It’s official. In an unprecedented scientific study that is unprecedented, leading scientists gathered in Zurich or Geneva but probably Zurich (or was it Antwerp?) to “dialogue” about the deleterious effects upon the world in general by all known generations of human beings. Factors gauged by the Department of Raffish Knowledge Forensics and Classified Egregiousness included hypocrisy, narcissism, selfishness, deceit, entitlement, elitism, exploitation, and pretty much anything else that screws things up: for everybody else; for this extremely rare life-sustaining planet; and for the rapidly decreasing number of other species with whom we share it.
Spearheading the unprecedented academic and sociopolitical event was Dr. Ima Fraud, PhD, whose fieldwork has encompassed the highest courts and lowest dollar stores the world around, and whose catchphrase, “Zis fish shtinks from ze head to ze tail,” has become a popular albeit oft-misspelled t-shirt slogan in exotic tourist traps. Joining Dr. Fraud were up to 100 scholars of great renown or possibly no renown, plus a few embarrassing movie actors who relentlessly play at being political theorists but hey at least they bring the press. The unprecedented study was Peer-reviewed (by Jeff Peer, who works at the Taco Bell on Sepulveda and claims he “knows people”) and lasted five days or five years depending whom you ask, seeking to determine who has done/is still doing the most damage to the world, yielding unprecedented results.
Not surprisingly, Generation X walked away clean, as this “little generation who could” (born 1965–1980) have, simply put, never prided themselves on being obnoxious assholes (unless you count that guy who calls himself a “genius”; no, the other one). A spokesperson for Gen X, who chose to remain anonymous because, duh, not a narcissist, released the following one-word official statement — “Cool.” — then went about his business without destroying others’ lives and livelihoods. (“Why would we want to do that?” he added sardonically, revealing acute skills of observation as he glimpsed me typing this. “Oh, and tell the pathetic Millennials to stop stealing from us. They can have stupid Nirvana. We get Talking Heads.”)
Similarly, the peculiarly named Silent Generation skated on glad tidings as a largely no-bullshit wave (born 1928 to 1945), and their club includes such stalwarts as Julie Andrews, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Gordon “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” Lightfoot, Quincy Jones, Paul Williams, Bruce Lee, all of the Beatles, Yoko Ono, James Earl Jones, Rita Moreno, and the real Captain Kirk and Mister Spock. Oh, and Morgan Freeman. Who doesn’t like Morgan Freeman? Exactly.
Prior to this came the so-called Greatest Generation (1901–1927), many of whose members challenge the definition of “Great,” apart from James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr., of course, who’s been proving his Greatness and love for humankind pretty much nonstop since 1924, bless him. (I also rather liked Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, plus the Greatest Generation gave us comic books!) Haughty name, but generally benign group the Greatest, relative to global devastation.
“Zhees generations vere never ze problem!” exclaims Dr. Fraud via a Zoom conference I somehow lost so I’m kind of making this up. “Ze Greatest, ze Silent, ze Gen X, all non-shtinkers! Zhey earnt zheir keep, und zhey tidied up after zhemselves!”
To free myself from writing excessive dialect cribbed from Mel Brooks (also one of the Greatest!), I suggest that Dr. Fraud considers most prior generations stretching back to the Paleolithic era to be “not zo bad,” with rare exceptions usually involving Huns. (“Shtill novere near as shtinky as ze Boom-Booms,” Dr. Fraud may have added, probably without really thinking it through.)
So in case you’re slow or in serious denial, the Baby Boomers (hereafter, “Boomers”) and the Millennials were found to be the Worst Generations Ever. (And what fun to be sandwiched in between them. Whee.) Despite the latter group mostly being the children of the former group, both generations have taken swaggering pride in behaving like children — which really isn’t a good thing if you’re an adult. Texts cited in the unprecedented study included Ishmael by Daniel Quinn (notably of the Silent Generation), with its philosophy of “Takers” and “Leavers,” noting that most Boomers and Millennials are hardcore Takers. (Other terms less likely to be reprinted in polite publications were also bandied about.) In an unorthodox move, pop songs were also analyzed, with “Uncorrected Personality Traits,” by Robyn Hitchcock (a Boomer; ooh, sweet irony) proving uniquely illustrative. (Look it up. Play it loud.)
Never content with their parents’ world that was largely functional, Boomers became the Sex, Drugs, & Rock’n’Roll generation, which resulted in considerable success in the arts, but left pretty much everything to be desired in terms of interpersonal relations. Also known as the “Me Generation” for obvious reasons which I shall state here anyway, Boomers somehow decided that the Universe embraced them and them alone, making self-gratification their highest ideal. Boomers defined narcissism, and still do. Behind glass, Boomers can be amusing, as they really are completely oblivious to their own farcical behavior (for example, they’ve enthusiastically taken to social media, with its “HEY! GET A LOAD OF MEEEEE!!!” approach to discourse). In person, however, Boomers are only to be approached with utmost caution. Even with their second foot hovering mercifully over the grave, Boomers surviving to this day remain obsessed with usurping anything and everything worth usurping. To paraphrase one of their most revered psalms of cultural appropriation: They can’t get no satisfaction. Not OK, Boomer!
A toxic hybrid of the Boomers’ sham idealism plus a new and pernicious strain of ideological fascism absolutely intolerant of any and all views apart from their own (thus their plague of “Cancel Culture”), Millennials are simultaneously coddled and despised by their suitably guilt-ravaged Boomer parents, leading to Millennials’ apparently lifelong infantilism and self-worship. (Meanwhile, stuck between these unfortunate groups, comparatively healthy, resourceful, and well-adjusted Gen X are curiously omitted from every article and discussion.) Millennials are the generation that cannot abide opposing views without finger-pointing and screeching inaccurate yet damning slurs (as an astute Gen-X friend of mine — is there any other kind? — once said: “Millennials don’t discuss; they dictate”). Forever to be known as the generation with a phone shoved into their ass pocket (a phone notably and peculiarly dreaded for actual verbal communication, which includes listening), Millennials have been determined to be incapable of changing anything, as they’re hell-bent on changing everything. Their one contribution to society is keeping the video-game industry in clover.
So that’s that.
Rarely content to leave science to scientists, I decided to expand this article beyond the range of the unprecedented study by D.o.R.K.F.a.C.E., and to interview specimens of the two foulest generations — not really in hopes of gaining an enhanced perspective, but just to see if anybody will take this sample of incisive journalism seriously, and maybe pay me for it. As it turns out, all Boomers are named either Bob or Susan, whereas all Millennials are named either Tyler or Madison. Thus, I spoke with one of each.
Susan the Boomer seems to speak a language akin to English, but it’s an English that today’s hipsters would call “cringe” (itself not an “adjective” with which I am comfortable). Asked about the unprecedented study’s findings regarding her insensitive, avaricious age group and the damage they continue to inflict, Susan defaulted to words such as “energy” and “spirituality,” prefacing each phrase with a strident, “You know what?” She talked like that so much that I lost my lunch, put down the phone, took a shower, went to get another lunch, and came back to find her still talking. Four hours of this, plus many references to crystals and dolphins, and I hung up the phone while she was still talking. She may still be talking.
Bob the Boomer also proved spectacularly unhelpful, as he only answered my reasonably intelligent questions with questions of his own, such as, “Got any pot?” and, “Got any daughters?” Eventually he did seem to attempt to tell me “how things really are,” but an astounding flatulence ensued, and again, I hung up.
Madison the Millennial texted the following, verbatim: “I’m literally excited to parcipitate (sic), but as an introvert with anxiety I literally cannot answer the phone, or literally do anything, except literally get another tattoo.” (I literally did not text her back. Representatives stated that a few days later, possibly due to her combined pharmaceutical intake amassing more than 7,500 potentially lethal disclaimers, she succumbed to spontaneous human combustion when somebody else literally made her phone literally ring. More’s literally the pity.)
Tyler the Millennial merely sent me a photo of himself, which is exactly the same as every Millennial guy’s look: same high-and-tight haircut, same pretentious beard, same nerd glasses, same blank-yet-indignant expression. On his resume it says he self-identifies as one-third bison, one-quarter snail, and half-extraterrestrial. (Of course it doesn’t add up. My follow-up of “What kind of extraterrestrial?” went unanswered.)
Since rampant idiocy appears to be skipping a generation (e.g. mine), I’d extrapolate to say there’s hope for at least the latter half of Generation Z (those further removed from Millennials); they’re thus far untried, but some Zoomers evince a spirit of good sense and responsibility (and distaste for shittiness) that this Gen-Xer — besieged from both sides whilst enduring many outrageously unjust years — finds both familiar and inspiring. When the Boomers’ other foot finally drops into that hungry grave, and the Millennials have no choice but to commit to the “adulting” they so despise (literally!), and with Zoomers actually showing up to do some heavy lifting, perhaps we Gen-Xers can squeeze in a few happy years, without having to clean up everyone else’s messes. Cool.
Oh, and I said something about “ranking” the Worst Generations Ever, didn’t I? That was clickbait. Ranking sucks. For Boomers and Millennials, we’ll call it a draw.
Happy April Fools’ Day, 2023!