For the last 20-30 years the dominant narrative coming out of the completely moronic “what generation is best” fight has been between the Baby Boomers and Millennials. We all know the arguments – Boomer ruined the planet, Millennials are lazy and only eat avocado toast, Gen Xers don’t actually exist. They’re all dumb, and they completely overlook the one truth about generations: they’re huge collections of people based exclusively on the year you were born in and are a completely nonsensical way to group and judge people.
And yet because of our collective love of creating ingroups and then discriminating against others, the Boomer/Millennial fight ended up creating real harm – If you don’t believe it, I will refer you to this amazing video from Hank Green, who manages to explain the complexity of this problem in four minutes in a way that’s truly impressive.
This fight, for reasons I cannot explain, continues to this day, but it’s not what frustrates me the most. That honor goes to the new front that’s been opened on the battlefield of pointlessness, between the Millennials and the next target – Gen Z. Things have quickly escalated to unbelievably stupid levels – I don’t know why an actual adult thought that the best path forwards was to write an Eminem style diss track of teenagers, but it’s happened (I will not be linking to it on principle). If history is any indication, the lines will only continue to be drawn, any while you’d expect this behavior from teenagers who’ve spent their senior years of high school in their bedroom, everyone could be doing a whole lot better.
The reality is that both millennials and gen z are a little screwed. In 1980 people under 40 held 13% of household wealth in the U.S. Now that number is under 6 %, and with a growing climate crisis, massive systemic race problems, and no foreseeable chance for the San Francisco Giants to win the NL West any time soon there are real problems that young people should be working together on.
I was born in 1997, which on a technicality makes me a member of neither generation – instead, I believe I count as a rhythm guitarist for the Black Eyed Peas. It also allows me to see this stupid fight for what it is – a waste of time and energy that could be avoided with some empathy for Gen Z from the last generation that was and actually continues to be young and irrationally despised.
This is a stupid, pointless conflict that could be solved in two minutes by realizing that we’ve been set up to fight for no good reason to distract from real issues, and since life isn’t a Zack Snyder movie that’s something that we can – and should – be doing.