>Millennials, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed true believers who’d taken school field trips to visit the Amistad, voted for Obama, and repeated plucky slogans about the power of higher education and world peace didn’t yet have the tools or tragedies to question their precooked narrative.

Excuse me? Maybe you didn't, maybe most didn't, but I wasn't the only 6th grader reading DailyKos, and I know that for a fact.

How old are you? You seem to swallow whole every lie Gen Z tells about themselves. "Anti-perfection, authentic" - are you serious? You can't be. This is the generation that won't leave the house because they aren't "that girl." It seems like your entire knowledge of Gen-Z comes from their curated, filtered appearances on apps of their choosing. You have no idea how these people really live - none.

There was and is a far more unmoored subculture among millennials - not just "unmoored" in the simple sense you use the term, but truly free - unmoderated and uncensored- and it's been the driving force between every durable internet thing of the past 20 years. You, normie, just aren't a part of it. Sell your hotcakes to clueless boomers all you like, but don't for a second think you really know what's going on.

By the way, no, it really is the phones making Gen Z stupid. I know you'd prefer a grand historical narrative, but wake the fuck up. They can barely read and they can't do math. They lack a grasp on basic historical facts because brutal, untreated phone addiction has robbed them of any chance at an education. They believe anything because they are fucking stupid. If smartphones had existed then, boomers would have been at least this bad - probably worse.

Good luck with all your marketing crap. You can sell these morons anything, as long as they don't have to leave bed to get it. And try not to be too evil while you participate in their utter mental capture by brand and product. If it wasn't you doing it, it would probably be someone worse. You can tell yourself that anyway.

Expand full comment
Jan 12Liked by Isaac Simpson

They're not "anti-perfection"? Their female ideal is that weird Zendaya creature and Tess Holliday. They're ugly but at least they know it!

Expand full comment

Pops, the Gen-Z "celebrities" you see & hear are very far down the chain.. It's just ridiculous to be this out-of-touch & to still think you have a clue. I mean this article itself is literally an older millennial scrolling the front page of Tiktok for two hours and thinking he's tapped the mother vibe. Christ's sake. "Up next - Cronkite gets to the bottom of this whole 'hippie' thing."

You older folks really want to believe that Gen-Z lives in some kind of above-it, mentally-serene, body-positive parallel paradise dimension. They don't. They take antidepressants at drastically higher rates than previous generations, and no, it isn't "better self-care." Fewer of them are going to college. Fewer of them are in relationships. Fewer even have a single friend.

The kids are very much not ok. Remember how people used to talk about the ill effects of seeing nothing but shiny happy people on Facebook day after day after day? Remember that? Everyone tries to pretend that mystically stopped happening but it didn't. The kids are fucked up. "That girl, clean girl, coquette, girlboss, pink pilates princess." The fixations on shiny happy barbie perfection only get more acute.

But you older goofballs don't want to talk about reality. You don't want to deal with the fact that the digital environment your generation built, spread, and empowered is fucking people up bad. It's a literal state of denial with you. Also contributing, of course, is the fact that you're hopelessly internet-addicted yourselves - admitting they have a problem would mean admitting you have a problem. Hard thing to do, but grow a pair.

As old as you may be, though, pointing at "celebrities" in this day and age is still what they call a "big yikes."

Expand full comment

I´m 62 years old and pretty certain that young people are as stupid as I was.

Expand full comment

There is nothing worse about TikTok than watching for eg Big Bang Theory on Tv for 6 hours which is what millennials did. In fact TikTok is better. In any case, whether it’s damaging or not isn’t the point of the article—the undeniable truth is that it’s here and it’s here to stay

Expand full comment

o an new lang, thar is true,

an who ken it, ver ver few.

he not watched, but most read,

twisteth all tongue in his head.

Expand full comment

I’m so old that I thought a Kiwi Girl would be a girl selling shoe polish. But then I realized that you probably have to be my age to have worn shoes that required being polished. This younger generation Z is very concerned about recycling and the environment, I am too. But they will buy shoes that can’t be repaired so they just put them in the landfill and buy another pair that can’t be repaired. I still have a pair of Allen Edmonds shoes that I purchased 44 years ago. Told you I am old. Another thing it’s hard to find a good cobbler now days but I’m lucky because I know of 5. So if you’re one of us folks that know what a real leather shoe looks like and you ever need a cobbler just send me a message. Didn’t mean to get on a rant about shoes but the Kiwi girl just sent me down a rabbit hole. Oh I’m 76 years old.

Expand full comment

Not only are their plastic shoes and clothes unrepairable, they are a prime source of the microplastics they like so much to fret about...and so on for every issue.

As the full article says, "consciousness has entered the phone" - Gen Zers seem utterly shocked when you ask them to make a personal sacrifice in service of any of the beliefs they espouse. I don't think it's that they're particularly selfish - I think they've genuinely forgotten that they have a physical body, and that their actions affect the world around them. Not, obviously, "forgotten" in the strict sense, but in the sense that their own physical presence in the world & their physical effect thereon is genuinely not something they consider when forming their opinions.

Plus they've learned an excellent responsibility-evading pivot by heart: "Personal action is pointless because corporations are the source of all evil." Recall, always, how much of their big talk is issued while literally in a bed, under blankets, warm, fed, and immobile.

If any of them remember their now so strongly held opinions on Hamas & Israel a year out from here, you can color me shocked, because that would be a first. What should disgust people more than the opinions themselves is the utter flippancy and frequency with which they are adopted and shed.

Expand full comment

c.f. Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette . . . but even more so this:


Expand full comment

Judging by the comments so far you have hit a nerve of some kind.

My immediate reaction to your American Mind piece was that if "idpolshevik" can be a thing then so can "idgenshevik" - the notion that the cohort you happen to have been born in defines you. Or more likely the cohort you turned fifteen or twenty in.

I was born in 1961 which makes me a boomer for sure ("pops" as 'spiky' put it, which was funny). As (s)he also said, the chronological facts of our existence don't define us. Sure, waking up in a world where every dumbass gazes 24/7 at a black mirror is disquieting. Only drug dealers and real estate leeches used mobile phones in the early days. But then I took a holiday in South Africa where the trad wired networks were useless so EVERYONE had a cellphone. These days in most of Africa only the affluent minority have them, everyone else hires ten minutes on someone else's 'phone and actually use it to talk to people with. Imagine that.

Like many people in their 60s I've lived in a variety of places, absorbed stuff from just about everywhere, and I have never watched Star Wars. I didn't live in a properly heated house until I was about 22 and was about the same age before I had sufficient income to choose my own clothes. I would prefer to listen to 100 gecs than The Doors, and have never owned an Eagles album. I resent being stereotyped by people one-third my age.

The whole generational thing (as 'Spiky' hints also) is market niche bullshit.

Expand full comment

Regarding Gen Z - what happens next?

P.s. I liked your article on 'Vibecamp' as well. Sounds like the perfect distillation of Californian therapy speak, consumerism, Godlessness and autism.

Expand full comment

Yes, it was pretty hilarious. Quick anecdote:

I currently live in a southern English town of about 25,000 population. We had never even visited the place when we moved here. The house prices were that little bit lower than the area we both knew, and not full of the people who tormented us as young 'uns. Over time the Volvos proliferated. The rail links improved and there came a steady influx of Londoners selling their boxy Capital City houses to buy mansion-sized sprawling detached houses, or twee cottages (and of course a Tesla). No one born here can afford to live here anymore.

The new townies brought with them that vicious back-stabbing 'in this house we care' faux progressivism, and literary festivals (With. Readings!), shops selling useless bric a brac and no vulgar takeway food places thanks all the same. They and their braying friends down for the weekend rejoice in taking very loudly, simian laughter every few seconds to demonstrate how fucking fantastic everything is, while getting in everybody's way and waiting to take offence about something, anything, on a hair trigger.

I will shortly therefore be moving as far away as I can to what was a northern coal mining village, Brexiteer no-nonsense people who actually say what they're thinking. That makes it simplicity itself to work out which psycho bastards to avoid. It's a little Orwellian perhaps but decades of this drip drip drip embourgeoisement is way worse (tiny violin) than your 24 hours at the GonkFest or whatever it was called. Well done on fleeing quickly.

Expand full comment

So Gonzo.

Expand full comment