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The millennials are killing meme just won’t die

More like KILL-ennials, amirite?


Jay Hathaway

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 27, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 4:05 am CDT

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. 

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!)

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.

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*First Published: Aug 27, 2016, 9:00 am CDT