This is what has always bothered me about writers like Douglas Coupland, but I've never articulated it as neatly as this.
Conversely, this is why James Lasdun is one of my favourites.
"There's an undoubted virtuosity, much of it in the service of sparkling reports from the dreckiest, highest-tech edge of contemporary materiality - video games, style products, mall design, merchandise packaging - all of which he writes about with the relish of a true connoisseur. But inextricable from this is a certain airlessness, brought on by precisely that remorseless focus on all the most up-to-the-second junk of modern life; an unwillingness to acknowledge any aspect of existence that can't be pinned down by a brand name or a slick piece of trend-watcher's shorthand ("You took her on a date to Denny's? That's so recovering alkie ...")"
Gertrude Stein said it with some brevity as well, I suppose.
Posted by Dave