You may have heard about the Time story trashing millennials, as narcissistic, lazy smartphone-obsessed kids who still live with their parents. I’ve also seen this sentiment in casual Facebook posts and viral video clips like the one from The Newsroom. (It’s mainly over-dramatic America-bashing, some of it legit, but the generation-hating slips in at about 3:00.)
I really hate this stuff. See, I’m a Gen Xer. And I remember when we were called lazy, tech-crazy kids who didn’t know the meaning of hard work. Oh, and our label? They said there was nothing to define us by, that’s why we got an X. And you know what? That hurt a little. It was also extremely unfair.
I was 20 something at the time: wide-eyed to the world; sure I was overconfident in my own brilliance and only starting to get the hint that life wouldn’t be so easy. So what if I didn’t have a clue? Who does at that age? And what if I and my generation were a little spoiled or coddled? Who’s fault was that?
That’s right our parents. The Baby Boomers: the very same generation who would do well to remember that they were called spoiled, disrespectful, and self-centered. Don’t forget Boomers were the original “Me” generation.
And their parents, the so-called Greatest Generation could be at blame for that too. And please, the greatest? You have to gloss over a lot of racist, sexist, homophobic, and political BS to think their legacy is flawless. Not to mention they apparently begat three generations of good-for-nothings.
The whole thing is silly really. It’s not a generation change, we’re just hating youth. I like how The Atlantic put it:
Basically, it’s not that people born after 1980 are narcissists, it’s that young people are narcissists, and they get over themselves as they get older. It’s like doing a study of toddlers and declaring those born since 2010 are Generation Sociopath: Kids These Days Will Pull Your Hair, Pee On Walls, Throw Full Bowls of Cereal Without Even Thinking of the Consequences.
Why do we hate our young people? I think it’s the whole “Get off my lawn” reflex: We’re afraid of them messing up our stuff: not just our lawn, but our country, our economy, the world. And they will. How do I know? Because we did.
Frankly, the world has never been better than it is right now, not really. Take off the golden glasses of nostalgia, and look at the problems of your era: be it civil rights, Vietnam, the Cold War, the Iraq War Parts 1 and 2, and so many economic crises they’re hard to count.
Each generation started and ended some of those things, no? And there are plenty of huge, unfixed problems we’ll all pass on to the millennials.
Youth means change. Hopefully for the better. We should embrace the next generation and for goodness sake, stop hating them and help them! They’re going to need it.