On October 10th, 2015, Chris Erskine wrote an article for LA Times' website titled 'The Middle Ages: Millennials, you literally cannot call yourselves adults until you take this pledge.' The article features a 46 point pledge that Erskine says all millennials must take before reaching adulthood. The points of the pledge range from making sure that millennials didn't name their first born son 'Uber' to not using pepper spray on tacos for seasoning.
When I first read Erskine's article, I thought I was reading satire. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Erskine seems 100% serious, or it is a very pathetic attempt at comedy—either way it wasn't received well. Not long after the Millennial Pledge article was posted in the LA Times many millennials on social media sites like twitter posted just what they thought about the millennial pledge. So here is my opinion on the millennial pledge, arriving late with a Starbucks (like a true millennial).
I guess the first thing I'll focus on is the anger that the baby boomer generation seems to have directed at the millennials. This is nothing new, if you look at any older generation's reaction to younger ones, it is usually anger at entitlement, or younger generations disagreeing with them. There is nothing new about old white men complaining about 18-34 year olds (Erskine's parameters for the millennial generation)—even if it is usually directed at teenagers and twenty-something-year-olds. It isn't new or edgy for some old man to be pissed off by a younger generation's defiance and rightful anger at the older generation's complete fuck-ups. While capitalism was never a system designed to help people, or really keep anything stable for people who aren't the 1%, that doesn't mean baby boomers didn't completely mess things up for the next generation. For a generation who is so proud of 'breaking the rules', they sure do love enforcing their own forcing younger generations to agree with them.
What I think baffles me the most about this 'pledge' is just how out of touch it is with a millennial's reality. Millennials, while roughly within the the same age range, are a vastly diverse group of people who have a range of experiences. However, I'm pretty sure none of us have considered naming any child Uber or using pepper spray as a seasoning. These two parts of the pledge are not the only ones far out there, there are several of these that left me laughing even though I knew Erskine was serious. The picture of millennials painted by Erskine reminded me of a bad movie villain or one of those teenage workers in a store in the movies that you know just wouldn't get away with any of that.
Clearly, Erskine has no idea what his generation has left for millennials to clean up. The environment is a mess, the economy is worse, most of us are facing the prospect of little to no job opportunities out of college—which is skyrocketing even more in price and minimum wage is no longer a living wage (although it hasn't been for a while). When twitter and other social media sites exploded with reactions to the millennial pledge, there were some great reactions. And with those reactions, came another article from Erskine because he clearly wasn't done completely misunderstanding an entire generation of people.
The title to Erskine's new article is "#MillennialPledge backlash is 'what you get when you raise an entire generation without spanking'". As if the first article wasn't obnoxious enough, now we have Erskine advocating child abuse. Hitting your child under any situation isn't right, and whether or not this is supposed to be some pathetic attempt at wit, it just makes me want to roll my eyes, but I think I've reached my eye rolling quota for the century. God forbid, millennials don't want to laugh at themselves or laugh with those who make fun of us. The only response to his millennial pledge that he takes seriously is shockingly, now brace yourself as you read these words, by someone who is not a millennial. Big shock right? It wasn't really to me either. One of the most interesting things I found about this rebuttal from Erskine was that he didn't seem to realize the jokes that millennials were making about the millennial pledge, but instead referred to millennials are humorless. Apparently, we're only allowed to laugh at ourselves or comedy when it is approved by old, white men.
Long story short: There isn't much more annoying than some old man whining about kids these days. Before baby boomers can comment on millennials' lives, they need to take a good hard look at their own actions and entitlement because quite frankly if anyone should be mocked for how much they feel like they're entitled too it should be the baby boomers. Like many twitter users, I have to agree that before any millennial pledge, there should be one for baby boomers.