instead of Jeffrey Eugenides and living at home for fun and definitely not because they're being slowly squeezed out of the middle class. Sadly, none of the Twixter men have ever learned to read, and any Twixter woman who attempts to play a video game disappears into a pile of shrieking sand. The only thing that can save this nation of Lotus-eaters now is a book. But what kind of a book? According to CNN:

a frolicking comic novel that submits the interests and longings of pre-adults to whimsy, burlesque and farce. Not gentle humor, but all-out comedy or satire that casts the whole experience and habitat of pre-adults as both ludicrous and avoidable...

This comic novel will amuse and sell well, for the better elements of our culture and our youth have grown impatient with the travails and aggrandizing of Twixter books, movies, music and TV.

It will serve a larger purpose, too, the same one that motivated satirists from Aristophanes and Juvenal to Swift and Pope to Mark Twain and the creators of "Dr. Strangelove": to curb self-indulgence, deflate pretense, and expel stupidity. To take down a popular genre or a representative figure or a trendy pose, one good belly laugh works better than pages of strict criticism.

There you have it. We need a Swiftian novel of Kubrickian proportions (something that reads like Kingsley Amis and John Kennedy Toole and Gary Shteyngart and Philip Roth and H.L. Mencken, a demographically diverse group with very little in common) full of delicious pratfulls to prick the overweening twentysomething spirit; please text your completed manuscripts to Mark Bauerlein immediately.

[Image via AP]