The generational war between Baby Boomers and Millennials is over-hyped, but some real fault lines exist there and are worth the occasional ridicule on social media. So when one Twitter user poked fun of Baby Boomers and rising tensions between the United States and North Korea with a genuinely funny joke that got over 210,000 retweets, all was well and good; but when Time tried to join in, the magazine went way too far and the internet quickly ripped its efforts to shreds.
Ken Norton (handle: @kennethn) quipped on Tuesday that Millennials have it worse than Baby Boomers did in their youth, since older folks are no longer the only ones who can play the “we-lived-under-threat-of-nuclear-war” card. He replaced the expression “hold my beer” with “hold my avocado”:
It’s a good standalone joke. But Time wanted it to be so much more.
The next day, the magazine published a piece entitled: “‘Hold My Avocado’ Is the Viral Catchphrase Millennials Have Been Looking For,” and made every effort to turn a dumb one-liner into an academic thesis:
“Hold my avocado” is a quick way to denote the contemporary millennial experience: seeking luxury wellness, but potentially derailed by sociopolitical developments.
The magazine was clearly trying too hard; but beyond that, the stereotype that Millennials are obsessed with expensive health foods has outlived its usefulness. Studies repeatedly show that Millennials are a poor generation (which is also the major reason why so many young adults still live with their parents).
Gigi Hadid probably does subsist on something like an avocado smoothie diet. But the one in five Millennials who lives in poverty isn’t shopping at Whole Foods and dining at juice bars, despite conventional wisdom.
Twitter was not down with Time’s attempt to start a viral phenomenon.
Nice try, Time. Nice try.