All too often we're thought of as apathetic, self-centered, and on a fast-track to failure, but California-natives Ari Andersen and Matthew Little are on a quest to prove that Millennials Don't Suck. At 22 episodes and counting, their titular podcast illuminates an alternative reality, one far closer to the truth. Recorded out of Andersen's home in East Los Angeles, he and Little seek out and exhibit the "community-driven content" that is both coming from and serving the world's diverse communities of young people.
"We think it's really important, now more than ever, to show that we're capable of having deep, introspective, meaningful conversations as 20-something-year-olds," Andersen tells Creators. In each episode, the guys explore the ins and outs of millennials' current work in everything from technology to politics to spirituality.
"You don't get an insight into the yeo-person," bemoans Little, "the yeo-people, who are doing incredible, back-breaking labor in programming, in medicine, in research, get no glory." Developments do not come to fruition effortlessly, and in exploring the folks behind these innovations, "you get a window in the myriad other yo-people who are making something huge like the Mars rover happen," says Little, referencing NASA engineer Michelle Easter, MDS' second guest. Getting into the thick of what lies beyond flashy storylines and sensationalized media coverage motivates Andersen and Little alike, and is an enduring commonality between the millennials on the show.
In the face of Alexis Bloomer's tragic viral video and other anti-millennial sentiments like it, Andersen developed the name Millennials Don't Suck before anything else. Spanning from 45 minutes to two hours, the podcast goes far beyond the sensationalized and sanitized five-minute exposé model. "Human beings are not five minutes long!" says Little. "Human beings have heartbeats, they've got blood rushing through their veins, and we need to feel that."
"I need to trust," says Little. "I don't have the time, as a millennial or as anybody, to fucking sort through all the things that are coming at me all the time, the barrage of information, so I need to trust actors and stakeholders in those fields to cogently, coherently cull through the shit and say 'this is important' or 'that is important,' which is what we're doing. And if we can do that with whole human beings, saying look at this person because they're fucking amazing, those can be other drivers of that kind of discernment and cultivation."
The show's curation—and not just because MDS featured yours truly discussing a visit to COP22, part of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change, in Marrakech last November—is a vital element in the exploration of millennials who are exploring and reshaping their own worlds. As we explore existing global structures we redraw lines around hitherto compartmentalized and predetermined ways of living. Many of the show's guests are creating new methods for educating themselves, achieving new career paths, combining multiple religious and spiritual dogmas, and are taking more time in choosing and settling with their significant others. These intricacies and vulnerabilities are what fuel MDS in tandem with the hosts' personal journeys in understanding and disseminating what they uncover.
It's "a little bit of column A, a little bit of column B and [producing] column C—your art, your philosophy," says Little of living and learning in this day and age. In documenting how a generation is breaking apart the norms of operating, employed, and navigating life, Millennials Don't Suck serves as a beacon for millennials seeking to reshape and redefine their world.