Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kids Today

Millenials don't have a very good rap. Those "sexy-face" selfies (they look more like fish faces to me) don't exactly do much for our image. 

But really, has any adult generation been satisfied with the resulting crop? Ancient texts complain about the disrespect and laziness of their disappointing offspring, never mind Bye Bye Birdie.  And that was made in 1963.

According to Sam Tanenhaus in "The Millenials Are Generation Nice," millenials have had much unpleasantness to deal with, which made them realize the important things in life (and it isn't money). 
What Pew found was not an entitled generation but a complex and introspective one . . . Its members also have weathered many large public traumas: the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, costly (and unresolved) wars, the Great Recession. Add to those the flood of images of Iraq and Katrina (and, for older millennials, Oklahoma City and Columbine) — episodes lived and relived, played and replayed, on TV and computer screens.
It is no surprise, as Pew reported, that the millennial generation is skeptical of institutions — political and religious — and prefers to improvise solutions to the challenges of the moment. 
The current economy no longer guarantees employment, even for the college educated. Therefore, if wealth is elusive, they simply care about it less. 

Millenials are more concerned about the state of the world, more likely to shop with awareness of the environment or ethical production. They aren't focused on their own comfort, but on the needs of the community. They are chock-full of empathy. 

So all we have to do is lose the selfie and we can reclaim our honor.


Daniel Saunders said...

There are some valid points, but I think most generations have had to deal with trauma of some kind, and not all the traumas listed as affecting millenials had much effect outside the US, but the phenomenon seems to be the same in Europe. And I'm wary of fitting brief tags on whole generations.

Still, as I said, there are valid points in there. New technology is definitely important in shaping attitudes, I would say, both in terms of its use and the way we are moving towards being an image-based culture rather than a written word-based culture for the first time since the advent of printing, with all that entails.

I would add the influence of postmodernism as a cause of scepticism (and irony, not mentioned in the article, but important); even for those who have not directly studied it, it's everywhere in the popular culture.

Princess Lea said...

I didn't use the word "trauma" intentionally; it's not that this generation has greatly suffered, it's that they are accused of being entitled and they aren't necessarily so. Entitlement would be necessary if they considered themselves narcissistic, which they are accused of being.