In the past few months, the phrase “Okay, Boomer” has gone viral through internet memes, videos on tik tok and even a theme song called “OK Boomer” by Peter Kuli and Jedwill. The phrase is a clever diss invented by the youthful generation Z, those born from 1996 on, in response to run ins with individuals born from 1946 to 1964 known as Baby Boomers. Millennials and young adults or teens often face ridicule from the Baby Boomers for things like being lazy, obsessed with their phones (and avacados,) and for having tattoos or piercings.
The witty pun “ok boomer” jabs back at the “back in my day,” speech we’ve all heard from our parents/ grandparents and is meant to be a playful comeback to the older generations misunderstandings and generalizations about millenials and gen Z. However, the meme has created quite a polarizing issue on social media. Bob Lonsberry, radio talk show host, columnist, newspaper reporter, conservative, and finally, baby boomer starts the controversy battle with a fired up tweet “‘Boomer’ is the n-word of ageism. Being hip and flip does not make bigotry ok, nor is a derisive epithet acceptable because it is new.” This perspective asserts that the meaning behind the meme is derogatory and hurtful as it dismisses the generation’s ideas and opinions because they are old. Many people responded strongly online that the history behind the n-word is incomparable to “boomer” and matchless in nature of disparaging language. Those who felt passionately that Lonsberry’s statement went too far responded on twitter by quoting comedian Johny Mulaney who said during a live special, “When comparing the badness of two words, and you can’t say one of the words, that’s the worst one.”
There are two very extreme sides to the “ok boomer” trend yet a majority of both youth and elders, remain unbothered or are unaware of it’s existence…yet? Only time will tell if this meme will blow up to polarize and divide the generations apart, or be laid to rest by the next viral phenomena to join the ghosts of internet fads.