On November 2, 2013, I posted a video to my YouTube channel – an edited version of my appearance on The Zoomer, ZoomerMedia’s public affairs show hosted by Conrad Black, in which I engaged in a spirited dialogue with other panelists who were Millennials. The discussion was lively, but in the main, respectful, and I posted it to YouTube because I thought some folks might appreciate the give-and-take.
You can see for yourself right here.
I’m gratified to report it has garnered over 46,000 views to date. I’m less thrilled to report a high percentage of mindless insults. Even making allowance for the Wild West nature of the Internet, I was surprised at seeing so much visceral antagonism toward the Baby Boomer generation. Here’s just a small sampling (with typos left in place):
- From Ross Otto — “Hurry up and die, you old faggots”
- From Nuff — “starting life at 30 is unacceptable. we dont life long enough to pend 30 fucking years not doing shit. thats longer than most thing live period, we don’t need that much education to work. we need old people to die off, we need less people period..”
- From Noah Namey – “Someone down below stated that there’s a “special place in hell for baby boomers”. And I certainly hope not. I want a mundane place in hell for them. Haven’t they had enough unwarranted notoriety?”
- From Alejandro Ilizaliturri – “The Baby Boomer complaining about paying for education… Younger generations pay for Boomer’s pensions and healthcare, along with other benefits.”
- From Ty Davis – “As lazy and entitled goes, no one can top the boomers. They were handed a red hot economy, the cost of a home, vehicle and raising a family was proportionately much less onerous than now and let’s not forget that they INVENTED being a hippy.”
- From fizicsmcmanus – “Do not forget about The Silent Generation, they are to Baby Boomers what Generation X is to Y. They had a huge hand in shipping jobs overseas, it’s not all the Boomers fault though they both suck tremendously. Being from Generation X, we have had to serve Boomers all our lives in menial roles, bowing and scraping and being grateful for any scraps. Then they discovered outsourcing and you Millennials didn’t stand a chance after that, we X’ers are in the same boat only we had more time to prepare. I always knew they were going to pull the rug out from underneath us.”
It’s even worse in another video I posted to YouTube. I responded to the popular Millennial video, “We suck and we’re sorry,” by doing a mini-rant against what I thought was that video’s faux-ironic embrace of loser-hood. You can see the original video here. And my rant here.
This one has racked up 30,000 views so far, and an even greater number of insults, such as these beauties (again, with typos left in place):
- From Sage Atallah — “You boomers are the worst and most selfish generation in all of history. George Carlin was completely right about your kind.”
- From Miyamoto Musashi — “Most of you boomers contributed nothing, you just took. Baby boomers deflect, ignore and sanctiomious.”
- And from Miyamoto Musashi again — “You boomers sound like war criminals.”
- From Phoenix Rising — “SO typical of ‘boomer’ hypocrisy. Your generation took consumption to a whole new level and yet you point your boney old fingers down from your gold plated thrones and cattily insult and deride ‘millenials’.”
- From TonyKingOfTheOzone — “Typical baby boomer, We need cash. That’s all I had to hear. die slowly.”
- From fizicsmcmanus, who doesn’t like me any better on this video than on the other one — “The most self-absorbed generation alive and worse by far than the Millenials. What’s left of America will breathe a collective sigh of relief when your worthless generation’s fingernails are pried loose from this mortal coil.”
What’s striking about these comments, aside from the extremes of emotion, is that they’re all trying to win and argument I wasn’t making. I was describing a situation — the Boomers still control the marketplace, and are not retiring “on schedule” at 65 — and from that description, suggesting that the Millennials might want to consider an alternative strategy to the wry celebration of their own helplessness. Can any reasonable person think this isn’t so? Does anyone suggest that the Boomers do not, in fact, have the purchasing power they do? Or that they are retiring in droves instead of continuing to work long past 65? Or that they aren’t living longer than previous generations? Does anyone think that the “We suck and we’re sorry” video — as humorous as it is and as well done as it is (you can’t argue with 3 million views) represents an approach that will actually accomplish anything?
To be fair, there is evidence that many in the Millennial generation are indeed rising to what is undoubtedly a challenging environment. More are seeking out job-relevant training, and the surge of interest in community colleges continues, at the expense of the squishy liberal arts. New and better marketing research also reveals considerable segmentation among the Millennials, with large blocs of hard-nosed realists, money savers, and Type A workaholics who could give lessons to the Boomers.
It’s going to be interesting to see how it all unfolds. My bet is that the Millennials will (eventually) be just fine.
And as for all the venom, I suppose if you have nothing you say, you might as well say it extravagantly. Bring on the insults! Make me smile!