The meme generation

First it was the baby-boomers, known as the Me Generation. Then it was the apathetic slackers, or Generation X. Then, the competitive offspring of the baby boomers, Generation Y or the Millenials. Now, apparently, today's twenty-somethings are being called the "Entitlement Generation." 

They have "shockingly high expectations for salary, job flexibility and duties but little willingness to take on grunt work or remain loyal to a company," according to an AP news report .

In other words, they want it all, but they don't want to work for it. Looking at these labels, it would seem that Americans are getting more self-centered and less involved in society at large. But the people who have been coming up with these labels -- often marketers hired by industries that view young people as favored consumers -- are interested in creating this image. After all, people who are entitled probably buy lots of stuff for themselves. They feel entitled to nice clothing, cars and gadgets. It wouldn't be any good if there were another politically sensitive, peace-loving generation, would it? They wouldn't buy anything.

But the voter turnout at the last presidential election suggests a different reality. Young voters ages 18 to 24 actually turned out at their highest level in more than a decade. Last  year's election saw a 6 percent jump in voters ages 18 to 24 compared with 2000. In addition, this age range of voters showed the strongest support for Kerry -- 56 percent of young people supported Kerry compared with 48 percent overall. So the new generation may feel more entitled...but not enough to vote Republican.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.