On behalf of millennials, I just want to reassure everyone that, despite a few things in the world being a litttttttttle bit unsettling lately, we are all coping really well and doing totally fine. To reassure you, just log on to social media platform X, which used to be called Twitter until an antisemitic white supremacist transphobic billionaire who kind of controls the military and the government took it over. There you can read our funny, light-hearted messages to characters from the children’s television show Sesame Street, if you can find them between posts about real threats to democracy, imminent environmental catastrophe, and ongoing genocide.
For example, look at our messages to Oscar the Grouch. Pretty much anything negative or pessimistic posted from his account is met with hundreds or more millennials replying #same, because that is a hilarious thing to post on the internet and not because we over-identify with being in a bad mood all of the time! Is Oscar also relatable because his living situation is a poignant reminder that housing and homelessness crises mean fewer of us will ever own a home than any previous generation, and the rate of unhoused people is skyrocketing? No, it’s definitely not that. But to show that his real concerns about housing insecurity are taken seriously, someone tell Oscar to stop ordering avocado toast to his garbage can!
Well, maybe some cynical responses to Oscar makes sense, but if you shift over to Big Bird’s account, you’ll see we really are fine. Over the past week he’s been posting about finding himself suddenly tiny instead of big and asking his followers to #helpbigbird. And millennials’ responses demonstrate our collective stable psychological state, expressing extreme anxiety, sadness, obsession, and despair over the fictional children’s character’s social media story arc.
Is it because in some ways we all feel like we are getting less and less visible as we watch hard-fought progress in LGBTQ, women’s, reproductive, immigration, voting, and other rights erode, leaving many of us to wonder if anyone can hear our cries for help? Of course not, we were just joking around! And maybe if Big Bird’s parents told him to stop feeling so entitled to be seen, he’d be doing just as well as we are.
In a similarly jocular manner, yesterday when Elmo’s account posted a question about how everybody is doing, so many of us replied with concerning responses that the main Sesame Street account followed up to post links to mental health resources. Was that because none of us can find, afford, or make time to go to a real therapist, leaving us to resort to trauma dumping on the pretend Twitter account of a three-and-a-half-year-old furry red monster? Is this the cumulative consequence of continually being stereotyped as lazy despite working more for comparatively lower wages, job security, and benefits than the previous generation? No, this is just that classic millennial sense of humor, no need to read into it further.
So yeah, we are all doing really well. What is less indicative of trauma than collectively regressing to an almost childlike state to desperately seek solace in that which comforted us in our youth? As for me personally, I’ll be even better as soon as Bert and Ernie answer the 117 posts I’ve made since yesterday begging them to adopt me as an adult, the Yip Yip Martians agree to my pleas to abduct me, or Cookie Monster affirmatively responds to my request to cover me in chocolate chips and eat me alive. Just kidding!
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