Millennials Aren’t the First Generation to Be Blamed for Everything by Eric Weiskott — YES! Magazine
The most famous medieval English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, lived and worked in London in the 1380s. His poetry could be deeply critical of the changing times. In the dream vision poem “The House of Fame,” he depicts a massive failure to communicate, a kind of 14th-century Twitter in which truths and falsehoods circulate indiscriminately in a whirling wicker house. The house is—among other things—a representation of medieval London, which was growing in size and political complexity at a then-astounding rate.
Millennials might be bankrupting the napkin industry, but Chaucer was concerned that younger readers would ruin language.
In a different poem, “Troilus and Criseyde,” Chaucer worries that future generations will “miscopy” and “mismeter” his poetry because of language change. Millennials might be bankrupting the napkin industry, but Chaucer was concerned that younger readers would ruin language itself.