What Pew found was not an entitled generation but a complex and introspective one — with a far higher proportion of nonwhites than its predecessors as well as a greater number of people raised by a single parent. Its members also have weathered many large public traumas: the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, costly (and unresolved) wars, the Great Recession. Add to those the flood of images of Iraq and Katrina (and, for older millennials, Oklahoma City and Columbine) — episodes lived and relived, played and replayed, on TV and computer screens.
For a generation digitally wired from childhood, and reared on apocalyptic videos and computer-generated movie epics, not to mention the exploits of hackers, these events showed the real world to be as tightly networked, and for that reason as easily disrupted as the virtual one, even as the grown-ups in charge, the guardians of order, seemed overwhelmed and overmatched, always a step behind.
It is no surprise, as Pew reported, that the millennial generation is skeptical of institutions — political and religious — and prefers to improvise solutions to the challenges of the moment. It is one thing to own a smartphone, as so many of us do. It is quite another to have mastered its uses at age 10.
Thus, in a range of areas, millennials have not only caught up, but have jumped out in front.
Sittin’ here writing a script and realizing that the reason Uber and Lyft are fighting so hard right now (and having so much investment capital dumped into them by rich people) is that in 10 years, all cars will be driven by robots and thus taxi services will be much cheaper but still very high margin. Uber wants very badly to kill Lyft now, while it’s young, so that there’s less (or no) competition in that uber-profitable future (pun intended.)