The Editors at n+1:
WE LIVE IN AN AGE of ceaseless generational analysis. Among certain classes, especially business elites, it is considered a sign of profound insight to speak only in terms of youth and its consumer preferences. The jargon once endemic to Ad Age(which coined the term “Generation Y”) now peppers style sections and business books, earnest organizing meetings and talk shows, such that no one of any age can open a newspaper or a website without reading about the “millennials” — people born between 1982 and 2004 — and their doings, interests, and needs.
It seems not to matter to the proliferation of writing about millennials that so much of it has been internally contradictory. In the year 2000, the sinister David Brooks said that stats suggested the boomers were raising friendly, sociable, and altruistic kids. In 2012, Jean Twenge at the Atlantic retaliated with fresh stats that revealed them to be inveterate narcissists profoundly uninterested in social problems. “Politicians: Millennials Won’t Vote Because They Hate You” declaimed Bloomberg, prompting an older Huffington Post correspondent to wonder ruefully, “Millennials: Why Do They Hate Us?” All this despite evidence that millennials vote in the same numbers as young people of previous generations. Millennials, according to Business Insider, are disaffected with workplace authority and value flexibility, but an IBM study written up in the Washington Post suggests that in this respect, too, millennials are indistinguishable from other generations.