The Why #88: Why is Gen Z the absolute worst?

4 min readJun 13, 2024


Question submitted by Jules, Dandenong

Finally Jules! Somebody had the courage to say the quiet bit out loud. These kids wouldn’t have lasted five minutes back in my day. The entitlement! The sensitivity! The microscopic attention spans! The complete and utter reliance on technology! And don’t even get me started on the ‘ironic’ baggy jeans and Nirvana tees…

These Z-ers have started to enter the workforce en-masse, speaking a language that makes no sense at all (‘ijbol’ anyone?). Everything they touch sits somewhere between absurd and inane. From complicated choreography set to the tune of retro Nokia ringtones, to AI generated covers of pop songs performed by toothbrushes, it’s all so utterly incomprehensible.

Why oh why are we living through this, and what ever happened to the good old days?


Declinism is the belief that our society is perpetually in decline. We remember the past as rosy, see the future as rocky, and imagine navigating a straight, downward line between the two.

A 2005 study by Mather and Carstensen looked at the sorts of memories most easily recalled by senior citizens. Sure enough, it was happy memories that most frequently sprung to mind; Family days on the beach. Special holidays. Travel. High school graduations. You get the picture.

While this is lovely and all, it also means we tend to walk around with a warped, one sided view of our past. By comparison, even a well balanced future, filled with equal parts opportunity and risk, seems far worse than where we’ve been. No wonder the slightest sense of an incoming software update has us shaking our fists at the sky and pining for simpler times.

Older generations have always had the same criticisms of those below them, along with sharing the same pining desire for “the good old days”. The invention of the telephone was decried as the downfall of face-to-face interaction, while the advent of televisions and video games struck fear into the hearts of many a parent. The truth is, Jules, the kids are probably alright.

For challenger brands, knowing that people look fondly at the past can open some interesting doors. For one, you can explore ways to tap into nostalgia, tying your business, product, or brand to memories of happier, simpler times. Alternatively, you can look for ways to show that your business, product or brand is the perfect antidote for whatever major disaster is inevitably heading our way.

Behaviourally Yours,

Dan Monheit

PS If you missed the last edition, you can still check out why we look down on modern art here.



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