‘OK Boomer’: The new gen­er­a­tional put-down

The Week (US) - - News -

“Now it’s war,” said Tay­lor Lorenz in The New York Times. Teens and 20-some­things have cre­ated a new “end­lessly re­peated re­tort to the prob­lem of older peo­ple who just don’t get it.” The phrase “OK Boomer” be­gan as an in­ter­net meme but has since grown into a global phe­nom­e­non dec­o­rat­ing shirts, hood­ies, bed­sheets, pins, stick­ers, socks, leg­gings, posters, wa­ter bot­tles, greet­ing cards, and cell­phone cases. When a heck­ler in­truded on New Zealand mem­ber of par­lia­ment Ch­löe Swar­brick’s speech about cli­mate change, the 25-year-old had a glib, yet with­er­ing, re­ply: “OK Boomer.” It’s be­come a “ral­ly­ing cry for mil­lions of fed-up kids” dis­gusted that Baby Boomers are leav­ing them a world plagued by cli­mate change, mount­ing debt, un­af­ford­able hous­ing, and in­come in­equal­ity. Any­one over 50 can now ex­pect to hear this dis­mis­sive re­sponse any time they say “some­thing con­de­scend­ing about young peo­ple and the is­sues that mat­ter to them.”

Give me a break, said Steve Cuozzo in the New York Post. Mil­len­ni­als, Gen X, and Gen Z love to whine about how “their com­pla­cent el­ders be­queathed them a rotten Amer­ica and a rotten world.” But if they ac­tu­ally stud­ied his­tory—you know, the kind that “can’t eas­ily be found on iPhones”—they’d dis­cover that Boomers “were, and re­main, the most so­cially and en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious gen­er­a­tion Amer­ica ever has ever known.” We Boomers trans­formed the so­ci­ety our par­ents left us by cham­pi­oning fem­i­nism, civil rights, gay rights, and the en­vi­ron­men­tal move­ment. Boomers also in­vented the dig­i­tal world and the gadgets with­out which young­sters “couldn’t get out of bed.” As gen­er­a­tional sneers go, “OK Boomer” is not very cre­ative, said Tyler Cowen in Bloomberg. com. It cer­tainly lacks “the vi­tal­ity and re­bel­lious spirit” of the 1960s or ’70s, when my gen­er­a­tion took to the streets. In­deed, this put-down of older peo­ple con­veys a cer­tain re­signed im­po­tence—a “pas­sive ad­mis­sion as to who is re­ally in charge.”

Ac­tu­ally, the beauty of this phrase is its brevity, said Molly Roberts in The Wash­ing­ton Post. With just two words, the young pro­gen­i­tors of “this in­so­lent slo­gan” con­vey not only their rage over “col­laps­ing cli­mate, an un­equal econ­omy, and endless bat­tles over­seas that they didn’t start,” but also that it’s a “waste of key­board char­ac­ters” to ex­plain their point of view to self-sat­is­fied Boomers. “They’re say­ing a lot with very lit­tle, and by say­ing very lit­tle they end up say­ing even more.”

‘Nuff said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.