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Sociology

Me, Myself, and I Don’t Agree With Ben Widdicombe.

We live in a fantastic age for journalism. One where we can pick up fine letter print in the form of a tablet, read news off of cellular devices, and get up-to-date breaking news as irritating little buzzes on our hips. We live in an age of electronic communication, conjoined to the rest of the world through simple apps and complex wiring. But realize something: in a world dedicated to globalization not through colonization but through communication, anyone can hear what you say. Whether it be through clicks and views on a website or through a less ethical data leak; the Internet is more than just a helpful method of transporting data — its an easy way to see, read, hear, and even use data on the go.

So, when you’re a mutli-billion dollar industry dedicated to news, you think you’d know how that data sharing works. In order to get your news heard, your news has to be appropriate and interesting for an audience that would read it. So, with that, why would you put down an audience? Why would you make an article, which in a nutshell purposely blames and generalizes an entire age group of people — especially the up-and-coming generation that is more involved than generations before that? Why would you let someone who can not classify themselves as a ‘millennial’ write an article that basically sums up as “millennials are fucking weird?

An article titled “What Happens When Millennials Run the Workplace?” was posted by Ben Widdicombe on the New York Times not too long ago. I have a better title for you, Ben: “What Happens When A Member of Generation X Tries To Write About Millennials?”

Ben Widdicombe, a former gossip columnist turned fashion fanatic, thought he could do a piece of journalism that is nothing more that ageist click-bait. How do you get views better than irritating and completely pissing off a massive subsection of your viewing audience? From googling Ben Widdicombe, he’s mostly known for his now defunct gossiping column, “Gatecrasher”. With no Wikipedia page, no information worth two dimes on his IMDb page (thanks, he’s a “celebrity journalist” with no profile picture or trivia) or his Bloomberg executive profile, I was forced to use another website I can’t stand — Gawker — to find out just who the Hell this guy is.

I wanted to know how old he was. Thanks to a half-assed “interview” that was posted on Gawker on August 10th, 2004 (at 9:38am!), he was 33 years old during that year. Well, that was 12 years ago, so with some basic math (thanks Generation X and Baby Boomers for ruining our school system) we can say that Ben Widdicombe is at least 45 years old. So, with that in mind, let’s look up the definition of a “millennial”, shall we?

Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when the generation starts and ends; most researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. — Wikipedia for the word ‘Millennials’

“Oh, but Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source.” Well, let’s see what Time magazine has to say, then.

In May 2013, a Time magazine cover story identified Millennials as those born from 1980 or 1981 to 2000. In 2014, the Pew Research Center, an American think tank organization, defined “adult Millennials” as those who were 18 to 33 years old, born 1981–1996.

So, without a doubt, Ben Widdicombe the Gossip Queen is not, by any stretch, a millennial. He is therefore propagating a horrendous storyboard that every generation says about the next.

Look at what the Baby Boomers said about Generation X. Back when the men and women of Generation X (of which Ben Widdicombe is apart of) were just coming to age, the Baby Boomers labeled them as — guess what! — lazy, unmotivated, unable to get anything accomplished. The Baby Boomers saw them as drug addicts — pot heads and crack addicts that would be the end for society’s progress. And that is the kind of mindset that Generation X has towards the Millennials!

It’s a nonstop circle-jerk of “look at how bad our kids our, god damn what could have possibly gone wrong?” that we have within our society. When something goes wrong with the kid, it’s usually the parent’s fault. But every parent — each generation — tends to blame the CHILD. If you ask me, Generation X didn’t turn out to be lazy, unmotivated, or unable to get anything accomplished. So why must we continue to say the same things about the Millennials?

So, after reading the article which propagates an over-generalization about how immature the rising workforce generation is, I looked into him a little bit more. Now, this is where I get really hypocritical. I’m not known, I’m not a big time journalist. I’ve never claimed to be. I’m not big on social media, nor do I really want to be. But, I don’t write articles for a living. It’s a hobby of mine. So, for a guy whose job it is to write and publish articles for a living…why does Ben Widdicombe have barely over 4,000 followers with an average of 2-3 likes (with most of his tweets lucky to get ONE)? And better yet, why can’t he take criticism of his article without retweeting stuff that goes against his cause?

I’m self employed at the moment. I sell books, and I run my own “business” nothing like these random people at Mic.com, which is obviously targeted towards hipsters and a subsection of the subsection Ben is generalizing. If he wants to talk about how “playful” and “immature” the offices over at this journalist headquarters is, then lets talk about Google for a moment…shall we?

Google is currently run by Sundar Pichai, who was born in 1972 — making him a member of Generation X (those who were born between 1966 – 1976 are definitely members of the X Generation, of which the Baby Boomers claimed were “lazy” and of which Ben Widdicombe. finds himself apart of).

The crowded newsroom has an aggressively playful vibe, like a middle-school fraternity house. — Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times on Ben Widdicombe’s article.

If the people over at Wic.com are like “a middle school fraternity house”, then explain how you describe the multi-billion dollar Google headquarters, which is made up of colorful glass, beanbag chairs, and a fucking slide. Read: What Google Headquarters Taught Me About Productivity

The world is more than what forty-five year old grouches that hate “the young ones” see. So no, I do not agree with the absurd way of describing “How Millennials Run the Workplace”, when Generation-X-controlled Google and Apple basically control their corporations the same way. To the Baby Boomers, Generation X was LAZY and WEIRD. To Generation X who have short-term memory loss and forgot what the generation before said about them, the Millennials are LAZY and WEIRD. Open your eyes and realize that:

1) it doesn’t matter what ONE company, such as Mic.com, does, there are different styles of running a business;

2) before you criticize Mic.com for how they work or generalize them as ‘Millennials’, realize that they aren’t the first to try this style — I believe YOUR Generation was with the successes of names such as Google and Apple;

3) the target audience of Mic.com is obviously MEANT for people of this mindset (or as you ignorantly put it: “trim 20-somethings, with beards on the men and cute outfits on the women, who end every sentence with an exclamation point and use the word “literally” a lot.”);

4) you shouldn’t put down a large percentage of your reading/viewing audience (ie: “middle-school fraternity”, “isn’t a good fit for everyone” (no shit!), “The logic of that may be more apparent to his age group”, and quoting “And that we’re taking over. That is all.”);

and finally

5) maybe you should take criticism better and not openly mock those who disagree with your points on Twitter to the 6 people that actively “like” and “retweet” your posts. Also, I’d like to know why I can’t even comment on the article — since apparently feedback isn’t important to you — and why there isn’t a flashing blue speak-bubble with how many comments there are next to the end of the article itself like on most other New York Times posts.

me-myself-and-dont-agree-with-ben-widdicombe

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’m a writer and historian. Simple enough, right? I enjoy philosophy, sociology, social psychology, politics, basic programming, statistics, and old books. Unlike the stereotypical leftist, I do not necessarily censor myself. I apologize in advance if you find yourself offended by something I’ve said; but I do enjoy hearing criticism and having debates.

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Joseph Kaminski
I’m a writer and historian. Simple enough, right? I enjoy philosophy, sociology, social psychology, politics, basic programming, statistics, and old books.

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