2013’s been a solid year for some lucky teens and 20-somethings: Lorde, One Direction, and Miley Cyrus topped the international pop charts; Jennifer Lawrence charmed the pants off of anyone with eyeballs; Lena Dunham scored a multimillion-dollar book deal. The rest of us, however, weren’t so lucky. The past 12 months saw more ill-founded, hysterical, condescending, and generally awful writing than ever about what so-called “millennials” are up to and why it’s ruining the country. Here are the lowlights of this year’s coverage, collected here in the hopes that 2014 will bring some slightly more nuanced accounts of young people and our problems than these.
The Cover Story
It may be tucked behind a paywall, but Joel Stein’s TIME does would-be readers a solid by laying out his thesis right off the bat: the “Me Me Me Generation” is “lazy, entitled, selfish, and shallow.” Stein claims he’s got conclusive proof that the generation that’s currently bearing the brunt of the recession is somehow more self-centered than the generation that caused it, but — spoiler alert! — he doesn’t. Flavorwire’s own Tom Hawking penned a handy takedown of the story when it hit newsstands this May, tallying up the piece’s many, many problems, but among the highlights: citing frequent texting as evidence of narcissism; generally ignoring the sins of the far more famously egocentric Baby Boomers; and, of course, reducing an entire generation to a series of lazy stereotypes.