Millennials have been told they are many things. They are lazy; they are profligate; they live at home too long and don’t get their driver’s licenses the way their grandparents did; they use Snapchat; they make a weird whooping sound too much. They also graduated from college into an economic wasteland during which the rate of capitalist expansion had long since peaked, witnessed an unprecedented shift of the world’s wealth to its very richest inhabitants at the expense of the very future of the planet, and saw the cycle of home ownership and debt to be an albatross that actively drove their parents insane. Perhaps justifiably, millennials have some shifting opinions on the value of working themselves to death so that they can own a piece of land. Even if home ownership remains the dream of many, there is no faith anymore in the system by which it is achieved.
Accordingly, a new article from Time, which features quotes from an Australian edition of 60 Minutes by the millionaire Tim Gurner, has elicited the ire of nearly every person who has read it. Gurner thinks home ownership is falling not because millennials have inherited a world in which laborers are supposed to be atomized automatons moving from location to location in an endless pursuit of new “gigs” but because they enjoy avocado toast. As he told 60 Minutes:
When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each… We’re at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high. They want to eat out every day, they want to travel to Europe every year. The people that own homes today worked very, very hard for it, saved every dollar, did everything they could to get up the property investment ladder.
It does not help that Gurner utters this horseshit while looking like an algorithmically rendered manifestation of a douchebag, his hair slicked back into individually discernible fins of grease. The Time article seems to be engineered as if to directly incite the ire of readers, and to that end it has been magically effective.
Plus about a billion more such tweets if you search for “avocado toast,” a query that somehow does not bring up endless musings from fun-employed youngsters boasting about what they are doing instead of getting jobs at steel mills and fighting in World War II so they can climb Gurner’s metaphorical “property investment ladder.” He is clearly using avocado toast as a symbol of millennials’ supposed lack of hardworking, more moral consumerism, weighing “toast” as the bad type of spending and “a house” as the good type of spending, as if that were the only calculus at play in the ability of a person to afford a home.
The real tragedy here, however, is that the humble, delicious avocado had to be drawn into it. If there’s anything that should be bringing us together—rich and poor, young and old, human and Tim Gurner—it’s a healthy, delicious snack.