You know what the stupidest word in the English language is? Plethora. You know what the second stupidest word is? Millennial. And I’m not talking about the dictionary definition of the word, which apparently has something to do with a utopian sense of optimism. Not that you ever see or hear it used in this context. I’m talking about the way in which this word, Millennial, has been turned into a label for my generation.
I say my generation, like I guess I belong to a generation, or that’s what they tell me when I’m reading the news, some lame article about how, “Millennials don’t like to drive cars,” or, “Millennials are all entitled,” or, “Millennials prefer cinnamon raison Eggos to traditional Eggos.” This is what we do, as a society, we get together and we make up stupid brands and catchphrases for everything.
So it’s like, you’ve got the Baby Boomers, right, and then you’ve got Generation X, whatever that means, and now it’s us. I remember when I first started reading stuff in the news about “our” generation, there was still some lingering controversy. We weren’t yet positive that Millennial was the go-to name of everyone born in the 1980s. There was also the competing “Generation Y.”
But there must have been some sort of a secret election that nobody told me about, where everybody cast ballots in favor of Millennial. And so that’s it. Every time you read about people in their twenties and thirties, that’s what we’re all called, Millennials.
Is it because we all got to collectively come of age sometime around the year 2000? I mean, I was sixteen. Did our shared sigh of relief as we realized that Y2K wasn’t going to turn our world into the dystopian wasteland of our nightmares really warrant naming our entire generation around a word that kind of sounds like millennium?
Because if that’s the case, we’ve made a huge mistake. I remember what it was like as we neared that invisible barrier that separated the 1990s from the year 2000. Everything was millennium themed. There were Gateway 2000 computers that were very popular, and they ran the Windows 2000 operating system. What does this all mean exactly?
It means exactly nothing. Because 2000 is just another number. And we’re just another generation of human beings lurching through time, making incredible technological gains, leaving further and further behind the hunter-gatherer cavemen from which we evolved, turning around and deciding to give ourselves catchy nicknames, like Gen-X and Millennial.
Lame. To me anyway, it’s a whole load of nonsense. Because seriously, who is coining these dumb terms? It’s certainly not me, or anybody that I know. Is the person who came up with Millennial even a part of our generation? Doubtful. I can just picture some graying head of a sociology department writing an article for Modern Professor, patting himself on the back for having coined a genius new term to describe his lazy, good-for-nothing students.
And what good does it do to separate society into generations? It’s not like we’re all born at the same time. Yet we’re all lumped together under this blanket label. In trying to break off and catalog the population in regards to what year they happened to be born, aren’t we ignoring huge chunks of people living in between whichever years happen to mark the cutoff for each generation?
And who are we really talking about when we say Millennial? Is it really even a worthwhile task trying to make generalizations about an entire age group? Does a twenty-something daughter of a single-parent trying to eek out an existence in Detroit have that much in common with a twenty-something guy coasting his way through private schools on the back of his parents’ wealth? Is it fair to the vast collection of wildly different human experiences to round them all up based on age demographics, just so we can come up with catchy Internet headlines that attempt to serve up the world in easy-to-swallow factoids?
It also bothers me because I can already see it now, hundreds of years in the future, whoever writes textbooks will do all of their research and they’ll try to speak about life here, the life I’m living, the generation that I’m a part of. And they’ll just keep regurgitating that word, Millennial, and everybody will scratch their heads in confusion, asking themselves questions like, “Why was everybody so dumb back then? Who thought it was a good idea to nickname such a large group of people the Millennials?”
Unfortunately, it looks like this is it, it’s stuck, we’re the Millennial generation. Which is totally not fair. Why do our grandparents get to be a part of “The Greatest Generation?” Just because they beat the Nazis? I get it, they saved the world, they were rewarded with an awesome generational title. Our generation played Nintendo 64, and so we’re the Millennials. Listen, maybe we haven’t earned a cool name, yet, but what happens if the Nazis come back, and our generation somehow rallies to the cause, and we beat the Nazis again? I hope it doesn’t happen, but if it does, I don’t think it’s cool that our grandkids are still going to refer to us as Millennials. By naming us Millennials, all it’s done is basically written off any chance that we might eventually be able to do something great.
I don’t know. All I can say is, if you think Millennial is as stupid as I do, just stop using it. Don’t respond to it, don’t repeat it, just do your best to pretend like it doesn’t exist. Hopefully if enough people sign on, we can at least use Millennial as a dead giveaway, that anybody who uses it doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
Except for this article. I’m using it. But that’s it, I’ve said it for the last time.