Have you heard about this kid, James O'Keefe? Grandiosely playing journalist and getting arrested in the classic Watergate fashion—why, his hilariously mis-channeled post-college angst is enough to make you write a How-To list mocking his whole godforsaken age demographic!
In the several months since my 30th birthday, I've gained quite a bit of wisdom that twentysomethings could really benefit from, if only they'd listen for once.
- 'Twentysomethings' is a broad group; choose specific examples that emphasize the most odious aspects of various subcultures, then subtly broaden out to the indict the wider demographic: James O'Keefe, a nerdy conservative kid of the sort who could cast himself as a cool contrarian only within the unworldly confines of a liberal arts campus, comes out into the wider world and immediately engages in a staggeringly stupid crime, only to be defended by old right wing dead-enders like Breitbart and Ben Stein. When did twentysomethings get the idea that hanging out with cranky old white men was "cool?"
- Contrast the mostly harmless narcissism and self-delusion of earnest college kids with the very real threats posed by the same qualities in twentysomethings: In college, James O'Keefe was merely "that College Republican dork." Now, he's front-page news in the NYT. The only difference: He's not in college any more. Think about it.
- Point out that twentysomethings do not let their woeful lack of qualifications get in the way of their own entitlement: Oh look, Princeton kids are very worried about whether they'll be able to land that job at Goldman Sachs now that their GPAs are slightly less blown up by grade inflation. Because a 23 year-old fresh out of a cloistered Ivy League campus is bestowed by god with the fundamental right to have a hand in creating our nation's next economic crisis.
- Note how quickly a twentysomething develops the overconfidence necessary to present himself as an authority figure to the rest of society, despite an objective lack of life experience: Luke Russert is the greatest journalist of our generation.
- Mention that—contrary to twentysomethings' notion that they are just embarking upon a wondrous life journey as captains of their own fate—they will, in fact, come to realize all too soon that they are at the mercy of forces far greater than themselves: You know, most people probably couldn't bum around for several years working in coffee shops and then write some novel that instantly gets discovered and sells well and causes them to be acknowledged as one of the unique voices of their generation. But you can. You'll never have to write soul-deadening advertising copy just to pay the rent. I can feel it.
- Just for fun, remind twentysomethings that they, more than any other group, are at all moments shadowed by a great ticking clock: So your band hasn't got that record contract yet? Well, you're what...28 now? You can still give it a go for another few months. At least your husband will support you no matter what. Oh, you're not married yet? Hm.
- Show that, although a twentysomething has had sufficient time to observe the ever-repeating mistakes of generations before him, he has somehow not developed the ability to apply those lessons to himself, which would constitute 'wisdom': A 29 year-old asshole is grand enough to tell the world How to Make Fun of College Kids, as if he's much higher and mightier than they? Where the fuck do you get off, buddy?
[Coming in 2020: How to Make Fun of 30-Somethings!]