To hear the mainstream media talk about them, you might guess that Millennials are a detached, directionless tribe, the unhappy, unmotivated result of giving those born between 1980 and 2000 everything they ever wanted and filling every moment of their lives with structured, highly regulated activities that left little room for free time, let alone play or imagination. This impression, however, turns out to be little more than a facile stereotype, and The Intentional takes every opportunity to debunk it.
Indeed, as the magazine’s founder, Kate Jenkins, writes in her letter from the editor, the journal aims to answer some big questions: “How can we find satisfaction as individuals? How can we best coexist? Where do we want to be going as a society?” Tackling all three of these issues, Colin D. Laursen offers a compelling think piece on moving from Washington DC to rural Missouri, an experience that gives the author an opportunity to draw parallels between country music and hip hop (not to mention the Tea Party and the Occupy Movement) while pondering (among other things) the relationship between poverty in the United States. Elsewhere in the magazine, Andrew Crosson presents a series of essays by various writers on travel and its sometimes unexpected ethical repercussions, and Alison Sher offers explores the ambivalence of living with one’s parents after college.
In addition to exploring issues germane not only to Millennials but to anyone interested in the intersection of art, politics, and culture, the magazine looks good and is a far cry from the photocopied single-staple disposable zines of my Gen X youth. Sharp as an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog, its full color printing allows the magazine showcase the art of painters Katherine Mann and Lisa Marie Thalhammer as well as the “speculative designs” of Thomas Thwaites, who is currently working on “a suit that simulates the experience of living as an elephant, complete with a prosthetic stomach that digests grass.” Though a photo of this project is (sadly) not included with the profile, a number of his other projects, including a toaster built entirely from raw materials, are on display.
Demonstrating, like The First Day and other journals of its ilk, that the printed (i.e. non-electronic) word is not only a viable proposition but one alive with possibility, The Intentional is required reading for anyone curious about what Millennials are really up to.