Elizabeth Nolan Brown Discusses Millennials on Fox Business


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: 

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  1. mostly just wanted to yell about how millennials are the worst.

    I thought Nicole was the worst?

  2. mostly just wanted to yell about how millennials are the worst.


    1. Yeah and Nicole isn’t a millennial…OR IS SHE?!?

      1. I AM!

      2. nicole has existed from the morning of the world and she shall exist until the last star falls from the night. Although she has taken the form of Nikki, she am all women as she is no woman and therefore she is…the worst. She shall wait for the unanimous decision of the Senate.

  3. You know who else thought that the youth could be used for their own ends?

    1. Obama?

      Whoever the hell queen it was in Eastern Europe who bathed in the blood of the young?

      1. Elizabeth Bathory apparently, and she was a Countess, you peasant scum.

    2. The Athenians?

    3. That pedophile Spartan Hoplite who was worried about his boy slave while the army froze to death in Xenophon’s Anabasis…

      Maybe he was a Theban…can’t remember.


  4. we listen to iPods! and drink Starbucks!

    This is way more true of Gen X then Gen Y.

    Gen Y have android phones with music apps and drink Monster.


    2. I didn’t realize I was so hipster.

      1. My exposure to Gen Y vs what everyone describes as hipsters really does not mesh.

        I mean I watch twitch and all the Gen Y guys on there are hicks, racist, sexist homophobes with horrible pedestrian taste in everything….

        They do have beards…more like duck dynasty beards then cosmo beards though.

        I think hipsters are a small subset of Gen Y and the only reason why everyone here equates hipsters with Gen Y is because you are all Gen X pro-hipster alternative cosmos living in gentrified urban centers (and should have moved to the suburbs like 15 years ago) and are shielded in little elitist cocoons from the rest of America.

        note: not picking on you in particular trshmnster the terrible…your post just got me thinking.

        1. I am not!

  5. They’re always going to misrepresent you and what you say. I mean, they plug in guests to represent certain prerehearsed positions they have, and it’s your job as a guest to fit yourself into that mold, isn’t it?

    If you want your authentic positions to be broadcast, you have to start your own show. …and even Matt has to deal with Kennedy.

    But I bet Independents guests feel like they have to conform to certain pre-fab molds, too. For all we know, John Bolton is just dying to come out as a pragmatist and express his deep dismay and sense of betrayal for being hoodwinked by the Bush Administration like the rest of us.

    But even if that were so, what good would having John Bolton on your show be if he’s not willing to dress up like Darth Bolton? So you had to play millenium basher for a day; at least you got a seat at the table.

    1. Better Star Wars Bolton than Game of Thrones Bolton.

      1. What’s wrong with wanting a quiet land and a peaceful people?

  6. Elizabeth Nolan Brown Discusses Millennials on Fox Business

    Better there than here. And Millennials is a meaningless construct like Asians or Women or Whites or Southerners, etc.

  7. This whole focus on millenials is just like when the older folks started grousing about “Generation X”. Fuck, people get annoying as shit as they get older. Now we have “get off my lawn” but amplified a thousand fold on Twitter and Facebook and the idiotic media.

    Luckily I have the mentality of a fifteen year old and will never do that.

    1. And you are why people hated Gen Xers.

      1. I thought I was the reason people hated people.

        1. When you get older, much of your hate comes from knowledge and experience, which is why really old people hate everyone.


      1. “I used to be with it, but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you…”

        1. Well, let’s be fair. Butt chugging is pretty weird.

        2. “What is it with you people? You’re touching each other’s nipples, putting your balls in each other’s mouths… I just don’t understand your generation.”

    3. “get off my lawn”

      Get off Paul’s mom!

      1. In due time.

  8. “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

    -Reword, rephrase, repeat for over two thousand years. Welcome to generational stereotyping.

    1. Why do so many people assume the world they were born into is the apex of humanity? That the past is useless moronity and the future is a frightening dystopia?

      1. It’s the difference between the known and unknown. We’re comfortable with the familiar, and scared (degrees vary) of alternatives. I argue it’s largely just people projecting their personal preferences onto reality as a whole.

      2. Your brain is conditioned to ignore the chaos that goes on around it and creates comforting norms. Those in power (whether in actual Power or have plenty of “voting” dollars) establish the popular norms. Eventually the popular norms change and you’re left behind. You are then reminded, even if just a slight bit, that the universe is chaos and you inevitably shake your fist at the chaotic sample bending the grass blades the wrong way on your lawn.

      3. Because the past is useless moronity and the future is a frightening dystopia.

      4. I probably consider the apex of humanity the generation of reconstruction. Does that make me a generationalist?

    2. This saying is often attibuted to Socrates, but people seem to have a bit of trouble finding the source.…..?id=398104

      Of course, it proves nothing, because if *youth* have been criticized from time immemorial for their bad behavior, their elders have been criticized from time immemorial for being too cynical about the youth.

      I bet that when people in the 400s were predicting the end of the Roman Empire, the wise guys of the age scoffed on the ground that “people in every generation say that Roman virtue has deteriorated, lol!”

      1. “Oh, Jeremiah, you prophets are always predicting that Israel will be conquered and enslaved!”

      2. It’s most likely attributed to Aristophanes, who was parodying Socrates in one of his plays.

        And the fact that ‘people in every generation say that Roman virtue has deteriorated’ shows the futility of such repeated statement. A broken clock is right twice a day, but that doesn’t make it functional.

        And the Byzantines continue to not appreciate this ‘end of the Roman Empire in the 400s’ bullshit.

        1. OK, as a Byzantine Catholic I am duly shamed.

          I meant “The end of the Western empire.”

          With the caveat that the Byzantines ruled parts of Italy, and Justinian, etc.

          1. And the critics of the fall of Roman virtue first deplored the fall of the Republic and its replacement by an Empire. Star Wars fans can appreciate this.

            1. This are complaints separate from generational arguments however. Augustus and Caesar may have achieved the dictatorship, but it was Old Man Sulla who set the precedent.

              My point is the constant repeat of the ‘disrespect of youths’ narrative throughout history tends to undermine any legitimate point it has in the context of a time period.

          2. And to be 100% fair, Americans were highly influenced by the legacy of the fall of the Western empire.

    3. Such heresy. I demand you ingest the modern equivalent of hemlock!

      /modern day Athenians – the left

  9. “mostly just wanted to yell about how millennials are the worst”

    I find that shocking and surprising?!

    Because no one else ever does that.

  10. Well, yes and no. You were on a business show. And the general consensus around milleials as employees (and yes, I’ve noticed it myself) is that, while they have the capacity to make terrific employees, they invariably prove “projects”.

    1. On the other hand, there also seems to be a “thing” going around of like, “we have to learn how to manage millennials.” At least some of the older people I know are starting to wonder if it’s…not their fault exactly, but if they need to change to accommodate something new.

      1. Well, yes, when you have a lot of employees who turn out to be projects, you probably do need to find some way of accomodating it.

        1. Well, yes, when you have a lot of employees who turn out to be projects, you probably do need to find some way of accomodating it.

          I accommodated my “project” millennial by firing his ass and hiring someone who wasn’t a project.

      2. “we have to learn how to manage millennials.”

        That was true of Gen X and boomers.

        With Gen X the media were calling us super predators and needed to be shut down and “youth culture” refereed to boomers who also needed to be controlled and contained.

        Basically about 100 years ago everyone stopped dying at age 35 and as they aged started to become like vampire wizards trying to manipulate the world that should have passed them by.

        One day you will be a dead end vampire wizard too and will try to stop youth from changing the world.

        1. Of course the Youth have been at every time in history at best morons and at worst genuinely murderous morons. It wasn’t old people hacking victims to death in the killing fields or sticking people in ovens in Poland. It was young people who honestly thought they were changing the world.

          1. Youth tend to also be useful idiots for old men’s wars.

          2. Youth use to be the world.

            After 40 a person is no longer what had existed in the world for 10s of thousands of years.

            Thus they are no longer human and are now Vampire Wizards.

        2. “One day you will be a dead end vampire wizard too and will try to stop youth from changing the world.”

          I’m late to this thread, but this made me laugh. Thanks

      3. How about this Niki,

        show the fuck up to work
        dress like an adult
        shut the fuck and listen once in a while
        stop whining when someone doesn’t like what you do

        Am I fit to manage millenials?

        1. Am I fit to manage millenials?

          No, John. And you definitely need sensitivity training to learn how to stop microaggessing and check your privilege.

        2. I don’t know, I think it’s 99% BS, but there seem to be a lot of issues with motivation. I see it at work for sure. Not among all millennials by a long shot. And it’s probably just that the people involved are inherently slackers. But their bosses are blaming themselves for not being motivational enough or something.

          1. I’ll motivate them even if it short dicks every cannibal on the Congo. Probably not the style most managers had in mind, but I’d pay money to see some of the whinier youngens have to deal with somebody like that.

          2. I usually don’t care, but the Honda Civic commercial that is so transparently pandering at this cohort makes me want to fire the chick doing her happy dance at work. We all fuck around at work, but that particular moment gets under my skin. GET BACK TO WORK.

            And yeah, it’s a commercial, I get it, but it’s at least reflecting something of the real world.

    2. My observation of millenials in the workplace is that some are just fine, but a seemingly disproportionate number are just . . . immature, for lack of a better word.

      These have the basic world-view of a teenager, in many ways. They don’t do well with structure (as in, get here on time, do what you’re told), they don’t work well with others, they don’t take criticism well, they are amazingly self-absorbed. They are kind of arrested development cases, in many ways, nicely summed up in the phrase “Don’t judge me.”

      Worse than previous generations? Who can say, but it looks that way to me.

      1. My experience has been that they have a greater sense of entitlement and are less willing to try and impress the higher ups. Not to go all old man on ya, but there was no way 23 year old me was bringing a walkman into the office to listen to while I worked. I knew that even if I could be productive and listen to my tunes, the boss wouldn’t buy it.

        1. But, don’t both your points fit my “project” model?

        2. But, I will note that they seem more receptive to peer approval than management approval.

          1. If they are the lone “project” in a sea of functioning adults, this might help.

            When there’s a bunch of them sitting around reinforcing each other’s dysfunctions, not so much.


    1. You people are the worst

      1. She’s waiting for you to critique what she wore.

        1. Dude, I’m syndicated, not freelance.

  12. So when is Kennedy going to take those two fox business ass wipes to the the shed out back?

    Also Sandra Smith is like 33 (according to Wikipedia)….she is a god damn millennial.

    1. Sandra just got bitchy because a better looking blond was stealing her spotlight.

      1. a YOUNGER better looking blond was stealing her spotlight.

    2. Weird when you put it that way. My sister is 33 and while she is only 6 years older, she seems like a generation away from me.

    3. Elizabeth Nolan Brown is a lot smarter, more interesting and better looking than Kennedy. Lets have less Kennedy and a lot more ENB.

      1. With all due respect – Oh, Lord, no!

        1. And I believe you’re wrong on all three counts.

          1. Kennedy goes on Reason and boldly says that atheism is a religion (well, technically, a coalition of religions, like theism, but she’s willing to get it out there).

            ENB talks about the awesomeness of abortion.


            1. You don’t know what religion means. Discuss that.

              1. I said atheism was a coalition of religions, you know, like Marxism, Objectivism, whatever it is that Dawkins believes, libertarian atheism, etc.

            2. Discuss what, exactly? You are pro-life. We know that. ENB is not. We know that too.

            3. Fair enough. I just think she is hot.

              1. If Mrs. Montgomery were single, I’d comment on *her* hotness.

      2. Yes (well maybe…not really what i was talking about) but The Kennedy has the power to beat the shit out of Fox Business news idiots.

  13. Wow the people in that segment were kind of you know assholes.

  14. Elizabeth, I agree with your article. Speak up more. You needed to be more like Irwin Schiff. He doesn’t let folks get away with incorrectly characterizing his views.

    1. Really late to these comments (SORRY WARTY) but yeah… the few times I’ve done TV, I watch it afterward like, what, am I waiting to be called on? I need to get used to not waiting until someone else is done talking to talk, because they will just keep talking until interrupted… (Also it’s really weird because you can’t see anyone you’re talking to. You just stare at a camera screen in weird room.)

  15. Just wanted to chime in, Mrs. Brown.

    It doesn’t matter what you wrote, or what you say. All that matters is what they can blast through the television as fast and hard as possible. they set up that charade in an effort to paint you as a hateful bitch, and did a damn fine job of it.

    So, yes, you can tell US how much they were wrong. We already knew that, and we’ll know better when they do it in the future. But what you say here isn’t going to affect any of those millions of people who watched them make a fool of you on national television.

    I’m sorry, Mrs. Brown. They’re worthless parasites sucking the lifeblood from the knowledgeable and worthwhile people such as yourself.

  16. One of the guys there mocked liberal arts degrees, while at the same time the very host of the show was a prime exemplar as to how a liberal arts degree could improve her reading comprehension skills. I’m so tired of liberal arts degrees getting bashed, primarily because I’m earning a masters in a liberal arts field. I’m well aware of the risks involved with this, but pretentious people like the two men on the show really act like the younger generation is their slave. According to them, we have to do this and that for the sake of country.

    If we’re gonna get on the topic of useless degrees, let’s talk about the real useless degrees: any business degree that is not in Accounting or Financing is almost certainly useless, with a few exceptions.

    Also, I would like to ask the man on that show, what the hell is wrong with importing engineers, etc. from other countries? Is it bad because they are foreign? If I’m not mistaken, that sounds like a very nativist statement coming from the man.

    Ms. Brown, you have my props for maintaining your composure. I certainly would have lost my temper if I were in your shoes.

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