Every generation succumbs to the urge to criticize those that follow. No generation in history has taken more crap than The Millennials, some deserved and some illogical. Gen X probably had more words spilled on its behalf in the 1990s, but not all of it was negative. The sheer volume of analysis directed at The Boomers has as much to do with the fact that America has been talking about them for six decades at this point. Millennial bashing, though, appears to rank somewhere above college football and below drinking cheap beer in the hierarchy of American likes and dislikes these days.
As is customary, the most complaining comes from the oldest generation, as these people are separated from adolescents and young adults by the greatest amount of time and cultural dissimilarity. Yet the criticism today has taken on an increasingly ironic tone; for all its complaints about the specific faults of Millennials, it is more apparent by the day that the 70 year old they elected acts more like a stereotypical Millennial child-man than any 22 year old Brooklynite with a Journalism degree we could put in the same position.
Narcissistic? Yes. Addicted to social media? Check. Constant self-aggrandizement? Obviously. Vain? Almost pathologically. Short attention span? Inattention to substance and detail? Superficial knowledge paired with lots of buzzwords and image bolstering? Avoids or is incapable of doing hard work? Unable to handle any kind of criticism without going berserk? Believes garbage repeated on the internet? This only scratches the surface. Take any caricature in the media of Americans between high school age and thirty and you will find every last stereotype embodied in the grandfather that a generation of grandparents embraces as its hero. While wagging its finger at The Kids These Days, Americans at or near retirement age today elected a man with the exact personality and behavioral profile of a 17 year old girl who describes herself as an "Instagram Model." The only difference between that kid and Trump is that the kid probably isn't as racist.
The point is not what is or is not true about Millennials as a generation, but that it takes a rich sense of irony to appreciate how older Americans have embraced everything bad that they insist is true about Millennials in a geriatric package. Perhaps the lesson to take from this is that generations are not that different fundamentally, and given enough time to acclimate themselves to the new technology an aging Boomer can use social media to prove how vapid, self centered, and dumb they are just as successfully as any teenager.