I had the opportunity to go on Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo this morning and discuss millennials, hipsters, and entrepreneurs—three subjects I covered in a piece for Reason's October issue titled "Rise of the Hipster Capitalists". It was fun and mildly infuriating. Host Sandra Smith quoted me as saying that millennials are "doomed"; when I protested that doomed was my characterization of what other people say about millennials, not personal analysis, Smith told me I "should look back at my piece." Okay, fine. Here's the paragraph in question:
Popular wisdom about millennials seems to come in two varieties: They are either an entitled, narcissistic group of basement-dwellers, gazing at their selfies while the world burns, or they're a perfectly upstanding young cohort who got a raw deal from the recession economy. Millennials make awful employees because their boomer parents gave them too many soccer trophies; or maybe they can't find jobs because those same boomer parents aren't exiting the workforce. The one thing everyone can agree on is that millennials are probably screwed.
I think it's pretty clear that everything following from that first line is meant as an example of "popular wisdom" about millennials, not my own opinion. And in case there's any doubt, I spend the rest of the piece (the above is the opening paragraph) making a case for the exact opposite. But after telling me to re-read my own work, Smith went on to "quote" me, context-free, saying millennials make awful employees because their parents gave them too many trophies. Then she cut to the other guests before I could respond.
The other guests, Newedge Director of Market Strategy Robbert van Batenburg and Value Advisory Founder Howard Rosencrans, mostly just wanted to yell about how millennials are the worst. They and Smith all seemed to have outsourced their opinions to the Generic Millennial Crit playbook—we listen to iPods! and drink Starbucks! and are lazy, and entitled, and "less educated" (demonstrably untrue), and… well, see for yourself: