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Why is millenial humour so dark?

author: kristian ferguson | news edtior 

Credit: Public Domain

To translate it into the common millennial tongue, same.

As a millennial myself, I’ve come to notice a phenomenon around my peers when we all get together. Some comments are to be expected, indicative of the time we live in. Calls of “same”, “me” in response to things that one might find relates to them, and the like. However, I’ve come to find that I’ve found myself nodding along or relating to the feeling of general fatalism or jokes about it.

“What do you mean?” you might ask, and what I mean is that when someone jokes by saying “I was almost hit by a car on my way to school today, but I wish it would have. At least I wouldn’t have to do my essay, you know?”

And I do know. I get it. In reality, obviously, this imaginary person would not have actually wanted to be hit by a car, but the idea of just having some time to spare, some time without the stress of commitments or deadlines, is outrageously attractive.

Similarly, jokes about wanting to be dead fall into this exact same category. Not to undercut anyone’s struggles with mental health, but the idea of being free from the stresses of day-to-day life, free from the inevitability of the having to pay back the largest amount of average student debt, free from war, pain, and all those other not-so-nice things is something to consider, at times.

When I talk of “wanting to be dead,” I really can’t stress enough that this doesn’t often mean that someone is actively working to harm themselves. Talking about being “dead” is an easier or more cohesive way to address the desire to just cease existing.

This still doesn’t address the question of “why,” however. I theorize that it’s this kind of nihilist escapism that allows millennials to decompress and express their feelings of frustration and anger with the way the world seems to work in the modern era.

To put this into perspective, the vast majority of my time alive, my country has also been at war to some tenuous, always changing, loosely defined “enemy.” I live in an era in which I will be represented at work less so than any of my predecessors. I am almost definitely bound to be paying off student debt longer than anyone who graduated in generations past.

In a way, I think, the fatalism and dark outlook on the future is a way for millennials to connect with one another. It is a way to acknowledge that you aren’t the only one who feels this way without having to say it. To translate it into the common millennial tongue, same.

About Kristian Ferguson