Joyless bores? No, today’s young are quiet revolutionaries | Dorian Lynskey

The younger generation have been caricatured as easily offended puritans. But they just want to expand freedom for all

The natural process of generational change was memorably summed up by Grampa Simpson in The Simpsons episode Homerpalooza: “I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s it seems weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you.” For at least the four decades between rock’n’roll and rave, it was understood that the latest “it” would be weird and scary because it was wilder, louder, sexier and more free, rendering yesterday’s rebel today’s square. The changing of the guard was uncomfortable for the middle-aged, but it had a certain logic.

The generational tensions of the 2010s are strikingly different. The popular stereotype of someone under 30 is now no longer a sex-mad freak but a strange hybrid of totalitarian and wimp, forever saying, “Don’t”. According to an interminable genre of article, millennials and young people are puritanical snowflakes who insist on trigger warnings and safe spaces, don’t drink or take drugs, think clapping is too aggressive, can’t tell the difference between flirting and sexual harassment, and delight in explaining why you should feel bad about your favourite classic sitcom.

Related: Millennials are struggling. Is it the fault of the baby boomers?

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