Larry David’s daughter’s memoir is bad, but not all bad
It’s nice to know that as COVID-19 cases steadily increase nationwide, the fate of our democracy hangs in the balance, and The Crown finally debuts Princess Diana, stuck-up people on the Internet can still unite under a common goal. This week, that goal is to pile on Cazzie David, daughter of the brain behind Seinfield and Curb Your Enthusiasm Larry David, and writer of the memoir, No One Asked For This, released on Tuesday.
As part of press for the book, David published the cringiest of her essays, titled “Too Full to Fuck,” in The Cut. “For straight couples, there is one key difference between sex for the male and for the female: a woman gets a penis inserted into her while a man gets to insert his penis into someone else. That’s all nice and good. Sex is pleasurable for both genders. But from what I’ve discovered, only one gender has to save room in her body if a penis is to go into it—meaning that sometimes, if you’ve eaten a hearty meal, there isn’t enough room for a penis,” she writes, not very well.
Cazzie David is billing No One Asked For This as a memoir for the ADD generation, including all the details on the 26-year-old’s past romance with SNL’s Pete Davidson and her seemingly otherworldly struggle with anxiety. A quick scroll of her Instagram reveals birthday posts for John Mayer and her FaceTime birthday cake. Otherwise, she pretty much sticks to photos where she looks hot and normal.
“I’m aware that most people who write nonfiction books usually have an interesting life story or at least a list of accomplishments…I possess neither of those things,” she opens her debut, making many of the points her critics now level against her. What’s a kid like her doing with a book deal?
Making matters worse is David’s press junket around the book, in which she goes so far as to acknowledge the privilege inherent in publishing Larry David’s kid, without really addressing or doing anything about it. Media Twitter, it seems, could not abide.
“I have read like six paragraphs of the cazzie david essay and I cannot read another but man having rich well-connected parents seems like the most incredible drug in the world,” wrote The Atlantic’s Amanda Mull.
“To have a whole interview on Cazzie David’s anxiety over her privilege while mentioning times she’s taken opportunities because of her privilege, and then THIS is the essay chosen to prove she actually deserves her blessings,” tweeted Vice’s Alex Zaragosa. “Incred. The machine keeps churning white mediocrity.”
“Cazzie David’s new book really demonstrates that the essay collection has overtaken the autobiography as the personal branding method of choice for bored rich girls,” wrote Hannah Williams.
In her interview with the LA Times, David recounts the emotional toll her break up with Davidson took on her, including sobbing on a hotel room floor, obsessively sucking on her weed pen, and awaking the next day with screams of agony. “Cazzie, come on,” Larry David told her. “Your ancestors survived the Holocaust!”
“refuse to believe this cazzie david breakup story is not a discarded seinfeld bit,” tweeted writer Molly Taft.
I’ve read David’s memoir and while I’m annoyed mine didn’t also come with a box of weed pens, her writing is not as bad as the Internet will let you believe. Sure, she could use a better editor. David can be wordy and heavy-handed, and falls into a lot of the pitfalls that English 101 professors everywhere warn of: close repetition, inhuman dialogue, too wordy and explanatory (A lot of “One example is” and “Such as.”) I could ignore all of that if she weren’t so obsessive in cultivating her weird-anxious-girl personality, in a voice that’s hard to find sympathetic.
“I’m the anti-wedding date,” she writes in an essay reminiscent of Riverdale’s Jughead Jones. “I refuse to dance to most music but wedding-DJ music is at the top of this, and nothing would make me laugh because everyone would be either annoying me or making me feel stupid (it’s always one or the other).”
But when you get to the meat of an essay, when she allows the tough-guy language to fall away, David is funny! “If clubbing were a team sport, I was stuck with a collection of every captain’s last picks,” she writes in an essay about her sister third-wheeling. And in another one about her bummer persona, “When I enter a room, people feel like a negative spirit is lingering, but then they see it’s me and they’re like, ‘Oh, thank God, it’s just Cazzie.’ I’m pretty sure people sage their homes after I leave.”
I most enjoyed No One Asked For This when David was able to describe the nitty gritty absurdity of L.A. social life, or dig into social media and Internet culture. There, she clearly has expertise and interest, and so writes with more authority than elsewhere in the debut.
“Is it possible to keep track of your own opinions when someone writes something and then someone writes something about what that person just wrote and then people write things based on that thing and it ends with everyone collectively agreeing on Twitter what is right and wrong?” she writes. “No, because the Internet is a shithole and nothing makes sense.” A timely sentiment for how the Internet has received her book.