It’s just in time for the holidays, as if you thought New Zealand couldn’t be more cool, lawmaker Chlöe Swarbrick retorted “Ok Boomer” back to an unsuspecting male in parliament Nov. 7 when he scoffed at her speech about a potential climate change bill.
Indeed, Kiwis are breaking this world into a new dawn, just as Harry Styles would’ve liked it. The recent event in New Zealand draws a perfect illustration of the rising international movement of age-targeted catchphrase technology.
“Ok Boomer,” in its eloquent simplicity, is a weapon of the new age. It’s perfect for family gatherings where old people reside, especially occasions like this past Thanksgiving, a holiday that has facilitated unnaturally inclusive dinners since its invention.
If you want to dominate these conversations from now on, there’s some information on your greatest ammunition that you should know.
The iconic clapback initially activated in January 2019, when it got used as a response against an older man’s derision claiming Millennials and Generation Z have the Peter Pan Syndrome. I know what you’re thinking, there was no reason to bring Peter Pan into this bloodbath, but here we are and now you know Boomers have no respect for boundaries.
Fast forward to November 2019, and ‘Ok Boomer’ has been reinvigorated and relaunched, now by an army of meme pioneers hated yet respected by everybody— TikTok users. The uptake form TikTok spread to other forms of social media, and eventually into real life, day-to-day vernacular.
Now, Millennials and Generation Z primarily use this response in their daily lives to counter distasteful, retrograde comments made by older, out-of-touch, people, usually Baby Boomers.
Terrifying wasp infiltrates J201 class, dies on scene via blunt force traumaIn the beige depths of the Humanities building last Friday morning, one could almost feel the bubbling desire to learn Read…
Ah yes, Baby Boomers— the generation that makes any developed country’s population graph look like a curvy female. They overtook the US when the influx of returning WWII soldiers caused a surplus of children. Now, after j-chilling through the 20th century, this demographic has set down their AARP magazine, ripped off their cheetah-print reading glasses and turned full X-Games mode on divisive issues.
Up until recently, Boomers were known for things like drinking tea at inappropriate hours, telling the same story twice in one night, and using one finger to text full paragraphs on iMessage. But now, they are known for much more serious things, like invalidating younger generations on their worries for things like climate change and the economy.
“Ok Boomer” arose as a simple quip, but it’s become much more than that. It’s now about efficiently shutting down ignorant arguments that younger people just don’t have patience for anymore.
You might say the phrase is too light a comeback, especially when an old and bitter man says you have Peter Pan Syndrome, but the phrase is more powerful than it looks. Indeed, when a young person quickly shoots an ‘Ok Boomer’ over to an old person, that Boomer goes silent and their eyes go black with dilating shock— that’s true, that happens.
The phrase has just the amount of compelling honesty and quick wit. It starts off with ‘Ok,’ to trick the Boomer into thinking you agree with them, but then quickly hits you with that slick ‘Boomer’ which is hurtful and belittling to the Baby Boomer since that’s only half of their name. The sly curtness of the reply proves to the Boomer you only need two words to completely destroy their argument.
The phrase is also pervasive and omniscient, as all Millennials and Generation Z kids have mobilized it to be the ultimate roast for people older than them. It’s truly everywhere— online, in classrooms and written on the streets.
It’s also reached UW. Students on campus use it constantly, by either replying with it, or by writing it on public property, in true revolution form, as pictured above. The movement is truly unstoppable, and students have united to make sure it stays that way. For example, the other day I saw ‘¡Viva la Boomer!’ on the side of a bridge I’m pretty sure a gang of freshman from Sellery made that person disappear.
Now, keeping all of this in mind as the holidays are upon us, you have to understand the sanctity and history of this iconic comeback. Remember the kids who came before you, remember the confused look they got from the first Boomer who they used it against. That’s power, that is strength.
At various family dinners, you will come across family, friends and comments that will genuinely upset you. But, you must be prepared to assert yourself as the most capable person at the table. No matter how your stunned older relatives react to this change in power, don’t forget this is your time.
Now you know, if you hear anything problematic from someone who has the most remote gray hair on their head, you have the means to conquer them. An argument is nothing when face to face with the beast: “Ok Boomer.”