The Old Guard Takes the Fight to Millennials
Going Down Swinging
It’s a rite of passage for each generation to dabble in the sacred art of freaking their elders the fuck out.
From edgy wardrobes to uncouth friends, pushing boundaries is a time-honored American tradition. Like sediment, each generation adds its own unique layer of grit and grime onto American existence, continuously altering the essence of the mainstream whole. It’s a gradual alteration that no single group loves, but all have realized the futility in fighting. Each generation strives to leave its mark but eventually succumbs to compromise on how deep, wide and permanent that mark can be.
Lives of quiet desperation indeed.
Without fail each generation has a sense of itself — some identities are strong, formed in the fires of a crucible that unites a generation (e.g. WWII and the G.I. Generation). Others meander through existence as middling generations — remarkable for little other than a series of miscellaneous events that happened on their watch. Yet even among generations of less luster, a collective sense of self naturally forms, hardening against all outsiders. This process inevitably causes generations to be put-off with subsequent generations; groups with diverging principles, norms and priorities.
How these inter-generational struggles play themselves out is often amusing and always fascinating.
As it so happens,
we’re in the middle of one such struggle right now
and it’s funny as hell.
Everywhere you turn someone is desperately concerned with the state of the modern Millennial. Look no further than the mainstream media, which has created a de facto “Millennial Studies” beat with coverage of varying degrees of hysteria. Suddenly, the media’s old guard has awoken to the reality that Millennials have arrived and taken center-stage.
And, oh do Millennials love the stage. As much as anyone, Millennials themselves perpetuate Millennial Studies with a daily deluge of navel-gazing listicles, micro-blogs and tweet storms that embrace and enhance the stereotypes associated with the group. Millennial-focused publications are effortlessly cool, aggressively self-aware and unfailingly sugary. What’s not to hate?
While Millennials frolic and revel in their world of not taking anything seriously, the old guard is far less amused. In fact, they’re doing their utmost to cry foul and raise the alarm about the hoard of hapless hipsters at the gates; a rudderless generation run amok with improvisation and indifference. Ultimately, Millennials’ “I don’t give a fuck what you or anyone else thinks” attitude is about as charming to the old guard as you’d expect.
So what does the old guard do? Well, it’s pretty hard to “beat” an entire generation, and it’s not really possible to “join” them either. What’s left? Haymakers. Lots and lots of haymakers.
If the old guard is going down, it’s going down swinging. And man, have there been some glorious swings. Here are 12 of my favorite charges being leveled at those unlovable little rug rats we call Millennials. All pulled straight from the headlines:
They’re so immature.
They only look out for #1.
They’ll cut you! Cut you for real.
They stubbornly refuse to give you the grandkids you are entitled to.
They have the gall to ask you to get more pizza bagels and grape soda before you come home.
They’re godless, godless I say!
They continue to find new ways to display their ineptitude.
They hate everything.
They’re filled with self-loathing.
They don’t want you to have nice things.
More likely than not they hate us for our freedom.
The Final Analysis
It’s a funny battle as only one side is throwing punches. After all, it’s not all that easy to get a Millennial to look up from his/her phone to take notice of, well, anything.
As the onslaught continues, one thing is clear: the kids might be alright, but they don’t have a monopoly on swag. There’s still quite a bit of magic left in the ink-stained fingers and thunder in the coffee-coated throats of the old guard; that sediment of generations past who refused to quietly take a back seat, choosing instead to raise a defiant middle finger.
Well done, you salty bastards, well done.