Category Archive 'Millennials'
15 Jan 2019

Sinners in the Hands of a Woke Consumer Corporation

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Corporate advertisers traditionally flatter potential customers, assuring them with gratifying images that the mere choice of the given product proves that the customer is handsome, sophisticated, successful, desirable to beautiful women, capable of appreciating, and worthy of, the best things.

My own favorite examples would be Paul Gerding’s Duesenberg ads that ran in upscale magazines like Vanity Fair and The Sportsman in the 1930s.

But Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette brand director for North America, decided a different approach was needed to cement the company’s ties to Pabst-swilling, tattooed, and pussified millennial metrosexuals. (He seems not to have noticed that they are usually bearded.)

Business Insider:

The shaving giant Gillette knew that its new ad addressing the #MeToo movement would be divisive. But the brand still went ahead with it hoping to appeal to future generations of customers.

The ad is part of a broader brand repositioning that turns Gillette’s 30-year-old tagline, “The Best a Man Can Get,” on its head, making it a call for men to take an inward look and placing the onus on them to be the best versions of themselves.

Pankaj Bhalla, the brand director for Gillette and Venus, called it “a statement of self-reflection” from the brand.

Gillette first started brainstorming the repositioning last spring, and it ran several qualitative tests before running it.

Gillette was well aware that its new ad would ruffle some feathers.

But it still went ahead with it because it felt it needed to reposition itself to continue to resonate with the next generation of its customers and wanted to leverage its position as a 117-year-old brand and a market leader to spark dialogue.

“We knew that this particular commercial would trigger a conversation,” Pankaj Bhalla, the brand director for Gillette and Venus, told Business Insider. “The idea was to get people thinking, because the belief was that good advertising does trigger a healthy debate.”

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Skeptics are doubtless snapping up Unilever stock (owner of Dollar Shave Club), but there is, after all, nothing new under the sun.

Pankaj Bhalla, armed with a Bachelor degree (Hons.) in Commerce and Business Economics, 2000, from Hyderabad, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Brand Management from Ahmedabad, 2003, must have deduced that today’s rising generation in America resembles in some uncanny way the generation coming of age in New England in the 1740s, another time in which people desired not to be flattered and praised, but threatened and abused.

For his next Gillette commercial, I’d recommend that Grey Group consider adapting some of the text of this sermon delivered by Jonathan Edwards, Yale 1720, 8 July 1741 at Enfield, Connecticut:

[excerpt]

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; that you were suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending his solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell.

O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment.

09 Jan 2019

She Should Run For Congress as a Democrat

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22 Oct 2018

The Very Model of a Modern-Age Millennial

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The Very Model of a Modern-Age Millennial
by Meg Elison

I am the very model of a modern-age millennial,
I’ve got no cash, no house, no kids, and student debt perennial,
I know the rules of Tinder, and I’m not sold on monogamy
(For what it’s worth I think that stems from troubles ‘tween my mom and me)
I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters on the gender front
Myself, I am nonbinary; your labels I so do not want
Been disillusioned by my expectations with a lot o’ stuff,
The skills with which I am equipped for life are frankly not enough
My job prospects are hobbled by insistence on a living wage
Compete at entry level with some washed-up folks at twice my age
In matters of identity, employment and such petty ills
I am the very model of a modern-age millennial

An unprecedentedly intimate and comprehensive glimpse at the breadth and diversity of one of world literature’s most vital, adventurous presences.
On Monday I killed Applebee’s, on Tuesday I axed country clubs
I’ve never bought a diamond and I have no use for cashmere gloves
I quote dank internet memes in lieu of sharing actual thoughts
For earnestness has been passé since sometime in the early aughts
Still advertisers flail and fail to capture all my buying power
(The sum of which amounts to renting GIG cars by the paltry hour)
I’m subject to the bleak nostalgia of Generation Xers
And YouTube sensibilities adored by web-savvy youngsters
So I get to the take the blame for our country’s tanked economy
While fighting for my basic rights and bodily autonomy
In short I’m fucked in matters from the vital to the trivial
I am the very model of a modern-age millennial
In fact, when I know what is meant by “social justice warrior”
When I can tell at sight a fascist MRA conspirator
When such affairs are treated as unsolvable new mysteries,
I shake my head and wonder if the Boomers studied history
When I have learnt what progress has been made and then just flushed away
My generation’s best bet looks like playing Fortnite drunk all day
In short, if you’re angry right now and spewing aged white vitriol
Remember you created me: the modern age millennial
For I’m the generation raised upon the game Monopoly
You’re hoarding all the wealth and jobs and mock me for my poverty
So now I’m skewing socialist with discourse quite ungenial
Please check your local ballots for the modern-age millennial

HT: McSweeney’s via Karen L. Myers.

10 Oct 2018

Job Interview: Millennial vs. Baby Boomer

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04 Oct 2018

Artisanal Brooms

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A broom is not just a broom. It is statement about who you are. Your broom expresses your values, your identity, your respect for skilled craftsmanship, and your passion for your home. Obviously, you, too, need an artisanal broom made by a sophisticated, college-educated woman living in Brooklyn. (Or not.)

Vox tells you all about them and where to get them.

In the spring of 2017, Erin Rouse quit her job at the lighting design firm Lindsey Adelman to make brooms full time. She picked up the skill during her time in that job, which allowed employees to study in workshops around the world. She went to the Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire, where she studied with a master broomsquire, the technical term for a broom-maker.

At $80 for a hand broom and $200 for a full-size version, which can reach $350 with a pleated skirt and handle cover, Rouse’s brooms aren’t cheap. Assuming all of her materials are prepped and ready to go — the process of cleaning and sorting by size a 100-pound batch of broom corn can take three or four days — she can make one in roughly two hours, plus the time required to trim the broom and sew a skirt and sheath. If she’s also dyeing the broom, that adds another five days to its production time. …

There are people willing to pay good money for a beautiful, well-made broom. Hilary Robertson, a New York-based interior stylist and set designer, is the target audience for that.

“I don’t really want to own anything that I don’t find beautiful, even if it’s a washing-up bowl,” Robertson says over the phone. “That’s my business, and the way I live.”

She recently bought one of Rouse’s brooms for her weekend home in Connecticut, an old schoolhouse with an extension. It has stone floors that get dusty very quickly, so Robertson needed a broom, and it has very little storage space, so she needed that broom to look especially good. Indeed, anyone who’s buying a luxury broom is doing so because they consider it part of their furniture, Robertson says. But that doesn’t mean it’s a choice lightly made.

RTWT

You have to love millennials.

15 Aug 2018

Socialism: A Political Solution to a Spiritual Problem

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Nathanael Blake has a good editorial explaining that the yen for Socialism really amounts to a category mistake.

The surge in socialism’s popularity among young Americans has little to do with the actual merits (or demerits) of the system, or even what it actually entails. Most seem to think it means a larger welfare state and taxing “the rich” a bit more. Rather, socialism’s allure is due to the families that are broken, the communities that are atomized, and the churches that are empty — often, sadly, because they betrayed their responsibilities to God and man.

The needs and desires that are met only by faith, family, and friendship are still part of the human condition. The current half-baked socialist revival is a category error, as it attempts a political and economic solution to a cultural and spiritual problem. But part of our crisis is the loss of the ability to think clearly about such matters, as exemplified by a generation that relies on the Harry Potter books for a shared moral language. This poverty of moral imagination and expression illuminates the spiritual and cultural desolation that prior generations created and bequeathed to their children.

As people seek a political solution for their spiritual and psychological dismay and distress, we see pathologies that used to afflict religious entities become manifest in politics. The sudden popularity of ersatz socialism is not because it offers a realistic plan of improvement, but because it sounds fair and compassionate while promising to relieve anxiety over economic uncertainty. That socialism will deliver on none of these promises is beside the point.

The concerns and anxieties that beset our culture will not be addressed only by reminders of material abundance provided by free market economics. Man does not live on technological miracles alone. Wealth will not satisfy us and assuage our anxieties; affordable airfare and iPhones will not save our souls. But as we look for that which will, we must remember the bounty lavished upon us. Our unhappiness rarely results from real material deprivation, and a socialist redistribution will do little to increase the sum of human happiness.

Only by bearing our material blessings in mind will we be able to think clearly about our desires for cultural, relational, and spiritual satisfaction.

RTWT

14 Aug 2018

“Get Off My Green!”

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30 Jul 2018

A Rising Democrat

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29 Jul 2018

Medieval Man vs. Millennial Man

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23 Jun 2018

You Woke?

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06 Jun 2018

Millennials Believe the Worst Has Already Happened

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Stephanie Georgopulos argues that looking on millennials as too entitled is mistaken. In fact, she contends that her generation could not possible have lower expectations.

I am at the San Francisco International Airport some barely recent morning, registering for a travel program called Clear when the automated kiosk assisting me makes a strange request: “Stand still while we scan your irises.” I’ve barely digested this first ask when another takes its place: this time, the kiosk wants my fingerprints. I find this slightly less alarming; I already use those to access my banking app, buy coins for my mobile games, and unlock the phone that hosts all this information in the first place. But my eyeballs — which I had only just learned could be used as ID, and from a machine at the airport, no less — my dude. Those are the windows to my soul! Ever heard of foreplay?

Clear is a private company that prescreens air travelers using biometric authentication. Becoming a member is like ordering the half-soup, half-sandwich version of TSA PreCheck: it works, if all you want is a taste and are willing to pay for it. With Clear, you don’t need your ID to go through security, but you still have to remove your shoes. You get to wait in a shorter line (sometimes), but you still have to take out your laptop. Basically, the Cleared still participate in the most annoying aspects of air travel and pay almost 10 times the PreCheck fee for the privilege.

How we decided on this valuation of convenience—it’s $179 per year—is not the point, though. My point is that some random startup casually acquired my eye-prints, and some small voice is telling me I should care more than I do. Someone out there definitely cares about this, no doubt. I’m sure at least one other traveler was not sated when a brisk Google search revealed that Clear is based in her hometown and run by a female CEO, ergo it must be a secure and entirely trustworthy business.

But I was sated. It’s the future, right? What’s the worst one could do with my retinal scans? I already gave my social security number to Camel in exchange for a pack of promotional cigarettes one time (or 12). Somewhere in Midtown Manhattan, a market-research firm knows how many condoms I used in May of 2011 (give or take). And when I think about the fact that every hard document I’ve reproduced on a digital copy machine — at work, at the bodega, at the library — is saved on a hard drive somewhere (lots of somewheres, in fact), I feel a sense of hopelessness that, in its own demented way, translates to freedom.

That’s why I unlock my phone with my fingerprint. It’s also why I talk shit in front of Alexa, why I haven’t put tape over my laptop camera, and why I still have a Facebook account. I don’t expect the worst to happen.

Because the worst has already happened. It is happening, and it will continue to happen.

I find this to be an honest, useful framework. If the worst has already happened, that means it’s survivable. And if the worst is a given in the future, too, we know that ignoring it won’t make it go away. There’s opportunity in having nothing to lose. You just need the right attitude. …

Millennials are known as entitled, but as a group, I don’t think we could have lower expectations.

I’ll go: I don’t expect to own a home. I don’t expect to retire well, or at all. I don’t expect anyone to give me anything I haven’t explicitly asked for, and even then. I don’t expect it will ever be affordable to continue my education in any formal way. If a package gets lost in the mail, I don’t expect to see it again. I don’t expect the government or the banks or the universities to do anything that benefits regular people. I don’t expect them to hold each other accountable on our behalf. I don’t expect them to expel abusers from their ranks, or to put my safety over their legacy. I don’t expect to feel safe in large crowds or alone late at night. And I don’t expect that my privacy will be respected, online or in general.

As far as I can tell, security — whether financial, technological, physical, or emotional — is not a thing. You don’t get to decide whether some drunk asshole drinks his drunk ass off and gets behind the wheel. Likewise, you don’t get to decide if the drunk Congress or the drunk banker or all the drunk administrations of all the drunk institutions do what’s right for you. Sometimes they will do the right thing for somebody, but statistically speaking, that somebody is not you.

RTWT

03 May 2018

The Hipster and the Slice

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HT: Vanderleun.

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