Gen Y-ning

Gen Y is routinely painted as being spoiled, shiftless, and contrary. Millennials are blamed for pretty much everything–any downturns in the economy, rapidly changing social standards, … you name it.

Have you, like me, started to wonder if Millennials would ever speak-up in their own defense? Well, wonder no more. I’ve found a spate of angry Millennial posts on the internet. Some posts are a little old–up to three years old, in some cases. However, many share the same theme: They do not defend the Gen Y legacy, which, by the way, I think is impressive and includes advocacy of LGBT rights, the gig economy, workplace innovations, etc.. Instead, the posts blame Boomers for pretty much everything that Millennials feel has not gone well for them.

I first detected this theme when scanning the posts in response to a Dave Ramsey video I referenced in a March 2019 blog post. Angry over Dave’s career advice to a young caller, a young viewer took a swipe at him, observing that Dave was just another out-of-touch and entitled Boomer. The world has changed, said the poster. No longer do we have the booming economy of the Boomer generation. People must now struggle to find work, said the poster.

I overrode the impulse to lecture the poster on the gas lines of the 1970s and the 1980’s recession that sucker punched late-Boomers looking for work. Instead, I marveled over how well-stocked with anti-Boomer rhetoric the (presumably) Gen Y poster was. Clearly, the poster’s Boomer bias was not something he cultivated overnight. No, this anger had been nursed slowly and for some time.

And he isn’t alone. In researching the topic, I also happened upon other cases of Boomer-bashing. Perhaps the most emblematic are the posts on the discussion board for a YouTube video entitled “The Great Boomer Deception.” (By the way, type-in “The Great Boomer Deception” into the YouTube search box and be amazed at the number of Boomer-blaming videos there are. Some even include Gen X and Z as aggrieved  parties.) The video analyzes the film “Pleasantville” and, in turn, its “Eden-gone-bad” theme. But what made Eden go bad, you ask? Well, you guessed it: Boomers. Yep, according to the analysis, the film is emblematic of the Boomer Generation’s rejection of the (alleged) innocence of the 1950s, something which supposedly wrecked the society for future generations.

Wading through the posts on the board,  I found an array of “anti” posts: anti-Semitic, anti-Feminist, etc. Soon, the theme was clear: We blame others for the wrong we believe has befallen us. Older generations–particularly Boomers–bore the brunt of the hatred. Here are some of the more noteworthy comments:

  • “BabyBoomers, the ‘ME’ generation. They are the most entitled, selfish and weakest ever.”

  • “They are absolutely to blame, but the true blame needs to be placed upon their parents ‘the greatest generation’ who allowed them to get away with EVERYTHING and who gave them everything.”

  • Day of The Rope can’t come soon enough for (((those))) who have done this to us.

And on it went.

Look, I have always wondered how Boomers could call any other generation “spoiled” and keep a straight face. Boomers were, are, and always will be a greatly entitled generation. However, Boomers also made life better for a great many people, including minorities and women thanks to the Boomer-led civil and women’s rights movements.  In much the same way, their Millennial  children and grandchildren have pressed for changes in corporate culture and for LGBT rights. These generations have similar legacies, so why all the projecting from the Millennial camp? It’s hard to figure, but what is clear is that there are a good many Millennials leaving a trail of angry posts and videos projecting their shortcomings onto other generations. These diatribes will become part of the recorded history of this generation. In so doing, Gen Y is merely  underscoring the negative things said about it. It’s time to embrace the fact that shaking one’s fist at the heavens and projecting blame onto others simply isn’t a strategy for a successful life. My hope is some of the many hardworking and hugely successful Millennials will take a leading role in changing the course of the narrative about Millennials so that it can be depicted in a more positive light and fairly credited for the good things its members stood for and accomplished.