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Arts and Entertainment

Columnist Thinks Millennials Would Find Him Funny If They'd Been Spanked More

This is what happens when you type 'Millennials' into Shutterstock (Photo by El Nariz via Shutterstock)
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L.A. Times reporter Chris Erskine has been getting a lot of backlash over his editorial about a pledge all Millennials should take before they're allowed to consider themselves adults. He also seems to think that if this younger generation was just spanked more as children, they'd find him funny.Chris Erskine wrote an editorial in the Times on October 10 titled, "Millennials, you literally cannot call yourselves adults until you take this pledge." One of the items included not using the word "literally" incorrectly.

After joking around about being a Millennial himself—that's ages 18 to 34—the definitely-older-than-34 Erksine provided a list of things Millennials must agree to in order to pass onto adulthood. "Not that I recommend adulthood. But like broken hearts or hip replacements, we all eventually have one," he quipped.

His suggestions were at times common sense, but at others, well, pretty tone deaf. It began with, "I am entitled to nothing," and meandered through punctuality, not texting while driving or eating, voting, making eye contact, not taking one's self too seriously. (Never mind, of course, that some of these people on their phones during lunch may be reading newspaper articles and books, because it's 2015 and you can do that now.) And some didn't make a whole lot of sense, like:

"I will not shun comedians or college commencement speakers just because I don't agree with them."

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"I will not be smut."

"I will learn all my siblings' names (even the younger ones)."

"I will not spend an entire weekend exploring my own mouth with a coffee straw."

"If I hate my new job, I will not fake my own death. I will give a full two weeks' notice like grown-ups usually do."

There hasn't really been an epidemic of young people faking their own deaths to avoid work, nor forgetting their family member's names. Shunning comedians who say offensive things seems to be a personal choice that has very little to do with being an adult, and we're not sure what it means to explore one's mouth with a coffee straw.

Millennials took to their preferred domain, the Internet, to be sarcastic about his editorial. Many pointed out that things were different for today's youth, who are often plagued with high student loans, lower-paying jobs and the inability to afford a house, unlike the boomers who are so frustrated with them and their pesky smartphones.

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My favorite response was by Zack Parsons of The Bad Guys Win blog, in an essay titled, Millennials, You Cannot Toil For the Elder Until You Take This Pledge. It included such gems as:

"Just once I will break the bone if the elders desire my marrow."

"Just once, I will shackle myself to the anchor of the elders' yacht as it plunges into the fathomless deep. My life, if only to fasten their black ship to this place while they night swim."

"I will not protest the steel that grinds me nor the ceaseless nights of toil. I will be thankful for this job and for the Capital and for the elders who make it possible."

Erksine responded to this backlash in another editorial by suggesting it wouldn't have happened if these gosh darn whippersnappers—who he said were "frightfully smug and humorless over the whole thing"—just got spanked more as children.

He continued:

Look, I get it. We haven't handed the millennials a world in mint condition. No parents ever do. But we've spread democracy, reduced Communism, virtually eliminated the constant thread of nuclear elimination. Has any single one of you punks been drafted? The oceans are cleaner, the roads safer, the economy more diverse. And, oh yeah, it was boomers who invented your precious iPhones and personal computers.

As devoid of empathy for the younger generation as Erksine's "humorous" column is, it's still not as hard-hearted as L.A. Times columnist Meghan Daum's assertion that campus rape victims should stop focusing on what happened to them, and start thinking about the rape of women in other countries. "Enough of the Mattress Girl; what about the victims of Boko Haram?" was the suggested tweet for her column.