3 minute read

Talkin’ ‘Bout Their Generation

In the tradition of earlier time cover stories on the baby boomers of the 1960s and Generation X in the 1990s, Joel Stein’s May 20 story set out to capture the character of millennials. The piece was widely shared, but many readers took issue with its description of 20-somethings as “lazy and narcissistic.” The New Republic’s Marc Tracy faulted Stein’s logic: “Millennials are less ambitious; therefore they are lazy.” The Atlantic’s Elspeth Reeve cited data showing that young people often “get over themselves as they get older.” The Huffington Post’s Tyler Kingkade criticized the tongue-in-cheek video in which the 41-year-old Stein attempted to “live like a millennial” for a day, saying he couldn’t imagine Stein’s being “more degrading to our generation in four minutes.” Many commenters noted that since the article was available online only to subscribers, millennials were unlikely to read it, prompting this tweet from Slate’s Farhad Manjoo: “I can’t access the full text of the Time article. I want it. WTF am I supposed to do with just the cover? GIVE ME THE TEXT. ME. ME. ME. ME. ME.” But the cover was enough on Tumblr, where commenters inserted new captions and images–everything from self-portraits to Grumpy Cat–to turn it into an Internet meme. While millennials may not be the first generation to chafe at being summarized on a magazine cover, they may be the first to have the means to create their own alternatives instantaneously.

Lofty View

A new way to see our planet

TIME’s multimedia time-lapse videos of Earth’s surface–a joint project with NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey and Google–have inspired awe since their May 9 launch:

‘Time-lapse of Earth’s changing surface over 30 years is stunning; should scare the crap out of all of us: Check it out.’


‘A spectacular bird’s-eye view of the changes.’


‘Pretty amazing (but not surprising) to see the impact we’ve had on our planet.’


‘Our world in stunning images over time as it’s never been seen before.’


‘Dubai is insane to watch!’


A Searing Image of Catastrophe

Taslima Akhter’s photograph of a man and a woman embracing amid the rubble of the garment-factory building that collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on April 24 has become the most powerful symbol of that tragedy. The picture appeared in a photo essay on the incident, the worst in the history of the garment industry, in the May 20 issue of TIME’s international editions. “This photo is haunting me all the time,” she said in an interview with’s photo blog, LightBox. “It’s as if they are saying to me, We are not a number–not only cheap labor and cheap lives.” The identities of the subjects remain unknown, but the image has been shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media. “One photo speaking volumes,” wrote travel blogger Jodi Ettenberg. The Huffington Post called it “heartbreaking.”

Please recycle this magazine and remove inserts or samples before recycling

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at