The Week (US)

‘OK Boomer’: The new generation­al put-down


“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.
‘Nuff said.

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