Gen X to Millennials: Quit Making Us Look Good

Gen X to Millennials: Quit Making Us Look Good

Published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the study finds Millennials (born 1982-2000) more civically and politically disengaged, more focused on materialistic values and less concerned about helping the larger community than Generation X (born 1962-1981). (USA Today, March 16)

God damn it! This is the last straw. You’ve been able to have the Internet your whole lives, you get the whole “Millennium” glam bullshit, and you’ve been the center of everybody’s attention for the last 15 years. We put up with it, because being apathetic is our thing—it’s what we do. We don’t care about jack dick except ourselves and our espresso. But now you’ve gone and done it: you’ve started caring even less than we do. We’re sorry, but that is just completely unacceptable.

You were supposed to be the generation who would save the world, and we were totally fine with that. As long as you wanted to do the work, you could get the credit. It was going to be an even trade: you’d clean up the atmosphere, reform the government, and revive the economy, and we’d tell you about the times we saw Nirvana play at music festivals. You’d keep your reputation as the Responsible Generation, and we’d stay safely on our couches. It was going to be a beautiful friendship.

But now you’ve gone and fucked all that up. You’ve started caring even less about the world than we do, and we do not want to lose a turf war over generational apathy. We thought we really couldn’t care less, but you’ve gone and reminded us that we were complicit in all that 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth crap, and that 10,000 Maniacs serenaded Bill Clinton with “To Sir, With Love” because we thought he was going to be better for the country or whatever. Jesus Christ, those were youthful mistakes, okay?! Since 2000 we’ve totally committed to sloth and cynicism, and we figured that was where we’d always be Vikings.

So what’s our generational identity supposed to be now? We’re not the Greatest Generation, we missed the Summer of Love and the Me Decade, we spent the 80s trying to be the badass technology generation (FAIL via Walkman vs. iPod), we tried to save the earth and failed at that, tried to elect the next JFK but forgot that you can’t blithely get blow jobs while you’re signing progressive legislation any more, and then tried to settle into disillusion—and now we’ve even failed at that. Damn it! Guess all that’s left is for us to be Generation Self-Pity. Reality bites.

Jay Gabler