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It’s meaningless to shoehorn an entire age cohort into a label like “millennial,” but marketers tried it anyway. Now the media is convinced that millennials are real—and that they’re killing absolutely everything.
By god, it’s a massacre! More like Kill-ennials, right? Will there be anything left of our beloved society by the time millennials grow up?!
These hyperbolic headlines, designed to appeal to olds’ fear of change, describe behaviors that are transparent and sensible to anyone born after the mid-’80s.
Wine and golf are traditionally habits of the well-to-do, but millennials are burdened with a tough job market and the decline of unions, as well as the normalization of unpaid internships and a shitload of student debt. And yet, older generations are mystified that young people just aren’t buying cars or diamonds.
And, as for “killing credit,” it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that a generation already saddled with an unprecedented educational debt crisis is wary of taking on consumer debt at the same time. “Millennials don’t use credit cards because they have no money“: this shouldn’t be so difficult to figure out.
Don’t get me started on the recent argument that millennials are somehow ruining vacation time for “the rest of us.” Come on.
How does “Millennials are afraid to take vacation because we don’t want to get fired” become “Millennials are the problem here”?
— Bailey (@the_author_) August 26, 2016
Some of the other things millennials are killing might deserve to die. Will anyone show up to the funerals of bad advertising, the McWrap, email, focus groups, the napkin industry, and annual performance reviews?
Now we finally seem to have reached peak “millennials are killing,” and the trope has become a punchline about failed attempts to understand Kids These Days. (Or cynical misreadings that drive a lot of clicks!)
Headline: Millennials Are Saying No To Dogs Or Something
Me: get ready…..to go viral mother fucker…..
— Chris Person (@Papapishu) August 26, 2016
hey millennials! stop ruining going to hell when u die for the rest of us!
— kind, pure soul (@sexualjumanji) August 26, 2016
How to be a pundit:
1. Say “I think millennials are…”
2. Say *any lie you want,* up to and including accusations of pagan sex witchcraft.
— Kaleb Horton (@kalebhorton) August 26, 2016
Millennials these days say “rain rain go away” with zero regard for the fact that the rain will come back again another day
— tacky bozo (@shrekpissslave) August 25, 2016
Millennials Are Killing Me And I Need Help, Here’s Why (I’m Dying)
— luis (@weylandkonami) August 25, 2016
Millennials Are Killing Me Softly With His Song, Telling My Whole Life With His Words
— beefaghetti (@jetgreguar) August 26, 2016
Why Won’t Millennials Kiss Me on the Mouth?
— Frank Cifaldi (@frankcifaldi) August 25, 2016
This is a very good joke and a worthy thing of which to make fun. Until, of course, millennials kill the “millennials are killing” meme.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.