There's a lot going on in the world right now; we're in the middle of a crazy election year, record-breaking heat, Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar (while African and Asian-American actors were, once again, forgotten) - it's been a wild ride, and we're only halfway done. But through all the changes, all the twists and turns this year has taken, there's one thing that's stayed constant:
Nobody likes millennials.
There are at least a million different opinion pieces about how millennials are just the worst. You may remember this video of a millennial journalist bashing her own generation for being lazy and disrespectful. Or this manufacturer from Texas, saying that millennials text too much at work. Even the very existence of an emoji-translated Bible says something negative about our age group. Anywhere you look, you always see people, usually older, some our age, complaining about us and our ethics. "What is the deal with young people?" they might say in their best Jerry Seinfeld voice. "I mean really!"
The latest example, which I'm going to focus on now, was actually published on this very website, by Laurence Sulner. It's now lovingly entitled, "I Hate Millennials", but from here on out, I will refer to Mr. Sulner's article by its original name: "I Hope There's a Shooting in Your Safe Space."
That appallingly misguided title was obviously added for shock value, since the desire to see people on college campuses murdered isn't expressed anywhere else in the article, but it's still a very clear indication of how he feels about people his age.
He opens his think-piece by listing all the reason's why each generation is known as the way it is. "Our grandparents were 'the greatest generation' because they beat the Nazis and stormed the beaches at Normandy. Our parents are 'the baby boomers' because they did a lot of banging." He claims we're classified as "millennials" because, "we were at least semi-conscious at the turn of the millennium."
"I hate the word 'millennial,'” he admits. "The generation should instead be called “pussies.”... "They are absolutely f*cking worthless."
He articulately lists the reasons why his generation sucks, starting off by recalling a run-in with a girl who, "fit the millennial bill."
"I recounted to her the story of how, outside a loosie spot, a random woman offered to rent me a room in the projects for $200 a month. The girl asked me why I didn’t take it because $200 a month is an unbelievable price."
Sounds like a great deal! Surely there can't be a catch!
"When I told her I didn’t particularly care to live in the projects, she smiled, took a puff of her cigarette and said with full seriousness and confidence, 'Sounds like you don’t like people of color.' I thought it was some kind of sick joke, but nope, she was serious. She continued by saying, 'Plus, don’t call it the projects, it’s a reaffirmation of your privilege. Low-income housing.'"
Okay, well to be fair, it wasn't entirely right of the girl to assume the projects are strictly inhabited by people of color, but she's right about the privilege. Privilege isn't a terribly hard thing to understand; if you fill in all the dots on Straight White Maile BINGO, then you obviously have a higher standing privilege than other people. There's no shame in admitting it, as long as you understand it, which is exactly what our author di-
"At that point, all I could do is laugh. Clearly, for people like her (read: a lot of millennials) logic and reasoning go out the window as long as you can prove that you’re woke as hell. They want to prove to the world that they aren’t racist. They do that by coming up with ridiculous interpretations of right and wrong, racist and accepting."
Just kidding! He mocked the girl and other like-minded people for trying too hard to be "woke as hell," and concluded that being aware of your privilege was just plain silly! But it gets better:
"This idea of 'woke' brings me to my next point: millennials think they’re unique and exhibit individuality when all they really do is reinforce the notion that they’re all clones with their thumbs up their asses."
We can debate what on earth millennials could be doing with their thumbs up their asses later. He uses his favorite move, Pulp Fiction, as an example to make his point:
"(It's) one of my favorite movies ever. Mia Wallace is one of my favorite characters ever.... But it INFURIATES me seeing these foolish girls walking down the streets (which they gentrified) with the same Mia-esque haircut, holding the hand of a guy who looks like Andy Warhol with AIDS and a man-bun. They do it because they’re “artists” who are “woke” and they want a way to show it. But they’re defeating their own purpose. Everyone and their mother has those goddamn haircuts, those goddamn black shirts and those goddamn opinions that are nothing."
Let's forget about the fact that Pulp Fiction is one of the most popular and influential films of all time. Let's forget that Mia Wallace isn't cosplayed nearly as much as Nick and Julius, or that AIDS is a serious disease. Let's forget that stereotype that all millennials are "artsy". We've just ruined Laurence Sulner's favorite movie. We should all feel just terrible! What can Laurence possibly watch now, Reservoir Dogs? That's just not cult enough!
The last point Mr. Sulner makes is that millennials just won't gosh darn listen:
"They don’t want to shut up, even for a second. If they’re not telling you how woke they are, then clearly they must not be woke, right? Wrong. These buffoons have convinced themselves and others that “safe spaces” are necessary and vital. This shows how disillusioned they are about everything -- the only safe space is supposed to be your home.... Colleges (clearly) can by manipulated into giving them “safe spaces” that will prevent them from the awful, horrendous triggers they might face. But the real world doesn’t have that. In the real world, it's put up or shut up. It worries me that most millennials can do neither."
That statement about safe spaces only proves that Laurence was the one who wasn't listening. College students only demand safe spaces when certain groups of students feel that they aren't safe. That's why the kids at Missou demanded change, because they didn't feel like they were being fairly represented. It's not a radical idea that every student should feel like they belong when they go to college.
But I digress, he is right that there aren't any safe spaces out in "the real world," and the real world doesn't sound too kind for kids like us. They think we're lazy, we're stupid and vain, we're entitled, we don't work hard enough, we don't have manners anymore, we're only voting for Bernie Sanders so we can get "free stuff". I think it's time that someone addressed these stereotypes.
Let's try and get as much of these out of the way as we can right away. Paul Angone, from AllGroanUp.com, made a list of statistics that millennials are working against (which is supported by the Pew Research Center, I might add). I highly recommend that you look at it after reading this. According to him, millennials are:
1. the largest generation at over 85-90 million people in the US, and are the most educated generation in history. Basically, we're not stupid and we're everywhere.
2. 40% of unemployed workers are millennials. That would be what we call a "minority".
3. Average college debt is around $33,000 with the median household income remaining the same since 1999. In other words, the price of education has gone up, and pay has stayed stagnant. Not exactly a winning combination, especially in this economy.
4. We're reporting the highest levels of clinical anxiety, stress, and depression than any other generation at the same age. Wouldn't you if there was so much stacked against you?
5. We're having children at an average age of 30 with 47% of births to women in the Millennial generation being non-marital. We're waiting longer to not only have kids, but to get married, because we're not ready to deal with the economic stress of having a spouse and kids.
Most of our fears stem from economic issues, which I have to say, hasn't exactly been given to us in pristine condition. Think of it as your first car; it's a literal bucket of rust, but soon you're working your way up to a brand new Prius. Goldman Sachs seems to have faith in us that we can turn it around.
Most adults write us off, probably like their parents did, but you must understand that we are paying attention. We're just looking through a different lens: a screen. It's a changing world, where technology is constantly shifting and evolving, even schools and museums are taking notice. Technology is how we learn, and while some of us do take advantage of it, I know a lot of people my age (including myself) who still love reading real books.
So, Laurence Sulner, I would like to leave you with a thought; when you say that millennials are "pussies" or "the worst generation", are you referring to the kids who actually care about treating everyone the way they want to be treated? The kids who go out of their way to make sure we're socially conscious and, yeah, maybe even a little politically correct, because it's the right (maybe even the woke) thing to do? Are you talking about the generation that is fighting an uphill battle just to live as comfortably as our parents and afford our own house AND feel accepted as members of society?
Or are you talking about the people who do nothing but complain about how worthless we are?