Very few things bother me as much as generalizations and dismissive stereotypes. Hearing a story about government overreach and attributing it to those “damn liberals,” reading about a child who shoots himself with his dad’s gun and shooing it away with a snide remark like “what do you expect in Texas,” or seeing a report about a pit bull mauling someone and muttering sheer stupidity like “that’s all those breeds do,” are all disgustingly ignorant to me. Pit Bulls aren’t even on the top 10 list for incidents involving dogs biting people, kids from California to Massachusetts are victims of gun accidents in the home at a GREATER rate than Texas, and if you think Conservative Republicans don’t want to use the power of government to reach into your life, you should ask anyone making a porno movie, trying to marry their same sex significant other, has the last name “Mohammed,” or is trying to have an abortion how they feel about that statement.
Lately, my rage has turned towards those who insist on endlessly demonizing the “Millennials.” Defined as people born between “The early 1980’s and early 2000’s,” these youngsters now range in age from 33 to 13 and, by all accounts, will be the death of America as we know it, which I find odd, since no generation in modern-day history has had that kind of influence or ability prior to being over the age of 40. Oh I know, I know, that’s what you’re worried about: the future. Liar.
I must point out that I am both jaded and biased. Since I was a young child (as opposed to being an old child), I have always hated being told that my age had anything to do with, well, anything. I was managing people two and three times my age when I was 16 years old and nothing motivated me more than being told I was too young to do or understand something. Within minutes, I was doing it or explaining it, and usually better than the old ass that had challenged me. Age is a cop-out in all directions and it drives me nuts. As I always tell my friends in their 40’s who bitch about “getting old,” maybe they should lose 50 pounds first and then see how they feel. Or I ask them why my 59 year old friend who played college football, smoked for 20 years, and was a Vegas security guard in the heydays of the 70’s is in literally the best shape and health of his life. My friends like that.
Additionally, I’m in love with a Millennial, and no doubt the years of being told that her generation is the worst thing since Hitler, while watching her work her way through life as one of the most driven, successful, thoughtful people I’ve ever met has probably jaded me. No doubt, Ashley has some friends and family members in her age group that are total losers. Who doesn’t? Where does this idea come from that this is the first generation to have portions and pockets of it trying to find their way (and, for the most part, failing).
Oh, I know, I know…it’s worse than ever this time, isn’t it? The unemployment rate for millennials is almost 15%, compared to 7% nationally. That’s misleading, of course, because you’re only counted as being unemployed if you’re trying to actually find work. People sitting on their asses collecting money from the rest of us while they don’t look for work aren’t counted in those numbers. You know the people…they’re overwhelmingly over the age of 35. Interesting, isn’t it?
Oh, I know, I know…Millennials are rude and socially awkward. They mouth breathe and have their heads in machines all day. Hey dipstick, who in the hell do you think raised them to be that way? You did, you judgmental, hypocritical 40 year old. These people didn’t just pop out of the womb with an IPAD strapped to their face. If your perception is remotely accurate, you’re the very person who created it. Own it.
Oh, I know, I know…Millennials aren’t willing to work hard. Great point. Those teenagers and young adults in the mid 60’s and early 70’s were real go-getters. That Baby-boomer generation had nothing but hard work, grit and determination in their eyes, didn’t they. For Christ’s sake, most of them didn’t even have a job until they were 30. They’d spent the previous 15 years driving around in hot-boxed vans protesting everything that was America, only to wake and grow up one day and say “Oh, well, I guess I’ll just become part of the machine now.” Assholes.
This is what we do to every new generation and it is appalling. Do you know the last group of Americans who were actually, en masse, proud of their offspring? World War One parents. Because they saw their children grow up and survive the Great Depression and then go off and literally save the world (from that Hitler guy, for those of you who went to public school in America). Ever since then, we’ve hated what our children have become. Not our own individual children, they’re perfect of course. Every other child within their age group is the problem with this country today and tomorrow.
Which brings us to the truly delicious final irony of all of this; every single sociological study, survey, and poll shows unequivocally that Millennials are, by far, both the most positive and optimistic generation we have now, and that they are far more so than any younger generation of the past. Certainly my generation, Generation X, was far from spirited when it stepped in young adulthood. Still scarred from years of messages that either nuclear war or AIDS was going to end us as we knew us, we were one of the most dour generations of them all. Until the 90’s, when everything in the country suddenly became boomingly successful, carefree and happy (except for the popular music of the times, which I find ironic as well), and we all decided to stop pouting and start living.
The positivity and belief that Millennials have is off the charts. They just know everything will work out, and they’d like to have some fun as they work their way towards it, which seems to be what really bothers a lot of people. As a guy who moved out of his parents’ house at the age of 18, owned his first home at the age of 22 and became a 1%-er before the age of 30, I can honestly say that I don’t get it when I see or hear about the 25 year old living at home, paying no rent, doing no chores and not going to school. But I also wonder about the parent who not only raised that, but is also allowing it. And I wonder if somewhere in the middle is the answer to all of this.
Could it be that the driving force behind the anti-Millennial stereotyping is nothing more than envy? Are so many of you just pissed that they get to ride in the nicer school bus? I hear so many people get so angry at the caricature of a millennial who isn’t worried about their job, or when they’ll buy a house, or whether or not they’ll get married. I submit that you’re not “worried about the future of America,” you’re pissed that you aren’t and never were that carefree. Like usual, it’s about you. Don’t believe me? Ok, tough guy who hates the Millennials and what losers they are and can’t believe how they all just want to do nothing and sponge off others and going to ruin this nation, I have a challenge for you. Walk down the hallway to your 28 year old offspring’s bedroom and chat with them about it.
Oh I know, I know, your kid is different.