Around this time of year, many commentators take the opportunity to make mock graduation speeches as a way of giving advice to young people and comedian Bill Maher used his ‘speech’ to attack the younger generation, all lumped under the ‘millennial’ label, as pampered whiny brats with a strong sense of entitlement who have been so coddled by their parents and the ‘politically correct’ environments of their schools and colleges that they are in for a rude shock when they enter the ‘real’ world.
“I’m just trying to be your friend, which is someone who tells you the truth,” Maher continued. “And the truth is, the world is unfair—it’s not like college, it’s like the Electoral College. And you kids, you’re about to enter freshman year of life, and that can be very unsettling—much like the slap in the face that your parents should have given you the first time you swore at them.”
“But they didn’t. They didn’t,” he went on. “And so, you became the ‘hey buddy’ generation. ‘Hey buddy, could you put your shoes on?’ ‘Hey buddy, could you get in the car?’ But in real life, not everybody is your fucking buddy. And that’s why you’re fucked. No, I mean really fucked, because nobody ever told you ‘no,’ or ‘you’re wrong,’ or ‘you’re in the way,’ or ‘that’s not good enough,’ or ‘wait,’ so you think the whole world is supposed to be your safe space where everything is wonderful and no one ever even gets their feelings hurt. Well kids, I have some very bad news for you: Mister Rogers is dead.”
Maher is not alone at railing in this way at the next generation. I have written before about how other comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Louis CK, and Ricky Gervais have also gone down that same road.
Where did all this hating of millennials under the guise of truth-telling come from? Its roots perhaps lie in the fact that all these comedians have received negative reactions on campuses for misogynistic, homophobic, and bigoted ‘jokes’ that young audiences objected to. Rather than take that as signs that they needed new material that went in a different direction, these comedians have decided that it is the audiences’ fault that what they say is no longer getting laughs. It is a classic case of projection: saying that young people are coddled and entitled when it is actually they who are too coddled by their wealth and privileges to take into account the fact that the world has changed since they started their own careers.
It is the younger generation that is taking the lead on issues of climate change, gun violence, sexism, homophobia, and bigotry in general. I would take them over these comedians with their sense of entitlement any day.