opinion

OPINION: Fellow Millenials, enough with the 'OK Boomer', already. It's embarrassing.

We’ve got ourselves a new hashtag, people. ‘OK Boomer’. Two words; catchy enough to be flung around Twitter and TikTok, compact enough to be splashed across memes.

But it’s not brevity that’s driving this new Millenial and Gen Z catchcry. It’s revenge.

The popular term has sprung up on social media as a sarcastic response to comments/behaviour from older people (Baby Boomers, in particular) that seem out of touch or don’t satisfy woke Millenial or Gen Z standards.

NZ MP Chlöe Swarbrick drops an “OK, Boomer” in parliament after being heckled by a colleague.

Don’t believe climate change is real? OK, Boomer. Think young people are ‘snowflakes’ who lack resilience? OK, Boomer. Think smartphones are the death of effective communication/manners/proper grammar? OK, Boomer. Think political correctness has gone too far? OK, Boomer.

It’s basically a teenage eye-roll in a hashtag.

Those who are championing the phrase claim it’s a way of using the biggest weapons in their arsenal — technology and social media — to bite back against the ills inflicted upon them by the Baby Boomer generation. From housing affordability to inaction on renewable energy, even gender inequality in business and politics.

It’s even leapt into parliament. 25-year-old New Zealand MP Chlöe Swarbrick shut down a colleague’s heckling during her speech on climate change with a casual, “OK, Boomer”. (See video above.)

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The phrase is meant to be bitingly dismissive, cuttingly condescending.

But frankly, it’s embarrassing.

I say that as a Millenial. A relatively ‘woke’ one.

Sure, we have a plenty to be p***ed about. And sure, there’s a frustrating level of apathy, or at least inaction, from those clinging to their long-held positions of power. But responding to condescension with condescension won’t change minds or open eyes.

Besides…Yep, I’m going to say it: #notallboomers.

From Jane Fonda and Ted Danson getting arrested protesting the lack of climate change policy, to the hundreds of thousands of older Australians (close to half, in fact) who voted in favour of marriage equality, there are many who are championing causes that we’ve come to assume are our domain.

Besides, we of all people should know that generational generalisations are tired and just plain untrue. Like every generation of youth in history, Millennials and Gen Zs have been dismissed with a head shake, and clucking tongue.

We’ve been accused of being lazy and entitled, when in fact many of us are working multiple jobs to pay off university fees and afford record rental prices.

We’ve been told we’re egotistical and narcissistic, when in fact millions of us are marching in the streets to demand a cleaner world for the next generation.

We’ve been told our predilection for avocado toast is what’s stopping us from buying a house, when in fact… well, we all know how that one goes.

Yet here we are being ageist, shouting down someone’s opposing views with a diss about when they were born.

The reality is that we need the Boomer generation — and those in between — to tackle these urgent issues. (See previously mentioned positions of power thing.)

Slinging snarky quips will only deepen arbitrary divides in our community, only alienate people further. And as Gen Z climate hero Greta Thunberg keeps telling us, we simply don’t have time for that.

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