By: Tristan Mabee
Throughout history, certain events seem to take place in cycles. Military buildup is often followed by actual war, skinny pants go in and out of fashion, and older generations criticize the younger. Younger members of society tend to retaliate, often by not listening to or actively working against their predecessors. The meme “ok boomer” is only the most recent example of this phenomenon, and it seems to exist for the same reason the saying “Don’t trust anyone over thirty” did.
If you’re somehow unaware of what “ok boomer” is, it’s usually a joke used when older generations, generally baby boomers, act in what’s perceived as a dated manner, be it through a lack of tech savvy, climate change denial, or even giving unwarranted advice. While neither of these phrases make too much sense when read literally, they both exist as a quick and easy way to vex old people. Ok boomer is really successful at that and has already angered its intended targets with predictably overblown results. Perhaps the best example of this is when popular radio host Bob Lonsberry compared the phrase to a racial slur. Others have claimed it to be ageist, but both of these views are just as inaccurate as the New York Times considering it to be some grand and deep comment on the current state of the world. People have failed to realize that this is supposed to be a quick, off the cuff joke, one meant to be used and forgotten quickly. Remember, this meme got its start on Reddit over a decade ago; it wasn’t created by some genius political theorist or social commentator. Yet many older people seem to be really offended by this admittedly minor jab at them. For a generation that sure acts tough, a little criticism by a group of people who haven’t even passed forty yet seems to really grind their gears. While it’s true that young people are at fault for coming up with this ad hominem and meaningless way to make fun of those before them, it’s ultimately the fault of boomers for continuing to act victimized by a bunch of preteens making jokes through a medium most of them don’t even understand. Any boomers reading this would be smart to ignore the kids making the joke, as they’re only providing more fuel for the fire by responding. At the end of the day, most of the baby boomers are our parents and grandparents, and we wouldn’t be able to make internet memes without them paving the way.