Millennials are the “ME ME ME GENERATION,”writes Joel Stein for the cover ofTime magazine, which is apparently a marked departure from the Baby Boomers, who were the plain old “Me Generation” (one me, no caps) and who created the “Me Decade” in the 1970s, and who coined the phrase, “But enough about me…what do you think about me?” in the 1980s when they were raising the next narcissists, Generation X. Sometimes you get the sense that these magazines’ cultural writers have very little experience with the entire American culture, and prefer to make their grand analyses based on what people they know in the gentrified parts of cities like New York and Los Angeles were talking about at brunch last weekend. The type of young person that magazine writers come across most frequently are magazine interns. Because the media industry is high-status, but, at least early on, very low pay in a very expensive city, it attracts a lot of rich kids. Entitled, arrogant, spoiled, preening — those are the alleged signature traits of Millennials, as diagnosed by countless magazine writers. Those traits curiously align perfectly with the signature traits of a rich kid.Have you seen your internon Rich Kids of Instagram? If so, he or she is probably not the best guide to crafting the composite personality of a generation that fought three wars for you.
Maybe this is me remembering how enraging it was to have everything I said discounted because I was young (and a girl, but it was my age old men cited more often in not listening to me), and to be told constantly how much more I would understand when I got older. By which they usually meant I’d become more conservative (no), more interested in talking about things like how Kids Today suck (nay) and more inclined to “settle down” in some giant house somewhere in the country (we will never be able to sell this condo).
It made me want to hit things. It certainly didn’t make me want to listen to anything else THEY had to say. This generational-warefare stuff is damaging, to all of us, because it cuts us off from one another, makes us unwilling to learn, and it lets older folks off the hook from having to continue to be great. It tells kids that they’re only as good as we say they are, instead of as good as they can be by the standards they invent, which are the only standards that will exist for them. It lets us make the conversation about what the younger generation is doing for us, and compared to us, rather than talk about whatwe’re doingnow right now right fucking now today.
As if we don’t have any work to do anymore, and can just hand the whole world off and then bitch about how the next generation is caring for it.