The verdict’s out people. Millennials are the worst generation in history! We’ve ruined everything from the 9 to 5 work week to diamonds. One concerned citizen we interviewed said this regarding the millennials: “Our youth have an insatiable desire for wealth; they have bad manners and atrocious customs regarding dressing and their hair and what clothing they wear.”
Oh wait, my bad. I must have mixed my quotes up. That was actually said by the Greek philosopher Plato back in 500 B.C.E. Here’s the right one: “The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no respect for their parents or old age… As for the girls, they are foolish and immodest and unwomanly in speech, behavior, and dress.”
I apologize readers, but my editor just tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out that I have mixed my quotes up again and that the second quote I provided was said by Peter the Hermit in the 11th century. In my defence, modern complaints about the arrogance of millennials, such as how Vanity Fair’s Bret Easton Ellis said, “My huge generalities touch on their insistence that they are right despite the overwhelming proof that suggests they are not…” (2014), are completely identical to ones in Aristotle’s Rhetoric: “They think they know everything, and are always quite sure about it” (4th Century BC).
Every time a generation nears adulthood, the elders of society throw a fit and decry the youth as morally depraved fools and terrible successors. The cycle is so predictable; the same complaints repeat every few decades.
Every comment I’ve seen about millennials is applicable to any group of young people throughout history, so I’d like to propose a game called “Guess that Generation!” Here are the rules: I’ll list a few quotes, and you try to guess what year they were written and who they apply to!
#1: “Sunday School teachers in the audience had found that children were apt to leave Sunday School when they had completed their day school education. They were not following on into the church.”
Answer: Baby Boomers. “Why Do Young People Neglect Religion?, Shield Daily News, 1947”
#2: “They are lazy and think basic tasks are beneath them.”
Answer: Millennials. “A generation with a huge sense of entitlement, Daily Mail, 2017”
#3: “When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint”.
Answer: Literally before the Roman Empire! (Hesiod, 8th century BC)
Could it be that millennials aren’t actually any worse than any other generation? Is it just that older generations like to complain?
Yes. The answer is yes. They were lamenting the youngsters before they even had paper to write their complaints down on. This amusing prediction was found written on an Assyrian clay tablet written in 2800 BC:
“Our Earth is degenerate in these later days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book and the end of the world is evidently approaching”
So Millennials, enjoy our few years as easily offended, depraved narcissists. We’ve got like a decade until it’s our turn to grumble about how those rotten kids are ruining everything.