Guest Notes

Millenial Notes

13 May 2017

9:00 AM

13 May 2017

9:00 AM

Nothing’s quite so bloody tedious as that niche of right-wing media devoted solely to Millennial-bashing. Some ‘journalists’ get paid big money to watch TV and write clickbaity rubbish about the latest rash of PC doublespeak coming out of the universities. ‘You won’t BELIEVE what this UQ student said about gender!’ Yawn. The youthful mind’s astonishing capacity to generate fanciful nonsense is well-documented. Making sport of them is cruel and unproductive, like chucking peanuts at monkeys at the zoo: satisfying, maybe, in a visceral and sadistic kind of way. Though I suppose many of you would be afraid to think too long or too hard about the disaster that is my generation. Because that would mean acknowledging the fact that you – the Baby Boomers – collectively failed as parents.

First of all, if our generation’s bad with its money, that’s your fault. It means you never taught us the value of a dollar. That factoid doesn’t come pre-loaded in an infant’s brain; it has to be programmed manually. If your kid got straight C’s at a pricey boarding school and you still bought them a car, paid for them to go to schoolies, and then flew them to Europe so they could leave a trail of semen across the EU, that’s your bad. You f—cked up.

And if you told them they had to go to university so they could earn a decent living, that’s on you, too. You knew what you were getting them into. You knew that 80 per cent of degrees have absolutely no market value whatsoever. You knew they’d come away with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and absolutely no improvement in their employment prospects. But you wanted to brag about how your son goes to UNSW when you get coffee with all the mums whose kids go to Wollongong. And what would Mrs Jones think if (perish the thought!) your little Timmy didn’t go to university at all, and became a carpenter or an electrician instead? If Millennials feel like they’re ‘above’ manual labour, that’s your doing. You robbed the trades of their dignity. No one feels naturally superior to an honest man who earns his bread by the sweat of his brow. That kind of elitism is learned. And it was you what learned ‘em.

Now what’s left for the tattered remnants of the working class? We might be able to make minimum wage selling $500 jeans to Chinese tourists or fixing iPhones for Pakistani businessmen. Maybe your daughter gets lucky and signs on with a Saudi prince’s harem. Otherwise we’re pretty much stuffed. And yet, after all that, you still scold us because we can’t afford houses. You tell us we could all have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a big lawn if we just worked harder. Well, thanks very much, but it’s a bit late for that. We don’t even know what ‘hard work’ means, let alone how it might be connected to our material well-being. (Doesn’t money just appear in our accounts?) Even if we did, there’s nowhere to do it. We can’t live white-collar lifestyles on pink-collar salaries.

Worst of all, though, might be your campaign to destroy the traditional family. Without a doubt, family’s the single greatest motivator for fiscal responsibility. You’re far, far less likely to waste money if you’ve got a spouse and children to provide for. (A thirty-year-old man who lives by himself might go over his data limit playing Candy Crush, but plop a baby on his lap and he’ll be on the phone with his solicitor every time Apple updates its terms of service.) But Boomers assiduously normalised the ethic of the Sexual Revolution, completely dissolving the stigma around divorce and out-of-wedlock births. In the course of one generation, courtship was replaced by Tinder. This warped view of commitment’s come to a head in the gay marriage debate, with the progressives’ call for ‘equal love’. Who in God’s name decided marriage is just an expression of love? We’ve reduced the holy sacrament of matrimony to an extremely elaborate Hallmark card.

And look at the example your TV shows set for us. Singles are sexy and smart, and love-interests never last more than a season. Wives, on the other hand, are dowdy nags, husbands are fat morons, and kids are sociopathic know-it-alls. (That last one was a self-fulfilling prophecy.) What Millennial would give up a life of random sex and mindless consumerism for that season of Law & Order: SVU where Olivia adopts a baby and there’s hardly any rape or murder? God, that was awful. You know the media’s anti-family when its occasional forays into tender domesticity make you long for homicidal rapist clowns.

The Millennial-bashers are, of course, justified in saying that we have to lie in this bed now that it’s made, even if we didn’t make it. What I don’t understand is how exactly all this bashing is supposed to help us. If you want to make up for your disastrous parenting, start by fixing the culture. Bring back some of those factories you sold to China for that Bluetooth-enabled jacuzzi you’ve used, like, once. Vote for socially conservative politicians. Send your children to Campion College or don’t bother sending them to uni at all. Buy us practical, grown-up Christmas presents, like socks or a gun. Tithe. And stop giving Julia Louis-Dreyfus work, for Christ’s sake. Every college-educated, twenty-something year-old woman thinks she’s some combination of Elaine Benes and Selina Meyer. At this rate the whole species will go extinct.

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