Get Off My Lawn: Another (Best-Selling) Writer Falls Prey to Millennial Cliche

Posted On September 28, 2017

Another week, another Boomer or Gen Xer writing a column about what’s wrong with millennials.

You may recall the Los Angeles Times columnist whose “millennial pledge” drew the ire of younger readers. Or the Birmingham-area judge who vented in an column about the lack of adversity or sacrifice in millennials’ lives.

Ragging on the younger generation seems to be a cottage industry of sorts. Or at least good column fodder.

Now, in jumps a bigger fish to this putrid pond. Mitch Albom was already well-known as a longtime Detroit Free Press sports columnist before he gained even greater fame for writing Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Last month, as parents all around the country were waving goodbye as their kids left for college, Albom thought it wise to wade in with a column comparing the college students of today with those of 50 years ago.

There were some humorous lines, like one comparing the 1960s father cautioning his son not to get drunk and pass out on a fraternity lawn to the one of today noting: “You don’t want to pass out in a hot tub and have it uploaded to YouTube.”

And he closed on a conciliatory note, with the sons of the 1960s and today both expressing gratitude and some sadness as their parents left them on campus.

In between, however, were all the usual swipes at technology, entitlement and political correctness, with sideways mentions of safe spaces, Xboxes and “non-GMO, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, vegan” dining options thrown in for good measure.

It was clichéd, it was overgeneralized and, as the aptly named noted, most of it wasn’t even that funny.

Yes, times have changed and young people are different. Parents who grew up in the ‘30s and ‘40s said the same thing about their kids in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Millennials will say the same thing when they have kids.

We’ve been down this road many times before, so why do so many columnists and bloggers insist on making us walk down it again? Perhaps it’s time for a moratorium on “entitled millennial” columns. The horse is dead. Put down the club.

If a multiple award-winning columnist and best-selling author can’t do it without resorting to tired stereotypes and clichés, it’s time to let it go.

Categories: Generation Y / Millennials, Generations