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The article “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation” explores the behaviors associated with the aforementioned generation and proposes an explanation for why millennials are perceived as entitled and narcissistic. It presents data regarding Millenials as compared to other generations, particularly the Baby Boomers. The article also contains input and opinions from various experts and celebrities ranging from Kim Kardashian and MTV president Stephen Friedman to Army recruiter Gary Stiteler and psychology professor Roy Baumeister (“Millennials”). The author uses rhetorical devices to convey their message while also committing rhetorical fallacies.
Overall, rhetorical devices exist to allow a speaker or writer to better convince or persuade the public. This is done through invoking ethos, pathos, or logos in the audience to strengthen the arguments made by the speaker or writer. However, at times the speaker or writer may commit a rhetorical fallacy, which is when an argument contains a flaw in its logical structure. Rhetorical fallacies may not be immediately evident to the audience. The author of “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation” uses repetition, similes, and rhetorical questions, while simultaneously committing the rhetorical fallacies of hasty generalization and equivocation, among others.
The article is using repetition as a rhetorical strategy, as it is essential for creating emphasis and emotional influence. The author calls millennials the “Me Me Me Generation” after calling their parents a “Me Generation” (“Millennials”). Thus, through repetition, the author creates a connection between the two generations while also showing the essential differences. Moreover, by using the word “Me” repetitively, the article emphasizes the vital qualities of the millennial generation, including narcissism, selfishness, and entitlements (“Millennials”). This rhetorical strategy helps readers to comprehend that millennials mentioned in the article are too self-centered, as they care about themselves the most. The continuous repetition also emphasizes the difference between baby boomers and millennials without explicitly saying it in the sentence. Thus, the different variations of repetition help readers to understand one of the main points of the article, which compares millennials to other generations.
Another rhetorical strategy used in the article is similes, which is a comparison between various subjects that share analogous features. The author states, “every millennial might seem like an oversharing Kardashian” (“Millennials”). Drawing a connection between millennials and a celebrity with traits ascribed to them provides a context for typical millennial behavior. Millennials tend to share substantial parts of their lives on social media. Thus, the comparison to one of the biggest personalities on Instagram helps readers to understand the point made by the author more clearly.
Lastly, the author of the article chose to include rhetorical questions as one of the strategies. The article asks readers, “can you imagine if the boomers had YouTube, how narcissistic they would’ve seemed?” (“Millennials”). The essence of this type of question is not to be answered but to put a point across. In this case, the article suggests that millennials are not the ones to blame for the stereotypical characteristics that are associated with them. The author believes that if other generations had access to the Internet, the situation would have been similar. However, this is not mentioned explicitly, as the rhetorical question helps the audience to comprehend this on their own by answering it in their heads. Furthermore, the author asks readers again, “can you imagine how many frickin’ Instagrams of people playing in the mud during Woodstock we would’ve seen?” (“Millennials”). The round of rhetorical questions makes the audience critically analyze the possible effects social media had on the development of millennials.
Later in the article, the author makes a hasty generalization about the modern workforce adapting to millennials. A hasty generalization is when an author makes an argument based on limited data. The author argues that businesses are changing how they function to meet millennial needs, yet only provides one example, the animation studio, Dreamworks (“Millennials”). This sample is too small to draw any real conclusions from and Dreamworks is unlikely to be a typical case. The article makes another hasty generalization regarding the social circles of young people. The article states that “The idea of the teenager started in the 1920s; in 1910, only a tiny percentage of kids went to high school, so most people’s social interactions were with adults in their family or the workplace” (“Millennials”). Contrasting Millennials to teens of the 1910s does not explain the behavior of millennials. Furthermore, the article makes no comparison of the two generations between Millenials and the teens from the 1910s, which would be more legitimate.
The article uses equivocation, the use of different definitions for the same term, regarding Millenial rebellion or the lack thereof. The author writes that “because millennials don’t respect authority, they also don’t resent it. That’s why they’re the first teens who aren’t rebelling. They’re not even sullen” (“Millennials”). However, the author does not define rebellion or even how sullen behavior may be observed and in what amounts. Millennial rebellion may look different from what the author considers rebellious behavior. Since Millenials do not fit the author’s unstated definition of rebellion, they are not considered rebellious by the text.
Lastly, the article contains several other fallacies. Firstly, a Post hoc fallacy, where the author states that millennials possess a higher number of photos of themselves than previous generations (“Millennials”). A post hoc argument commits the fallacy of stating that because an event predated something, it is correlated with it. Then the paragraph concludes with statistics that show that millennials are less politically active than previous generations (“Millennials”). This framing would make the reader think these two activities are linked, yet the author does not provide detail or argument to connect possessing photos and political participation. Secondly, the article makes a sweeping generalization regarding the TV viewing habits of Millenials. The article argues that “Millennials grew up watching reality-TV shows, most of which are documentaries about narcissists.” (“Millennials”). No data is provided and the author does not elaborate on exactly what shows Millenials watch, in what numbers, and how many shows qualify as narcissism documentaries.
In conclusion, the author of the article uses various rhetorical strategies and logical fallacies to put his point across to the audience. The text includes repetition, similes, and rhetorical questions as some of the main strategies. Moreover, the author utilizes various rhetorical fallacies, such as hasty generalization, equivocation, Post hoc, and sweeping generalization. The rhetorical choices are essential to communicate ideas in the text without sounding monotonous, as they help readers to use their imagination and critical thinking. Overall, to be rhetorically compelling and convincing, a writer should captivate readers in various engaging ways, which was successfully done by the author of this article.
“Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation.” Time. 2013. Web.