Sign of the day: “…and we need them badd!”

we want responsable teachers

At this point, any teachers might suffice.


Millennials don’t exist: An entertaining presentation by Adam Conover

millennials dont exist title

deep shiftIt should have been a dreadful keynote for a dreadful conference: the Turner Emerging Consumers Summit, which also went by the name “Deep Shift” and had the tagline “Dealing with disruption and the younger media consumer” (that should be your first warning). It was a one-day get-together of television marketers (second warning ahoy) to discuss approaches to reach millennials and “plurals” (and there’s your third warning).

💩  Don’t worry if you went “huh?” in response to plurals. It’s a term that Turner Broadcasting is trying to make happen, and it refers to people born after 1997. If you’re unimpressed with that term, other broadcasting people have come up with even lamer ones: MTV calls this demographic “Founders”, and ABC Family is leading the race to the neologistic bottom with their term, “Becomers”.

adam conover

As I was saying, it should have been a dreadful keynote for a dreadful conference, but it wasn’t, thanks to keynote speaker Adam Conover, star of the CollegeHumor video series turned TV series Adam Ruins Everything. Adam took his Adam Ruins Everything schtick — debunking commonly-held misconceptions with facts and comedy — and applied it to his keynote, titled Millennials Don’t Exist (and with the alternate title Adam Ruins Millennials).

Here’s the video of his keynote:

The main points of Adam’s presentation, which you really should watch because he’s quite entertaining, are:

  • Older people having been saying “they don’t make young people like they used to” throughout history, from the story of Cain and Abel (about 1400 BCE) to that quote commonly misattributed to Hesiod (700 BCE) to more recent pieces in Time about the Me Generation (1970s) and Generation X (1990s).
  • Thinking about generations has always been reductive and condescending to the people being described. It’s no different from how we see “the other” — our group is made of individuals, each with a combination of characteristics and experiences that make him or her unique, while that other group are a monolithic “you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all” type.
  • It’s odd saying that the current group of American twentysomethings are lazy when they’re also the group with the largest percentage ever who are working as unpaid interns who are “benefiting” from “experience”.
  • Thinking about the cohort of people living in the U.S. who were born between 1980 and 2000 as a single, monolithic group is especially useless as they’re the most diverse 20-year group that the country has ever had.
  • And finally, the “how to sell to / deal with a particular generation” is largely snake oil sold by William Strauss and Neil Howe, a sketch comedian and an economist who came together to invent a whole management theory and a pricey consulting business to fleece that most gullible business department: HR.

Additional material

Why Millennials suck (okay, not really): A more in-depth look at the made-up phenomenon of Millennials and its creators, Strauss and Howe. What they’re really selling are expensive employee horoscopes tarted up in management-fad drag.

Adam Ruins Everything. This show’s good fun. It’s just had its first season, with a second one coming up in August. The video above is from the “Adam Ruins Sex” episode and explains the real reason you’re circumcised.

And finally, the Millennials in the Workplace video (shown above), which I’m including because it’s fun to annoy twenty-somethings.


Trump’s hypocritcal elegy for Muhammad Ali


Here’s a tweet from Donald Trump on December 7, 2015 on the non-existence of Muslim sports heroes:

He’s counting on you not knowing that they have a relationship that goes back nearly four decades and that they’ve been to several events together, from Trump presenting this United Cerebral Palsy Humanitarian Award to Ali at a dinner in 2001, or the fact that Ali attended his wedding to his third (and still current, but for how long?) wife in 2005, or the time he accepted an award from Ali at his Celebrity Fight Night in 2007.

Now that the champ has passed, he’s hoping that you’ve forgotten what he said six months ago:

And just in case, Trump said on Saturday that he was aware of Muslim sports stars: “I know who they are. I mean, look, Muhammad Ali is somebody that I’ve liked for a long time — and I know he’s Muslim.”

As for Ali, he made this statement aimed right at Trump in December, titled Presidential Candidates Proposing to Ban Muslim Immigration to the United States:

I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.

We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.

Speaking as someone who has never been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.

My real worry is that there will come a time during this election campaign when the Trump campaign will be far more toxic, and we’ll all wax nostalgic for less poisonous moments like this one.


An excellent piece of life advice in Matt Damon’s 2016 commencement speech at MIT

matt damons commencement speech at mit

Earlier this morning, Matt Damon gave the 2016 commencement speech at MIT. Damon never went there; only his character Will Hunting did. This is his second fake graduation from a prestigious Boston school — he went to Harvard and attended commencement but never got a degree. “So yes,” he said, “for the second time in my life, I’m fake graduating from a college in my hometown.”

There are a lot of gems in Damon’s commencement speech, and you can either watch it below or get the highlights from, but there’s a particular bit of life advice that he gave that really took my attention. He was talking about the hypothesis that reality is in fact a simulation, and after making a joke about it (“And if there are multiple simulations, how come we have to live in the one where Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee for president? Can we, like, transfer to a different one?”), he delivered this gem:

Professor [Max] Tegmark has an excellent take on all this. “My advice,” he said recently, “is to go out and do really interesting things, so the simulators don’t shut you down.”

Now then again, what if it isn’t a simulation? Either way, my answer is the same. Either way, what we do matters. What we do affects the outcome. So either way, MIT, you’ve gotta go out and do really interesting things. Important things. Inventive things. Because this world — real or imagined — this world has some problems that we need you to drop everything and solve.

Damon may only be a pretend genius, but that bit of advice was clever and inspired.


Florida of the day: Giant golf course alligator (or: Dave needs new golf buddies)

dave and the alligator

If you’re the sort of person who reads this blog, the odds are better than even that you’ve seen the video of the giant alligator wandering about Buffalo Creek Golf Club in Palmetto, Florida. Yes, the gator is impressive, but what makes the video truly Florida is the suggestion from someone off-camera that “Dave” — presumably the guy seen in the video shooting video on his phone — get next to the alligator “for perspective”.

Here’s the video with my subtitles:

The gator is a regular attraction at the course, and golfers often taken pictures of it. Wendy Schofield, a clerk at the club’s pro shop says that it “doesn’t bother anybody and they don’t bother him. He’s like a mascot for the course, which is owned by Manatee County.

Charles Helms, who shot the video, told NBC news “You kind of learn very early on that people really aren’t on the menu. Just don’t bother it, don’t annoy it. Certainly don’t corner it — just let it go.”

And, it would seem, don’t stand beside it for perspective; let someone else do that.