Are Millennials really the worst generation ever?

Anyone who is a millennial has probably heard at some point that they are “the worst. generation. ever.” as the HBO hit show "The Newsroom" once shared in its first episode.

I recently watched yet another tirade against our generation that came came from a millennial herself: Alexis Bloomer. Frustrated upon seeing a young man that she said appeared unwilling to hold the door for an elderly woman, she went to Facebook video to discuss her exasperation.

After watching Bloomer's video, it seemed to me that there was something internally flawed with her reasoning. Below are some of the primary flaws I found in her video.

“We’re just existing; we’re not contributing anything to society.”

This is pretty subjective, I don’t see any empirical evidence to support this. Millennials are people who were born between the years 1982 and 2002. For many millennials they are still in high school, or in college, or just starting their families. The idea of us not contributing is a bit off solely on the idea that we have barely even entered the workforce, or made key economic decisions.

“Basic manners that include no ma’am, or yes ma’am”

Does this phrase hold actual significance? I remember working for a bowling alley as my boss was firing instructions my way, I kept replying “Yes sir, yes sir.” Finally he shouted at me “Stop saying yes sir, and just do what I ask you, that’s all I care about.” My boss (who happened to not be a millennial) taught me that it is our actions that matter, not the flimsy words that we give meaning.

“We cuss out to prove a point”

Once again, this is a subjective. I’m sure that our generation swears more than previous generations, but this is the result of swear words becoming more acceptable over time as noted in the video below. It’s also important to note that swear words do not account for a lack of intelligence, and have their own benefits.

"We use words like 'bae' to describe someone we love"

Does it really matter how our society says the three-worded phrase? In The Fault In Our Stars, a couple used the word "Okay" as a symbol of their love. This is another example of how people give words their own meaning. It shouldn't be judged just because it is different.

I certainly respect everything Bloomer has to say, and I think she does make some valuable points, but for the most part, she talks about shallow issues that don't hold strong significance.

What has become evident throughout my study of this subject is just how much has changed in such a short period of history: Millennials grew up with the internet, one of the most powerful devices in human history. As it comes to be, change is something people are resistant to.

Our generation may be called a lot of things, but many of these attacks derive from differences in meaning. We place meaning in a much different set of cultural norms, phrases and ideas than previous generations have, and I think that’s hard for them to understand.

So while some may call our generation the “worst. generation. ever.," I think it’s safe to say that the problems the "Newsroom" scene mentioned, such as America's faults in literacy and  crime, aren’t problems that were directly caused by the millennial generation. Arguably, there are worse issues than calling a loved one "bae."


Reach the columnist at jarwood@asu.edu or follow @jimsthebeast on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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