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Posted at 07:37 PM ET, 07/17/2012

Generation unscrewed


Millennials are screwed, have no future and are facing mounting debts? That’s a bit rich coming from a print publication. (NICHOLAS KAMM - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
“Are Millennials the Screwed Generation?”

Newsweek wants to know.

It thinks so. It has statistics. It has pictures of doleful-looking millennials.

Frankly, I am sick of being told by people twice my age that they are screwing me over. I already knew that. The boomers keep leaving large bills on my dresser. Not the good kind — the kind that I am expected to pay when they die after receiving decades of the Most Expensive Care Available, because the boomers have been coddled all their lives and told that they are the All-Singing, All-Dancing, Most World-Defining Generation Ever, for whom the check will never come.

“Time to pay us back for all those years of crippling helicopter parenting,” they say, darting off somewhere to rave about Meryl Streep. “You’re welcome.”

But we are fine.

Generation screwed? Please.

Sure, we’re missing some of the things our parents had – faith, the hope of winding up better off than our parents did, jobs, children or homes before age 30. But we have things they never did, like no recollection whatsoever of Betamax and a firm grip on how to end a text message (you do not have to sign them, Mom). And we barely remember dial-up. That has to count for something.

Faith? Sure, it helped our ancestors cope with loss, famine and drought, but we have pictures of kittens for that.

Better lives than our parents had? We already have them. We never had to wear bell-bottoms.

Look, we may not have jobs. But who needs jobs when you have student debt?

We may not have families. But who needs families when you have Twitter followers?

We don’t have books, but we have “50 Shades of Grey”! We don’t have the American Dream, but we have phone calls from our mothers reading “50 Shades of Grey,” who want us to explain things to them.

We may be living in our parents’ basements, but on the bright side, we’ve been dateless at a lot of weddings lately.

We may not have all the hope in politics that we had back in 2008. But we still get constant, vaguely creepy fundraising e-mails from President Obama.

All of this must count for something.

We may be footing the cost for the generations who remain more politically active than we are, but on the bright side, this required them to pay attention when Newt Gingrich said something.

Sure, we are stuck with lots of bills. But bills, for us, are still an abstract concept. Why own when you can stream? The only time we paid to listen to music online was sometime in the eighth grade.

The boomers only thought they had instant gratification. They sometimes had to communicate by mail.

We are used to having whatever we want, whenever we want it, so long as what we want is a shiny entertainment product available on the Internet, or the kind of connection to people that you can have through the confines of a glowing screen. But within those limits, you can have it all, and you barely have to pay for it.

In a few decades, the bill comes due, of course. We’ll have to pay the piper, even though we don’t remember ordering any piper. Probably the boomers again. But that fabled bill will be the first time in many of our lives that we have actually paid for anything.

And decades! That’s a long time. And in the meantime, we can complain. They say that complaining makes burdens easier to bear. If so, we should be constantly elated. We have whole Web sites dedicated to exactly that.

We’re fine.

We may not have belief, but we have doubt.

We may not have fun, but we have Fun.

We may have years and years of student loan debt, but on the bright side, it is now cheaper than ever to become morbidly obese.

We may have Justin Bieber, but, hey, the average life expectancy has just declined for the first time in years!

We’re fine.

What we lack in money we make up for in lack of money. What we lack in confidence in the future we make up for in misplaced nostalgia. (What other generation goes around dressed in clothing from the 1950s? Instagram? Record players? Suspenders? Even the actual survivors of the era wanted to get those things off as quickly as possible.)

What we lack in knowledge of history, job skills or the ability to manage our finances we make up for in uniqueness. That’s it. We are more unique than any generation before us. Not to mention younger.

We have things under control. We are, as Nielsen repeatedly reminds us, the only demographic that matters.

Newsweek is just pandering to sell magazines.

And the joke’s on them! We cannot afford to buy any.

By  |  07:37 PM ET, 07/17/2012

 
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