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Generation Slap

They're naive, self-important, and perpetually plugged in. This is a call to arms against Millennials

  

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AND HE SHALL LEAD THEM ALL Generation Yer Kevin Colvin, caught on Facebook after telling his boss that he had to miss work for a "family emergency"

You Can Do Magic
Like many illustrious individuals before him who inadvertently stumbled into Internet stardom, Kevin Colvin became an overnight Internet celebrity by doing something stupid. In case you missed his five minutes of "fame," here's the story in a nutshell. A twentysomething intern, Kevin secured a job at Boston's Anglo Irish Bank. Using the guise of a family emergency, Kevin decided to take a day off and thus sent the following e-mail to his bosses, Paul and Jill:

Paul/Jill,

I just wanted to let you know that I will not be able to come into work tomorrow. Something came up at home and I had to go to New York this morning for the next couple of days. I apologize for the delayed notice.

Kind regards,
Kevin

Millennials are younger. Healthier. They got to do anal in high school. They think updating a spreadsheet while posting to a Twitter account about gossip on perezhilton.com is an essential corporate skillKevin's boss, Paul Davis, apparently decided to do a little a bit of detective work and found an incriminating photo of Kevin on Facebook. He discovered that Kevin wasn't in New York attending to an unexpected family crisis, but at a Halloween party in Worcester, Massachusetts.

And this is the clincher: In the picture, Kevin is dressed as Tinker Bell, decked out in a green ballet dress that looks like it was stolen from the wardrobe closet of an elementary school performance of Swan Lake. There's glitter and blue makeup enveloping his eyes. He's holding a gold, star-tipped wand in one hand and a can of Busch Light in the other. There are wings. In short, Kevin looks so high I wouldn't be surprised if he actually used those glittery, Day-Glo wings to fly away like a hummingbird after the picture was snapped.

Mr. Davis' response was swift and, well, perfect. Attaching Kevin's incriminating photo to an e-mail and BCCing the entire company, he responded:

Kevin,

Thanks for letting us know—hope everything is ok in New York. (cool wand)

Cheers,
PCD

When the technology blog valleywag.com posted the entire hilarious exchange, the story spread like a San Fernando Valley wildfire. It was everywhere.

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STRENGTH IN NUMBERS There are an estimated 80 million Millenials out there. And oh, how they are blogging
In Kevin's defense, most of us have lied to our bosses and played hooky. Still, I found myself hoping that his boss, Mr. Davis, fired him with a pointed "and don't let the door hit your wand on the way out!" for good measure. But before you dismiss me as cruel, let me explain my reasons.

My lack of empathy for Kevin comes from my sense of loyalty to the generation born between the years of 1961 and 1981. Generation X. Kevin is part of the generation born between 1982 and 2002—a Millennial, formerly known as Generation Y. (They got renamed after whining too much.) They're younger. They're healthier. They got to do anal in high school. They think updating a spreadsheet while simultaneously posting to a Twitter account about the latest gossip on perezhilton.com is an essential corporate skill. And, like Kevin, they're always doing stupid shit, but rarely getting called on it.

What's more, Millennials pose a vital threat to my generation's cultural legitimacy, not to mention our position in the workplace. A recent article in Time warns: "Older workers—that is, anyone over 30—need to know how to adapt to the values and demands of their newest colleagues. Before too long, they'll be the bosses."

You see? They're out to get us.

If you look at the sheer number of Millennials, the outlook is grim. While Gen X boasts only around 30 million members, there are an estimated 80 million Millennials out there. They're like pod people with Facebook accounts. We're outnumbered.

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MECCA The Apple Store, where Gen Yers congregate to kneel at the foot of Steve Jobs

That's why the time has come for Generation X to unite. We need to call bullshit on these naive, self-important crybabies trying to rob us of what is rightly our own. Remember how the Baby Boomers all turned into self-serving, narcissistic assholes who deified Michael Douglas in the '80s? The time has come for us to turn into assholes, too, minus the Michael Douglas part.

My generation must follow the lead of heroes like Anglo Irish Bank's Paul Davis and clear the air of the Millennial's generational fairy dust. Sure, the Millennials think they're magic, but the time has come for Generation X to band together proudly and proclaim on high: "COOL WAND!"


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POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT Do today's Gen Yers believe in themselves a little too much?

A Conspiracy of Doting
It's not really the Millennials who are to blame; it's their parents. We're talking about a generation of boomers who posted "My Child Is an Honor Roll Student" bumper stickers on their minivans and wanted to designate playing volleyball as being a cruel and unusual punishment. Of course the Millennials think they're magic. They were spoiled.

Generation X survived AIDS, Reagan, the Cold War. But consider the stress Millennials face today: simultaneously maintaining Facebook, MySpace, and Flickr accountsNow the boomers are teaming up with the younger generation in a new campaign to further render us obsolete. Where a Gen Xer was likely to get a tongue-lashing for borrowing a stapler from his/her boomer boss, the Millennials are finding boomers to be loving mentors, eager to show them the ropes. After all, the kids who are now coming of age and entering the workplace are, well, their babies. Boomers were doting parents from the get-go, and now, as they're beginning to retire, they want to ensure that their children hold the keys to the throne. Even younger Gen Xers, who were in many cases also raised by boomers, are getting screwed. They have to sit back and watch their younger, Millennial siblings bask in a generational conspiracy of doting.

Let's face facts: The boomers always detested Generation X. They felt threatened by our youth, confused by our lack of earnestness, and deeply troubled by our lack of appreciation for James Taylor. The boomers' entire identity was wrapped around being young and progressive. Gen X was an affront to their place in the world. What's more, they never understood us, instead insisting that our archetypal achievement—the blueprint for what made us tick—was a tawdry Ben Stiller film that featured Ethan Hawke as a pouty, manically depressed James Dean.

Since the '90s, boomers have plotted to turn us into the redheaded stepchild of generations. We were slackers. Cynical. We loved Pauly Shore. (Okay, their animosity is legitimate here.) Even our name, Generation X, was a slur, indicating namelessness and the feeling of being overshadowed by the boom. As defined in Wikipedia, "X referred to the namelessness of a generation that was coming into an awareness of its existence as a separate group but feeling overshadowed by the boomer generation." Overshadowed? How about kicked to the curb with nothing but the jewel case from In Utero to keep us warm?

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BOOK OF THE TIMES New book Millennials Rising crowns Generation Y as the new "greatest generation"
One need look no further than the local newsstand to see the favoritism the Millennials have received. Whereas Generation X was routinely denigrated by the press, the Millennials have been compared to World War II's Greatest Generation. In Robert Strauss and Neil Howe's Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation, the authors state authoritatively that "over the next decade, the Millennial Generation will entirely recast the image of youth from downbeat and alienated to upbeat and engaged."

Sure, Generation X survived AIDS, Reagan, the Cold War, Tipper Gore, and A Flock of Seagulls, but those adversities, suggest Strauss and Howe, pale in comparison to what Millennials face today. Consider the stress of having to juggle a 30-hour work week while simultaneously maintaining Facebook, MySpace, and Flickr accounts. It's enough to make your head spin! And maybe the Millennials never faced Hitler's forces on the beaches of Normandy, but had they been around in 1944 (and had the technology existed), you can bet they would have blogged about it.

Plus, who could forget 9/11? Not the Millennials. With an oh-so-precious, post-ironic earnestness, they collectively transform into Giuliani and bring up 9/11 should you question their fortitude.

Millennials Rising catalyzed the media's love for the Millennials and the adoration has been spreading ever since. Conducting an interview for a recent edition of 60 Minutes titled "The 'Millennials' Are Coming," Morley Safer asks a younger Wall Street Journal columnist rhetorically, "But isn't this generation [the Millennials], particularly of middle-class kids, really quite special? Aren't they, in some ways, much better than your generation, certainly mine?"

Great ... Morley thinks they're magic, too.



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X'ED OUT Even Generation X's magazine covers were hostile

Black Becomes White, X Becomes Y
The boomers' decades-long spin campaign against Generation X has entered a new phase as they've begun to promote Millennials at our expense. Lest you think I'm paranoid, the proof of their plot to elevate the so-called "Internet generation" can be discovered by anyone who knows how to use Google. As it turns out, my generation founded the company. So, to prove my point, let's Google back in time to provide a little context.

On Monday, July 16, 1990, the largely baby boomer–run Time published a cover story called "Twentysomething." It was the one of the magazine's best-selling covers in history, and introduced Generation X—we were known as the baby busters then—to the public, largely defining how we were perceived as a generation. Those who read it will recall that the piece possessed the journalistic muster of a Dateline story on poisonous dog food imports from China. In short, "Twentysomething" was meant to alarm the public into believing they'd raised a generation of stoic nihilists who, as one interviewee stated, were destined to be America's "carpenters and janitors." The only thing preventing us from flushing America's future down the toilet was our lack of initiative. We were too slack to flush.

Time hired two twentysomething turncoats to pen the piece, Ivy league alumni David M. Gross and Sophfronia Scott, two hack artists who were in no way representative of Generation X. During much of the '90s, Gross was a corporate finance lawyer. Scott, on the other hand, contributed to cover stories for People, including "The 50 Most Beautiful People," before becoming an online writing coach known as the "Book Sistah." For the sake of conciseness, I'll refer to Gross and Scott as GrossBookSistah from this point forward.

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BREAK TIME The slacker stereotype dogs Generation Xers
"They have trouble making decisions," sneered GrossBookSistah's opening sentence. "They have few heroes, no anthems, no style to call their own ... their anxious indecision creates a kind of ominous fog around them."

GrossBookSistah stopped just short of accusing Generation X of hating rainbows. The article managed to throw us a couple of bones, complimenting our "realism" and "good intentions," but GrossBookSistah's meager praise came across as a transparent attempt to provide "balance" in an article that essentially labeled Generation X as being pathetic.

Normally, I'd be content to let sleeping dogs lie—it has been nearly two decades, after all, since "Twentysomething" was published. But an onslaught of press praising Millennials for the very things my generation was despised for has begun to emerge. The double standards have opened old wounds.

Many of the generational double standards involve our shared reluctance to conform to the rules of a traditional nine-to-five job. Generation X, for instance, was derided as "inflexible" slackers who possessed no desire to climb the corporate ladder. "At a time when they should be graduating, entering the work force and starting families of their own," scoffed GrossBookSistah, "the twentysomething crowd is balking at those rites of passage." Those of us who did join the workforce, said GrossBookSistah, were "overly sensitive at best and lazy at worst." One expert interviewed for the article called us a generation that "refuses to pay its dues," while another said our reluctance to embrace the dying work ethic of the former generation left us "sounding like whiners."


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DREAMS DEFERRED The cast of seminal Gen X film Reality Bites

Jump ahead 17 years, and my generation's incessant "whining" (which, incidentally, is responsible for today's transformed workplace) has been reframed as a sort of rugged individualism when applied to the Millennials. "Generation Y is forcing companies to think more creatively about work-life balance," praises an article published in Time last year. Advertising Age takes things a step further, saying, "[A]gencies need to find a new employment model that better caters to Gen Y's 21st-century skill set, enviable ambition and vibrant desire for recognition ... Our job is to find new ways to motivate, inspire and reward them." Maybe they can set up pony rides and free face-painters in the break room, right next to the Big Buck Hunter machine.

Weighing in on the Millennial's "newfangled" workplace idealism, 60 Minutes suggests that bosses should accommodate Millennials who want to want to "roll into work with their iPods and flip-flops around noon." An expert interviewed for the CBS program suggests that bosses should talk to Millennials "like a therapist on television might speak to a patient."

An equally egregious example of generational bias lies in Gen X's stigma as the "MTV Generation," a title that was always intended as a pejorative. GrossBookSistah's article accused Generation X of having been dumbed down by MTV, charging us with incubating a severe case of attention deficit disorder. "Their attention span," wrote GrossBookSistah, "is as short as one zap of a TV dial." Ironically, when applied to the Millennials, who are similarly affected by the Internet, possessing a short attention span becomes an accolade. They just call it multitasking.

In reality, logging on to Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace 15 times per hour to see how many friends you've accumulated is clearly nothing short of obsessive compulsive. Perhaps the Millennial's addiction to Adderall and Red Bull are to blame, but the media has been too busy singing their praises (or doing cutting-edge exposés on "cyberstalkers") to notice the Millennial's chronic case of generational OCD.

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GENERATION MTV Back in the day when Kennedy's antics seemed shocking

Outside of the office, the assault against Gen X was even worse. GrossBookSistah accused us of being "too detached to form caring relationships." And instead of praising us for sneering at "Range Rovers, Rolexes, and red suspenders," GrossBookSistah emphasized how marketers were "confounded" by a "generation so rootless and noncommittal," transforming our frugality and anticommercialism into cheapness.

The boomer's animosity seems particularly misplaced when you consider that Gen X's values mirrored those of the antiestablishment hippies. One iconic example is our trademark wariness of commercialism. We were the no-logo generation, famously skeptical of marketers who tried to pigeonhole us. We created independent rock and ostracized artists who "sold out" for capital gain.

Today, when a hip band allows Outback Steakhouse to co-opt one of their most beloved songs, Millennials don't call it selling out. It's a cogent business decision. To Millennials, it's perfectly acceptable to transform the lyric "Let's pretend we don't exist / Let's pretend we're in Antarctica" into the jingle "Let's go Outback tonight / Life will still be there tomorrow." (Et tu, Of Montreal.)

Perhaps most troubling, the Millennials have effectively transformed the no-logo idealism of Gen X into the mantra "no logo except Apple." Embracing "hip" brands is what often passes for cool with today's trendsetters. Still, boomers continue to debase the values of my "downbeat" and "cynical" generation, perhaps tricked into thinking they have more in common with the Millennials since ponchos and hippie beards have become popular once again.

Sure, GrossBookSistah accused Gen X of being too alienated to have role models, but perhaps that's preferable to an entire generation worshiping with bended knee at Steve Jobs' immaculately designed Apple-shaped cathedral. Have you heard the news, they chant soundlessly, with iPods clogging their eardrums, the new MacBook has arrived! It's magic. It's so light it can fly!



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TIME WARP Nirvana's In Utero

The Doom Generation?
While praise for the Millennials continues to be spread as generously as margarine on an Denny's English muffin, it's surreal in hindsight to see how antagonistic the media was to Generation X. "Down deep, what frustrates today's young people—and those who observe them—is their failure to create an original youth culture," GrossBookSistah wrote, shifting from snark to antagonism. "What young adults have managed to come up with is either nuevo hipster or ultra-nerd, but almost always a bland imitation of the past."

Ouch. Criticizing our work ethic was one thing, but our culture? That's below the belt. (Comically, GrossBookSistah immediately discredit themselves by insisting that Bret Easton Ellis pales in comparison to boomer "originals like Tom Robbins.")

The animosity seems particularly ill-placed given what passes for an "original youth culture" today. Namely, the cult of celebrity for which the Millennials will be remembered. Star magazine has become a more essential accoutrement for today's aspiring hipsterati than Chuck Taylors. Sure, there are those who defend the Millennials against the accusations of superficiality, generally by suggesting that they're more politically engaged than the disenfranchised Gen X. But let's be honest, had George Bush, Jr., been in office when we turned 21, my generation would have sweat through our flannel shirts running to the voting booth to replace him.

Still, it's never been sexy to be a Gen Xer. And that's the problem. Maybe we're responsible for the Spin Doctors, but if you cut through the bullshit, you'll see that we're not merely sexy. We're fucking hot:

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THEIR SPACE MySpace, the virtual Gen Y compound
We were the first bloggers. We created rap music. Silicon Valley. McSweeney's. Indie rock.

And we are the Internet generation. We founded Google. Wikipedia. DailyKos. Gawker. Meet-Up. MySpace. Ebay. YouTube.

We're not slackers. We are Tiger Woods, Snoop Dogg, Parker Posey, Tina Fey, Johnny Depp, Michael Jordan, Dr. Dre and Lance Armstrong, to name a few.

You've earned your retirement, boomers. So rest assured that your babies are in good hands as you go. As a member of the nowhere generation, now come of age, I'm proud to announce that our time has arrived. We may not be the next Greatest Generation, but we're pretty good at calling bullshit. So in the immortal words of Paul Davis: Cool wand.



Robert Lanham is the author of the satirical anthropological studies The Hipster Handbook, Food Court Druids, and The Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right. His writing had appeared in The New York Times, Nylon, Playboy, and Time Out New York, among others. Lanham is the founder and editor of FREEwilliamsburg.com.

Click here for one millennial's response to this essay.

05/13/08 3:08 PM
Related: Social Studies

Comments

This was a very well written article, and I enjoyed it... for the most part.
But, seriously, do you want some cheese with that whine?

Posted by: Sebastian J on May 15, 2008 6:43 PM

Don't be dumb. Generation Y is who really occupies the indie rock stratosphere. Gen X had grunge, but sold out for Matchbox 20, Dave Matthews Band, business school, etc. We had to endure Bush for two terms when none of us could vote. Your Gen Xers you love so much don't seem to hold the same value you think they do either. Have you even been outside of New York or California?
Sure, Gen Y may be inundated with celeb-utards, MTV and E! (which your generation invented), so if anyone is to blame it is you. Still, Gen Y has te highest rates of college attendance. We also grew up with the internet. We're more technologically advanced and will surpass you because of our flexibility and quick minds.

At least some Gen Y kids know to respect Joy Division, the theater of the 80s and continue pushing the artistic envelope. Who do you have? Tracey Emin?

If we want to start placing blame though, it goes to the boomers, so step down before we push you down. It's awfully easy for you to look down upon us from your wine bars in gentrified neighborhoods. We don't have it so easy.

Posted by: losangeles on May 15, 2008 8:41 PM

I find it amazing that this author can write this entire article and not find irony in calling Millenials "self-important crybabies". He builds up this idealized picture how great his own generation really is, then proceeds to complain about how the Baby Boomers love the Millenials more than him. We get it. They love us, and they didn't love you, but only because they never saw how great you really were. Seriously, if he didn't want to be seen as a whiner, what was the purpose of this article?

He spends so much time decrying the unfortunate stereotype placed on Generation X as "whiners" or "slackers", while in turn making statements just as sweeping and general about the Millenial Generation below him. Apparently the statement that all Millenials "log on to social networking sites 15 times per hour", and are "addicted to Adderall and Red Bull" are perfectly legitimate stereotypes to perpetuate, because obviously every person born after `82 is Kevin Colvin or Chris Crocker.

I'm 22, born in 1986, and I HATE red bull.

But you won't see me whining about it.

Posted by: BrenDerlin on May 16, 2008 12:01 PM

Musically speaking, let's get a few things straight here. First of all, Punk Rock is not a Gen X creation - it was a late-ish Baby Boomer thing. Johny Rotten, The Ramones (proto-punk), the members of the Clash, Iggy Pop (proto punk) - yes, they're ALL Baby Boomers! Gen X were still little kids playing with toys when Punk Rock first made an impact. Sure, Gen X took on the punk "thing" in the 80's when they became teenagers, but by that time Punk rock was already pretty much dead in terms of being cutting edge or vital - the blueprint was already in place. Another misconception is the idea that somehow Nirvana represents the most pure essence of Gen X - why is this idea so pervasive in the pop media? Nirvana was never "Punk" anyway - they were pretty much traditional boomer rock with a bit of nihilism thrown in for good measure. The "Grunge" style aesthetic was not much different than the boomer hippie style (...but with Doc Martin boots). I was born the same year as Kurt Kobain, but I never fell for any of that "Grunge" or "Slacker" garbage - to me it was all just the same-old-same-old boomer "real band", "rawk" and "authenticity" crap that had been around for ages.

The real story of original Gen X youth culture/style has to be the creation of both Hip-Hop and electronic dance music. This is the stuff that really pissed off the baby boomers and musically differentiated Gen X from them. Hip-Hop, of course, is still around and has (to hideous effect) been appropriated by the "Millennials" (who STIIL have not, as yet, invented their own distinct form or style of popular music culture). Electronic dance music (in all its various styles and offshoots), has been mostly ignored by the "rock-centric" and "boomer-centric" American music press, but has had a HUGE impact worldwide. It's unfortunate that it's the regurgitated boomer styles like "grunge" and "indie" that are (mistakenly) most closely associated with Gen X, not the musical movements that were actually the most original and distinct.

Yes, while we all STILL have to endure the prevalent & pervasive boomer-centric pop and music culture (John Lennon used on Apple packaging, movies about Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin on EVERY radio station, "authenticity", "rawk" etc. - YUCK!), we also have a total lack of recognition of the real and vital pop musical culture that has flourished since the 80's, and is still breaking new ground - and yes, it's mostly a Gen X thing.

And "Millennials" - when are you going to come up with something cool and new of your own? It's about time, isn't it?

Posted by: novabass on May 16, 2008 3:25 PM

There was another generation that goes nameless that was between the boomers & genX. Richard Hell called it the Blank Generation. You could call them the Reagan Youth, or the Disco Youth if you want. Folks that graduated from H.S. from about 74 to 80 have nothing to do w/ hippie-dom. As was noted, that is the generation that created punk. Musically, that generation was stadium rock, disco, & punk. Sociologically, it was about self-reliance & it had (and continues to have) a distaste for reliance-on-the-state (now called the "nanny state", a term that I have but one that resonates with the Blank Generation). It also was at the center of the big religious revival that took place in the late 70's.

Punk was dead, literally dead, by the time the GenXers came around. There were like 2 good punk bands then (big black, & the big boys). The rest were past their prime(after the last cataclysm of '81).

Posted by: RedRuffensore on May 17, 2008 8:02 PM

Right on Robert!!!!
Finally -someone speaking some TRUTH!! Gen X IS rising up but we are much more clandestine in our practices. It's true, the media congratulates this Y generation where they criticized X -but it's because they don't know what else to do. It's the 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' ideal.
Here's my personal example: I picked up the premiere issue of NYLON mag years ago and because I worked in Soho, NYC I got to know the EIC of that then-new mag. It was great then but it now revolves around talent-less assholes like Corey Kennedy. Fast forward a few years when, ironically, the very first day I started my own website, I get accused by a Gen Y girl who JUST got hired by NYLON of stealing a story from their website. I haven't read anything online or off by NYLON in years. Coincidentally, I happened to know the entire history of the girl who wrote me and that she had no real qualifying background to justify being hired at NYLON, she was just another who created a "virtual illusion of experience" online (so typical of Gen Yers). She knew nothing of the history of the publication for whom she worked and detrimentally didn't realize I knew her boss.
So, here's the thing Gen Y -don't assume you know it all in your comfy, unjustified positions in the world. Gen X was there when all this shit that makes you 'famous' began and we are keeping CIA-like tabs on you. Gen Y is being congratulated by the media because they are being completely exploited -and they love it. Don't hate Gen X, embrace it all and stay on top of these Yers and their social communities -there's little to worry about since they have an expiration date of 15mins. And remember that no generation can afford to be stuck in their ways. The bottom line is that we just plain know more than they do and if we continue to observe, study, and practice this we will always remain ahead.

Posted by: Veronika on May 18, 2008 2:06 PM

Oh for goodness' sake. The way you define it, at least, I'm a member of Gen X, though I've seen definitions that put me with the Millenials as well (born in 78). But your article seemed out of line to me, even though I can see the frustration.

But don't take it out on Gen Y - what really sucked for Gen X (and maybe it might help Millenials to understand this) was living in the shadow of the Boomers, who pretty much insisted on taking over all the cultural space in the country and never allowing any of it to pass on to younger people. It took ages for them to admit that they weren't The Youth anymore. In fact, their finally admitting this (grudgingly, because they were actually starting to retire) may be what marks the transition between Gen X and Millenials.

But if being drowned out by the Boomers was so unfair, shouldn't you/we (depending on how you define the generations, I guess) be happy for those who didn't have to go through that? Do you really want to imitate how the Boomers acted/act about Vietnam, and use a generational trauma as source of resentment and an excuse for condescending towards those younger than you?

Posted by: Beren on May 19, 2008 10:37 AM

Here's a few thoughts on Gen-Y from an X-er (born in the mid 60s):

Overall sense of entitlement. No real sense of paying ones dues.

Clueless to anything that was created before they were born.

Exclusive willingness to buy into digital gizmos that in turn keep them disconnected for their environment.

Have yet to invent their own sense of style, music, etc but are willing to re-hash things from 20 years ago, and then trash the people who invented it.

Overwhelmed with their own brand of irony (dumb ass mustaches and beards, dressing like geeks because after all 'it's hip to be square'. Gotta let people know your thinking about what your place is in society don't you?) Think American Apparel ad and you'll know what I'm talking about.

No problem with wasting their nightlife in wine bars, upscale restaurants, and clubs.

They think punk started with Green Day.

Their generational representatives are Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Lindsay Lohan.

Almost no sense of adventure or creativity. (I met a guy in his 20s not that long ago, showed him a picture in MOJO magazine of Iggy Pop from the 70s bleeding in some club in LA. The Gen-Y guy was not only genuinely shocked by what he saw, but had no clue who that person was. His quote: "oh my god...what is this guy doing?" Not making that up.)

Also, is it me or do most of these people that live the real 'Gen-Y' life, don't they all look like children of privilege to you? Doesn't it seem like their whole lives up to this point have been nice and cozy with a little red bow on top? Everything has been paid for an taken care of. I don't recognize any sense of...struggle..for lack of a better word. The ones that annoy me the most are the 'rock' bands or whatever they call the music now. All these kids look like dressed down sons and daughters of dentists and investment bankers who have now decided to rebel with their own brand of downloadable 'rock'.

The one advantage Gen-Y has over previous generations is their accessibility to technology. A kid now can learn a program at home during his high school years and go out into the work force in their 20s with some fairly bankable knowledge. The so-called Apprenticeship of yore is shorter OR non-existent. That's real frustrating for us Analog kids who had to learn on the job working LONG-ass hours with cranky bosses. These punk ass mother fuckers have access to this stuff like a toy mommy and daddy gave them for Christmas. It sucks, but it's reality. BUt then again garbage in, garbage out. Computer savvy doesn't equal crativity. Whatever the case may be, I'm glad I'm not in my 20s now. Their overall existence here on the planet seems cheaper and more transparent than any generation before them. Good luck robots.

**PS Kurt Cobain is NOT the be all and end all of Gen-X. In fact, he is majorly overrated.

Posted by: heyhey on May 19, 2008 1:28 PM

Heyhey: I have a problem with nearly everything you said. I was born in the 80s, so yes, I'm "Generation Y." Here's a few thoughts I had while reading your comments.

"Overall sense of entitlement. No real sense of paying ones dues. Clueless to anything that was created before they were born."

For the most part, this is pretty accurate. But I think this is more a reflection of age and maturity than a generational issue. I think it takes time for human beings to develop a sense of maturity and responsibility, and that time is certainly prolonged by the general lack of worry of our generation -- and it comes from not having direct threats. The article talks about Gen X "surviving AIDS, Reagan," etc... as if those were tough times. We're "surviving" Bush and modern-day terrorism, aren't we? I don't understand what the real difference between these things are. New generation, new problems.

"Have yet to invent their own sense of style, music, etc but are willing to re-hash things from 20 years ago, and then trash the people who invented it.

Overwhelmed with their own brand of irony (dumb ass mustaches and beards, dressing like geeks because after all 'it's hip to be square'. Gotta let people know your thinking about what your place is in society don't you?) Think American Apparel ad and you'll know what I'm talking about."

YOU couldn't get more ironic than this. You say our generation has no style, and then you DESCRIBE it immediately afterwards! By the way -- I have no idea what mustaches and beards have to do with irony. You're also touching upon a phenomenon that the fashion industry has observed for decades: style goes in cycles. Yeah, modern styles have their roots in OLDER styles, and those older styles have roots in even OLDER ones! We're not "stealing" anybody's styles.

"Almost no sense of adventure or creativity. (I met a guy in his 20s not that long ago, showed him a picture in MOJO magazine of Iggy Pop from the 70s bleeding in some club in LA. The Gen-Y guy was not only genuinely shocked by what he saw, but had no clue who that person was. His quote: "oh my god...what is this guy doing?" Not making that up.)"

What the hell does knowing who Iggy Pop is have to do with ADVENTURE or CREATIVITY? You provide NO reasons for this seemingly anecdotal observation. EVERY generation has its creative people. They definitely manifest themselves differently in every generation, but if you really want to say that our generation has no creative people then you might want to conduct a genetic study on why our genes are lacking the creative alleles.

"Also, is it me or do most of these people that live the real 'Gen-Y' life, don't they all look like children of privilege to you? Doesn't it seem like their whole lives up to this point have been nice and cozy with a little red bow on top? Everything has been paid for an taken care of. I don't recognize any sense of...struggle..for lack of a better word. The ones that annoy me the most are the 'rock' bands or whatever they call the music now. All these kids look like dressed down sons and daughters of dentists and investment bankers who have now decided to rebel with their own brand of downloadable 'rock'."

You sound like somebody who wants kids off their lawn. You know what you sound like to me? You sound old. You sound EXACTLY like how the boomers described Gen X. It sounds like this is a cyclical phenomenon as well: a generation ages, has a selective memory, and applies standards that do not exist anymore to a generation that is changing faster than they can keep up with. Maybe MORE things are taken care of than your generation, but it's not like our generation doesn't have any problems. There's an increasing level of mental disease, especially in the United States, and that's a reflection of the new demands that our generations have to meet -- both Gen X and Gen Y.

I'm also not sure what you mean by "garbage in, garbage out" when you describe computer usage. You praise home computing and then call it garbage. Make up your mind, old man, and seriously, look in a mirror: you sound like your DAD.

Posted by: jimidogen on May 19, 2008 2:33 PM

Hey Jimi-

I'm really impressed that you found my posting so compelling that you had to quote nearly all of it. Must've really pissed you off. Imagine that, an passe 'old' man pissing off a younger 'cooler' guy. I guess the 'Gen-Xers' can still get to people. Why so defensive anyway little man? Shouldn't you be out in some uber-hip wine bar trying to get laid?

"An increasing level of mental disease, especially in the United States"? Is that right? You're leaving yourself wide open for that one but anyway...

I'm going to put this as plainly as I can to you. From where I'm stitting, your generation lacks any real, life experience. I'm not going to go on about why or what, for starters all I can do is quote a sign that I'm sure you and a lot of your peers are familiar with: "BABY ON BOARD". When I say 'life experience' I'm not saying that as a person who, by default, has more years than you. I'm saying that it seems to me that 20 somethings that I knew when I was part of that demographic, and even the ones that I knew when they were older than me had a little more clarity about what the world was REALLY like. Not the anti-septic iPod dance party you guys are involved in. What does saying 'what the world was REALLY like' mean, you should try to find out. But at the rate you spoiled brats are going at you're probably never going to know. Sorry.

Boomers hating the X-ers? I don't really understand that and I've seen it written about more than once. I can tell you this though, my generation was impressed by the Boomers and a lot of the generations that proceeded them. Kerouac, Pollack, Rauschenberg and a lot of the authors and artists that were alive during and post WWII are IMPRESSIVE people to me and my peers. I never thought 'they're old...they don't understand'. My mission in life wasn't to dismantle their monument to cool-ness and tell them to make room for me because I was younger and cooler. If anything I aspired to accomplish some of the amazing things they did.

Whatever the case is. I don't see any real deep thinking coming out of people in their 20s these days. That's jsut the way it looks to me and I don't live in an underground bunker with the windows blacked out. A good example is that TMZ show with the older guy and his little underlings in the office dishing out celebrity stories to each other? Are you kidding? This is what 20 somethings are into now? And reality shows? The Hills? Are you fucking kidding me?

And 'garbage in/garbage out'. If you don't know what that means than you're in pretty big trouble. It doesn't matter how physically young you may be. Our generation, and the ones that preceeded the 'X-ers' will always be cooler than you guys.

Posted by: heyhey on May 19, 2008 9:55 PM

Pah, hubris is every generation's youthful right and folly. Nothing we didn't learn ourselves. "Get outta the way, old man." There's a sentiment that sounds familiar. Funny thing, of course, is we soon become that too--much sooner than we'd dreamed was possible. Like, decades before our first gray hairs, even, or when we were finally handed that gold watch in recognition of 30 years' service! (Though I find it funny when younger folks use "old" as an epithet--not because I don't consider myself old at 35, but because I much prefer it to 25; also, "youth" does not automatically equal relevance.)

Shoot. The Millennials' rise and decline will follow the same playbook as always. They'll yap a while, spewing from the same script--in more contemporary language, of course--we used to denigrate our predecessors. Some'll make good on their threats. Most won't. Instead, they'll slide into comfortable anonymity, perhaps praying their kids don't diddle about online and find still-extant screen caps of mommy's teenaged webcam or daddy's Youtube mash note to Panic! At The Disco. Life will continue, and culture magazines will champion newer generations at the expense of the old.

So, kids, enjoy the attention while you can. Someday you'll realize how fleeting it all was.

Posted by: murgatroid on May 20, 2008 6:40 PM

Millenials are wussies given trophies for Fourth Place achievment. We gor=t a trophy for ...guess what.....First place and First aPlace Only. We were a generation completely on our own while our parents were snorting blow, fucking all the neighbors, shopping at the Galleria, then getting divorced at a rate unseen in American History.

Ever see Breakfast Club -- John Bender's Fuck YOU DAD bit----We are the Mount Fucking Everest of contempt, and we earned the power we pried from those cold Boomer hands.

Posted by: cliffy771 on May 20, 2008 6:59 PM

"Stupid, worthless, no good, goddamn, freeloading son of a bitch. Retarded, big mouth, know-it-all, asshole, jerk. You forgot ugly, lazy and disrespectful. Shut up bitch. Go fix me a turkey pot pie. No dad, what about you? Fuck you. No dad, what about you? Fuck you. Dad, what about you? Fuck you. FUCK YOU!"

Are you starting to get the point my little millennial twerp (Nice Wand)-"Don't yell at me's" ? Do you all really think you can circumvent us with your smug single serving platitude's and so called/ fictitious technological superiority? Don't forget who put the world on the doorstep to every single living being on earth and who made the term "distance" irrelevant. Will that be something our blood was given in vain for? Do not underestimate us. We are exactly as Robert described as the Anti-Slackers: We are the brazenly insane survivors of much worse than just a burst of a dot com bubble. Our machetes have cleared the path to Paradise City - you think we will let you in without paying the tax?? NOT! Oh My God! AS IF?? GAG ME!

Posted by: cliffy771 on May 20, 2008 7:12 PM

Hey Robert. Great polemic. Finally I can be acknowledged as a Gen X - born in 1962. I argue with my baby boomer friends constantly that I'm not one of them - I like 90s not 70 or 80s music. etc .... Justified at last. But ... dunno about all the generalisations about milleniums. My kids are those - and they work harder than I ever did.

Posted by: graceandlucy on May 21, 2008 4:20 AM

I like them. Who needs the competition, anyhow. Let them not learn to read. Let them be too foolish to understand themselves. Let the blossoms bloom. Encourage them to fail. Do not encourage them to vote. Fill them up with drugs, alcohol and make sure they are ignorant about themselves, their society and their right to bear arms. Make sure they fear guns and men with fists. They will be easy to control. Nurture them as they are, for the compost heap is important for the garden others shall put them to work in.

I like them very much.

They are young and strong and stupid and cowardly and foolish. What a barrel of gems. They are indeed a natural resource for this country's final, dying gasp. Let the white man eat his own land with his own teeth.

Posted by: Moqui_Takoda on May 21, 2008 10:33 AM

Funny and true story. I've only just turned 29, so I'm very nearly between generation X and Y. But the difference between people just a few years older than me and just a few years younger is pretty stark and noticeable. When I go back and try to look up people who were two years or so ahead of me in high school on a site like MySpace or FaceBook, they almost unerringly don't have one. They got into the professional world and the hectic pace of a 9-5 adult life before those sorts of sites gained widespread popularity, and never made time for them. People just a few years younger than me? They LIVE on those things.

What also surprises me is that, even though we grew up with the internet too, we still maintained relatively private lives. Perhaps not as private as our parents would have approved of, but when I look at the details I'm able to read on the typical 18-26 year old's social networking page, I'm often pretty shocked. Do you really think this is information appropriate to post publicly on the internet? What if you're up for an important position one day? What if you want to be elected to an office one day? Leaving pictures of you drunk and groping women at some party on a public site with your real life name on it doesn't seem like it can have any positive benefit on your life in the big picture.

I think it's an "it's all about the me" generation. Much moreso than older people always said about people my age. At 16, 18, 20, 22, I feel like I always knew more about the world and what had come before than the people younger. I knew my parents' music. I knew what politicians in the 70's had done. I knew what the Berlin Wall was even though it fell when I was under 10 years old. These days? I run into 20 somethings who haven't ever heard a Beatles song all the way through. Or know who CCR is. If it's not part of the right-now-as-it-applies-to-you (or Paris Hilton) media, it's not worth knowing, or discussed, apparently.

I know there are a lot of exceptions. But it has been my experience that the newer generation was vastly more insulated than the older generation was, in terms of really just not being very aware of much outside of them, people their own age, and the culture enveloping them.

Posted by: Duskofdead on May 21, 2008 1:00 PM

First of all... The fact that the kids employer was able to find this evidence online shows how grossly big brother our world has become suggesting my generation really doesn't have it great at all. We are being watched with a hawk eye by generations that have proven they do not care about what happens to earth: global warming, war, bad economy, erection of a elite.... ya a few millenial babies might get lucky but by and large millenial babies are going to get fucked in the ass in a way even the gayest among won't be able to erotic. I call serious bullshit on this article

Posted by: adamspaceship on May 21, 2008 4:13 PM

Dude got jocked for playing hooky, not silenced for fighting the power. Get over it.

Posted by: murgatroid on May 21, 2008 5:12 PM

And perhaps y'all are too young to remember, but the Internet was initially called the World Wide Web, not Little Timmy's Private Box o' Secrets.

Posted by: murgatroid on May 21, 2008 5:20 PM

"The fact that the kids employer was able to find this evidence online shows how grossly big brother our world has become suggesting my generation really doesn't have it great at all. We are being watched with a hawk eye by generations"

You're not seriously implying that showing off pics of you drunk in drag on a day you skipped work on FaceBook is a job requirement? No one forced him to do that. The Big Brother reference is a LITTLE dramatic.

Posted by: Duskofdead on May 22, 2008 2:59 PM

As the Millennial may APPEAR to have it easier now, in reality the Boomer's have pretty much screwed both the GenXer's and the Millennial's...so we're stuck in this together as we inherit the burden of the Boomer failings...So while they sit on their retired asses collecting pensions and social security we can all thank the Boomer's for:

- Raping our economy and racking up the greatest debt ever while the old Boomer CEO's (who don't even know how to use email) get paid $100's of million dollars.

- Lying to get the country into wars that have no end in sight.

- Removing the concept of "pensions" and "health care" as employer provided benefits.

- Fundamentally destroying what was once a positive reputation of America by the world.

So us GenXer's might want to jump in and get our FaceBook and MySpace pages up because the train has left the station.

Plus...Text Sex is FUN! (Even for GenExer's)

Posted by: EricCartman on May 23, 2008 3:06 PM

heyhey,

I really WANT to have an intelligent conversation about this with you. But all you're saying is that our generation is lacking in something -- and you can't even identify what it is. We don't have life experience? Maybe that's because we're YOUNG! I don't understand what you're setting as a requirement for living a fufilled youth. What should I have done by the age of 20 that would make it so I really had "experience"?

What I'm trying to say, also, is that even if you come up with 100 things on that list, some of them will be irrelevant -- there are simply problems that our generation does not have to worry about. I tried to make the case that there are NEW problems that our generation must face, and I think any mind thinking about that critically and rationally will see it. It's HARD to compare two generations in terms of their struggles, their accomplishments, etc., because there's no standard for comparison that isn't biased towards one generation or another.

One more thing. This is really bothering me. You mentioned TMZ -- the only thing you have to say about it is: "Are you fucking kidding me?" Where's the criticism? And remember who made that show -- who makes reality shows, and who is responsible for nearly EVERY show on TV: execs in their 40s and 50s! Don't be an idiot, man. Of course I know what garbage in, garbage out means. I was saying that YOU didn't, and you had no idea how you were using it.

Posted by: jimidogen on May 24, 2008 2:37 PM

I agree with EricCartman
When I was in my early 20s, I loved 60s music. I thought it held its own to Jane's Addiction or Dinosaur Jr. I admired what Boomers had done to change the world. I thought they were people who fought for their ideals and who wanted a better world.
The Boomers failed miserably, though.
Their legacy is George W. Bush.
I don't understand how it happened. They got too greedy. They found Jesus. They creamed themselves when they heard about tax cuts.
However it happened, Boomers produced and elected the worst president in American history.
When I was in my early 30s, I had an optimistic view of the world. I thought it got better, because people learned from their mistakes.
And then that asshat got elected.
Thank you Baby Boomers!

Posted by: stubing on May 25, 2008 1:05 AM

Get-rich schemes via telecommute. How Millennial!

Posted by: murgatroid on May 27, 2008 10:21 AM

As a Boomer, I'd say our generation did what every generation does that doesn't think deeply enough and has had the TV on too much: We saw the failings of the generation immediately before ours (few in any generation look further back than that, alas), we were alarmed, and we reacted. In our case, the failings were: 1) our parents' incredible conformity and acquisitiveness--as we saw it, a recipe for soul death, and 2) their insistence on sending us off to be killed in war with no discernable purpose or end date.

The fact that there were a lot of us made our thoughts and actions "important"--we were shaping a nation, yes, I guess, but more to the point marketers REALLY wanted to shape US. Which makes that afore-mentioned TV thing particularly unfortunate.

Timeline: We had some ideas (a few well thought-out, others not so much); we acted on the ideas; we got assaulted by a marketing blitzkrieg that "spun" those ideas; and most of us fell for it. The sexual revolution became Bebe slut fashions. "Don't trust anyone over 30" became Jane Fonda workouts first and Botox later. "Equality for women" became "L'Oreal--because I'm worth it." "Let it all hang out" ultimately became Jerry Springer. And ,of course, "Born to be Wild" became "Visa: It's everywhere you want to be!"

Then one day our kids rightly looked at us and said, "What the #%$&@*!!?" And of course because we didn't think deeply enough, we didn't know to quote Eric Hoffer ("Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket"). We did, apparently, give in to existential guilt over our narcissism, and began obsessing over THEM, righteously defending them from assaults on their "self-esteem" and ensuring (naturally, because of the blitzkrieg) that they had all the consumer goods their little bedrooms could hold.

Frankly, I always thought Gen Xers might actually get it right. I was quite in favor of the nihilism--certainly of the anti-commercialism. I felt we posed a pretty tough challenge to you--our worldview was always the one reflected in the popular media, so you never got to experience the rush of being "relevant." And now you're sandwiched between us and yet another behemoth generation. Dang. Clearly you guys are in for a lifetime of under-representation. On the upside, who knows, this may allow you to be the REAL "Best Generation"--you'll always see through the crap a bit better than the rest of us? God, that would be cool.

Millenia... Well, I never had kids, so I can't say I know you intimately--we're too far apart in age. I wish you well, of course, call anytime... but that general belief in the system, not to mention those big consumer appetites make me a LIT-tle apprehensive. Once again, I'm hardly one to talk. I'm just saying. There's a hilarious blog by author Donald Gallinger called "The Joad Family, 2055." Go read that, I think he makes a few nice points. He's a high school English teacher (apparently quite a popular one), so I imagine he knows you guys better than I do.

If one generation could learn from another we'd probably be perfect by now, but what the hell, I'll go ahead and say this: Watch it, gang. Be extremely careful who you trust. When you do find someone trustworthy, treat them very, very well.

And--I really mean this, now--turn your damn TVs OFF.

Posted by: Doni Tamblyn on May 27, 2008 11:12 AM

BTW, here's the "Joad Family" blog:

http://donaldgallinger.wordpress.com/

Shades of "Idiocracy," ha!

Posted by: Doni Tamblyn on May 27, 2008 12:22 PM

Really tired of all you assholes blaming your parents or whoever happens to be in the way at the time (specifically Boomers) for your world of self-imposed issues. Who the hell is hiring you anyway? Who MADE those corporations (with the 70 - 80 hour work weeks) that you want to work for - or reject as the case may be. Yes, we really screwed up: giving you the toys, engaging you in psychological, physical, and mental improvement. Now we are to capitulate to you who are without any point of reference except viewing old videos of poorly selected crap? I'm happy for you that there will be a great depression in your future. Perhaps then you will learn that the world does not center around your needs. Perhaps then you will stop whining and start doing. Self possessed? YOU ALL DEFINE THE TERM. Read through the responses and the article. Wake up and stop blaming everyone but yourself. Superficial? What can be more superficial than what you do on a daily basis -watch TV, screw through U Tube, play games invented by psychological deviants, etc. We are all tired of this bullshit and superficiality.

Posted by: bud5 on May 28, 2008 12:20 PM

grow a backbone

Posted by: bud5 on May 28, 2008 1:02 PM

Funny article but I am not seeing too much of a difference between Gen X and Y. Sure, there are some minor ones. But we're all a miserable lot. So, everyone stop being so fucking mean toward one another and let's save the world. We have a lot of work to do. And also, I believe in you, Millennials. Love, your cynical and black hearted Gen X uncle!

Posted by: dwaynegreg on May 29, 2008 9:23 AM

I was born in 1981, so while I feel more like a Gen-Yer I have a lot of Gen-Xer friends. Cynicism and negativity are your defining characteristics.

I feel that Gen-Xers definitely received the short end of the stick when they entered the corporate world. I see a lot of my slightly younger colleagues getting coddled by boomers in the workplace because they "remind me so much of my son/daughter". Meanwhile, the Gen-Xers had to "compete" with the boomers in the 90s who were too selfish to pass on the torch. The boomers got to keep all the good jobs, while the Gen-Xers were left in the dust. Gen-Yers also have had to scramble for jobs, trying to compete with India and China, already in the very short history of their work experience. Now it is time for the boomers to retire and it is up to us to pick up the pieces. This can be a good experience or a bad experience, but Gen-Y and Gen-X working together is going to be the only way out. We can still reverse the abuse that the boomer generation inflicted upon this country.

Millennials get over yourselves. Stay late at work a couple of times a week and offer to help your overwhelmed Gen-Xers, not your inefficient I'm-showing-my-face-to-show how-hard-I-don't-really-work boomers. Gen-Xers get over your bitterness and resentment. Do something about your problems and utilize your millennial colleagues who want to learn and work. Work with us millennials because we can change the face of corporate life for good.

Posted by: emilyce21 on May 30, 2008 9:59 PM

Here's a question I have about this generational war you're proposing: why?

There are so many other problems we have right now, many of them a direct result of how badly the Boomers fucked shit up. Climate change, an energy crisis, increasing tensions across the world due to the rise of different kinds of fundamentalism... we have a world full of problems to address.

So instead of bitching about which generation had it better or worse, why not put aside this petty bullshit and focus on the things that need to get done?

We've got shit to do, so don't waste your time with some sort of generational war.

Posted by: PC812 on June 3, 2008 10:19 AM

You know, I had a nice, fairly long response that addressed both sides of the issue written up. Then my page randomly reset and its all gone. So fuck well thought out arguements. Here's my stance:

Millenials - My generation. They are consistantly failing at life. A great many are self absorbed, love reality shows, listen to awful music (mass produced hip hop and pre-packaged emo rock) and have a sense of entitlement. And thats not right. But Generation X made them this way. You are the fathers and mothers of the Millenials. You gave them everything and never made them work.

Generation X - The previous generation. Who I had nothing but respect for. But after reading this article and its comments, it is rapidly turning to contempt. I would be nice to the Millenials. It is us after all, that will control whether you get a live at home nurse or go to the abusive nursing home. Right now Im leaning towards the home. You are whining about something you can't or are unwilling to change.

To wrap up
Gen X - Shut up and get to work. Change what you feel needs changing. Don't whine about what has happened. It can't be undone. Stop the bitching, I thought you were the last generation that the majority of men were 'real men'. I guess not. The emasculation of the American Male continues.

Gen Y - Shut up and get to work. Stop "getting in touch with your emotions" and grow a pair. Take what you want from this world because no one is going to give it to you. Don't let anyone hold you back.

This article disgusts me to no end; all I see is someone whining about their position in life and doing nothing to change it. Do us all a favor and go play in traffic

Posted by: delta16669 on June 4, 2008 9:48 PM

I may be a millennial, but at least I know that the act of making sweeping generalizations is in no way responsible or credible journalism in any stretch of the imagination--regardless of the medium.

Posted by: Lisa793 on June 6, 2008 4:39 PM

If I may, Mr. Lanham, I would like to go with the minority and call out the idiocy of your article. You're calling us "naive, self-important crybabies" while you simply whine on behalf the X-ers. Just pouting about how we act like AVERAGE HUMAN BEINGS by simply goofing off from time to time and not get called out for it or being coddled by our bosses at work for doing things that you would have been given no reward for is truly a sign of petty jealousy.

And also I like to talk to a specific blogger (who shall remain nameless), about his/her generalization of Gen-Y having no "life experience". Sure you have lived through the pain of AIDS, Reganomics and the like but where do you get off saying that we lack clearity. We have people just out of high school fighting an imposing enemy in decrepid terrain overseas, we're feeling the bite of STDs and unwanted pregnancies just as much as you did. So at least have the intelligence to look beyond what your mind's eye depicts of that kid with the Ipod and get in their shoes for once.

Ultimately (and I do not care if I sound TOO shallow or callous), I'm a PROUD 'Millenial'. I may listen to "factory-churned" music and wear "tacky" clothes to class, but I'm at a point in my life where I can take your well earned jobs (like you still actually 'work'), elect a clearly capable president for once, dismantle your bleak and moronic pop-culture infrastructure with our "vapid, materialistic" MTV reality shows, and ultimately reduce you the quivering, self-pitying, cynical heap you always were!

Posted by: Millenial88 on June 7, 2008 1:56 PM

Here is MY input as a 48 year old going on 15 : I think all of these trite labels are completely LAME. There ARE no "Generation thises and Generation thats, folks... it's all smarmy crap imposed upon us my marketers, advertisers , poll-takers and demographers! DON'T buy into the hype! We're all basically the same if you just pull of the surface crap and give yourselves a chance... our problem is that we don't spend enough time hanging out and talking to one another. Cheesy people will always be cheesy people. And the whole notion of allowing oneself to be defined by how one WORKS or what one DOES at WORK again, simply seems really dumb. Come on, people? WORK??? Since when does "work" define a persons life or encompass a human beings attributes, yearnings, spirit and soul? I guess some people just suck up to the whole label thing, but it just seems horrifically a) stupid and b) limiting.

Posted by: hkindt on June 11, 2008 10:30 AM

This is frickin' hilarious and so on-point. I work at a company where I'm the oldest person on staff (I'm 36, but I"m also the boss) and most of the staff is under 30 and spoiled as all hell! They bitch and whine about every little thing, from having to work overtime for our small start-up to being hungover when they've partied too hard on a Sunday night. ("Um, WHOSE choice was it to do that? Not mine so why do I have to hear you talk about vomiting into your toilet?"). The GenYers (and my baby sister is one) have NO idea how good they have it. I had one of my favorite high school teachers die of AIDS when I was a sophomore in high school, and had to worry about my partner giving it to me b/c his last lover was HIV positive. Our Generations contributed to, witnessed and / or celebrated the fall of the Berlin wall, the fall of Apartheid in South Africa, and the creation of hip hop culture (REAL hip hop culture, not the diluted commercial sell-out shit that most Gen Yers think of as hip hop).

Someone i met recently complained that a GenYer had told him he was too old to wear a hoodie. Stupid GenYers, you think YOU invented hoodies? People have been wearing them since the 1950s!


I do think my GenX generation is going to have a tough time of aging, albeit not as tough as the boomers did, since they thought they were going to live forever. We're a little more realistic about that. The GenYers on the other hand have grown up with plastic surgery being considered nearly a medically necessary procedure. I think the GenXers will be the last generation of Americans to be mostly plastic-free for that reason.

As NovaBass said above: "And "Millennials" - when are you going to come up with something cool and new of your own? It's about time, isn't it?" I coudn't have said it better myself.


Posted by: eastbaychick9 on June 11, 2008 1:39 PM

FYI - just heard from the VP of Kevin Colvin's company - he WAS home for a family emergency, and proved it to his boss. He was just partying WHILE he was home dealing with a crisis.

Just because Gen Xers don't know how to both deal with tragedy and blow off steam, doesn't mean you have to knock Millennials and assume we're up to no good. Do your research.

Posted by: heathershelb on June 11, 2008 5:40 PM

First of all, as a Gen-X-er, I resent the resentment towards the Millennials. I think they are a fine lot and I have seen no evidence that they were any lazier or disenchanted with the world than we were. I also vote for unity and peace between the two generations. Now, this article started with someone getting caught playing hookie by some jerk who thinks that people who call in sick when they aren't are lazy. This is, of course, absurd. Everyone plays hookie, and those that don't are boring as fuck. If you've never called in sick when you weren't really ill, then you are so fucking sad, my friend. You can't imagine anything more inspired for yourself than to just go to work like you do every day after day? Variety is the spice of life, people. Yes, hard work is good, and hard work is fine, but first take care of head. But, seriously, if you're sitting there, with your perfect attendance record, your undying loyalty to your company, with the weight of the world resting on your shoulders...try to relax. Don't you realize that the way we have things set up at work is rigged so that no one can ever take a "mental health day" without having to lie? You are just pissed that you are so uninspired in your life that if you called in sick, you wouldn't have anything to do. So, you come into work every day without fail and try to get what little pleasure you can by telling others what to do and judging them and humiliating them when you "catch" them playing hookie. Sad, sad, sour grapes for you, my friend. Try to lighten up. The world moves on fine without you if you take a little break now and then.

Now, onto this generational war thing. Look, I was born in 1972, which, if you look at birth rates, had the lowest population growth of all generations between WW2 and today. Hence, I've always felt that my particular subset of Gen-X has been in the shadows of all of this bologna for years. I can't say that I've felt anything in common with those born before 1969 or those born after 1979, so to me, that is Gen-X. But, whatever, it's a loose term. Was "grunge" gen-x music? Well, to me it was. It's a terrible name for it, but, I think we all know that once we heard Smells Like Teen Spirit, all previous rock music became crap overnight, and the rage, disappointment & disillusionment all came flowing out and changed (and also somehow killed) rock n roll. After it was over, radio died, rock n roll seemed spent and flaccid, and the next generation started to take over as we all finally had to get jobs and sell out. Of course, after that, magically the internet took off and all of us who had Atari 2600's when we were 4 found out we had a naturally symbiotic relationship with computers and that were indeed quite possibly half-machine ourselves.

After the bust of the dot.com's, we Gen-X-ers realized that the current economic and social models were not going to be sustainable. Plus, the Bush Administration has showed us that the real engine behind this version of "free market capitalism" is the dark, dark greed of the man behind the curtain. We realized that there are a scarce amount of resources, and that we need to think more carefully about everything--bringing us to the green movement. Now, I'm not going to say that we get all the credit for this stuff, but I know for a fact that Gen-X has been a huge part of all that I have mentioned, and that our generation has been defined by this. Ironically, we Gen-X-ers are the most prepared to live in this new world, since we remember best the teachings of our grandparents, the greatest generation, and how they used to scrimp and save, having been changed forever since the great depression.

But, this anti-gen Y/millennial thing has to stop. It's ridiculous. They are very bright kids who saw clearly our failures, our weaknesses, and our tragic inability to change the wrongs we saw (we just didn't have the numbers like the Boomers). But, I think that they also know that we will be the next generation in power, and that we are not going to sell out like the Boomers did. We can't, we've already swallowed the Red Pill, and there's no going back. We're going to have to work together, Millennials, if we're going to get this world back on track. We need you on our team and your support if we're going to change anything. And fellow Gen-X-er's: don't be so smug. We are one of the smartest generations ever, but we were also duped by quite a bit in the past (remember "Just Say No?"), so be open to the Millennials ideas about life. Fresh eyes are always good.

Posted by: locutus420 on June 11, 2008 5:56 PM

Yes, I'm a "Generation Y" or "Millenial" or whatever. Yes, I have a Facebook and Myspace [which seems to be growing steadily updated].

Anything else is a stereotype. I get an energy drink maybe once every 4 months. I text even less than that. I use my Facebook/Myspace about once a month, for fifteen minutes. I have no idea what the hell Adderall even is! I hate friends my age who LIVE on Facebook and texting and shit like that, but so what? I love 80's electro. I positively ADORE Annie Lennox, I wish I was born in the 80's so I could've experienced it, and I know more of Queen [Nirvana? damn, talk about outdated] than most teenagers.

My favorite movie is the Rocky Horror Picture Show, of which I HAVE seen in theatres. I watch The Labyrinth on a regular basis.

So, you could say I'm an X-er at heart.

Except, I despise the old-fashioned thinking of people around that age. I support the gay rights movement. I like Obama, but what the hell; he never gives examples of hwo to stop the war, or acknowledges that maybe, we need to stay in there a while longer and fix what we f---ed up. I like Gen-Y fashions [some of them], but I also love Forever Young [virgin mobile has practical no vinyl records]. I love Blaqk Audio, hate AFI, love Soft Cell and David Bowie, but hate practically everything else. I like modern Depeche Mode, not the old 80's-style.

We aren't all the same. And there are others like me. So grow the f--- up and read some goddamn Dorian Gray, you absolute little coward.

Posted by: hill_phyre on June 11, 2008 8:31 PM

Boy, your page reloads fast for a Generation Blanker to keep up with! Actually, I've also heard us called Generation Jones or Generation Fred. From a guy pushing fifty, a few observations:

My parents are of the Silent Generation, post-Greatest Generation but pre-Boomer. They were always overshadowed by their older brothers and sisters, if not their younger sibs and children, and it appears the same will happen to Gen X, a tiny generation between the two pigs in the python.

Cheer up. It's just the circle of life. Besides, unless Grampy McSame plays as dirty as Dubya did, the next president will be a Gen Xer, cleaning up after two Boomers, each problematic for his own reason. My folks' generation will never have its own president unless McCain does win: Dukakis lost to a member of the Greatest Generation (say what you want about Poppy Bush, he was a genuine war hero).

Posted by: lurch394 on June 12, 2008 9:44 PM

The amount of anger in these posts leave me astounded. I'm a member of the Silent Generation, the mother of two Generation X children, and the grandmother of six Millennials. I was delighted to find that they had rejected the name Gen-Y and found a more meaningful name.

My children should have chosen a zingier name for their generation. Perception beats reality to a pulp, and if you had even called yourselves Generation 13, as some historians do, it would have sounded less negative. It's not too late. I taught my children to never give up. I think about my Gen-X children and I want to call them Generation Liberty. They are intelligent, independent, but have definite ambitions and goals.

Just wanted to tell you that the Boomers may have gotten in your way, and stood between you and the sun, but their sheer numbers caused that. Every generation wants its season in the sun.

Just rename yourselves. And publicize it worldwide. Generation Liberty fits you better than anything else you've ever been called.

Don't be upset at the Millennials. They've inherited what the Silents, the Boomers and the Gen-Xers (Liberty Gens) created. Life is short and we can't have it all. We created it for them, and for all of the generations that will follow us. There are far more important reasons for anger. Defending the helpless, rather than thinking about yourself and how you are perceived, is one of them.

I was born in 1939. I turned my children on to the Beatles, Mad Magazine, Star Wars, E.T., reading good science fiction & fantasy, and Walt Kelly. My children turned me on to Dr. Demento, Dr. Who, Alternative Rock, and seafood. My son has a '72 Dodge Charger and collects vintage cars. My daughter and I cry watching "Steel Magnolias" and are passing on Jane Austen to her Millennial daughters. One Millennial grandson is becoming a programmer (his Gen-X father is a programmer, too), and another grandson has turned me on to the art of Anime and Japanese cartoons.

All three of the living generations in my family love forties musicals. So? Open up, enjoy, and quit doing what you accuse the Millennials of doing: whining. It's time for you to grow up and take responsibility for your own emotions.

I'm voting for John McCain, of my own generation. I've seen his thoughtfulness -- and his "maverick" moniker fits. Flexibility and the ability to listen are necessary to guide us through troubled times. Obama is blinded by ambition and has little experience to guide the ship of state without hitting the shoals. His view of reality is distorted. He's another "ME" who is overconfident -- and as independent of good advice as a hog on ice. We have already had an "anything to get ME elected" president in Clinton's eight-year travesty. 9/11 would never have happened had Mr. Bill bothered to take action against deliberate terrorism in many separate incidents in his reign.

So that particular Gen-X has earned no points with me. A few more years of maturing and observing an objective reality, rather than wearing rose-tinted glasses, might make him into presidential caliber at some point in the future (like eight years?), but we have seen, to our dismay, that the presidency is not an on-the-job training position.

Sorry to ring in so late on this thread. I was just researching the generations and stumbled onto this angry tirade by accident.

Posted by: Sketch2002 on July 20, 2008 8:39 PM

i know not too many people will read this. s'ok. I am deeply saddened to be clustered with Pixiedust on the first page of this article. Infinitely sad. The article is good it just shines a fair light on the media portrayl and an unfair light on clueless 'Millenials' is it??? Oookay I am a Millenial now? I was born in '83 so I identify with those people born during that transition period of any age. I liked being outside almost to a fault, avoided showers ala bart simpson, and was actually taught the card catalog in school even if the usage was brief. They brought the D.A.R.E. 'drug case/box' too. Having an old mind with very superficial tendencies sums it up for space purposes.
First off the Gen-Xers are the generation I looked up to the most. Always have. It was like "Ah those people are soo cool, I wonder why they are so angry?" I found out soon enough. Maybe it comes from identifying with them while still being part of something new. I respect them the most regardless.

The main problem with us 'Millenials' ugh. Even the name reeks of sanitization. I hate being categorized. That is my job. Yea, the problem with Millenials, okay i will be using initials because that name is not sitting well with me. M's problem, starting with myself and moving upward is the decline of society in general. Education, social structure, morality, acceptance of everything (heard they're fucking goats on T.V. now *joke*) "Really, we must check that one out." :/
The system had been giving the People the old one two three combination for the past two decades. The adults (many who had put up a damm good fight) gradually settled into commercialism and cable T.V. and let the system rest those tired bones. Can't beat 'em huh?? We know who suffers, you get revolutionary minded youth in a not so revolutionary setting. You know the rest, anything can and does happen.
My parents were baby boomers and strict while doting. Loving house. Madness though, madness. I can honestly say I do not identify with most of this generation. I might as well be a Gen-xer. I am completely comfortable being identified as being in that buffer zone. I'd rathter be an Xer, can't be what ur not though. I sure am not some 'M' aside of some ego-trippin on my part. I still don't have a cell phone, i get my clothes at thrift shops and I find 'M's stlye of dress and nonprogressive taste in music nauseating. I actually am probably a good voice to speak for them, I just don't want to lol.

Most 'M's are too apathethic too care if you are talking about them. They are comfortable selling out to the lowest degree, and their faith in the system is appalling. To be honest they are true suckers. Not their fault. Parenting, parenting, parenting. Its like you really can't even hate the villian after what he goes through to become the villian. Its not his fault, he is still going to have to die though. Yes I will end it on that note. :)

Posted by: groundedalien on October 1, 2008 3:13 AM

this is a message to all those who have no hope in my generation and that of my fellow brethen. to you i say JUST WAIT we are still growing and still contributing to the world around us. enough with the stereotypes, insults and put-downs to people that are years younger than yourself. that itself shows what kind of person you are to say say these things not to millennial face to face but to spread it online for the world to see. Just wait with our resources in technology, our ability to ACCEPT the changes in the world around us and make the changes not just sit around for them to happen, we, the millennials will ground your generation into the forgotten pages of history where they belong. JUST WAIT.

Posted by: millennials on October 1, 2008 7:10 PM

Robert, I am glad that you decided to go against your generation's stereotype and do something, instead of slacking. Everyone should be entitled to his or her own opinion, and so I respect you for putting yours. Now, I hope that you have have the respect to read through my opinion.

I thoroughly understand your angst from being put down by the baby boomers, but I do not agree with your idea of taking out your frustrations on my generation. The last time that I checked, name calling was very immature as well as disrespectful, but you still chose to describe my generation in your article as, "naive, self-important crybabies." Wouldn't you say that could qualify as grade school behavior?

I found your article written with prejudice and ignorance. It is true that what Kevin Colvin did was not professional in the slightest bit, but that in no way means that he represents Generation Y as a whole. This relates to your article, when you mentioned that the two people in GrossBookSistah were not representative of your generation, Generation X. I have concluded from this that certain individuals in a generation are not directly related to a generation, so other than from your opinion, where is your support that Kevin represents Generation Y?

The accomplishments of your generation are impressive. As you said in your article, Generation X founded Google, Myspace, YouTube, Ebay, etc. You went against the prejudice of your generation and proved yourselves. That is outstanding, but it would be unfair to say that everyone was against Generation X when that generation was growing up. I am sure that there were also supporters of your generation, as well as opposers, just as there are for my generation. I hope that you will keep your mind open enough to the idea that you are underestimating Generation Y.

Who is to say that there isn't a pattern of generation hate? You said that the Baby Boomers didn't approve of your generation and now you are showing that you don't approve of mine. Maybe I will have angst too and I'll write something about the next generation. Could there be a hint of generation rivalry along the line? Who's to say? I just hope that you stay mature and keep respect for my generation because you never know what will happen.

Posted by: madelinem on October 12, 2008 11:45 PM