We’re probably about six months to a year away from ending our years-long practice of bashing Millennials.
I have nothing against Millennials. For one thing, it’s such a fuzzy term that I might actually be one, depending on the definition.
In general, though Millennials are said to be those born sometime between the early- to mid-1980s, and the late 1990s to the turn of the millennium.
Other things said about Millennials: they like avocado toast, their phones, and being drowned in student debt. They are the authors of a series of murders, having been accused of killing off: family restaurants, paper napkins, cereal, golf, fabric softener, physical banks, oil, and American football, among other victims.
But “the Millennials” is just a new name for a group people have always hated.
The young folks.
That’s why I know Millennials aren’t going to be a punching bag for much longer.
They’re getting old.
Someone born in 1980 is turning 38 this year. Those born in 1985 are turning 33. That’s approaching middle age. Even with the hangover of the great recession, the leading wave of Millennials are now mostly boring old job-having mortgage-paying folks who are either married or cohabiting. You think Millennials are teenagers? A lot of them have teenaged kids!
We’re about a year from a new, younger, hipper, more annoying social group being singled out, given a name, and blamed for all of our social and economic problems.
Said new group will take crap for about eight to 10 years, and then trade it off to the next poor slobs down the chain.
It’s all happened before.
Remember hipsters? Yeah, we hated them! With their stupid facial hair and artisinal mayonaise stores and ironic T-shirts!
A simple Google Trends comparison shows that the rise in searches related to “hipster” started to spike around 2008. Searches hit a peak in 2014 – right as the term millennial began to take off. After that point, searches for “hipster” decline in lockstep with the rise in searches for “Millennials.”
Hipsters, you see, got old. Many of them were early millennials and the younger members of Generation X – born around 1975 to 1985. They no longer have the cultural cachet or youthful energy needed to drive the cultural conversation, or to attract barbed attention.
A lot of the trends we associated with hipsters – elaborate moustaches, brakeless fixed-gear bicycles, self-serious indie-folk rock bands – did what most trends do and died out on their own. A few other things they’re associated with – like foodie culture, food trucks, and those big scarves – simply burrowed their way into the mainstream, so we no longer recognize them as “hipster” stuff.
It’s already happening with Millennials. We’re all increasingly glued to our phones, we all do more online shopping, and frankly, avocado toast is just guacamole, and who doesn’t like guacamole?
This cycle has been going on since somebody invented the wheel and an old geezer complained “In my day, we walked everywhere, and we liked it that way!”
It will be fun to see what weird stereotypes we make up about the next generation. I’m sure no matter what, we’ll all agree that they’re just awful and ruining everything. And they have no respect for their elders!