Freak-out in Wine Country: or why I don’t find jokes about Millennials Funny

Aren’t Millennials just the worst? Haven’t they ruined society as a whole? Why don’t they ever look up from their phones? What makes them so special? Yes, these are just a few of many such questions modern entertainment has posed to us. Tricky, thought provoking questions all of them. However, being somewhat of an expert on the modern millennial mind – I was born in 1994 and therefore am a Millennial myself – I will attempted to answer. Okay here I go. No, we aren’t the worst – that goes to whichever generation invented the Atomic Bomb. Society was already ruined when we got here. The modern phone is a technological marvel, why should we look up from it? And, probably a lot of things make us special – we’re a very diverse group of people. Now why, my Wee Readers, do I even feel the need to say these clearly obvious truths to you. Because it feels like our modern media has forgotten them.

We can see this in things like Amy Sherman-Palladino’s cracks about ‘trigger warnings’ in the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life; the reports that Modern Family’s Haley is a narcissist ; or the overwhelming feeling of deep resentment for the youth of the world that comes off in every joke in Netflix’s Wine Country. Ah now we come to the title of the post, but don’t worry this isn’t a review for a terrible, terrible movie merely a triggering incident. And a slightly embarrassing one at that. But first some background. Wine Country, made by Netflix and staring many actresses that should know better, is a truly atrocious film. Filled with many unfortunate implications beyond it’s clear hatred for Millennials, not limited to – a successful woman giving up an amazing job opportunity for the approval of people she doesn’t know anymore, and the implication that if a 50 year old woman doesn’t see herself as a little old lady, then she’s kidding herself. So I guess whatever age you are, you’re going to find something to hate in this film. But seeing how this is my blog, we’ll focus for now on the Millennial jokes.

Over the years you get used to hearing those kind of jokes. To stamping down the embers of deep seated rage every time a character on screen makes a crack about Twitter, or Hipsters; or the general supposed self-absorption of every single member of an entire generation of people all across the globe. However, it was about the time the women in Wine Country where standing in the middle of the art show they’d been kindly invited to by their waitress, calling the other patrons assholes for admiring the – admittedly very weird – art, that I found myself overcome with tears . Not the proudest moment of my life, I will admit, but an interesting one nether the less – I don’t think I’ve ever been triggered before. I was barraged with memories of a particularly uncomfortable Online Tutorial of one of my previous Psychology courses. When one of the tutors running the course – not my own thank the Gods who don’t throw lightening at me – decided to take a detour from what we were actually discussing, to go on at length about the psychologist/ researcher Jean Twenge and how wonderfully insightful she was. Don’t know who that is, ooh lucky you.

Dr. Jean Twenge is an American Psychologist most known for her research into generational differences. She has published several books on the subject including: iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellions, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood (2017) ; The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement (2010) ; Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Ever Before (2014) – which should tell you a lot about the tone of her theories. She has popularized the notion that Millennials, or young people today (I realize they’re not all Millennials, it’s more just a buzz word to refer to the young ) are Narcissistic because they were praised so much when they were growing up. For, she explains, doing nothing. Yes you heard that right, it’s the participation trophy speech. So if you ever have the misfortune of hearing some jerk complain about handing children stickers or trophies for participating in something, just remember that you have Dr. Jean Twenge to thank for that experience.

Of course you might be saying right now, Wee Lassie, surely this woman is a professional Psychologist – sure, maybe she got it wrong pertaining to a global scale – but there must be some sliver of truth in her research. Well, honestly I can’t say for sure either way in that regard, having never forced myself through the torture of reading such infuriating theory laden books. So, for all I know she could have gotten something in there right, I will allow for that slim possibility. However, Twenge has been accused of cherry picking her data. That is she decides on a theory – i.e young people are narcissistic – and chooses the test results that best correlate to this view of the world. So, it’s probably best to take most things she says, with a little pinch of salt.

Thus, as we can see this feeling of resentment towards Millennials and Generation Z (that’s the generation that comes after Millennials) is not merely limited to our popular culture. There are real people out in the world who believe and perpetrate these myths about today’s young people. But what we really have to ask ourselves is, why? Why all this venom towards the young all of sudden? Well one theory is, perhaps it’s not new at all – after all, older generations have been feeling resentful to younger generations since there were people. In fact, the term ‘Generation Me’ was not originally used to describe Millennials at all, but rather Baby Boomers. Another theory is that it might be political – at least in regards to our media output. Millennials are more likely to be/vote Left-Wing. Which is a threat to the generally more Right-Wing owners of the companies that produce many of these films and shows. But whatever the case, these views and resentments do exist and serve no real purpose in our society other than to breed resentment between us. And how dose that help anyone?

Alright, winding down the rant now.

So, what’s my point, really? Am I saying that the prejudice that young people face is worst than the prejudice thrown at older or middle-age folk? No, of course not – but nor should it be seen as less important. After all when one is trying to make a point against ageism in their film – in what universe dose it aide your message to make snide, hurtful comments about another age group? If anything it hurts your cause, because people who feel attacked – whether or not you feel that feeling is valid – are not going to be listening to your argument. Though I’d like to point out that the film that kicked off this rant – Wine Country – is so awful, I’d argue it makes no deeper point what so ever. *gasps for breath* Oh my God, that felt so good, I’ve been keeping that in for so long.

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30 thoughts on “Freak-out in Wine Country: or why I don’t find jokes about Millennials Funny

  1. It’s great to have a rant now and then isn’t it? Plus, when you’re writing it instead of saying it, nobody can interrupt you.
    I’ve not felt the need to add ‘Wine Country’ to my ‘films to watch before I die’ list so thanks for saving me a waste of time.
    As far as Millennials go, I am mother to two of them and, as it will be them choosing my care home, I couldn’t possibly comment.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Beautiful bit of writing. Great insights. This from a baby boomer with a blog titled proudofeverywrinkle. Also from a mother of 3 millenials – and instead of always bashing the younger people, I have found if you ask them why they are doing something that is so different from your point of view, and listen when they answer, and don’t interrupt, but listen to their reasoning, you will find a very level headed group of young adults who are logical, concise, and who make a lot of sense. They’re different from older folks, but their world is different and their world views often different for very good reasons. I enjoy watching them and finding out what truly makes them tick.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Just a nice little point here… a 50 year old woman is not in any way, shape or form a “little old lady” as you stated in your post. 50 years ago this was true, but not today. 😉 I’m a Generation X’er and I find the younger generations more pleasant to be around than the baby boomers. Your world view is very different than the older generations… and in so many ways better! Just as our parents made fun of our generation, we chide yours. It’s not about jealousy, it’s more a lack of understanding where the thinking comes from and worrying about what will become of you. Despite all the crap we got from the older generations about our dress, our attitudes, our ways of being, how we dated, blah blah blah… we grew up just fine. Your generation will, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I see your frustration. I was born in 1965, so officially an X, but grew up with baby boomers. I can see differences in all generations, but then, they probably said that back in the 1500s too. Time is “speeding up”, so people create time blocks and assign them names. I am old, liberal, and more of a hippie than anything I guess. Just keep speaking up. I love you millennials (or just younger people). 😍

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ll find you on Instagram. Yeah, I don’t know why the rants about millennials. I’m not one (at least I don’t think I am) but I’m pretty grateful for millennials as they have invented so much that makes our lives easier today. In my opinion.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I am over the Millenials being labelled as something negative. Do I think all of us are great? No. Is every single individual in every single generation great? No. In my opinion, we live in a different world than decades ago, Millenials grew up in it, and many have problems with changes and just want to find someone they can blame it on. I just think generalizations serve no one.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I look at the leaders of a lot of the first world countries…I wouldn’t got bragging how great baby boomers are,lol…At the end of it all though, I know a lot of baby boomers who are really fantastic people. I think I know a lot more baby boomers that are actually good people and who think about our leaders the same that a lot of millennial thinks about our current leaders. So it’s always a shock to me when I see a baby boomer complaining about millennial. Like those middle age old men who constantly attack Greta Thunberg.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. ‘I have 3 Millennial grown-up kids here in the UK and they are all fine 😀. They had a hiccup when their Father died when they were teenagers but that was to be expected. I have 3 five and under Grandchildren (Generation Z?). I’m sure they’ll be fine. It’s me who’s fucked-up! I’m on the Baby Boomer/Generation X cusp (1961). My Grandparents came from that good ole Victorian Values era; my Grandfather a survivor of WW1 albeit with a metal plate in his head and PTSD – before we knew what that REALLY was. So let’s take another look at Phillip Larkin’s poem which explains everything about the ‘fucked up’ Generations.

    This Be The Verse

    They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.

    Have kids, but don’t make the same mistakes, you’ll still make mistakes as parents but be aware of the mistakes you make 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I feel like baby boomers feel attacked and can’t believe the nerve of us hitting back for getting the economy into such a state, so they’re hitting right back. Some of them are not used to people, in general, striking back. It’s weird because they’re dodging responsibility by attacking us and deflecting which *oh my gosh* is a common trick narcissists play. So, who’s really the narcissist? *le sigh*

    Liked by 2 people

  10. While our generation is flawed we aren’t entirely to blame.

    Who were the adults handing out the participation trophies ? GenXers and Baby-boomers! While adults do need to take responsibility for their actions , the root of the problem is clearly previous generations buying into the nonsense of the “self-esteem” movement.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Great post. That’s the crazy thing about lumping people into generations though – I am also a millennial but I was born in 1984, so I’m ten years older than you. I think it’s fair to say we’ll of had some different experiences based on that ten year age difference. I’m sick of everyone trying to stick a label on everyone else – my parents are ‘boomers’, my older brother and sister are ‘gen x’, my husband and I are ‘gen y’ or ‘millennials’ and my kids are ‘gen z’. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all just people? How dare some psudo-scientist tell me what I’m like based on the year I was born!

    Liked by 1 person

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