The New Yorker has unwittingly solved impassioned generational conflict between Gen-Xers, millennials, Gen-Z, and even boomers … by making a tenuous connection between Billie Eilish’s music and 9/11 that has made people of all ages mad online.
To be precise, these typically warring factions have convened in the Instagram comments of a post linking to a piece about Billie Eilish that references 9/11; as with most indignant internet commenters, it seems unlikely that many of them have even read the piece in question. “Eilish is speaking directly to a generation of people who, like her, were born either right before or right after 9/11, which means they’re intimately familiar with feelings of worry and instability on a macro level,” the caption reads, quoting from the article — which also notes, if anyone bothered to read it, that “other generations have certainly suffered, in both literal and psychic ways, but without the added amplification of the Internet.”
The connection between Eilish, 9/11, and anxiety is fairly innocuous, if maybe a bit pretentious, a typical New Yorker-y intellectual deep dive into a pop subject. But that didn’t stop the commentariat.
The millennials wanted to argue that, no, they were the ones who were the most fucked up by 9/11. “Babies and people born after 9/11 are more prone to its complications rather than those of us who were 17 at the time??” demanded one.
The boomers wanted to make it clear that they had it worse: “So how is this different from watching a President, a President’s brother and a great civil rights leader being assassinated? Or having a country ripped apart by an unjust war?” said “Joseph.” Wrote another commenter, who is probably voting for Joe Biden, “Snow flakes listening to a snow flake [sic].”
Crotchety Gen-Xers responded with characteristic removed snobbiness, such as the person who complained/bragged, “I can’t take anyone serious that wasn’t alive when Kurt Cobain died.”
And Gen-Zers simply made fun of the New Yorker’s serious attempts to write about them. One repeated “on a macro level” with no other commentary. “But like what about literally either world wars,” asked another wise youth.
Some extremely literal users went even further back in history, to argue that 18th and 19th century teens suffered the most. “Not to mention, slavery, child labor, child marriage, extreme poverty, the Great Depression, WW1,WW2, Vietnam, Korea, etc, etc, etc…,” one person wrote, “so I feel for all youth, including this 17 year old and her peers, this world has been hard on youth since the beginning of time.” Which is the beautiful moral of this story: We all have had a really hard time, and we all love to talk about it, together on the New Yorker’s Instagram.