The millennials have a problem, and it is one that the vast majority of them are unaware of. It's not a lack of drive or ambition, like some generations that came before them. It is not an unwillingness to tackle the hard issues either. The average millennial's biggest problem, is one that stems from the inside. They simply take themselves too seriously.
What used to be called Generation Y now calls itself the millennial generation. Some people define millennials as anyone who is between the ages of 18 and 30. Others believe you could only be a millennial if you had Facebook, Twitter, and a mobile phone in high school. Either way, this is the first generation to grow up with technology at their disposal. Instant knowledge, instant answers, and instant entertainment have been at their fingertips since they were able to first use a computer.
Growing up in such a way has had several, intensely negative repercussions.
For one, the millennial generation cannot take any criticism. They have grown up, looking forward to conquering the world. Whereas Generation X, the Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation all took their place in the world through a mix of hard work and meeting challenges, I've seen something quite different with the millennials: A sense of profound entitlement.
"We should be heard! We're the millennials! We're the future!"
Well, yes. But a little modesty and maturity might take some of the heat off of you. You don't just show up to the gunfight in your skinny jeans and command respect. You earn it, and you show people why you deserve to be admired. While the millennials can create a web page faster than you can say "who cares," many of them do not see the relativity of their situation. Back in the fifties, a lot of people could create a model airplane. They didn't all deserve a trophy.
This is the first generation to largely grow up without the concept of keeping score, without the concept of losing gracefully, and without the concept of being told no. You don't deserve free health care, education, housing and accolades just because you were born. Perhaps even worse however, is that this generation seems to be the first one that has an intensely difficult time laughing at itself.
Standup comedians like Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and Lenny Bruce used to make a killing discussing different races, religions and ethnic backgrounds. These days, their routines would be hissed at. Protests would be filed, and people would claim emotional damages and the need for compensation of some kind. Yuck!
Yes, there was real racism back in the day, and yes there were ugly things that went out. It seems however, that millennials have missed one important thing, and that is that humor can be an amazing way to learn, and deal with things. It can be a way to reach people, and show that people have commonality.
"To make mistakes is human; to stumble is commonplace; to be able to laugh at yourself is maturity." - William Arthur Ward
More and more, I see millennials who cannot take a joke, cannot laugh at themselves, and fail miserably to see that there is so much to find funny. The stereotype of politically correct campus-goers seeing everything as an insult to their race/gender/profession has come to be a reality. What's even worse, is that this is not exclusive to campus liberals. Younger conservatives are equally likely to take pen and paper to protest for something they deem offensive, rather than just laughing it off and getting a life. Ugh.
Not everyone is trying to hurt you. Some people just like to laugh. Sometimes you won't find it funny, but you do not have the right to tell other people they cannot joke, and cannot speak about certain things. You just don't. Grow up.
Perhaps Clint Eastwood sums it up best:
"In former times we constantly made jokes about different races. You can only tell them today with one hand over your mouth otherwise you will be insulted as a racist. I find that ridiculous. In those earlier days every friendly clique had a 'Sam the Jew' or 'Jose the Mexican' — but we didn't think anything of it or have a racist thought."
Go ahead and make jokes about Christians, whites or men, that's fine. But don't you dare joke about anyone else, cause gosh darn it, people are tired of it and we're not gonna take it any .. Zzz ...
It now comes to pass where radio talk show hosts like Don Imus get fired over an off-the-cuff joke. Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher are requested to do the apology tour if they make a joke about a women (thank God Maher told them where to stick it). Comedian Tracy Morgan is paraded around by special interest groups for a joke he told in a nightclub.
It's a real shame that comedic masterpieces like Blazing Saddles and shows like All In The Family could not be aired today. They'd be protested off the planet.
Millennials, and the groups they support, are largely humorless. They don't care if others find something funny. They can't laugh at themselves, and cannot see why others might want to have a little fun with them from time to time. As a man of 30, many would say that I qualify as a millennial myself. However, in this case, I'm going to defer to one of the all time greats:
"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." — Groucho Marx
Millennials will one day rule the planet. But until they stop realizing that some trophy's must be earned and that they too can be the butt of a joke, they will forever be looked at as a group that really, really needs to lighten up.
Not everyone cares that you didn't like someones joke about your "Save The Head Lice" rally. No one cares that you find Daniel Tosh's jokes to be sexist.
At the end of the day, not everyone is a winner, and not everyone is going to save the planet.
Oh! I almost forgot! Seth MacFarlane was HILARIOUS at the Oscars!