February 25, 2020

What We Don't Understand About Gen Z

“Generation Z is finally — and, it seems, suddenly — becoming a topic of popular conversation. While generations are mutually constructed fictions, not natural phenomena, Gen Z’s members are most often understood to have been born between 1997 and 2012, making them 7 to 22 years old today. In January, the Pew Research Center defined its range; in March, the New York Times ran an ambitious multimedia survey of “America’s Most Diverse Generation”; Newsweek devoted this week’s magazine to dissecting the Zs.

As I rejoice alongside my fellow millennials that a new generation is on the verge of absorbing the bumbling intergenerational analysis older media makers have been all too happy to offer (we’d prefer they offer benefits), the nascent narrative about Gen Z — while so far kinder than it’s been to us — seems to miss the extraordinary capacity and creativity of this generation.

The thesis of Newsweek’s Gen Z issue is that this generation is a snooze. “If ‘entitled’ is the most common adjective, fairly or not, applied to millennials, the catchwords for Generation Z are practical and cautious,” one Newsweek piece states. “According to the career counselors and experts who study them, Generation Zs are clear-eyed, economic pragmatists.” Plagued by anxiety, they’re playing small, shelving their dreams, looking down.

Older generations can keep their pockets glued shut, their heels dug in, and their fingers waving if they want to. I’m with the kids.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"U.S. President Donald Trump thinks he’s suffered more injustice than the alleged witches of Salem, but it could be worse. Pakistan’s former president Pervez Musharaff faced possible impeachment in 2008, leading to his resignation. In the end..."

"The 2000s felt like a decade of looking forward. Wi-Fi went mainstream, phones got smarter, social media connected us, digital tools let us rely less on physical ones. But the 2010s brought a shift. There was still tons of new technology, but..."

"While some women experience pregnancy and childbirth as joyful, natural and fulfilling, others find themselves recoiling in horror at the physical demands of carrying and sustaining a child in their womb, and even more so at the potential..."

"A few months ago, the New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo bemoaned the death of the Manhattan power lunch. Gone were the long, decadent afternoons filled with networking and Negronis: “Suit-and-tie-wearing machers in media and Wall Street gave way to..."

"Economic inequality has moved to the top of the political agenda in many countries, including free-market poster children like the US and the UK. The issue is mobilizing the left and causing headaches on the right, where wealth has long been..."

"If you’re not familiar with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats — or even if you are — then you probably have many, many questions going into the film adaptation this weekend, especially if you’ve witnessed the widespread bafflement the trailer..."

"Despite his precisely targeted campaign and some unexpected support, the chances of Gideon Saar engineering a surprise defeat of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Dec. 26 primaries for the Likud party leadership are still considered modest.."

"Peter Thiel is Big Tech’s most prominent Trump supporter. He is an unabashed enemy of the free press, having covertly funded a lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker three years ago. He has become one of the most vocal pro-monopoly advocates, taking a..."