In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« You Tube-ishness | Main | Irrefutable Proof that Civilization Declined Between 1964 and 1970 »

July 28, 2006

Mags for Millennials

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

The "Millennials": They're between 14 and 30, and there are as many of them as there are Boomers -- which of course makes them prime targets for the advertising and publishing businesses. So what have these businesses learned about them?

In brief, they want things their own way and they have stars in their eyes. According to Myrna Blyth, traditional women's magazines hold little appeal for Millennial females. The only kind of magazine that has been a wild success with this crowd is celebrity weeklies. Bonnie Fuller, an editor who has recently had a magic commerical touch, says that young women today are "practically obsessed" with celebrities and all aspects of their lives. "Nowadays there is a fine line between real life and being the star of a reality show," says Fuller.

Another nice passage comes from mag-biz analyst Samir Husni:

"Young women talk about celebrities like they are members of their family ... There is nothing iconic about celebrities anymore. They went from the big screen to television, and now we hold them on our laps in a magazine. Young women can laugh about them. They even feel they can bully them."

One distinctive characteristic of the new Millennial-targeted celeb mags is that they offer no traditional advice columns. "Frankly, young women today don't want that much advice," says one pollster, who also notices that "this generation has a split-second attention span."

Let's see: no patience ... strong preferences ... full of themselves ... living in their fantasies ...

May I be permitted to say Eek! and Yikes!?



posted by Michael at July 28, 2006


Michael, aren't you a Boomer? (I don't actually know for sure, but I've gotten that impression.) You describe the Millennials as

no patience ... strong preferences ... full of themselves ... living in their fantasies ...

But would you say the Boomers were very different in their youth? That is, patient, moderate, modest, and realistic? My impression is that they were none of these things and are quite proud of that fact (idealists, radicals, wanting change now, etc.)

I guess the difference is we are apparently very inward-looking, and they were out to change the world. But the last century, if it taught us anything, showed that trying to radically remake society probably isn't a good thing. I'll take my generation of shallow narcissists any day.

Posted by: Chris on July 28, 2006 10:10 PM

Chris -- You won't catch me defending Boomers, Boomer though I am. (I gabbed here a bit about what it was like being a too-young-for-the-'60s Boomer.) Talk about self-important. And I generally like the Millennials. They seem a lot calmer and sweeter than the Xers, for one blessed thing. That said, a diff is that the Boomers were breaking out of something (square uptightness), while the Millennials were raised by loosey-goosey Boomers. I'm not sure that's of any real importance, but it feels different to me: the Millennials have never known anything but having it their own way. They're much more secure in their narcissism than the Boomers were, partly because they never had to make an embattled point of it. Enviable! If a little apprehensive-making ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 28, 2006 10:29 PM

How many Millenials even read magazines? For anything niche oriented there are blogs, so would be writers of biking magazine articles have to switch media, for example. For general lifestyle reporting (GQ, Esquire, et cetera), there's Livejournal & MySpace. Seriously. I don't shop much for clothes and the like, but when I do, my circle of friends matters more to me than any editors hacking away in Manhattan. For news, blogs and the like have better fact checking than magazines like Time et al. And for serious scholarship on current events, there's a new type of publication out there called the PDF.

Then there are the hastily written and published polemic books of the David Brooks variety. And these marketing types want to market magazines to Millenials? How dreadfully 1999!

Posted by: Omri on July 29, 2006 1:38 AM

Ah, don't worry sir. We'll have our moment to prove ourselves in the future, much like the Greatest Generation had with WWII. What that will be, only the future can determine.

Posted by: Andrew Yen on July 29, 2006 2:29 AM

Give me a break. I belong to this group. While I agree some people have stupid tastes, I think this is no different than those girls in eras past. I don't believe in things always getting worse. And frankly, your generation produced, raised and educated ours so its time to take your lumps.

Posted by: RWP on July 29, 2006 9:09 AM

Celebrity worship, a polytheistic religion, is bigger than Christianity in America, and like any young, prolific religion women are its strongest adherents.

Beyond the tits-and-ass iconography, the affairs of the stars as they mingle and tangle and give birth to one another is something men will only follow to the extent that it gives them an opportunity to connect with the merely mortal women who follow so intensely. Then again, guys that age are into shaving their bodies down so maybe they get something out of knowing the secrets of the stars too.

Posted by: Jake on July 29, 2006 11:23 AM

Omri -- That's the real terror for the traditional media bizzes -- that the Millennials (and their successors) will simply leave the trad media behind. Seems like we're on the verge of seeing that happen, doesn't it? Scary times for the people in those bizzes!

Andrew -- I suspect that the Millennials (as the first generation raised their entire lives with computers) are going to creating some miraculous stuff. I'm eager to see what it is (and hoping I'll be open enough to "get it" when it does come along ...)

RWP -- Are you sure you aren't an Xer? Millennials don't generally seem to specialize in gratuitous antagonism.

Jake -- That's another Millennial thing, isn't it? The way that the guys kind of tag along, hoping for some nooky from these hyper-confident, go-it-their-own-way gals? It's funny how the whole looking-at-yourself-in-a-computer-monitor gestalt seems to result in supercharged gals, yet in men who seem gutted of all masculinity. (Well, except the cartoonish sort.) I wonder how that happens.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 29, 2006 11:44 AM

What happened to Gen Y? I thought they comprised the latter half of that age range.

Posted by: claire on July 29, 2006 8:08 PM

Classifying people by generations is hopelessly lame. I mean, just because two people happened to have been born within a decade or so of one another means *nothing* in terms of their having similar attitudes.

Posted by: Peter on July 30, 2006 5:33 PM

Claire -- What did happen to Gen Y? When did the marketers decide to discuss "Millennials" instead?

Peter -- And yet ... The Boomers do deserve some of their rep, and a surprising number of Xers were spiteful and covetous, and the Yers, er, Millennials seem to have been born with computers implanted in their brains ... You don't go for any generational generalizations at all?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 30, 2006 9:52 PM

MIllennials are children of parents who broke into the middle class during the 80s, bought homes in nice neighborhoods for under 120K, refinanced, borrowed against equity.

As a result, the Millennials don't have an understanding, or better put -- a feeling in their bones -- of fear or scarcity. They're nice and positive, pleasant to be around, but in a kind of "prozacy" sort of way. There's also a dash of materialistic nihilism in their worldview, it seems.

Posted by: PA on July 31, 2006 6:58 AM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?