Generation Y Has No Culture

Written by Point Lessbanter

One subject that I have always been interested in is the cultural impact of generations. Each generation brings different changes to the cultural landscape and leaves a lasting impact. Well… except for generation Y or “generation whine” as some cynical experts call it.

First let me define what generation Y is. Gen Y is basically includes anyone that was born after 1981. The previous generation, Gen X, is anyone that graduated high school in the 1980s. (Which puts me in this odd category because I don’t fall into either group. This allows me to criticize both without having to take sides, which is a nice bonus.)

Most of the criticisms of Gen Y are that they are distracted (always multitasking but never doing a good job), feel a sense of entitlement, they are the most marketed to generation ever (not only do they accept it, they relish in it), have chosen to date or have sex with me (which says something about their taste), and there is a gaping void when it comes to cultural contributions. I feel the first couple of points can be debated because they always seem like a typical swipe at younger generation that happens every few years. The one I want to look at is the cultural contributions because you can see some real issues there.


Generation X: Grunge, Hip-hop, and Indie Rock
There really is no debate about the lasting contributions of the music of this era. Although everyone want to distance themselves from Vanilla Ice, which everyone in generation x agrees about.

Generation Y: Pop punk?

(Fall Out Boy doesn’t make me want to beat it… )

Gen Y’s music can be defined as wholly unoriginal and the band Fall Out Boy personifies it. They aren’t original enough to come up with their own video concepts; they have to adapt stuff that was created by the generation before them. Their pop music is prepackaged Disney stars that are created by a massive marketing machine. There is no real movement here, mostly co-opting the culture of the previous two generations.


reality bites

Generation X: Kevin Smith, Reality Bites, Singles
Gen X had movies and filmmakers that helped define a generation. We are all lazy, mistrusting, weed smoking, coffee swilling, cynical smart asses… I have come to accept that personification. Oh and we all want to bang a young Wynonna Rider.

Generation Y: All those crappy comedy parody films
The comedies that are created for teens aren’t even original to come up with their own ideas. It is all prepackaged pop culture references jammed into 90 minutes. I’ll even give you Juno and you still just have a shit load of pop culture references and nothing that defines that generation.

Reality Television

Generation X: The Original Real World
We gave you a show that talked about race. That had Kevin Powell who is going on and running for Congress. Musicians who actually put out music and got signed by labels like Becky, Heather B, and Andre. Plus a founder of Gay Entertainment television. And who can forget Eric Neiss who brought us… um… uh… excellent aerobics shows?

the grind

Generation Y: The Hills and the Real World Hollywood

It isn’t a good sign that even Gen Y’s reality television turned out to be scripted and fake. Plus when you look at the shift generationally from the first few Real World seasons to the last few where the shows just include attention whores and people that want to be famous for being famous… Well it isn’t a good sign.

real world stripper

Although it did bring us the greatest episode of the Real World ever that included court, strip clubs, a guy going to alcohol rehabilitation, threats to roommates, some of the most pointless conversation ever, and possibly cemented this cast as the one I have the most disdain for ever. So I guess I need to give them points for that.

Where does this place Gen Y? Are they just going to be known for the mash-up? Combining the cultural production of others into their own products?

Has Gen Y produced anything of value?

This is going up at

59 thoughts on “Generation Y Has No Culture

  1. SandraL

    Interesting analysis, though even as an older-model Gen-X’er (graduated highschool in ’83), I feel the need to defend Gen Y against some of the worst criticisms. While I appreciate the humor in the post, I’d point out that in some cases here you’re confusing the “culture” manufactured for a generation with the culture created by the generation. Who created “our” movies (well, besides Kevin Smith) and TV? Mostly a lot of baby-boomers. Who creates most of the movies and TV targeted at Gen-Y? Mostly Gen-X’ers…

    Music? Well, the mass-produced crap (and guess who the producers are?) is one thing, but Gen-Y has a thriving, internet-fueled indy-music scene which flies under the radar in part because it’s so diverse nobody can pin a label on it (no pun intended).

    I suspect we won’t really understand the legacy of Gen-Y until they’re old enough to create the sucky environment for Gen-Z (hmm – wonder what comes after Gen-Z – Gen-AA?).

  2. Melinda

    I’m a Gen-X mom to two Gen-Y teenagers and yep, undoubtedly this generation has NO culture. Oh, they think they do… but there’s no originality. Of course there isn’t – not when they believe they invented everything that already is. If they don’t remember seeing or hearing it before, it must be new. And how could they have seen or heard it before, when nothing existed before they did? Culture depends on understanding and having a sense of history but Gen-Y has none.

    I will say this, though – reality TV as a hallmark of Gen-X is somewhat insulting and moronic. The Real World??? Gimme a break. The scripting of so-called “reality” TV isn’t a Gen-Y phenomenon. Anyone remember the “Real World” guy with AIDS? Case closed.

  3. Javier

    Haha, no.
    Do try to remember that a lot of television, music, and movies are produced by generation-X FOR generation-Y. Also, as a gen-Y kid, I have never listened willingly to Fallout Boy. I have never willingly seen any of the idiot parody movies. I have never subjugated myself to the torture that is The Real World.

    As a serious post: it is limited and condescending.
    As a humorous post: funny. But still kind of condescending. Douche-baggy even.

    Also, people from your generation know how to use computers? Really?
    Regardless, I think I can safely say we outclass you in that respect.

    (( Not that I want to insult gen-X members, who sort of gave birth to us. And gen-X and gen-Y are dumb abbreviations. ))

  4. Damnatu

    So……Generation X is someone who graduated high school in 1980. so he was born in 1960. So he should have been around 35 in 1995 when Kevin Smith started making movies…..hmmmmm….yes…. you make a good point…..

  5. solaraddict

    “Today’s children are horrible – the end of the world is nigh!” -an inscription from ancient Egypt, ca 4500 BC.

    In other words, every generation sees the following ones as good-for-nothing.

  6. Tedel

    Has Gen Y produced anything of value?

    Quick answer: NO.

    As an ex-teacher, I know it. This generation Y has only followed the strong stereotypes that have been imposed on them. What a pity.

    They call themselves eclectic, I call them lost.

  7. badGuitarr

    as dumb as it gets. im Gen Y and guess what? i went to see “a midsummer nights dream” a few weeks ago. I listen to Kings of Leon, The strokes, the vines, stuff like that. I love the simpsons, gilmore girls (im not gay) and SVU. all these things contribute to a culture that you, being the arrogant and Generationless prick that you are, couldnt understand, simply becuase you are too busy attempting to be clever. It doesnt suit you. theres beauty, there rawness, theres freaky shit that no other generattion had. ill give it to you that we have none of the CLASSINESS that Gen X or babyboomers had, but we have culture nonetheless, and to nayone whos involved in it, its the best place to be, no matter what. Its impossible not to have culture, except maybe when you are a 20 something turd who thinks hes got a brain. Get a job, and leave my generation the fuck alone.

  8. Mike

    As a member of Generation Y, I must say that I’m embarrassed by the views and opinions expressed by badGuitarr. With all due respect, and in my opinion, the examples of “culture” which he cited, really blow (with the exception of Shakespeare, but I think that was just his attempt to appear “intellectual”). There is much better music out there. And I would say that this is actually NOT the best place to be. In almost every way, the cultures of past generations were superior to what we have now (art, music, political activism, etc).

  9. badGuitarr

    I admit, what i said was stupid. I just like the culture that we do have (primitive though it is by your standards) and yeah, i have seen the ballet version of a midsummer nights dream (pucks dancing was awesome, played by a chinese guy). Admittedly, past generations have had geniuses like Karl Marx, Che Guevara, Michael Dransfield etc. how old are you though? im only 14, so to me, and to a lot of the people i hang out with (and yes, i am in gifted and talented programs so it could be said im smart. someones arrogant) who are actually usually pretty intelligent, find that this generation is a fantastic time and place to exist in. So admittedly, what i said was pretty stupid, but i think that to the younger people of this generation, it represents a hope for the future that every generation has had. babyboomers had the american dream and rocknroll, Gen X had the internet. and yeah, im out of steam. this is a stupid post for a stupid blog. but Gen Y has Banksy, thus, the Generation is saved.

  10. Sarah

    Written for humor, this is prety funny. I am technically a Gen-Y girl, and I feel almost a need to defend my generation. But why does there have to be a battle about the generations? Both Gen Y and Gen X have good points and flaws. I don’t think that the culture /produced/ by a generation is nearly as important as what culture individuals focus on and take in.

    Yeah, I watch some of the, quite frankly, shitty reality TV out there. And I can say with complete honesty, some of our music is crap. But should my entire generation be judged for that? I personally don’t think so, but hey, that could just be me.

    Love the post still, as humor, though. Because looking at it like this, we do have pretty bad culture produced in this generation.

  11. Sarah

    Oh, and I apologize for the language (however brief). I don’t know if that’s allowed on this site or not.

  12. Bujold

    This comment is going to be pretty much like most of the ones already on there, but saying generation Y has no culture because of those examples is like saying afro-american cuisine is bad because you hate fried chicken; It’s just a stereotype, there’s a lot more deep inside. For every Epic Movie, you’ve got a Pan’s Labyrinth. Speaking of which, parody movies became popular in the 80’s, but at least they were good back then. (Airplane, anyone? Or maybe Police Squad?)

    I’m pretty sure you could make a “Generation X has no culture” article too if you looked hard enough for bad examples.

    @solaraddict: A greek philosopher once said something similar too.

  13. MissLena

    Give the Gen Y-ers time. I can remember when people were saying Gen X-ers were useless, good for nothing, lazy twerps. Give the kids a break! They’ll prove themselves yet.

  14. penis penis penis

    I agree with kalabs. This is such an unfair article. not to mention lame as piss and poop combined.

  15. John M.

    Funny how all the Gen-Y peeps are freaking out considering that it’s the single most ageist generation I’ve ever encountered. Ageism sucks as bad as racism and your generation leads the pack in suck.

  16. Alex

    Bujold up there said: «For every Epic Movie, you’ve got a Pan’s Labyrinth.»

    Very true.

    The fact of the matter is that since nowadays virtually anybody wealthy enough can create music, movies, novels and any other form of culture by their own means and have it seen by a very broad audience (aka. the internet via youtube, myspace and such), you won’t be able to resume any generation that lives now or after by a selected more popular cultural statements. If there is a thing that defines this generation (something new), it’s probably the possibility of cultural involvement by anybody. (Which unfortunately leads to soulja boys but also to a very wide and expanding independent scene.)

    Also, bands like Arcade Fire, the white stripes, radiohead and Outkast have got high critical acclaim while managing to be commercially successful. Movies like Pan’s labyrinth as mentioned earlier, tv series like lost.

    You’ve just scratched the surface, kid.

  17. Eimear

    Ok. I’m 14.

    Yes, music nowadays is crap. yes, comedy parodies are rubbish.

    But DON’T be so patronizing as to label us all!

    I listen to music from the 60s and 70s… The Beatles, The Mamas and The Papas, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, etc etc….

    So we’re not all mindless, dumb people.

    I mean, you could stereotype any generation….

  18. fez

    oh my word you are a loser. Have anything better to do with your time? I suppose not since you’ve nothing to contribute other than an ignorant ‘whine’ about other people.

  19. lostinspace

    I m a gen Y young adult, and even being into mostly the “counterculture” of my generation I want to defend it though.. ;p
    I think that you’re mostly right.. we have no culture.. and what we do is mostly mimic older generations or what we see in television… but contrarily to gen X, or mostly even older generations we do not stuck to the contemporary. We like to explore older generations.. we might mimic gen x’s punks or goths or even hippies and norms of the 60’s 70’s and 80’s but its just because we want to learn more about them because some of their values may fit us.. we live in diversity and we are more free and openminded than you! Also…. Why pop punk???? We have some gen Y genres that r not yet mainstream:

    Gen Y MOVIES: MirrorMask, The matrix, V for Vendetta ……

    to conclude I think there is not a generation Y… I think that we are so diverse that u can not define a special characteristic of our generation!

  20. AJ

    I am a “GEN Y-er” and to be honest most of the people that fall into this catagory are no older than about age 28. They have yet to become the Corprate heads and producers of the coming age. We are still stuck on what Gen X-ers think and see the public wants!! When Gen Y comes of an age to truly “rule the world” then you will what we really add to the culture!

  21. Randy

    Here’s the sad truth, which is why Gen Y should be left alone to their own vices, when the average kids, born in ’85 is in his prime, mid-forties, much of the great jobs will be in east Asia. True, Gen X has been dealing with offshoring, during this decade, but this is completely something else. This is a loss of American wealth, as a society. Unfortunately, Gen Y will be experiencing it when much of Gen X will be kicking back and enjoying some of the fruits of their labor. So please, go easy on ’em because really, they have little to look forward to.

  22. Alfy

    I agree with Randy we the, gerneration Y, have very littel or nothing to look foward to. I turn on my television but immediately turn it off in disgust, I see in my future a country that has ignored its problems for years and is being run by self indulgent Gen Xer’s and Y’s. You may think that were whiners, but the truth is were being constanly kicked in the face by a media that is force feeding us a supposed of our generation (I.E. the Johnas Brothers, Britney Spears ect.) If one wants to find our cultures it is not on MTV or in the marketing rooms of businesses, it is being made in the basements and garages of angry teenagers like myself. Myspace is not our generation but a means for our generation. Our culture is created by us and for us. And if the technology is out there for us to get our ideals and music acrossed to kids like us. Damn right were going to use it!

  23. Annie

    You are kind of an idiot. It takes a quite a bit of effort to overlook the culture of Gen Y and all it does for you is make you look ignorant, old, and crotchety.

    I’m early Y and I can tell you I’ve never really listened to Fall Out Boy. The majority of people my age don’t. Maybe if you pulled your self-righteous head out of your ass every once and a while you’d notice that the music industry is in big trouble because older Y-ers don’t want to pay huge money for shitty and overly commercialized music anymore. Independent “don’t tell me what to do” music is quickly becoming the mainstream.

    As for movies, I’ve never seen one of those crappy parody films. Most of us also die a little inside every time we see a preview for one of them. And guess what — they’re marketed for single male idiots with a bro Peter Pan complex from both Gen X and Gen Y. Once again, indie films are growing in popularity, because we realize what is being marketed to us really sucks.

    Reality TV shows tend to be pretty bad; I’ll give you that. But before you claim the first few seasons of the The Real World all to yourself and act as if you’re so superior, keep in mind that we early Y-ers grew up watching it too. The boom of reality television is just genre abuse by the TV industry who is hoping to make a buck off of it. The same thing happened in the nineties; there was an explosion of stale and cheesy sitcoms until money couldn’t be made off of them anymore.

    Keep in mind a lot of the worst parts of Gen Y culture is owned by the youngest Y-ers. Yes, it’s shitty, but c’mon, they’re adolescents and they’ll grow out of it. Also keep in mind that we’ve been bombarded with endless marketing since infancy (more so than any other generation could imagine)…we didn’t ask for the “if your dad doesn’t take you to McDonalds it means he doesn’t love you” commercials when we were three. So please, lay off the unfounded Gen Y criticisms. It’s unoriginal.

  24. me

    The article’s original website was PointlessBanter, but I will indulge this with a comment nonetheless.

    I think that gen-Y are the jaded and numb legions that gen-X could only dream of becoming. They have been socially engineered to be “accepting” and “non-judgmental” while at the same time they have a natural sort of resiliency about them that gen-X has had to “moxy.” Whereas baby boomers punched people in the face and gen-X went around giving noogies, gen-Y people will go around just randomly groping their friends and whatnot with a total sense of non-chalance. Whereas baby boomers made sexual desire into a performance number that completely flew over your head without a strong imagination (Grease, West Side Story) and gen-X was genuinely obsessed with it’s raw physical expression (eg: American Pie, Dirty Dancing), gen-Y sees it as like water off a duck’s back (eg: American Beauty, Y Tu Mama Tambien). While STD rates are rising, the number of proclaimed virgins is also on the rise.

    Baby boomers took drugs either for spiritual awareness or to “party.” Gen-X’ers took drugs either as performance enhancement or as an escape. Gen-Y’ers are taking drugs simply because they can — after all they are so widely available, and many gen-y’ers are being forced to take psycho-tropic drugs when they are very young. Drug use among young Hollywood also seems to make the tabloid headlines. Young gen-Y’ers may feel that they are missing out on the fun and so experiment. However, gen-Y’ers will find it much more difficult to kick the habit than gen-X’ers.

    Gen-Y has “no culture” because their lives have been over-sanitized and hospital-cornered by gen-X, and baby boomers still can’t seem to let go of the pop-culture torch (VH1, re-hashes of comic book heroes). In addition, gen-Y’s impetus towards collectivism contributes to their confusion about individual values, and the concepts of personal rights and responsibilities. Whereas gen-X was the Radio Shack/MS-DOS/Linux “I can do it” generation, gen-Y seems more like the MySpace/Ajax/Knoppix “let’s make friends with someone who can help us” generation.

    Gen-Y had Mortal Kombat, Dead or Alive and Grand Theft Auto. What did gen-X have? Kung Fu Master, Super Mario Bros. and Outrun ! Baby Boomers at least had Death Race.

    Whereas baby boomers had hand-to-hand warriors (Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee, Gunsmoke, Magnum PI, Captain Kirk, Tom and Jerry), gen-X had precise, technological warriors (Mike Tyson, Zerocool from Hackers, Freddy and Jason, Street Fighter II, Gundam), gen-Y has metaphysical, psycho-kinetic warriors (Harry Potter, Neo from the Matrix, Devil May Cry, Tekken, Napoleon Dynamite)

    As for music, baby boomers had disco, Led Zepplin and the Cold Crush Brothers. Gen-X’ers created “alternative” forms of these as house/techno music, Nirvana and “conscious rap” which became gangsta rap and then “bling-bling.” Gen-Y, apparently, is more widely-encompassing, with the genres seeming to blur and meld in order to attract the largest possible audiences with artists like Rihanna, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Lil’ Wayne. Even older music industry veterans have come out of retirement to produce new work which sounds uncharacteristically mild and condescending.

    One thing I notice is that the cultural tolerance of gen-X (seeks justice, problem-solving and open dialog) is not shared by the either baby boomers (selfish, competitive and authoritative/obsequiate) or gen-Y (abhors preferrential treatment as well as signs of weakness, seeks to assimilate outsiders)

    1. Crystal

      Interesting comment! (“Gen-Y”, born in early ’86.) What do you mean by “gen-Y… abhors… signs of weakness”?

  25. Jeremy Bentham's Pickled Cock

    As someone born in 1988, but who officially seceded from Gen-Y four years ago (Myspace put me over the edge) I think I have a rather unique perspective.

    Gen-Y’s cultural mainstream is shit. More so than usual.

    This is an inevitable consequence of the advent of the internet, along with all the other wonderful bits of global mass media. The pervasive extent of mass communication causes a sort of “zeitgeist on steroids” (with apologies to Phil Shuman) to emerge as the inherently collectivist youth of a Civic generation find their trend toward cultural and ideological uniformity reinforced by the technology of the time.

    The net result of this is that you get a sort of melting pot that blends individual identities instead of ethnic identities. An ethnic melting pot advances humanity by destroying inane, morally random forms of collective identity. An individual melting pot retards (“retard” doesn’t just mean “mentally handicapped person”, you fucking cunt) human progress by destroying individuality, thereby removing that which gives us our intrinsic moral worth as thinking beings. It also shits all over any form of artistic expression, as artistic innovation is driven by unique, different approaches, which a homogenized generation cannot take.

    All is not lost however, for one of the truest laws of social dynamics holds true here as well; every change triggers a backlash.

    No zeitgeist can be truly all encompassing. Humanity, for the moment, is not made to order, and the skinny bits of the bell curve chafe under the imperium of the median.

    So they push back, and define themselves.

    The reason nobody talks about it is because it doesn’t fit the normal rebellion archetype, where cool kids flaunt their parents. Here, its geeks flaunting their peers.

    And that, ladies, gentlemen, and spambots, is the crux of the matter. The only cultural contributions of gen-y, outside of the liquefied shit spewed out by the mainstream, will come from nerds.

    In short, the geek shall inherit the Earth.

  26. ATL

    Gen Y can kiss my ass. Chronologically I’m in Gen Y but I don’t consider myself a part of them. I hate to admit it but Gen X and the boomers are better. Why? They have individuality. Gen Y is a bunch of zombies…oh, and the stereotype of them being open and tolerant and kissy poo is a bunch of hot air. Gen Y is more prone to being hostile towards LGBT people and racial minorities, for example. Here is a ‘scientific’ breakdown of them in general:

    40% – Perverts, hoes, and golddiggers
    40% – Nazis and Commie pinkos
    20% – encourages and pimps on the rest

    Live Free or Die!

  27. Jake

    Culture or not, it is the greed and reckless spending of Generation X that has led this country down the drain. Generation X was handed a troubled world by the greatest generation and the baby boomers then, instead of working to fix it, pursued the short-term gain, the high profit margin, the dollar above all else. Now look at where we are. Thanks a lot.

  28. Alexander

    As someone from “Generation Y,” I have to unfortunately agree. Not that I don’t appreciate some of our contributions to culture (I’m mostly hesitant to chastise “pop-punk”; Blink-182 still had the right attitude), and indeed, culture abounds in the underground. However, I am forced to recognize that for every legitimate Beatles fan I know, I can name ten people who have only heard the “Across the Universe” soundtrack. For every Gen-Y person who knows that Georgia is also a country, two more don’t know where Iraq is. And for every person from my generation who has attended a protest, thousands are proud of nothing more than joining a Facebook group for the cause, or signing an online petition.

    In short, what depresses me most about my generation is that I fear we will never be able to experience life with the vitality of our counterparts in the 60s and 70s. Events like Woodstock have been commodified and marketed toward my generation; crude perversions of priceless artifacts from our country’s history.

    I am depressed by stories of college life passed on to me by my parents. The mothers and fathers of my friends tell me all the grungy details of their summer roadtrips – makeshift preparations for the all-night, drunken soirées of college life. My own parents leave only vague hints, seeds for my imagination, watered with freshman keg parties.

    “It was a different time,” they tell me. I unfortunately couldn’t agree more.

    If Generation X is accusing us of being culture-less, conservative, passive consumerists, then I would like to formally point the finger back at them. Helicopter parents, increased law-enforcement, the middle class dream of Daly City-life. It’s all reminiscent of early post-war America, and this is where my hope lies.

    I say give Generation Y some time to mature. With the end of the war in Iraq, I believe we’ll seize the opportunity to recreate American culture. We’ll be beatniks before you know it. We’ll pave the path to a new appreciation for what life can really be outside the shackles of supply and demand.

    As Hunter S. Thompson said, “And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave… So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

  29. Chucko

    I’m 23 years old so I would be considered part of Generation Y. I just want to make sure people don’t generalize too much. Let’s not forget that not everyone from Generation Y fits your negative descriptions of it. Anyways, I’m just trying to live my life the best I can. I’m not too concerned about my generation having culture…I’m more concerned about getting a job, paying for school, my brother’s safety while he’s away at school in the city, my financial security, the well being of friends and family, being the best person I can be, etc. If people really think my generation is culture-less, lost, or what have you, it’s no skin off my nose. Doesn’t the previous Generations have some influence on the present/future generations? If generation Y is that bad, generation X has to take some of the blame for that.

  30. Tals.

    Well this is just a very pathetic attempt to be clever.
    You chose a very limited selection of examples. Not every Generation Y-er likes the music you posted. Not every Gen Y-er watches ‘The Real World’. In fact, i’ve never even heard of it.

    You obviously have a very narrow-minded view of the world- do you truly believe it is fair to stereotype a generation based on the years they were born?

    Rather than prove how ‘smart’ or ‘witty’ you are, you have just proved that you are a narrow-minded individual with nothing better to do than whinge about people younger than you.
    Nice one.

  31. Tals.

    Oh, and you do realise you raised us this way?

    So, technically, if we’re that bad- it’s all your fault.

  32. C.

    There are a few things I think some commenters here should understand. Generation X was originally named so because it was considered faceless, anonymous, cultureless. I think a lot of us felt that, too. There was a clear sense that everything had been done before, and a humility about that. The 90s very much had that feeling and that’s why retro culture was so big.

    To the Gen Y-er saying the difference between Gen X and Y is that X was so into the contemporary, and Y absorbs influences of the past and is therefore more open-minded: that is a complete misunderstanding of Gen X. Absorption of past influences was defining for Gen X, and something Gen Y inherited. Retro culture was such a HUGE part of Gen X youth culture! Unfortunately you’ve actually proven the opposite to what you are trying to claim and shown that Gen Y often has a poor understanding of prior generations, even the one that came directly before it.

    The name Gen Y is derivative of Gen X for a reason, it implies as much as Gen X lacked identity, Gen Y does moreso. And that there is nothing particularly new about this generation compared to its predecessor.

    Gen Xers ended up creating a lot of original, unique things because of this acceptance that the glory days of culture were over in a sense, but also by bucking against these overarching dinosaurs of boomer culture. I think culturally, Gen Y (this is not a comment on individuals and therefore IS a generalisation) has a certain hubris that gets in the way of this. They seem more sensitive about lacking a cultural identity and more desperate to claim there is one. I think a more honest approach would be to see there isn’t and continue the postmodernism of Gen X. Of course, this happens to a large extent, but I don’t think it happens enough. And I think a consciousness that their generation is about continuing something, rather than inventing or defining anything new would reflect an aware generation. Some individuals definitely have this, but I think a majority do not.

    It’s true Boomers and Gen X-ers are partly responsible for the flaws of Gen Y. Yes Gen X has marketed to Gen Y a lot of the stuff that is defining of Gen Y, but Gen Y has a responsibility to not lap it up so much. Their consumption of the output makes it fair for it to define them.

    Another thing people may not understand is that much of what defined Gen X are more counterculture things, but not everyone was into them at the time. Many people were more defined by 80s yuppie culture. At my (private, all girls, Australian) high school, most people were not familiar with Nirvana (until Kurt Cobain died) or Smashing Pumpkins or any other mainstream alternative music. It seems like by the time these people hit about 25, they became aware retroactively of the indie and alternative scenes and did crash courses to be up on Bjork, Sonic Youth etc. And I think many of these poseurs are the ones that directly marketed to Gen Y.

    I’m critical of much about Gen X, and I was even when much younger. But one thing I am critical of about Gen Y is that many seem to have accepted this commodified vision of counter-culture. When someone from Gen Y says – you don’t understand we have this thriving indie, anti-mainstream culture, that’s a little bit mindblowing because this culture is directly taken from both the good and the bad of Gen X. The good of today’s indie is a continuous line from that of Gen X’s counter-cultural output. The bad is a direct line from the member of Gen X that were outsiders to that and later tried to commodify it. I think Gen Y indie culture is a mix of these two things, often with an unfortunate arrogance that the better aspect is something they invented (it’s not something Gen X invented either but a. we are aware of that and b. there were more genuinely original genres of music, film etc created by Gen X).

    Another point, yes Gen X is responsible for a lot of today’s cultural output, but much of it is directly coming from Gen Y. Most popular and indie music is from Gen Y members. Something like Pitchfork is very Gen Y, most writers from there and most bands reviewed are Gen Y. And what Pitchfork represents is quite horrible, a modern ‘indie’ scene of many sound-a-like, po-faced bands that deeply overestimate their counter-culturalness.

    However I also know Gen Y has a lot of members that loathe things like Pitchfork. I really need to emphasise that a study/analysis/etc of what defines Gen Y is not saying everyone is like that. It is just a sociologically-minded look at what are the patterns of members and cultural output of this generation.

    Another thing that might not be known by Gen Y-ers is that most Gen-Xers rejected the classification of Gen X at the time and its derogatory implications. Not just rejected the criticisms of it but being called Gen X. And also not just the actual name ‘Generation X’ but the need to be defined as a generation at all. It’s only in retrospect many of us own it and again it’s because you can see it makes sense in a sociological way. Most considered being called Gen X-ers and what was often synonymous, ‘slackers’, pointless and insulting. Therefore I take my hat off to the Gen Y-ers who say ‘I agree Gen Y is shitty and I don’t consider myself part of it even if technically I am’. This is the right attitude.

    I think it’s interesting so many Gen Y-ers do accept the label though. I really think this is a sign of struggling for an identity and therefore somewhat desperately clutching at the idea of a label. There is something very symbolic to me in the fact Gen X was labelled so for its facelessness, and Gen Y implies more facelessness as well as derivativeness and yet the latter generation is MORE willing to accept an even more derogatory label. But the fact individuals will still reject it does prove just because Gen Y criticisms are fair to aim at the culture, does not mean it is fair to assume all members deserve them.

    I also feel for them that they have a lot more to fight off around them, they are intensively steeped in imagery and identity marketed to them and have to consciously reject a lot more. However, I do think this is their responsibility. Just like the it was the Boomers’ responsibility in the 60s to buck against all the bullshit of the past. If enough of them do this, it could become their cultural identity and a positive one at that. I’m not confident though that a majority of this generation would ever do that. However, I think the conscious people of this generation who see the bull of previous generations as well as their own will make a lot of worthwhile input into society and into history.

    But essentially – Gen Y-ers that get so sensitive about anyone criticising your culture, you really have to understand that does not mean there are not exceptions. I think anyone who really is an exception actually does recognise that the criticisms aimed at most in their generation ARE true. I think there is a danger in underselling what has gone wrong with this culture because I think much of this generation has been coddled. It is not good for society in general, nor for the actual members of this generation.

    Gen X were coddled too, but this generation more so. Many things continue to increase through time and through generations. That is why I am quite critical of Gen Y culture, because I see things I couldn’t stand in Gen X-ers magnified, and now with less criticism and opposition to them.

    I also feel for Gen Y growing up when everything has been done already. I already felt like that myself, but I can see how much more true that is for Gen Y. However, I think real progress will happen if the need for an identity derived from being young today is dropped, and the humility is gained to just be a person in a postmodern world, to not feel you HAVE to invent aspects of culture.

    Remember, it’s not about – you were born a certain year, therefore you’re an arsehole. It’s about where has society gone wrong that there are distinct patterns that are common to a lot of this generation that either weren’t seen before or have intensified largely. I think all generations are responsible to fix this. Some boomers need to coddle less and get out of their timewarp bubbles to actually try to understand psycho-social changes in more recent times, X-ers need to set a better example and Y-ers need to be conscious of what they need to fight against and that they need to deliberately pursue certain positive attributes like strength, maturity and depth. I think honestly if I were a Y-er, I’d be quite excited to read critiques, as itwould give me a framework to understand what I disliked about things around me. I am a very late Gen X-er (not Gen X by this article’s definition, but I just make it by most) and I actually do like critiques because I have been exposed to many of these patterns as they were emerging in people my age (late X) or a bit younger (early Y).

  33. Misrepresented

    So I’m a Gen Y. Yes the criticism on my generation is completely justified. However it seems that all of the analysis is simply surface value, shallow if you will. As represented here in this blog.

    You are entitled to believe what you will about my generation but your representation of us is only defined by a select few pop cultural references. Fall Out Boy does NOT define us. God the majority of my generation hates them. Their audience has fallen on the Generation Zers. As is typical with kids who are just coming into their own and do not fully understand music or culture, bands like Fall Out Boy appeals to them.

    Dig a little deeper into OUR generation not the pop cultural main stream and you might find something more appealing than this surface value crap that is, in my opinion, giving us all a bad name.

    Most of my generation, or at least the ones I associate with, have a strong desire to make a difference, to have our voices heard, to change the world for the better. I understand that pop culture easily defines a generation, however there is more to it than bubble gum music and TV. We are revolutionizing technology, redefining communication by uniting the world, taking a stand against issues and bureaucracy.

    The topics here are obviously directed towards our cultural impressions. However, you are only looking at a sub-division of culture (pop culture). Dig deeper, find our sub cultures and see how we have united. We are the most understanding, non-prejudice generation, yet. This is because so many different cultures are intertwining with US. This is all new, it takes time to iron out the kinks on that. Give us a few years. We will get there.

  34. yorgie

    Hi! Having already sent the submitter of this article a message about the (originally attempted) comic content of this piece, I was genuinely horrified by some of the (attempted) satire and incredible one-sidedness contained within. Please take a look at if you have the chance at my rebuttal to this article.

  35. Michael

    I’m sadly part of generation Y. I got to agree with this guy, our generation sucks. A bunch of pansy ass little bitches who thinks everything is entirely too hard and that they are owed the world. I was born in 1985 and the actions of my peers and the teen generation of late is flatly appaulling. I am a musician in my spare time and I really agree with the music angle. People have no allegiance to music anymore, they just follow whatever the herd does. My generation should be Generation sheep.

  36. meghan

    has generation y produced anything of value?

    yes, the only problem is you might be looking more at the surface of my generations, you all assume that we have no culture or we have no values for originality. however when you look at your own generations there was always something that was the same and all you did was add something extra. like an additional beat to a vanilla ice song.

    no fall out boy is not original and i will admit that, but neither is white snake and acdc everything sound they came up with was influenced by another musician or another song.

    saying generation Y is unoriginal and “lost” as one person commented up there is wrong, look at your own generations be for you critique mine.
    not all of us watch the kardasians or the real world. just like i’m sure not all of you are sitting at home watching wheel of fortune every night after work.

    my generation has alot to offer, but you all you seem to see is we are mass consumers. what you don’t see are the things we produce such as the new computer designs you see on the market are our ideas, there are kids half your age designing the tech of the future. those teens that sit in their rooms all days and write or sing or paint are the artist of the future so please do not condesend them they are simply working on the next mona lisa

  37. g

    Hello. What a colorful comment board. Well for what its worth Im a late x-er and I think you are all right, alright? In the meantime take a chill pill and relax. I’ll cook dinner. Lets see, ive got. Erm. Well ive got a few bananas, theyre fresh. Not straight off a tree but you know, actually theyre ripe. What else. I have some sliced lemons. Made some good tea with that. ALRIETY! Okay. so. debate. two legs good, four legs better.three.hmm….technological egos and muttered breaths . has anyone heard any goood farts recently? i wonder if this comment will be blocked as spam

  38. d

    Babyboomers created the problems we’re currently facing. Gen X were too “grunge” to care and continued the facilitation and creation of these problems. Now it’s fallen to Gen Y to fix everything. Right. And you wonder why we don’t give a crap because the world we had no hand in destroying is being thrust upon us to repair.

  39. Theresa89

    I am doing a cultural and literary book on my Gen-X people. The goal of the book is to update and revisit social, economic, 80s pop culture and political issues that affected Gen-X. The second goal is to show that we, Gen-X have evolved from the “Slacker” and irresponsible and selfish behavior when we were teenagers and young adults. Maybe, one day, Gen Y and Gen Z would read my book and understand, see our lives through our eyes. Our children would understand where their parents are coming from and also understand who they are as individuals.

    Although, Gen-Y have more tech savviness and knowledge, it is through the innovations and pioneering efforts of Gen-X and maybe, the Baby boomers that they have certain education, lifestyle and individuality. Which brings me to this saying,

    Although, we may not agree,
    You must respect me.
    I must respect you.
    We’ll always need each other which is, true.
    Remember, you are standing on my shoulders.
    Benefiting from my hard work and struggles.
    It’s not too much to ask of you.
    To be respectful to the people who came before you.

  40. dgrasso

    While I agree that Generation Y sucks and we really have contributed nothing I have to point out that most of us are still in our 20’s and younger. Also You are most certainly part of one of these two generations. They are not devided by graduation years they are divided by birth years.

  41. bob

    ever heard the term history repeating? if you really look at it almost everything could be described as a cultural reference paraphrase reaction to or appropreation of something that exsisted previously it’s just human nature

  42. Sabrinnadancer

    Gen X is anyone born 1969 to 1981. Anyone graduating high school in 1980 is definitely not Gen X. PS – most of us Gen X'ers graduated high school in the 1990's, not the 1980's. It is the smallest generation alive today. Gen X: Music: 1st Wave Heavy Metal, Glam Rock, 2nd Wave Punk, Grunge. Definitely not – Indie or Hip-Hop. I should know, I was there. I am Generation X. I lived this. PS – Vanilla Ice was an overnight, here today, gone tomorrow, flash-in-the-pan that we all remember the name of but don't ask whether it was music or movies, we honestly can't remember. The mainstream culture kept going while our generation completely ignored it. That's what we were (and are still) about. The mainstream tried to keep up but couldn't because a complete lack of respect for authority was the flavour of the day. Our music was angry because we felt duped by the 'system'. The workforce changed just as we were old enough to start thinking about it in high school. It went from choosing what you want to be and having a long-term employer to having many jobs, many careers and no job stability. We were the first generation to not receive free education and have student loans increase and increase until they were higher than a bank loan with a University degree being near useless. Where our parents, at our age could quit a job in the morning and have another that afternoon, jobs had become too scarce for that to ever be the case again. We felt lied to. This is why our clothing was alternative, our music was angry or all about having fun and living in the moment. If I was going to point out movies, I gotta say, Reality Bites? I'm pretty sure I've heard of it. Maybe I've seen it but certainly isn't a Gen X cult classic. Try, 'Lost Boys', 'The Breakfast Club', 'Heathers', 'Footloose', 'Pretty in Pink', 'Flashdance', 'Fame', 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show', 'Edward Scissorhands', 'The Decline of Western Civilization”, 'The Doors Movie', 'Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure', 'Meet the Feebles'…
    Ok, so what is “The Original Real World”? Sorry, but – never heard of it. TV was part of the system. It wasn't cool to watch it. When we left home we didn't buy tv's because we were Anti-TV. We would say things like, “I don't need to become another one of the brainwashed morons”, “TV is for losers who don't have a life” etc.

    I personally live in a household comprised of Gen Y and Gen X, 9 of us in total (6 gen Y's and 2 Gen X's). The problem I see with Gen Y is predominantly in the girls, not the guys. There's a sense of entitlement, they will argue and argue until they get their own way, they talk behind each others backs, form little gangs and bully one person in a manner than can only be called abusive harassment. If, dare I say it, they don't get what they want immediately, then any person who disagreed with them is suddenly evil. In short, they're spoiled little brats who think the world and everyone in it owes them. Some how, this is not true of Gen Y guys. Maybe it's having bad role models like Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Brittany Spears etc but something has gone wrong with the girls.

    Credit where credit is due for the guys though. Gen Y guys are one of the first generation of men to really take responsibility for themselves. They work, save, meet goals, clean up after themselves and don't wait to be asked to do their fair share at home. Young fathers are getting involved with their children's lives like no generation of men has done before them and they're doing this as men, not as little boys or pretend women.

    What went wrong with the girls? What went right with the guys? It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next decade.

  43. Ming Onmongo

    Dunno about “culture” (which is a pretty relative thing), but am struck by how much of both Gen-X and Gen-Y music has this kind of monotonous whiney drone about it. Although I suppose that shouldn't be surprising for apparently being the largest consumers of anti-depressants.

  44. Kelly-Ann

    How can we, gen Y, be discriminated if these types of media are targeted at our generation? Most of the producers/artists are infact gen X. So why blame us? You are feeding us the’crap’ with the spoon in your right hand. Don’t blame gen Y for our actions or beliefs, fair enough other aspects are in play. But personally I am sick and tired of being discriminated because of assumption of the generalisation of gen Y.

    I pushed my arse through high school
    I’m currently pushing through university
    I have a licence
    I’ve never been arrested
    Never smoked
    nor drank
    and I’m still 17.

    Stop generalising EVERYONE!

  45. Martin

    I´m part of Generation Y and we DO have culture. When we were children we got the music of the 80s and 90s; when we were teenagers the music of the 90s.

    Wew got the best toys, we are the computers’ and video games’ generation; that’s culture too.

    The movies and tv shows are part of culture too.

    I think the guy who wrote this doesn’t exactly know what period the Generation Y belongs to.

    Here is a full guide I found about generation y that specifies every and each detail of our generation.

  46. Heather

    This shows a clear hindsight bias. Comparing the best of Gen X to the Worst of Gen Y is patently unfair. We’ll see what of Gen Y is worthwhile when the next generation becomes the target of pop culture.

  47. Jerry Roth

    Generation Y has managed to show the 80s/MTV generation(late boomers early gen x) up on it’s shitty attitude and materialism. I’m a part of this generation and I hate it.

  48. TMF1977

    I stumbled on this post. Few things; first off, Gen X was born between 1965-1979. Google it, look it up. Most of Gen X graduated HS during the early to mid 90’s and were in their 20’s when 9/11 occurred.

    As far as culture is concerned, older Gen X’ers (1965-1972) were responsible for much of the music made during the 90’s: Trent Reznor, Damon Albarn, Jay Z, Sean Combs, Beck, Marilyn Manson, Kurt Cobain, TLC, EnVogue, Greenday, and Dave Grohl. All X’ers. So I would say this writer is on point in harping over lack of culture with Y Gen. X’ers at least led Grunge, invented Brit Pop, and re-created hip-hop. The Indie Rock explosion which occurred during last decade were all younger X’ers (Interpol, Strokes, White Stripes, and KOL).

    As far as some of the comments about Y Gen having a culture, culture is created, not borrowed. Some poster mentioned that Y Gen had the music from the 80’s and 90’s, but so far they really didn’t create anything or reinvent anything either. Grunge was created. Industrial was created. Brit Pop created. Nitendo was created. Aside from Facebook, I can’t think of anything that so far has been developed or created by scratch from Y Gen with the exception of Facebook.

  49. noongahhhh

    Can I just say that Gen Y ended in 94. It’s Gen i now.
    And to be completely fair, you named movies from Gen X that were good, then named movies from Gen Y that were bad. 2 words. Shawshank Redemption.
    Suck it bitches.

  50. SvetlanaBabe

    This article whitewashes the sheer stupidy of Gen Y which is mind-boggling!
    I deal with them on a daily basis.
    None of them has any clue about anything except programming their iPhones and new shiny gadgets.
    I asked a class of them to name any Prime Minister before John Howard…..blank stares….then suddenly one said
    The only thing they can talk about is what was on Foxtel the night before.
    Hideously stupid they are.

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