Everything in This WSJ Trend Piece Is Terrible

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The trend piece is like matcha: no one actually likes it, but someone somewhere decided that we all needed a ton of it, so it’s everywhere. The New York Times is famous for its months-late pieces on trends like bubble tea and millennials texting their friends when they’re grieving. Equally famous are the huge nightmares those trend pieces can cause: Bubble tea, critics pointed out, has been around for fucking ever, and many of the “millenials” the Times claimed to have found grieving Online were, in fact, not millennials.


But it’s not just the Times! The Wall Street Journal on Monday provided us with a beautiful example of the bad trend piece genre. It’s got everything: tenuous assertions, interviews with millennials who absolutely do not represent the rest of us, bizarre micro-trends and, of course, interviews with people who make stuff saying that people like the stuff they buy.

According to the Journal, there’s a new kind of millennial: the “clean lifers,” who “revel in dodging the indulgences of their elders.” They drink less, eat healthily, and make pourover coffee. They are insufferable, basically.

But worse than the CleanLyf crowd are the decidedly not-millennials the paper interviews, who sell stuff marketed toward these smug fuckers. Take, for example, this fella who makes beer:

Mr. Calagione, 48 years old, created SeaQuench Ale, a low-alcohol, low-calorie brew with middle-aged, slowing-metabolism drinkers like himself in mind. But sales took off among young, fitness-minded adults, propelling SeaQuench Ale to be Dogfish Head’s fastest growing beer. “We didn’t think it would be pulling in all these whippersnappers to the degree it has,” says Mr. Calagione.

Wouldn’t you know it, the young’uns like their light beers! Yet according to MyFitnessPal, a SeaQuench has almost 50 more calories per 12oz can than a Miller Lite. It’s almost like my man Calagione is full of shit and just saying whatever will get him in the damn Wall Street Journal!

Why do the millennials want to reduce their calorie intake? Is it because they’ve been raised on a steady diet of insane body image standards and generally told they have to be the absolute best at all times? No, it’s because of “an unstable world”:

So-called clean lifers, typically educated 20-29 year-olds, pursue healthy living as a way of asserting control and finding comfort in an unstable world, says Alison Angus, an analyst for Euromonitor, a market-research firm, which this year identified the group as one of the top ten emerging forces shaping consumer behavior.


Euromonitor’s own report on Clean Lifers, which sounds like a prison thing to me, is more explicit. It says that “a new generation of ‘straight-edge’ consumers has grown up knowing deep recession, terrorism and troubled politics” and thus “are keen to secure a more ordered existence for themselves.” That’s right. Millennials want low-calorie beer because of Donald Trump.

“This means more saying no: no to alcohol; no to unhealthy habits; no to animal-based products and, increasingly, no to unmeasured or uninformed spending,” Angus continues in the WSJ. I know I’m not all millennials, but have you ever met me? I love meat and unhealthy habits. I don’t know anyone who has used a budgeting app for more than a week without deleting it because it makes them too sad.


Perhaps the most irksome part of this irkfest: Letting one of the biggest producers of coffee filters talk about how popular they are with the Youth.

Young adults now use pour-over coffeemakers at twice the rate of the general population and are replacing their electric-drip machines with the simple porcelain devices, says Chris Hillman, vice president of marketing for Melitta USA, a unit of Melitta Group. “There’s nothing more minimalist than a Pour-Over cone on top of a cup with a filter and coffee and pure water poured on top of it,” he says. “It’s a very Zen-like, ritualistic process.”


Fuckin’ hell no it isn’t! Have you ever spilled an entire filter full of grounds on the floor? Because I have, two days ago, and I cried. Pour over’s popularity has nothing to do with minimalism: It’s just the easiest, cleanest, and tastiest way to make coffee without a $2,000 espresso machine. And it takes up no counter space, which, given the size of millennial apartments, is a real concern.

It gets more absurd:

Young adults seeking to balance indulgence with portion control helped drive sales of Chicago Metallic’s Slice Solutions brownie pan set, which includes dividers to create 18 brownies. These consumers’ active, healthy lifestyles and desire for creativity means they can enjoy baking, says Tom Mirabile, senior vice president of global trend and design for Lifetime Brands Inc., which owns Chicago Metallic.


Okay, hang on. Millennials want to eat healthy so they’re buying brownie pans with a special portioning device? Or, MAYBE, they just like that the thing slices the brownies for you all at once? You know you can just eat six of those suckers, right? And why are you asking the guy who makes the pan! He has a vested interest in telling you people love his weirdo pans!!! Where’s the damn PROOF!!!

I’m not saying there aren’t a lot of annoying people in their 20s who eat clean and won’t shut up about it. I just reject the notion that this is new, or that I need to hear from an executive at Chicago Metallic about it. I reject this “trend.” I reject your low calorie beer and your raw food. This is how I live my CleanLife: with no trend pieces and absolutely no articles about millennials, ever again.

Splinter politics writer. libby.watson@splinternews.com