Perhaps you believe that the millennial generation is filled with self-obsessed dolts. An editorial entitled “I’m a millennial and my generation sucks,” published yesterday in the New York Post, will do little to disabuse you of that notion.
Penned by a reporter named Johnny Oleksinski, who, as the headline suggests, is himself a member of what he cleverly terms “the lousiest generation,” the article contains such razor-sharp and original indictments of Oleksinski’s cohort as the following:
Recently, a comment from a colleague hit me like a stray selfie-stick. She said, “In some ways I love being a millennial, because it’s so much easier to be better than the rest of our generation. Because they suck.” It was jarring to hear the truth so plainly stated. But she’s right. We suck. We really suck.
Like a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I must admit that I’m powerless to my biological age. Nonetheless I fight back every day against the traits that have come to define Gen Y: entitlement, dependency, nonstop complaining, laziness, Kardashians.
My millennial friends want me to be hopelessly nostalgic for the ’90s, obsessing over which “Saved by the Bell” character I’m most like, while ironically purchasing Dunkaroos and Snapchatting my vacant expressions for 43 pals to ignore. Or flying home for the weekend to recover from office burnout by getting some shut-eye in my pristine childhood bedroom. Thanks, but I’ll pass.
I highlighted the above passage in particular not for its pointed reference to “ironically purchasing Dunkaroos”—a staple of every lazy 25-year-old’s diet, as is well known—but for the subtext that it reveals to Oleksinski’s argument: Millennials are bad, because they are always complaining, and full of an unearned sense of their own specialness; I, on the other hand, am good and interesting and special, because I am not like my fellow millennials, and so I am going to complain about them.
Consider the following three passages:
Too often, during a conversation, a young person’s eyes glaze over as they decide what scintillating tidbit about their brilliant selves to reveal next, be it the three days they didn’t leave their apartment, or how a study abroad experience in Portugal nine years ago shaped who they are today. News flash: Nobody cares.
People like me are called “old souls,” or “26-going-on-76.” We’re chided by our peers for silly things such as enjoying adulthood, commuting to a physical office and not being enamored with Brooklyn. Contentment has turned us into lepers. Or worse: functioning human beings.
Last year, sitting at a bar in Hell’s Kitchen, a 29-year-old friend asked, “How do you just start talking to somebody you don’t know?” The best answer I could muster was, “I’m interested in other people. I like to ask them questions about themselves.” Simple, right?
Too often, during a conversation, a young person’s eyes glaze over as they decide what scintillating tidbit about their brilliant selves to reveal next, be it the fact that they’ve been told a few times that they’re an “old soul,” or the carefully chosen anecdote that unsubtly reveals the moral superiority they feel above their friends. News flash: nobody cares.
Everyone has been there. You’re talking with a millennial at a bar, or reading a New York Post article that purports to engage with the world via observation and analysis of social trends, however well-trodden and obvious its observations and analyses may be, when suddenly it hits you: The person yammering at you is interested only in himself.
The writer, a millennial, set out to illustrate that millennials are contemptible in their narcissism, and he was successful, if not in precisely the way he intended. If one is looking for a piece of primary-source evidence for the tendencies that Johnny Oleksinski identifies as plagues to his and my own generation, one need look no further than the writing of Johnny Oleksinski.