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Old People vs. Young People: The Hashtag Wars

By Emily Cutler | Social Media | September 8, 2016 |

By Emily Cutler | Social Media | September 8, 2016 |

We haven’t created a “Web Culture: Stupid Thing” category yet, but I think I might need to lobby for one. Because this is a very stupid web thing.

A few days ago someone decided to start a #HowToConfuseAMillennial hashtag. Because that’s what you want. That’s what you gotta do. Walk into the area where literally millions of millennials hang, and start talking shit. It started off innocently enough.

Ha-Hah! See it’s funny because we Millennials don’t know how to use obsolete technology!

Except we do. Because the older members of the Millennial Generation do in fact remember using rotary phones. Some of us even graduated high school without owning our own computers. I point this out not just to be a dick (although I do like to be a dick whenever possible), but to highlight a fundamental misunderstanding in this particular instance of Old People vs. Young People: “Millennial” doesn’t just mean “annoying young person.” It also means that all of the 35-year-olds complaining about Millennials don’t understand what time is.

And then of course things went from gentle ribbing to “We Still Think We Might Win This Argument” level insults.

I mean, I’m pretty sure as many Millennials understand basic economics as much as older generations. We just hear the argument that “giving employees health care will add $0.14 to your pizza,” and we’re like “OK.”

And then it got really sexist:

And really “anti-PC”:

And OK, so that’s less about confusing someone ages 18 - 34, and more about contriving a very complicated murder plot.

At this point, in a surprise to no one, the Millennials used the social media they’re accused of being on too much to ridicule those that were calling them out.

Now, I’m a youngish, bleeding heart liberal, so I tend to agree more with the third group of texts than the first two (especially that one about rebooting The Running Man. Let’s not do that), but mostly as I said before, all of this is stupid. Because the only thing older than the people complaining about young people is the actual act of old people complaining about young people. Or young people complaining about how old people just don’t get it. We’ve even had it memorialized in song.

If anything, all the stupidity is a little reassuring. The Baby Boomers saw some of the biggest social and political changes of the past century. Generation X saw uncertainty and turmoil, and the Millennials lived through the most revolutionary technological developments the world has seen. And yet, despite the age difference, the political differences, the changing worldviews. We. All. Become. Our. Parents.

Just your daily update in “We’re All Going To Die Someday” news.