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Ok, Boomer: The Meme, The Myth, The Legend

Updated: Dec 23, 2019

by SAMANTHA ENGLAND - Not to be confused with Boomers (Oklahoma settlers). "OK Boomer" is a catchphrase and internet meme that gained popularity among younger cohorts throughout 2019, used to dismiss or mock attitudes stereotypically attributed to the baby boomer generation. It is considered by some to be ageist. - Wikipedia

It’s not easy being Gen Z, never has been. But now, we’re being held responsible for a declaration of war against those born between 1946 and 1964. That’s right: the war on baby boomers. A minute Reddit comment made in 2009, a whole decade ago, I might add, has been recently popularized and weaponized as a rally cry for the young souls of the internet.

As the leaves changed this fall, so did the vibes. TikTok began to blow up even more than it had in the summer (see “Tik Tok on the Clock” in your friendly neighborhood Op-Ed section of the Lantern). One of the many videos that became popular was that of an older man claiming that "millennials and Generation Z have the ‘Peter Pan syndrome,’ meaning they don't ever want to grow up; they think that the Utopian ideals that they have in their youth are somehow going to translate into adulthood.” The reaction to such a bold declaration? A simple phrase, echoed by a million teens: “Ok, boomer.”

It was unclear where exactly the joke started-- thanks again, Reddit circa 2009-- or how serious the “problem” actually was. Then, “The New York Times” posted an article titled “‘OK Boomer’ Marks the End of Friendly Generational Relations.” Naturally, many were confused.

How did a meme become a so-called ‘ageist slur’ in less than a month? How did it make the third most famous newspaper in the country? Most importantly, why did no one get this upset when we made fun of ourselves over the last four years?

It’s been a long-winded, heated debate, but I’ve decided that I am in charge now, and I have a verdict. Call it controversial, but maybe “Ok, boomer” is not the most important event going on in society right now. Of course, it’s only fair to respect your elders, and younger generations are doing so much good with their activism. All I’m saying is, maybe one TikTok isn’t the pinnacle of, for lack of a less cringeworthy term, generational relations.

Now that I’ve got your attention; there are currently Muslim concentration camps in China, protesters are being killed in Bhagdad and our president could be on the verge of impeachment. It’s okay to take some time off from memes to learn about what’s going on in the world around you, after all, Gen Z has a whole lifetime of possibilities ahead of them. We just have to keep our eyes open.

But you know what? The 64-year-old president of Brazil called Greta Thunberg a brat the other day for defending the environment.

Ok, boomer.

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