Millennials are the "ME ME ME GENERATION," writes Joel Stein for the cover of Time magazine, which is apparently a marked departure from the Baby Boomers, who were the plain old "Me Generation" (one me, no caps) and who created the "Me Decade" in the 1970s, and who coined the phrase, "But enough about me… what do you think about me?" in the 1980s when they were raising the next narcissists, Generation X. Sometimes you get the sense that these magazines' cultural writers have very little experience with the entire American culture, and prefer to make their grand analyses based on what people they know in the gentrified parts of cities like New York and Los Angeles were talking about at brunch last weekend. The type of young person that magazine writers come across most frequently are magazine interns. Because the media industry is high-status, but, at least early on, very low pay in a very expensive city, it attracts a lot of rich kids. Entitled, arrogant, spoiled, preening — those are the alleged signature traits of Millennials, as diagnosed by countless magazine writers. Those traits curiously align perfectly with the signature traits of a rich kid. Have you seen your intern on Rich Kids of Instagram? If so, he or she is probably not the best guide to crafting the composite personality of a generation that fought three wars for you.
To Stein's credit, he has some sociological research to make his case — he brings "the cold, hard data." However, much of his data can be countered by other data. For example, Stein writes:
Their development is stunted: more people ages 18 to 29 live with their parents than with a spouse, according to the 2012 Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults. In 1992, the nonprofit Families and Work Institute reported that 80 percent of people under 23 wanted to one day have a job with greater responsibility; 10 years later, only 60 percent did.
Yes, people are marrying later and the economy sucks. The unemployment rate would be 6.5 percent, a full point lower, if Washington — you might know them as "old people" — hadn't implemented spending cuts in 2011, The New York Times reports. As for laziness, the chart at right shows that as worker productivity has soared, wages have remained stagnant. We're all working hard, we're just not getting paid.