Earlier this week, over the course of two hours, a panel of four speakers and an auditorium of voters at the Kaufman Music Center in New Yok City decided that we millennials stand no chance.
Yes, you see, we can now presume that the rest of our lives will go something like this: We shall know not of wealth, happiness, success nor love. We shall bear no healthy children and shall wander the Earth for the rest of our existence, asking ourselves how much more fulfilling our lives would have been if we lived in a world without chopped salads delivered directly to our desk with a side of an eight-year recession.
We are doomed. Like Oedipus Rex and Jack in Titanic before us, we’re f***ed.
How can four speakers and a room full of voters decide the fate of an entire generation, you ask? Well, I have no idea. But, look, stranger things have happened. We believed the plot of Twilight was plausible. Anna Wintour changed her mind on Kim Kardashian. Anything can happen!
The vote/decision was made as part of the Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates.
This is what transpired that night:
1. Four speakers who were going to settle once and for all whether it’s true or not that “millennials don’t stand a chance.”
2. Two of the panelists: Binta Niami Brown, a lawyer/startup advisor/human rights activist, and W. Keith Campbell, professor of psychology at the University of Georgia, argued in support of the motion, that our generation is screwed.
3. David D. Burstein, author of Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping Our World, and Jessica Grose, a journalist and author of Sad Desk Salad, argued against the motion, basically saying that they think there is some hope that we won’t resort to living under bridges because we spent all our money on Seamless and monocles.
4. The audience voted before and after the debate on the motion, whether they think millennials stand a chance. The side of the panel that moves more voters to its side on the second vote wins the debate.
The really conclusive, decisive, final arguments that made the audience come to this decision were (and some exclusive reactions):
Millennials Care: We care deeply about activism and social causes, and care about having jobs and careers that mean something to the world. We love things like Upworthy and Kony and #Obama2008.
But that’s not necessarily authentic: “I don’t know if that’s grassroots millennial action or a bunch of Gen X behavioral economists who figured out how to manipulate millennials to vote,” Campbell said regarding Obama’s grassroots 2008 campaign. Okay.
Millennials are resilient entrepreneurs: We are creating our own jobs more than any generation before, and making money doing so.
But we are not going to make any money: The economy’s so bad! We will never make more than our parents! We also spend more than any generation on luxury goods, so like, we are never going to retire.
We are skilled at using social media: We have constant communication with everyone in our lives. We use GChat to communicate with five friends at a time, located all across the country, essentially eliminating the barriers that long distance once had on retaining relationships.
But that doesn’t really mean anything: Our social media communication doesn’t develop deep, meaningful relationships. It’s not the same as picking up the phone; it doesn’t mean as much. And even worse, we are using social media to manipulate people to bolster our own views of ourselves.
Millennials are optimistic: We are positive. We persist in spite of people telling us that we will never have it all, and that we are insufferable. We say, “Ha! not I!” and persist in following our dreams because as our T-shirts say, YOLO.
But all young people are optimistic and such optimism fades as we grow older and harder and more cynical of the world: It doesn’t matter because we will all get old, give up and hate everything in the end.
So there you have it. Abandon all hope (if you even finished reading this).