Perhaps you've had the good fortune to avoid seeing this column by LA Times word-vomiter Chris Erskine entitled "Millennials, you literally cannot call yourselves adults until you take this pledge." If ever the title of an opinion column foreshadowed Paul Harvey levels of smug, corn-pone "advice" reinforcing Bootstrap Mythology, this is it. I "literally" had to close the browser when I read the title to steel myself before confronting the body of it. True to form, it offered a hodgepodge of Old Man Shouting at Cloud ("I am entitled to nothing."), complaints that apply every bit as well to non-Millennials ("Just once, I will try driving without texting."), attempts at humor that make Family Circus look like a George Carlin album ("I will not consider the cilantro on my taco to be a vegetable."), cheap, tired stereotypes ("If I can't afford car insurance, I won't spend $20 a day on coffee."), and advice that nobody over 35 follows despite constantly giving it to The Youths ("I will not run up my credit cards.") On a scale of 1 to 10, this column is shit.

The author appears to believe that he is on solid intellectual footing because, as a 34 year old, he somehow "is" a millennial, whatever that term even means. The real problem is that this column, like so many opinion pieces that appeal to Common Sense or Telling It Like It Is, is just right-wing moralizing dressed up unconvincingly in a package that is supposed to speak to a broader audience.

Let me humbly propose a pledge that I'd like Mr. Erskine and anyone else with an urge to give saccharine advice to The Kids These Days to take. To be sure, there are some things about the current generation of young'ns worth criticizing; it is demonstrable, for example, that their attention spans are getting shorter and their grades are wildly inflated. But since the author didn't bother to do any research I'll play by the same rules. Whenever you're ready, take the Gin and Tacos "I Literally Cannot Call Myself a Not-Asshole Until I Take This Pledge" pledge:

  • I will not support people who want to start wars
  • I will not refuse to pay for the wars started by the people I support
  • I will demand that my employer treat me better rather than demanding that yours treat you as badly as mine
  • I will stop giving young people advice based on my experiences in 1970
  • I will not pull up the ladder after I board the lifeboat
  • I will not destroy institutions like public education that I took full advantage of
  • I will stop pining for the America of the 1950s, forgetting what it were like for women and minorities
  • I will stop using words I can't correctly define in politics
  • I am not entitled to anything that I actively want to deny anyone else
  • I will not scapegoat the poor, immigrants, or anyone else for my own unhappiness or failure
  • I will consider the possibility that I'm not funny when I tell others to learn to take a joke
  • I will not insist that problems I find inconvenient do not exist
  • I will live with an accept the consequences of the people I voted for and the economy I created
  • I will stop pretending I'm a radical because I had long hair 50 years ago before becoming middle management
  • I admit that things I say are not interesting, relevant, or true just because I say them
  • I will apologize for my part in creating the world I expect young people to succeed in
  • I will not be surprised when my children put me in a home

    When you're ready to do all that, I'll pledge that all I have to do is work harder and I'll succeed as though I live in a vacuum and not in a broken, clusterbang of an economy that previous generations created.