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Bill Maher Has It All Wrong About Gen Z, Here's Why

November 23, 2021

When does a generation really come of age? Is it high school graduation? Is it when they turn 18-years-old? Is it when they graduate from college and enter their careers? It seems the real answer is something far less than a specific life event. It seems the answer is when enough media and pundits decide your generation has reached a point where it can be attacked.

The last couple of weeks have seen a few news stories and news show hosts take time to focus on Generation Z. From Bill Maher to Fox Business, there is an emerging trend that it is open season on Gen Z. Let's take a moment to look at the blistering attack Bill Maher launched on the age group in a recent episode of his HBO show Real Time. Always one to push his observations in his New Rule segment, Maher took time to call out Gen Z during a discussion called “Ok, Zoomer.” He opened by attacking us for the disparities in followers on Instagram between Greta Thunberg and Kylie Jenner. He went on to attack Gen Z with the energy he once reserved for the worst in our world when he said:

"The cognitive dissonance between planet-destroying conspicuous consumption and planet-saving rhetoric is breathtaking. You say you love Greta and her message but everything else you love is a climate disaster. Far from rejecting consumerism, young people are so obsessed with labels.

When Kylie’s lifestyle becomes uncool and unpopular and you stop loving Bitcoin and stop thinking that stuffing your face is harmless, then I’ll take you seriously. Until then, shut the f*** up about how older generations ruined the planet. I wish your generation was better than mine. I really do. The sad truth is, we’re completely the same. Lots of talk, and at the end of the day, hopelessly seduced and addicted to pigging out on convenience, luxury and consumption."

I wish your generation was better than mine. But the sad truth is, we’re completely the same."

First Bill, a quick data point. 61% of Instagram users are ages 25 and over. Gen Z's oldest person is just now turning 25 while most of us are younger. So I am not sure what demographic group or generation globally is making up the followers for Greta or Kylie. Since Kylie is age 24, and she started her Instagram account 10 years ago, it would be interesting to see how her followers grew over those ten years and what generation they are from. But who cares about data and facts anyway.

Beyond that, Bill's words on Gen Z were so much to take in. Especially from such a trusted source of insight that spent his life engaging in comedy to address the important issues of his generation. Who doesn’t remember his historic comedy march on DC. His “I Have A Joke” routine at the steps of our nation’s Capitol helped galvanize his generation into action that led to the end of racism in our nation’s criminal justice system, ended toxic masculinity and sexism, ensured quality education for all children, and all the other issues that plagued our world. We should listen to the man who has been faithfully married for decades and raised his own children to lead by example….oh wait, he did none of these things. But okay Bill, we will listen to your wisdom built on personal excess and self indulgence. Gen Z, are you taking notes?

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