In case you haven't gotten his out-of-office email response or heard the "hot goss" around town, Brian K. Mahoney is taking the first sabbatical of his 23-year career at Chronogram. When I last saw the man, he was wearing a t-shirt with lederhosen printed on the front and smoking a cigar. I think he's adjusting nicely. Plans include writing a book, getting an enviable tan, and camping. (His wife is also keeping him busy assembling a warren of Ikea furniture.) Brian and his curatorial prowess will return in late September.
Brian tapped me, Marie Doyon, to hold down the fort in his absence. Hi everyone! (Fun fact: This is the first time in over two decades that the editor's note for this magazine is being written by a woman!) I've worked at Luminary Media for the last two and a half years. Before that, I ran Country Wisdom News (now Livelihood) out the top floor of a print shop in Rosendale. And before that, well, I'm ashamed to admit, I was in college.
In the lead-up to taking over for Brian, I began jokingly telling my late-20s, early-30s peers that this was my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to Millennialize Chronogram. We shared knowing smiles and they wished me luck as they raised glasses of cheap rosé to my temporary promotion.
But as the carbonation of the moment subsided, I was left with a lowkey anxiety. Could I deliver on my promise? What exactly had I meant? What did they think I meant? What even is a Millennial? (Well, for starters, this rapidly derailing train of thought is quintessentially Millennial, but more on that later.)
Without a great war or a Great Depression to set us apart, there is even confusion about who should count as a Millenial, let alone characterizing the shared generational culture. Is it anyone born between Reagan and Dubya? Or between Madonna's first and seventh albums? Before Y2K?
Trusting that historians will resolve it later, I will lay that query to rest and move onto the question of characterization. Being born in 1990, I am, by everyone's count, a bonafide card-carrying Millennial. There, I said it. You can throw down the magazine in disgust now if you'd like.
But if you're still with me, here are some of the things I know about my age group, which will hopefully give you a taste of who I am and what you can (and can't) expect for the next few months.
Fanatical about dogs. Millennials love dogs to a baffling extent. People have always had dogs, but that was all it was. You see a 50-year-old guy on the street walking his dog and that's exactly what he's doing. Then he probably goes home, cracks a beer, flips on the TV, and doesn't think about the dog again till it's time to feed him dinner. Millennial dog rules are different. It's more like a religion, for which the pamphlet would read like this: Bring your dog everywhere, even totally inappropriate places. Shamelessly spoil the hell of your dog and be endeared every time they act "naughty." Melt into a puddle of baby talk and kisses whenever you see any dog in any place. My current theory is that Millennials get dogs to learn codependence—an essential skill for later life. I personally have a dog that I love a healthy, generationally atypical amount, so there probably won't be a ton more canines in the mag, but check out our Insta, where I'll be pulling for adoption of the hashtag #pupstate. (You're welcome.)
Abbrev-crazed. So that Brian doesn't have a heart attack before he is able to return from sabbatical in October, I am largely going to skip the Millennial affinity for abbreviations in print and stick to the good ol' Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS for short). For a dose of light-hearted snark and quippy, rule-breaking content, sign up for our sexy lil' newsletter, Eat. Play. Stay.
Polished Aesthetic. I'm not sure if its a Cold War-era aesthetic, but where Gen Xers love a little grit, Millennials have been groomed by a steady, scrolling stream of perfect overhead shots. I am no exception to the rule and love a perfectly polished image. Over the next few months, you can find me in closet-sized back office at Chronogram engaged in a prolonged battle with my Art Director over visuals. Rest assured, he is a bonafide Gen X-er and will stalwartly stem the tide of Instagram-worthy #foodporn I'll be try sneaking in.
Anxious as hell. A 2018 poll by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) found that Millennials were the most anxious generation, thanks to stressful factors like lower employment rates, larger student loan debts, and lower levels of home ownership. Also, as the first generation to be raised with internet and social media, we learned deep-rooted insecurity and the savage art of self-comparison from a tender, prepubescent age. (Don't worry I'm fine. I only broke down twice during press week!)
Insane in the meme-brain. I remember learning in math class that a function has an input and an output; basically one variable depends on another according to a rule. Memes are (social) functions for a tech-obsessed generation. Turns out we're really good at math, just not the kind that lets you tip without a calculator or save up to buy a house. As a longtime regional arbiter of culture, Chronogram is uniquely positioned to define the Hudson Valley meme space. Follow us on social as we intrepidly test the waters of upstate-centric memes.
Cause-driven. We care about racial justice. The environment. LGBTQ rights. Feminism. Reproductive rights. Immigrant rights. In the next few months, I'll be angling to diversify our slate of contributors and up our coverage of regional social justice movements.
Lazy...Or not. I've heard and read countless variations of the accusation, "Millennials are lazy." Time magazine called us "The Me Me Me Generation." A March New York Post article stated that one in three Millennials leaves a new job within the first 90 days, voluntarily or not. While there are certainly lazy, self-absorbed assholes among us (like every family, every generation has them), I'd like to make a case in defense of my peers. I have plenty of friends that have successfully started their own businesses or climbed the corporate ladder. (Ahem, I started at Chronogram as a part-time graphic designer.) These are friends in nursing, politics, food reform, research, web design, social work—the scope of their callings is broad, but they all work their butts off. And they've left jobs over things like office culture, vacation policy, and benefits. I would argue that what is so often pegged as laziness is in fact the pursuit of a certain quality of life, and what gets labeled entitlement ia an unwillingness to compromise. We're a generation that's pushing for work-from-home days, casual dress codes, an office snack bar, and paid family leave.
We watched our parents burn out over "respectable" 40-year careers spent pushing papers while their souls slowly shriveled, and we don't want that. It doesn't mean that we aren't willing to work. Trust me, we are. Or just keep reading Chronogram for the next four months and let me rock your world.
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