The TIME Cover is Upsetting, But the Video, Oh God the Video

By now you have probably seen this week’s cover of TIME and run away screaming. Yes, they’re talking about millennials—the generation they define as being born between 1980 and 2000, which I personally think is way too broad considering that those born in the early ’80s have little or nothing in common with those born in the late ’90s.

The story, by Joel Stein, is behind a paywall, but I have taken a look at it and in case you were wondering, yes, it’s what you expect it to be. *Ring, ring* Hello? Joel’s not here right now, can I take a message? Tell him that 2008 called and want their headline back? Sure thing!

Oh, but this video. I just can’t with this video.


66 Comments / Post A Comment

acid burn (#113)

I got 30 seconds into this video and I’m already so embarrassed for him. Sheesh.

@fo (#839)

@acid burn

Don’t be. He’s basically shameless. Perhaps the least shameless (definitely top 10) non-sociopath I’ve ever met.

@fo (#839)


Oh, and having now looked at the cover, the hed was clearly written by someone who knows Joel, and it’s very, very funny, if you know Joel. I don’t think that he lived with his parents (at least for any extended period) post-college, so that’s the one difference bt him and those he’s mockin … writing about.

Blondsak (#2,299)

@@fo Precisely. He’s a comedian! Read some of his TIME columns for more context.

@fo (#839)


Nah, as Joel himself once wrote:

“The main difference between me and the average blogger is that I get paid. How long I can continue to earn a living off of something people do just as well for free is a question I occasionally ask myself, and one I frequently am asked by people who send me hate mail.”,0,2357200.column

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

So are they just going to run these “Who Are Millennials” pieces until all members of the previous generation have died off?

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@EvanDeSimone I will confess that despite my jokes I am probably going to pick up this issue of Time. No doubt this purchase is driven by my deep millennial narcissism.

@EvanDeSimone The only ones as obsessed with Millennials as Millennials are is…everyone else.

@EvanDeSimone If you actually walk out of your house in order to exchange American currency for a printed copy of a general-interest news magazine you are not Millenial, no matter when you were born.

@fo (#839)

@stuffisthings The Newsagent will accept Bitcoin, no?

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@stuffisthings On the advice of a twitter follower i read it in the grocery store line without purchasing. That’s basically the analog version of an illegal download. Millennial enough for you?

@EvanDeSimone Only the part about taking the advice of your Twitter follower.

chic noir (#713)

@EvanDeSimone – Well I subscribe so I won’t do the the awkward peak around newsstand grab.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

*cough* clickbait *cough*

highjump (#39)

Wow. Please stop.

@fo (#839)

“which I personally think is way too broad”

Where would you draw the line Mike? Does Gen-X (65-79/80) really have so much more in common? The Boomers (47-64)?

Sure, those are both more 16-18 years, and it may make more sense to call Y/millenials 81-98/99, but how do you make it smaller than that? Is the objection mainly bc the young end of the cohort is just finishing 8th grade, and 30-somethings don’t have much in common with 8th graders? The HS class of ’65 would have felt the same way about the HS class of ’82, but they were both Boomers.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@@fo I think Mike’s point is that for the behavioral generalizations being made these generational categories are too broad. Obviously these things exist on a spectrum but it’s kind of hard to nail down traits that are native to 33 years olds and 13 year olds with the degree of specificity that Time seems to be grasping for.

acid burn (#113)

@@fo I think in general generations are way too big. Maybe that made sense in the Olden Days when things didn’t change this quickly, but the fact that there are people in my “generation” who don’t remember 9/11 is kind of insane to me.

acid burn (#113)

@EvanDeSimone Exactly. And I’m sure it was just as ridiculous when people were trying to describe Gen X as one homogenous group, but it’s way more annoying now because the internet exists so now we get to hear about how terrible “we” are five hundred billion times a day.

@@fo I will say in my family, I have an aunt born in 49 and an aunt born in 64, so for the boomers the larger family size back then would have led to similar behaviors/attitudes amongst such a wide age range. The smaller families you see with Gen X’ers and especially millenials make, I think, comparisons across that same age spectrum harder.

But that’s my totally unprofessional opinion.

Megs (#644)

@acid burn I’ve been told I like hearing about how much I like hearing about myself.

@fo (#839)

@acid burn

“it’s way more annoying now because the internet exists so now we get to hear about how terrible “we” are five hundred billion times a day.”

No, it’s way more annoying now because it’s about you. Noodle on that for a sec.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@acid burn I joke but i haven’t read the piece and i do want to give it a fair shake. That being said, i do think the amount of ink devoted to “WHO ARE MILLENNAILS AND WHY ARE THEY THE BEST/WORST??!?” is a bit excessive. It seems to me that a generation that is so self-journalizing wouldn’t need that much analysis. Of course that, in itself, is a generalization.

acid burn (#113)

@@fo Well, obviously that too.

@fo (#839)

@acid burn

Oh, also, on “Maybe that made sense in the Olden Days when things didn’t change this quickly, but the fact that there are people in my “generation” who don’t remember 9/11 is kind of insane to me.”

It’s just as ‘insane’ that Boomers include a bunch of people who weren’t old enough to know Kennedy had been shot, or old enough to dodge with draft during Vietnam or, or, or. But that’s still the broadly recognized ‘generational’ period.

The 8th grade class of 2013 *certainly* seems to have little in common with the college class of ’05 in *2013*, but will likely have much more commonality in 2025.

And, really, when assessing ‘generational’ commonality, both ends of the period are going to be rather different, but each will have a lot in common with those in the middle–are the experiences of those born in ’82 and ’90 pretty similar thru age 23? [Yes!] Are the experiences of those born in ’90 and ’98 pretty similar thru age 15? [Yes!]

Are there a lot of differences bt the experiences of those born in ’82 and ’98 thru age 15? [Yes!] BUT both are post-cold war, both are in the era of expensive (and MORE expensive) college, post-industrial US economy, post-high-inflation, etc etc etc, so a ton of the ‘generational’ things are more similar than not.

acid burn (#113)

@@fo I just want to clarify that by The Olden Days I meant pre-1920, maybe? 1900? I feel like the increasing rate of technological/economic/social changes starting in the early 20th century has made already-silly generational categories increasingly arbitrary. For me personally, 9/11 is a big generation gap, but I also feel like there are plenty of other important ones. For example, I feel like there is a big difference between people my age (28) and those who grew up with high speed internet in their home, even though they are only a few years younger than me. Also people who graduated college after the economy tanked.

And of course I’m extra touchy about generalizations about my cohort because I’m living it right now. We’re all pretty used to it by now, and it’s not like I fly into an uncontrollable rage when I see articles like this, but it is pretty exasperating. I also get frustrated when Gen X (or whoever) says “We had to put up with it, so now so do you.” I like to dream of a time when we don’t shit on our young people, but maybe that’s just my entitled Millennial irrationality.

@fo Yeah people get too caught up in what are, in the long run, pretty day-to-day issues.

Consider that a middle-class French person born on the eve of the French Revolution could reasonably expect to live through the Reign of Terror, the Napoleonic Wars, and the July Monarchy, only to retire as a citizen of the Second Republic. Whether or not someone remembers the Challenger disaster is a pretty small thing by comparison.

My own granddad grew up during the Depression, fought in the Philippines during WWII, helped work on the early Internet, and still had time left at the end of his life to vote in THREE post-9/11 Presidential elections.

A human life is a long time!

@fo (#839)

@acid burn “For example, I feel like there is a big difference between people my age (28) and those who grew up with high speed internet in their home”

But there’s an even bigger difference b/t you and someone a few years *older* who grew up w/o even AOL floppy disks. You have much more in common–formative experience wise–with the younger than the older.

Sure, we could narrow down birth cohorts to 5 or 3 or 1 year periods, but that’s as silly as the other extreme.

And, as implied, the ‘generational’ cohort thing is always a mess until the youngest are adults. Talking about common experiences bt 30s and 12s is always going to be silly.

Megs (#644)

Ahhh I was sorta kinda with him until the end! It was almost cute and charming to see him struggle, but the whole “Good luck with our bridges and infrastructure” bit really soured it for me.

ECW (#2,765)

So, they way I always understood it was “millenials” (like me!) included people who DON’T really remember the cold war very well, but DO remember 9/11. This kind of generational definition is based more so on shared experience than exact dates, but typically cuts off the top end of the millenials at about 1995.

@Emily Chambers Yeah – I’ve always thought of the millenials as people who came of age around, dun dun dun, the millenium. Someone born in 1996 – much less 2000 – is not a millenial. But I think science disagrees with us.

Non-anonymous (#1,288)

@polka dots vs stripes Nope, they’re all still considered Millenials until someone comes up with a new irritating nickname just for them.

jfruh (#161)

Haha, it looks like we’ve reache this stage!

jfruh (#161)

@jfruh But when will we reach this stage?

This one is pretty good but I can’t make a screenshot.

Brunhilde (#78)

@stuffisthings That one just made me angry.

@jfruh Also, say what you will about Millennials, at least we know from typography.

ellabella (#1,480)

How do you become a journalist with a walk-in closet?

(Obvs: Requirement #1: Don’t be a millennial.)

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@ellabella BUT you could become Joel Stein’s unpaid intern. He might even let you live in that walk-in closet!

@fo (#839)

Linky to the Time story about Gen X at about the same point of generational age (1990): (yes, also behind paywall),9171,970634-1,00.html

Ah yes, The Who, every Millenial’s favorite music band. Come on guys, let’s all download their WAVs from Napster and listen to them on our Palm Pilots!

dotcommie (#662)

@stuffisthings he would have done better with the kinks or elvis costello imho.

@dotcommie Also, any band formed after the 1960s.

chic noir (#713)

let’s all download their WAVs from Napster and listen to them on our Palm Pilots!

@stuffisthings – Your comments always make my day :)

boringbunny (#3,260)

@stuffisthings I think the thing was to wear a shirt from a band that is really old/iconic/hip. Most people don’t wear shirts from current artists – just 8-year olds wearing Justin Bieber shirts.

Blondsak (#2,299)

Ehhhh, Mike, you do realize that Joel Stein is a comedian, right? I read TIME every week and if you read Joel’s column, you will realize that he is actually hilarious and COMPLETELY self-aware of what he is saying. He is making fun of himself just as much as the people he makes fun of in his columns/writings, which have included every age range, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and profession I can think of. Millenials are just one of his cover stories, which is actually a longer version of his column, really. Every body who reads TIME on the regular knows that (which is 90% of the people who read TIME, ever); it’s really not so big a deal, I promise!

@Blondsak “Anybody who reads TIME on the regular knows that”

Really? Both of them?

Blondsak (#2,299)

@stuffisthings I… don’t know what you’re getting at? In any case I just updated it before I saw your post for more clarity.

@Blondsak The joke being that only two people read TIME on the regular. Because it’s culturally irrelevant.

But seriously, I’ve interviewed Joel Stein and he’s a nice enough guy, however if Time’s new strategy is just straight-up trolling they need to find a new one pronto because The Atlantic has that market cornered.

Megano! (#124)


EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@Megano! I guess we’ll have to kick you out then. As of now your are officially a Baby Boomer…or an actual baby I guess?

Megano! (#124)

@EvanDeSimone I wish, I would actually have money! No, I am just a millenial who has never done any of those things. 30 texts a day!?

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@Megano! That seemed excessive to me too but then i tried to organize all my friends for dinner and a movie tomorrow night.

Matt B (#3,861)

All generalizations about a “generation” are asinine, but if your major magazine cover story lumps 33 year olds into the same group as 13 year olds, you’ve won the most asinine idea sweepstakes.

CleetusVanDamme (#3,846)

Who the heck still reads TIME? Has there ever been a magazine that pissed away its credibility faster?

le (#3,866)

Not quite sure what Joel does for a living or where he lives, but what 40 year-old hasn’t used g-chat, who doesn’t sleep with their mobile near their bed – it’s your effing phone! calendar! alarm clock!, who hasn’t sexted before? Joel is out of touch with reality and hopelessly out of synch with current trends. I hope he’s not in marketing! And no I’m not a millenial, I’m a Gen-Xer – 36 years old. Doing all of this is part of getting your work done in today’s digital world. What a moron.

@fo (#839)

@le ” what 40 year-old hasn’t used g-chat, who doesn’t sleep with their mobile near their bed – it’s your effing phone! calendar! alarm clock!, who hasn’t sexted before?”

Um, same age as Joel here and I (1) have *never* used g-chat; (2) very rarely sleep with my phone anywhere near my bedroom; and (3) have *never* sexted.

Now, I don’t really believe that Joel is being wholly honest about what he has and hasn’t done. But that’s a separate thing.

TARDIStime (#1,633)

@le I once texted my partner to ask him to go on gchat bc I didn’t want to text him under my desk at work, and he text back “what’s that”.
He’s 24.

chic noir (#713)

@le who hasn’t sexted before

*raises hand*


boringbunny (#3,260)

“too hard, that’s the stuff” HILARIOUS! he’s not saying “hello, i’m exclusively reporting in this documentary about this rare and elusive creature, the millenial.” it’s supposed to be a joke.

i also don’t do any of these things but I definitely know people who do and everyone’s taking it too personally. i also find those ‘you know you’re asian when’ lists to be quite funny so maybe i’m just not offended easily enough.

@fo (#839)

” maybe i’m just not offended easily enough”

Only if you want to be a politician, or join the “offended by reality” industrial complex. Otherwise, you’re fine [I won't insult you by saying 'normal'].

flyingdics (#3,877)

I love having my generation excoriated by a derpbag who films himself saying “What would a millennial wear?”

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