What Was the Millennial?: Or, the New York Times Is Still Figuring Out This Whole Millennial Thing

The million-year-old Millennial

If there’s one thing we know for sure about Millennials, it’s that we don’t really know all that much, maybe. Like, we don’t even know what exactly is a Millennial, i.e. what year you’d have to be born in to fit into that most talked about of demographics. Because, as per Wikipedia (which, when you think about it, is the most Millennial of websites, seeing as how maligned it is in an absolutely knee jerk, reactionary kind of way, despite the fact that it is frequently useful and almost always entertaining and also has a really decent amount of info on rabies—complete with a very disturbing photo—for those of us who care about that sort of thing), “there are no precise dates when the generation starts and ends.” No precise dates! So, like, a Millennial could be literally anyone, right? Well: No!

No, it might be hard to pick an exact start or end year for Millennials but common consensus is that the generation spans those born in the early 80s to the early 2000s, so basically, people younger than Jesus was when he died and older than most (but definitely not all) One Direction fans. In other words, you know who’s not a Millennial? A 52-year-old man.

And yet: This weekend, the New York Times ran an article titled “The Millennial Commune,” which focused on the “trend” of communal living. Now, in case you’re thinking: But isn’t this just having roommates? What’s so trendy about that? Well, think again. Because this is a totally new thing that has something to do with the sharing economy and Airbnb and Uber and oh my god I just don’t give two shits about what this has to do with and why having roommates has now been Silicon Valley-ized and there’s supposedly a place in Williamsburg that embodies this new “trend” and it’s called Pure House and just FUCK EVERYTHING FOREVER OK.

But also this:

Russell Jackson relinquished a studio six months ago to live in a six-bedroom Pure House apartment with a rotating cast (he presently has three flat mates). “I’m getting exposure to stuff and things that I would not have had sequestered on the Upper West Side,” said Mr. Jackson, a 52-year-old chef.

Apparently, the one Pure House-mate with whom the Times spent the most time talking is many things—a former Iron Chef contestant! a self-described “Den Dad!”—but a Millennial (no matter how nebulous this generation’s borders) is not one of them. (And probably neither is the other guy the Times spoke to from Pure House, because he’s 34 and Jesus was dead by then.) All of which is to say that even though I find next to nothing about the concept of Millennials to be sacred, bastardizing the term to such an extent as to include a man old enough to be the literal father to this generation is sloppy and pandering. And we, uh, all know the Times is better than that, right? Right? Right?? Sure. Right.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

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