Its seems it’s impossible these days not to find another “Millennial Bashing” article in the media. Indeed, I just took a look at my local rag the other day, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the front page had this piece of hard hitting investigative journalism:
Millennials just can't stay out of the headlines. Everyone hears all about how Millennials can't afford houses because they're spending all their money on avocado toast, or how Millennials are killing the (insert just about anything here) industry.
The cover photo feature 3 beautiful looking youngling’s with perfect smiles and miniature porkpie hats taking a selfie on a smartphone. And as we all know, Millennials do this, like OMG, every 5 minutes, right!?! Probing deeper into this potential Pulitzer Prize winner, we can find such young people panty-twisting strategies as:
- Use Millennial slang terms incorrectly (“Savage”, “Woke” etc)
- Tell Them That They Should Be Able To Buy a House
- Tell Them That Avocado Toast Isn’t Anything New or Special
- Tell Them Climate Change Is a Myth
- Tell Them To Start Having Babies
- Hate on Tattoos
- Telling Them About What Industries They Are Ruining Because Of Their Spending Habits: (Diamonds, Vacation, Marriage, McDonalds McWrap and Golf, among others)
I mean, really: what did these poor kids do to deserve such asinine vitriol? They’re way too young to have really screwed things up… yet. At least give them until around 45-50 when their generation actually has Money and Power and starts moving into positions of influence.
If the worst thing they’re doing is eating avocado toast and posting a photograph of it on Instagram, I’ll give them a pass. Though admittedly, seeing people at restaurants taking photos of their food is a decidedly odd phenomenon…
I’m a bit too old to be a Millennial (Born 1980-2000), I guess that makes me a young Gen X’er- whatever that means at any rate. But I certainly hope it doesn’t box me into a one sided marketing bracket. I honestly feel really bad for these kids having to see stuff like this repeated ad nauseam by our mainstream media. At the bottom of it all, I think these attitudes just stem from jealousy and resentment.
People in their 40s and 50s who know that their best years of beauty, sexual opportunity and personal freedom are behind them, and whatever fashions, music and trends that were once cool when they were in high school are now passé. New slang has been invented that is incomprehensible to older people and cultural outsiders.
Music, well, we all know each generation invents a new genre whose sole appeal lies in its ability to make one’s parents yell: “Turn It Down! That’s not music- it’s just people screaming!” I’m seriously curious what the children of parents who grew up on Gangsta Rap will be listening to 15 years from now: Its gonna be REALLY OFFENSIVE.
Now Hipsters, I simply just don’t get: bikes with no brakes, $8 Coffee, skinny jeans, dorky glasses. But, hey I guess I’m not supposed to “get it”- maybe that’s because I’m over 35. Damn: time to get into bed at 10pm and put my dentures into a glass of water on my nightstand. In the end, I’m not gonna spend my days hating on younger people just because they’re into music, fashion and culture that are different from my own tastes.
Things change, society changes, we’re all going down the tubes anyway, so what difference does it make? I really hope the next counterculture that’s arising is more than just fashion though. In the grand tradition of their ancestors, today’s outliers should continue to challenge the status quo and celebrate the values of personal freedom, creativity and making the most of life.
So instead of raging on about what Millennials are doing wrong this week, lets take a look at what Millennials are actually doing right (and don’t worry, they still have their entire lives to completely screw things up). According to Pew Research, Millennials are:
- The Most Educated Generation In American History
- More Technologically Adept
- Less Racist, Sexist and Homophobic Than Previous Generations
- Support Legalization of Marijuana
- Less Religious Than Their Parents
- More Ethnically And Racially Diverse
- Less Interested in Driving and Owning a Car
Though this is just my humble opinion, I do believe the younger generations also seem to be following the trend of creating greater independence and material simplicity in life. Perhaps this is the consequence of new technologies that allow us to work from wherever there is an internet connection and the ability to store a bookshelf’s worth of literature into a small electronic tablet. All of these inventions can do a wondrous job of freeing us from living a hoarding, fixed-location existence.
I see most young people in my neighborhood riding their bikes to work, buying organic vegetables and striving for a financially simpler existence. It’s easy to assume that they’re “above it all” or elitist, but I don’t think that’s the case at all. They’re just trying out a life that’s different from the one their parents lived- and power to them.
Maybe the Millennials will never be quite as sexy and obvious as their rebellious 1960’s forebears, but I think their Revolution will be a quiet one. A world that will be less filled with “things” and more filled with experiences, less prejudiced towards different cultures, and a smaller carbon footprint. Whether you like it or not, the young are the future: they have the energy, the optimism and the intelligence to get it done. If you can’t lend them a hand, get the fuck out of the way…