by UnHerd Staff
Monday, 22
August 2022
Video
15:15

Lionel Shriver: We need to talk about Ezra Miller

The author considers the fall of the actor she helped make famous
by UnHerd Staff

When Lionel Shriver’s story of a troubled teenager, We Need to Talk About Kevin, was adapted for screen in 2011 it launched the career of young actor Ezra Miller.

In 2012 Miller came out as queer, saying “I don’t identify as a man, I don’t identify as a woman, I barely identify as a human.” And in the ensuing years, outlandish and expressive clothing came to typify the actor, who became somewhat of a standard bearer for queer identity.


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But recently, Miller’s life has taken a strange turn. Throughout 2022 a string of bizarre allegations have hit the headlines, and last month the actor was arrested twice for assault and then only a few weeks ago for felony burglary. What went wrong for the promising young actor?

Miller’s troubles may just be another predictable story about the price of early fame, but it could also speak to something more troubling about contemporary culture. Shriver’s award winning novel asks how society and parenting shapes the minds of young people. It seems prescient now. Have our permissive mores and hyper-liberal culture driven young people to distraction?

Shriver joined Freddie Sayers to discuss these questions.

“It looks to me as if [Miller] is falling apart,” she said, “And I don’t think that’s totally his fault… I see Ezra’s deterioration as taking place in a context where he’s both been given not enough guidance and the guidance he’s been given is disruptive.”
- Lionel Shriver, UnHerd

Shriver thinks that older people are doing a disservice to the youngest in society. By allowing young people to deny reality when it comes to their gender “the grownups are failing to be grownups” she says.

“He’s obviously very caught up in a confused gender identity. I think the whole business of claiming to be non-binary is patently absurd.”
- Lionel Shriver, UnHerd
“It was very interesting to me to read a couple of articles about what’s happening to Ezra Miller. And often in mainstream publications like The LA Times… he’s referred to as ‘they’ throughout. ‘They’ and ‘them’ and ‘their’. And the text is incoherent. It’s also comical, and it’s wildly ungrammatical. It’s ridiculous. It’s hard to understand. And it’s a performance; it’s indulgent. And that’s really a failure of the adults. It’s not a failure of the generation we’re talking about, it’s the generation before, which has been pliant, and I would say indulgent.”
- Lionel Shriver, UnHerd

“But I think that we have led a generation astray by indicating to them that if they simply get the right relationship to their sex – let’s talk about sex, not gender – the right relationship to their sex, then they will know who they are.”

“It’s clear that children do flourish when given limits, and total freedom is a kind of hell,” Shriver added.

Join Freddie Sayers and Lionel Shriver for the full discussion.

 

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Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
3 months ago

In 2012 Miller came out as queer, saying “I don’t identify as a man, I don’t identify as a woman, I barely identify as a human.” And in the ensuing years, outlandish and expressive clothing came to typify the actor, who became somewhat of a standard bearer for queer identity.

I think this quote by Ezra Miller inadvertently summarizes an issue I have with the LGBQT movement. It has become hollow and inhuman. There is no love or self-sacrifice to it, it is just a paean to shallow sex and a ‘might-makes-right’ mentality.
LGBQT involvement in US public schools is not about children at all, but about gaining converts to their sex cult. By pinning everything on ‘gender’ instead of sex, people who have no business being around children have created a Trojan horse with which to bypass parental safeguards. This in itself is maddening, but the fact that the US government endorses this behavior makes it sinister as hell.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
3 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

“LGBQT involvement in US public schools is not about children at all, but about gaining converts to their sex cult.”
Correct. It’s blatant grooming.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
3 months ago

Why the hyper focus on a very, very small subsection of the population, who seem to celebrate their psychoses rather than seeking profession help?

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
3 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

…canaries in the Marxist coal mine.

V T C
V T C
3 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Because it’s now affecting an increasingly large number of children. It’s turned into another outlet for teenage disaffection, but this time with long-term catastrophic consequences.

R Wright
R Wright
3 months ago

Mental illness, gender confusion, narcissism and noncery seem to have a strange habit of coalescing in certain people all at once.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
3 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

I think so too. I’m under the impression that it culminates in people whose sense of self-worth is derived from the number of followers they have on Twitter.

Last edited 3 months ago by Julian Farrows
Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
3 months ago

Mental health is important but it seems to be the “go to” for not just young people today. Taking personal responsibility for your actions is conveniently sidestep by announcing mental health issues. In come the psychiatrists, talk therapists and psychoanalysts. The medical industry and dependency drug prescription is growing on the back of real mental health issues and new mental health issues (identity crisis and licence to behave badly) as of Ezra Miller. This navel gazing, stupefying indulgence will only render our species even more incapacitated, pathetically weak, confused and stupid. All this started with rightful gay movement for them to be able to live peacefully and within society as they were. The message was of peace, not indulgence. There was no need to go further. Yet we continue to pander in the realm of nonsense and absurd. This is rendering mental health industry a joke and real sufferers will be those that really need help to be categorised with the indulgent. We have created a rod for our backs. Why are we surprised when it hurts us? Why was it such a crime to smack a badly behaved (confused) kid who needed that correction? Lack of limits and boundaries esp for children is poor parenting, lack of taking personal responsibility for adults and blaming it on mental health shows for a weaker society.

Ibn Sina
Ibn Sina
3 months ago

‘The medical industry’ sums it up… there are some doctors (including myself until I retired) who are trying to resist the medicalisation of every day life, but I’m afraid it’s not just doctors who get addicted to interfering with people’s lives but plenty of counsellors, psychologists, faith healers and so on who are jumping on the bandwagon.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
3 months ago

Agree with most of this … except the smacking, which I think indicates a failure on the part of the parent & teaches a child that violence is justified in the face of disobedience.

Last edited 3 months ago by Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
3 months ago
Reply to  Jane Awdry

*violence*

Helen Creighton
Helen Creighton
3 months ago

Ezra is fixated on 12 year old girls. I don’t think he’s confused. I think he is an average, typically highly-focused nonce who is using the costume of gender identity issues to cloak his criminality. It used to be nonces hid behind a suit and tie and a respectable job in a respectable institution. Some still do. Others peacock around in women’s clothes and divert attention with their pronouns.

Marek Nowicki
Marek Nowicki
3 months ago

Thank you for your words about LA Times…it is true. This newspaper is a BAD journalism with BAD editorial policies. IT IS A SAD DOWNWARD SPIRAL of what you nce was one of the leading US papers…

Last edited 3 months ago by Marek Nowicki
Penny Mcwilliams
Penny Mcwilliams
3 months ago

When I was young(er), back in the 1970s, some other young people of my acquaintance managed to mess up their lives and careers by over indulgence in alcohol and drugs despite having no exposure whatsoever to questions of gender identity. ‘Too much cheesecake too soon..’ as Roxy Music put it. No need to blame anything else, least of all parents

Lynn Hayes
Lynn Hayes
3 months ago

This would have been an interesting discussion but I found Ms. Shriver militant and not very insightful about these issues.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 months ago
Reply to  Lynn Hayes

I see it the other way around.

It is the failure of sane people in Western society to be militant about our mental, moral, and cultural decline that is the problem.

Keep quiet about the leak in the ship, lest you sound too militant. Better that we should all go down together, insightful to the last.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
3 months ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Yes, this is why I left academia. Spent too many years feeling like I was arranging deckchairs on the Titanic.