Do you have to be a Boomer
to be an ‘Ok Boomer’?

Written 21st December 2019, Published 14th May 2020 due to the volume of fires & pandemic news.

First appearing in a Reddit thread in 2009, it took 10 years for this phrase to catapult itself into mainstream consciousness. It was popularised as a reaction after a TikTok video of an unidentified older man berating Millennials and Generation Z appeared at the beginning of 2019.

A lot of people have since asked “what exactly does Ok Boomer mean”? The number one mistake people make when trying to interpret the meme, is taking it literally. The meme is a reaction based on a stereotype.

Although Boomers typify and somewhat define the stereotype, you don’t have to be a Boomer to be an Ok Boomer. An Ok Boomer is a concept, it is not a literal statement. It personifies an attitude commonly found among Boomers, but present in all generations to some extent or other.

Ok Boomer is illustrative, in many ways a modern-day version of the term ‘luddite’ – representational of an outdated mode of thinking, stuck in the past for fear of the future – in this case future generations and their ideas.

The idea that there hasn’t been a term before like Ok Boomer is as out of step with reality as the thinking that underpins it, a luddite’s approach to truth because it’s on a computer. It is a mindset typified by ignorance and rejection of modern science and modern ways of thinking. A rejection of realities like climate change, gender diversity, or a dozen other issues I could name.

What I really see when I hear Ok Boomer, is a cry for help, a cry of frustration from a generation (or three) that feel mostly voiceless and ignored. Just look at the US President personally denigrating Greta Thunberg earlier this year, or recently telling people to inject bleach to cure the coronavirus and this is how a lot of young people feel – lectured to by idiots and fed up with it.

While the younger generations readily acknowledge climate change (and COVID-19) are real and grave threats, an Ok Boomer sits in their house whilst it burning around them and says everything is fine, or protests while comparing stay at home orders with slavery or dictatorships.

As a young person, when all you see is old white men denying reality, pursuing outdated agendas, denying there is even a problem with climate as the polar ice caps melt and countries burn, you can get a bit defensive and angry.

Ok Boomer is defensive humour, a way of being heard even though a lot of people aren’t listening to you. A way to cut through and make a point still and rather succinctly at that. It is not ageism - not that I remember all the internet warriors caring about that when it was just Millennial, Gen-X or Gen-Z jokes being made – nor is it discrimination.

Suddenly young people respond with some satire of their own, and what is the result? Ok Boomers denigrating them for being supposedly ageist, all because they can’t see the joke and take it the phrase 100% literally.

This also typifies the Ok Boomer though, the person who thinks young people have no voice or should have no voice, that they should stay in school and keep their opinions to themselves. The desire from older folk to silence young people – even when they use humour as a defence to all the real ageism that goes on in regards to young people every day – still they are there telling us what we can or cannot think or say.

God forbid we be allowed some coping humour in response to a world dying before eyes while those in power procrastinate and claim there is no issue to be addressed and people are just being alarmist.

At what point when your house is burning down around you is it ok to be alarmist? The fact is anyone, of any age, can be an Ok Boomer. It merely takes a wilful disregard for reality and a condescending attitude towards young people or change.

There is nothing more Ok Boomer like than the videos of all those super awkward forced handshakes Scotty from Marketing made everyone give earlier this year. An Ok Boomer is one who jets off to Hawaii during a massive crisis, then tries to palm it off as being for the missus and the kids and pretend that it is no big deal. Scotty may have done a decent job of handling the pandemic situation so far, but he remains mostly an Ok Boomer.

Boomers might stereotypically represent the foundation of the Ok Boomer meme, but it is not literal, you don’t have to be a Boomer to be an Ok Boomer, as Scotty from Marketing or Donald Trump aptly demonstrate.

"To lie does not require research; to disprove a lie does." - Greg Jericho


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