“Ok boomer”, the ultimate way to shut up an older person talking down to you about the woes of “today’s generation”, has been rumbling away over on TikTok since at least September. But it exploded in prominence after the New York Times published an article describing the comeback as “the end of friendly generational relations”.
It showcased Gen Z TikTok-hosted art projects and film clips in which the phrase is deployed to ridicule smug boomers, as well as shining a spotlight on a range of “ok boomer” merchandise.
The audience the New York Times piece exposed the meme to are historically the very people that the “ok boomer” meme is making fun of. And, unlike the rest of us, they’re also the people who have not learned that when someone is making fun of you on the internet, the best thing to do is to turn off your mentions and walk away for the short period of time it takes for the joke to die and be completely forgotten.
They have spent the last week churning out a seemingly endless torrent of reaction articles explaining why ‘ok boomer’ is offensive, hurtful and untrue. Without any kind of irony, the generation who popularised the “snowflake” stereotype have complained that “Gen Z aren’t as bad off as they think they are”. It’s been called a pro-Russian slur and perhaps even more bizarrely, “the n-word of ageism”. These pieces encapsulate the growing chasm between generations on the internet -- just as the New York Times predicted.
Favorite encounters with wild boomers on the Internet?