Home / General / Garbage generation, or garbage journalism?

Garbage generation, or garbage journalism?


As much as I might wish newspapers would just stop already, articles of the MILLENIALS WANT TO SUCK OUT YOUR BRAINS WHILE LISTENING TO SHITTY MUSIC! variety seem to be as common as the ones about research that shows wine/chocolate/coffee is good for you. I tend to give such articles a pass. However, I did enjoy this analysis of the NYT’s latest contribution to the overflowing recycle bin of Millenialmania articles.

There are few things more satisfying than finding another reason that millenials are the worst. They’re narcissistic, coddled, unpatriotic, racist, and nervous about free speech. And now, millennial men want a return to the nostalgic 1950s, with women in the kitchen, whipping up a nice quiche after a hard day on the line.

This is the story presented in Stephanie Coontz’s Friday piece in the New York Times, “Do Millennial Men Want Stay-at-Home Wives,” which reports on evidence from the Council on Contemporary Families (using the General Social Survey) and from sociologists Joanna Pepin and David Cotter (using Monitoring the Future).

The NYT article contains chart based on data from the 2014 GSS, which shows that 52% of men aged 18-25 disagreed with the statement “It is much better for everyone involved if the man is the achiever outside the home and the women takes care of the home and family.”

But the GSS just released their 2016 data this week. 89% of men disagree or strongly disagree with the statement “It is much better for everyone involved if the man is the achiever outside the home and the women takes care of the home and family” – the highest rate among either men or women ages 18-25 in the GSS’s 40-year history. It’s also much higher than the rate reported by everyone older than 25, about 71%.

So is the story, “Clinton defeat inspires millennial men to gender equality”? Or more likely, “Garbage millennial men can’t make up their mind about women”?

I suspect it’s another, less sexy story: you can’t say a lot about millennials based on talking to 66 men.

The GSS surveys are pretty small – about 2,000-3,000 per wave – so once you split by sample, and then split by age, and then exclude the older millennials (age 26-34) who don’t show any negative trend in gender equality, you’re left with cells of about 60-100 men ages 18-25 per wave. Standard errors on any given year are 6-8 percent.

Another, other story: Given enough time and determination, a hack will find a way to hack some numbers into a bias confirming, click baiting article.

As an aside, newspapers keep bemoaning the fact that Thekidstoday don’t read newspapers like the Elder Ones. Then they publish articles about the shittiness of Thekidstoday. I assume this is a short-term plan to get page hits by trolling the hell out of them, until whatever generation is coming up next is old enough to troll.



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