Have you encountered Old Economy Steve? He came of age around 1970-something, wears a blue-collared shirt, sports a feathered haircut and has an awkward smirk-like grin. Oh, and he’s the main character in a meme for frustrated Millennials — a generation facing a mountain of student loan debt and dire job prospects that TIME magazine recently called “lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow.”
It seems Millennials have a few things to say to condescending Baby Boomers and elders who have some out-of-touch ideas about what it’s like growing up in the 21st century’s economic climate. The Old Economy Steve meme is encircled by choice little phrases, like “Drives up federal deficit for 30 years… Hands the bill to his kids” and “Has it better than his parents… and his kids.”
So what are the meme’s origins?
According to the website Know Your Meme, the picture of the young man was first featured in acne-related articles. On May 10, 2012, a user of Reddit, NewNormal, submitted the image (titled “Introducing Old Economy Steven… you know, your dad”) to the the website, which featured the same photograph paired with the caption “Fails out of high school…Gets job, buys house, retires happy.”
See more examples below. And tell us what you think — are Millennials bitter or do they have a point?