let’s be honest though, millennial hate is totally a thing rich folks started because they’re pissed that we have really unpredictable consumer habits and it isn’t as easy to get us to buy into stuff, so they’re mad we aren’t just money giving/traditional economy supporting machines like they expected us to be
like look at how much millennial hate articles are things like “millennials aren’t eating cereal and it’s hurting the cereal industry” or “millennials aren’t buying houses and that’s bad” or “millennials #1 utmost priority isn’t trying to make as much money as possible” and rich folks are mad about it, so just posturing our unpredictability/nontraditional values as “laziness” gets everyone else on board the hate train in some weird attempt to collectively subdue us
“You are Doing Capitalism Wrong and it scares me” – bitter Boomers to Millennials who are not buying into their shit (or buying their shit)
Keep in mind that the subprime mortgage crisis was at a pretty pivotal time in Millenial’s lives, and taught them that financial institutions are not on your side, will lie to you, and specifically will lie to you about what you can afford.
Like, this isn’t coming from nowhere.
I mean boomers refuse to pay a living wage to anyone and then wonder why those people don’t buy anything? I am sorry but what exactly is the disconnect here?
Millennials value work that has meaning above work that pays well and they hate that as well. It means we can’t be shut up with busy work while they’re made to seem like they’re running a well oiled machine. They come from a generation of a boss being someone who says “do what I say because I told you to” and we come from a generation who values a boss that says “what can I do for you that will help you excel at your job?”
Millennials do not cope well with meaningless busy work so their boss looks better. They don’t cope with being talked down to or not being assisted by their boss when they have a problem. They do not deal well with their innovative ideas being shut down because “that’s not how we do it here.” and I don’t see how any of those things is a problem.
Millennials are also the first generation since the internet was a prominent thing to utilize it as a source of information in a way that is empowering for each other. A single millennial can buy a product and then inform anyone who wants to know about the quality of said product. It only takes a handful of millennials to say “this is a substandard product” to render all the millions of dollars spent on advertising that product completely useless.
Big business has been a blotch on millennials lives since before most of you could even assume a role in adulthood to effect it, so you trust one another more than you trust advertisements or sponsorship, etc.
On the flip side, though, you enthusiastically will push and promote things that you love.
Big business and their baby boomer CEOs and presidents HATE this. Because it means that they can no longer provide a substandard product while making the consumer feel there is nothing better out there.
In the past, if every dish soap was awful, you just had to continue using awful dish soap. Now, you can crowd source an alternative. You can post in a forum, your facebook, a mass text, etc and say “I hate every dish soap, what can I do?” and you will be directed to actual good brands or you will be taught how to brew your own.
You’re a great generation, I’m really proud of you guys.
I’d love to buy a house, but I can’t afford a down payment and can’t be certain that I’ll have the same income levels for thirty years and I don’t actually know whether the banks will accept my highly-fluctuating, self-employed-and-seasonal-labor income as stable enough or high enough to be approved for a mortgage.
And also every new housing development I’ve seen in the past five years has been “Executive Housing, Starting At 390K” and the realtor websites are full of last decade’s foreclosed subdivision homes in the $275K region, and there’s legit no one, including the zoning board, that’s going to help me find or make a cute little house on a tenth of an acre in the region of $50-60K, let alone every other millennial who might like to settle down in a place that suits her desires and means.
Oh, and that same zoning means five people aren’t allowed to share that $300K, 5-bedroom McMansion, because fuck us, that’s why.
And what else? The refrigerator that recently conked out on me was manufactured in 1967. That thing lasted almost fifty years, and today if I walk into a big box store’s appliance department to buy a new refrigerator they will tell me I should really buy a warranty to cover the apparently-substantial risk that it will break within two to five years.
Oh, and there’s apparently a $400ish premium to buy one with a convenient configuration because if you want the refrigerator on top and accessible without bending down for anyone taller than your average first grader there aren’t any of those in the entry-level price range. Once again, fuck us.
Then there’s the labor market itself, where “entry level” positions want three-to-five years of experience, and everybody won’t shut up about the trades but even that requires a $5K+ outlay to go to school for it, and every fast-food restaurant out there has a permanent “Now Hiring” sign up because they drive employees away as fast as they can replace them.
And so many food-service jobs involve being forced to throw away loads of food as it expires but if you eat it or take it home it’s viewed as stealing, and retail jobs sometimes require you to smash perfectly good computers with a sledgehammer so nobody can use them, and fuck all of this, yes, I’m gonna make my own goddamn laundry detergent from a recipe I found on the internet, and I’m gonna buy as much of my vegetables as possible in seed form, and I’m gonna fucking read the consumer reviews on shit before I buy it and I’m going to source a refrigerator from Cragislist for approximately the price of the warranty on a new one, and if The Market wants me to buy a house, it can bloody well wait for me to have the money.
Because seriously, with its “Ask not what your economy can do for you, ask what you can do for your economy” mindset and historic, far-reaching fuckery, the business side of the equation has little room to complain about millennials being the selfish ones.
I reblog this every single time it shows up on my dash
rant incoming in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…
”…bitter Boomers to Millennials…”
Okay, but Gen X also ex-
subprime mortgage crisis was at a pretty pivotal time in Millenial’s lives…”
Yes but hi Gen X als-
“Millennials are also the first generation since the internet was a prominent thing to utilize it as a source of information in a way that is empowering for each other.“
OKAY LISTEN UP IF YOU WANT TO BE NOT-LIKE BOOMERS HOW ABOUT STARTING WITH BEING DIFFERENT BY REMEMBERING THAT GENERATION X ALSO EXISTS IN THE GAP BETWEEN Y’ALL THERE. OUR OWN FUCKING PARENTS TEND TO FORGET WE EXIST AND WE DON’T NEED THAT SHIT FROM Y’ALL YOUNG WHIPPERSNAPPERS ON TOP OF IT.
Hi, now that I have your attention, please remember that consumerism is not a “traditional economy” or “traditional value”. Modern capitalist consumerism is a product of the peri- and post-WWII economic “boom” that started with a wartime economy rescuing the nation from the Great Depression in the US (FDR tried, but the war was what succeeded!) and ended with a frantic scramble to keep the effect going.
Remember, “Baby Boomers” are called that because they were born in the “Baby Boom” – the population explosion – that resulted in part from soldiers returning home and moreso from US national optimism after winning the war and re-establishing prosperity to an unprecedented degree, at least as far as the middle class was concerned. They were born into an almost feverish economy based on everyone buying as much as possible as an act of patriotism. That’s what they were taught was virtuous – buying at the edge of your ability to keep the economy strong for everyone. It started out as a collectivist idea. They aren’t pushing that because they’re selfish monsters or the villains in the latest DC Comics movie adaptation. They were raised to genuinely think the economy will collapse if everyone doesn’t spend money, even on things they don’t necessarily need and can’t necessarily afford. They couch this in the “responsible spending” language they inherited from their own parents, but when it comes down to it, the actual attitude they inherited was a fear that if everyone stops spending, the economy will collapse – and that a freely-spending, ambitious, thriving middle class is what will keep the nation from sliding back into another depression. They tend to resolve this conflict between words and attitudes by pushing the purchase of large, lasting things that preserve or can create their own value, like property or family businesses – the things that got their parents through the Great Depression intact, if that happened – rather than things that didn’t exist when they were younger. They lived through their twenties without a cell phone but managed to buy a house, so cognitive dissonance between “buy ALL the things!” and “buy only the right things, the responsible things” finds an easy out with quick-fixes like “Maybe if you didn’t buy a new cell phone every three years (like I didn’t) you could afford a house (like I did).”
Before the Boomers, the “virtuous” economic attitude was “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” – an attitude strikingly at odds with buying a new $600 cell phone every two or three years. (Not that I judge anyone for the latter; “planned obsolescence”, or the deliberate tactic of making sure that customers who buy your product will need a new one in a few years in order to ensure more-frequent purchases, is also a real thing and a major factor that Gen X and Millennials must take into account in our budgets that our parents – Boomers and Silent Generation alike – tend to find baffling and irresponsible.)
But the Boomers outnumber the generations before and after them so dramatically – 77 million Boomers, an estimated 50 million Silent Generation (Boomers’ parents), and 65 million Generation X (Boomer’s children, also called “Baby Busters” because of the decline in birthrate at the beginning of our cohort) – that they basically outshout everyone else. More than three of them to every two of their parents gave them the megaphone to tell everyone what the world was really like, and more than one-to-one of them to their children let them tell their kids that was how the world has always been.
So they told Gen X that this was the way the world had always been, and since they were running the classrooms, Gen X had to believe it – at least long enough to fill in the right bubble on the Scantron – and then find out the truth for ourselves. The truth about how the wartime economy never ended, it just became entrenched as the military-industrial complex instead; the truth about how slavery never ended, it just moved from plantations to prisons; the truth about how our Boomer parents’ entire economic ideology of equal opportunity for equal work is still based, at its root, on colonialism and feudalism and is just the same socioeconomic elitism of the past dressed up in The Emperor’s New Economy.
Which is why it is so damned depressing to watch an entire generation following mine forget that we’re here, that we’ve been where you are, that we’re still where you are, and we might have a few things to say about that.
Gen X is, depending on who you believe regarding generational divisions, anywhere from our mid-30s to our mid-50s. We’re in the same shit economy. Lots of us are still living with our parents, or have had to move back in with our parents, and take the same flak for that Millennials take – with an extra dose of “I can understand it from those kids these days, but at your age?” We can’t afford to buy or insure new cars and can’t afford to fix or even buy used ones. We take the bus to work in a car-only town and tell our parents it’s just more convenient, it’s so we can catch up on our reading, rather than admit our car got a flat a month ago and was towed before we could get a replacement used tire on it and now we can’t afford the impoundment fees, because our Boomer parents have never been interested in our explanations of how the world works differently now and are honestly getting too old to explain new things to sometimes anyway these days.
We’ve been yelling at Boomers for so long my class song was literally one big “fuck you, we aren’t the ones who fucked this shit up to start with and now we have to clean up your mess while you yell at us for its existence in a world you screwed up beyond your ability to understand how it even works any more” no-love-your-kids song to the Baby Boomers.
WE MIGHT BE A USEFUL FUCKING RESOURCE.
So let’s start with this: there is nothing wrong with not buying. There is nothing wrong with you for being unable to buy things. There is nothing wrong with being unwilling to buy things you don’t need. There is nothing wrong with being willing to buy things you don’t need, if that’s what gets you through another day in the Boomers’ meat-grinder, still churning out comfort for them and shame-and-blame for everyone younger who doesn’t produce enough to ease their retirement years like their parents’ pensions used to do. (You young’uns remember pensions? Maybe not; the Boomers did away with those.)
Look, of all the things I love about Millennials – and there’s plenty! – one of my very favorites is the insistence on good information. Even current events aside, Millennials have a delightful tendency to want primary sources, hard numbers, apples-to-apples comparisons. In a time when schools have decided to phase out critical thinking as “unnecessary”, y’all are teaching yourselves what ought to have been offered to you. In a time when schoolbooks call kidnapped slaves “immigrant workers”, y’all are refusing to accept bullshit revisionist history.
In high school in the 1980s/90s, I had to deal with 10-minute made-for-classrooms “educational digest” TV shows sponsored by petroleum companies and feeding us a carefully preblended pabulum of “Kuwait is a sister-democracy we owe support and liberation!” (Sure, it was a one-citizen, one-vote “democracy”, but citizens had to be male, Arabic-speaking Muslim property-owning men and made up less than 1/3 of the population – that was a lot harder to find out from the library than from the Internet just 5 years later!) Now, your kids are staring down the barrel of Shell Oil Elementary School and Texaco High. I don’t think they’re going to get a less-biased education than I did.
And who will that education serve? It’s not going to be the Gen X retirees no longer served by the soon-defunded and -defunct Social Security payments of those kids, our grandkids. It will be the estates, legacies, and heirs of the same Boomers who made bank on my graduating class, eagerly enlisting in 1991 to go “protect democracy!!1~!” in the Middle East.
So three more bits of advice:
* Resist the revisionists. Demand accurate information, unbiased analysis, creative synthesis. Demand education in any and all forms that can be trusted. Demand it for everyone. Demand it for your kids, so young their cohort is just placeholdered “Generation Z”. Demand it for your parents, who are about as likely to be Gen X as Boomers and still flailing in the toxic pigslop we were fed when schools were still trying to be all covert about it. Demand it for Boomers, who can still be rehabilitated! Education is the fundamental truly-democratizing service. Insist on science. Insist on history. Insist on fine arts. Refuse the idea that all you and/or your kids need to know is how to graduate from Cola High School trained for a job in a bottling plant.
* Resist ageism. I know it’s easy to gripe about “everyone over $age” – hell, it’s pretty much the original human hobby! – but those over-40s I see people complaining about are not Boomers. Over-40 was a Boomer when I was in my 20s. It’s Gen X now. And we didn’t start this motherfucking fire, yo. It was always burnin’, since the world’s been turnin’. But daaaaayum if the Boomers didn’t go and throw a bunch of used tires in that Dumpster and then piss gasoline all over it. No, we didn’t light it, but we’re tryna fight it. Refer to the first bullet point; I see people blaming Reagan’s (1981) policies on people who were still too young to vote against Bush 41 (1989)! Make sure your history is sound before you point fingers, please. Someone who’s 55 right now might have been just barely old enough to vote in Reagan vs. Carter – but if they were 18 that year, the plurality of their age group voted for a second Carter term and that age group voted Carter in larger numbers than any other age group. See also the quote, “Millennials are also the first generation since the internet was a prominent thing to utilize it as a source of information in a way that is empowering for each other.“ You aren’t, actually; you’re the second. But that’s okay; Gen X is fucking well used to being forgotten-about and credit for our shit handed off to others by now; we’ve been losing that game for 40-odd years, on average. The point is that this is a great time to embody that and learn to look your shit up, not because it hurts Gen X’s feelings to be blamed for this shit (okay, it does – see 40-odd years &c. – except we’ll never admit it, because we feel like we should be used to it now; see again that 40-odd years &c… but also, erasure: not cool, let’s not do it to 65 million people please) but because working off inaccurate information leads to unwanted results. You’ll be more effective talking about the long-term effects of Reagan’s policies if you recognize when you’re talking to someone who witnessed it firsthand – even came of age during it – as the Reagan/Bush juggernaut we were powerless to stop, both by age and by numbers. Remember that 76mil to 65mil outnumbering? While Gen X was just coming of voting age, all the Boomers were already at the polls. I don’t get to talk to people very often about watching the rise of the Religious Right crusaders and the courtship between social conservatism, Christianity, racism, and political power because my friends tend to either forget that I’m not a Boomer or forget that I’m old enough to have been watching the roots of this happening in realtime when I was in middle school and junior high. (I artificially pepper my language with words like “young’uns” and “whippersnappers” to remind people of this, because otherwise I’m assumed to be a Millennial retrospectively hypothesizing about events I was there for, just because I’m clearly not a Boomer.) What’s happening now is an outgrowth – arguably, the intended result – of things that happened when Boomers were the age Gen X is now. Use our living memories.
* Remember we outnumber them. Hell, you alone outnumber them; there’s some 80+ million of you. You got this – just barely – by the numbers. But not by socioeconomic power; they’re still enacting policies to make sure they keep as much of that as possible for themselves and bar you from it even more than they did to us – they don’t outnumber you, so they’re going to undereducate you, underemploy and overwork you, and then tell you that you should be grateful for it all because you’re just too lazy to get anywhere more secure in life. (Want to know how I know their playbook? Let’s play “Ask a Gen Xer”!) But between Millennials and Gen X together, we outnumber their original birth rate by 2-to-1, and there are (to put it gently) fewer of them in fighting trim every year. We outnumber them. We can outvote them. Gen X alone fought a losing battle against an overwhelming force; together, our cohorts can put the Boomers in the position we’ve all occupied for far too long… our whole lives.
Just, you know. Remember we exist first, okay? That’s a good place to start.