Millennials versus Old Economy Steve: Memes, generational abandonment, and the possibilities of taking care
Communication, Media and Theatre Arts
Southern Communication Journal
Although the Great Recession affected most US Americans, Millennials were among the groups that most felt its impact. Despite this, older generations framed Millennials’ laziness and narcissism as the cause of the slow economic recovery. In response, the meme Old Economy Steve (OES) emerged as a tool for Millennials to take control of their generational identity. Analyzing the varied iterations of the meme, I argue OES presents narrative fragments that coalesce around a story of Millennial’s’ generational abandonment by Baby Boomers. While an imperfect explanation of economic trends, OES offers a template for the use of generational conflict as a rhetorical resource for collective self-care, selfwriting, and alternative politics.
Link to Published Version
Carter, J. S. (2021). Millennials versus Old Economy Steve: Memes, generational abandonment, and the possibilities of taking care. Southern Communication Journal, 86(4), 309–319. https://doi.org/10.1080/1041794X.2021.1933155