Mine sounds better.
I have been living with someone from the Millennial generation for the last four years (he’s now 27) and sometimes I’m charmed and sometimes I’m exasperated by how him and his friends—as well as the Millennials I’ve met and interacted with both in person and in social media—deal with the world, and I’ve tweeted about my amusement and frustration under the banner “Generation Wuss” for a few years now.
My huge generalities touch on their over-sensitivity, their insistence that they are right despite the overwhelming proof that suggests they are not, their lack of placing things within context, the overreacting, the passive-aggressive positivity, and, of course, all of this exacerbated by the meds they’ve been fed since childhood by over-protective “helicopter” parents mapping their every move. These are late-end Baby Boomers and Generation X parents who were now rebelling against their own rebelliousness because of the love they felt that they never got from their selfish narcissistic Boomer parents and who end up smothering their kids, inducing a kind of inadequate preparation in how to deal with the hardships of life and the real way the world works: people won’t like you, that person may not love you back, kids are really cruel, work sucks, it’s hard to be good at something, life is made up of failure and disappointment, you’re not talented, people suffer, people grow old, people die.
I need that list on a t-shirt. Or a motivational poster.
And Generation Wuss responds by collapsing into sentimentality and creating victim narratives rather than acknowledging the realities of the world and grappling with them and processing them and then moving on, better prepared to navigate an often hostile or indifferent world that doesn’t care if you exist.
…And even my boyfriend agrees that Generation Wuss is overly sensitive, especially when dealing with criticism. When Generation Wuss creates something they have so many outlets to display it that it often goes out into the world unfettered, unedited, posted everywhere, and because of this freedom a lot of the content displayed is rushed and kind of shitty and that’s OK—it’s just the nature of the world now—but when Millennials are criticized for this content they seem to collapse into a shame spiral and the person criticizing them is automatically labeled a hater, a contrarian, a troll.
We have noticed this amongst ourselves.
And then you have to look at the generation that raised them, that coddled them in praise—gold medals for everyone, four stars for just showing up—and tried to shield them from the dark side of life, and in turn created a generation that appears to be super confident and positive about things but when the least bit of darkness enters into their realm they become paralyzed and unable to process it.
Inequality can’t be the natural hierarchical order of things, war can’t be normal for every species on the planet, money never needs to run out!
My generation was raised by Baby Boomers in a kind of complete fantasy world at the height of the Empire: Boomers were the most privileged and the best educated children of The Great Generation, enjoying the economic boom of post-World War II American society. My generation realized that like most fantasies it was a somewhat dissatisfying lie and so we rebelled with irony and negativity and attitude or conveniently just checked-out because we had the luxury to do so. Our reality compared to Millennial reality wasn’t one of economic hardship. We had the luxury to be depressed and ironic and cool. Anxiety and neediness are the defining aspects of Generation Wuss and when you don’t have the cushion of rising through the world economically then what do you rely on? Well, your social media presence: maintaining it, keeping the brand in play, striving to be liked, to be liked, to be liked. And this creates its own kind of ceaseless anxiety. This is why if anyone has a snarky opinion of Generation Wuss then that person is labeled by them as a “douche”—case closed. No negativity—we just want to be admired. This is problematic because it limits discourse: if we all just like everything—the Millennial dream—then what are we going to be talking about? How great everything is? How often you’ve pressed the like button on Facebook? The Millennial site Buzzfeed has said they are no longer going to run anything negative—well, if this keeps spreading, then what’s going to happen to culture? What’s going to happen to conversation and discourse? If there doesn’t seem to be an economic way of elevating yourself then the currency of popularity is just the norm now and so this is why you want to have thousands and thousands of people liking you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumbler—and you try desperately to be liked. The only way to elevate yourself in society is through your brand, your profile, your social media presence. A friend of mine—also a member of Generation Wuss—remarked that Millennials are more curators than artists, a generation of “aestheticists…any young artist who goes on Tumbler doesn’t want to create actual art—they either want to steal the art or they want to BE the art.”
Narcissists are, by definition, lazy.
So I’m sympathetic to Generation Wuss and their neurosis, their narcissism and their foolishness—add the fact that they were raised in the aftermath of 9/11, two wars, a brutal recession and it’s not hard to be sympathetic.
Literally the only thing that really matters is the recession but with the voting swing leftward at present (e.g. two-term Obama) we’ll be paying our dues from that foolishness, believe me. A big shock is coming on that front. “You mean, WE are the ones to pay for all that healthcare and immigrant handholding we voted in???!”