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Title: The real meaning of ‘OK Boomer’
Source: Spiked
URL Source: https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/ ... the-real-meaning-of-ok-boomer/
Published: Nov 13, 2019
Author: Jennie Bristow
Post Date: 2019-11-14 01:19:42 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 2000
Comments: 63


Over the past few weeks, the ‘OK Boomer’ meme has gone viral, leading to an offline epidemic of earnest commentary. The whippersnappers of ‘Generation Z’ have taken to TikTok – a social-media platform that seems to be about sharing chill-ironic lip-synching video-selfies – with a flurry of music, artwork, and follow-on merch responding to criticisms of the youth of today with the admonition that older generations should STFU.

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Being of the generation that grew up with VHS, audio tapes and landlines, I don’t really get the TikTok thing. It’s cute and funny when my kids use it, and even ‘OK Boomer’ has its moments of mirth. One viral example is a video of white-haired man in a baseball cap and polo shirt droning on that, ‘The millennials and Generation Z have the Peter Pan syndrome, they don’t ever want to grow up’, and a studious young woman deftly designing a sign in response that reads ‘OK Boomer’.

So far, fair enough. The only thing more annoying than young adults blaming their parents for everything is the idea that kids have a responsibility to socialise themselves. Peter Pan syndrome among millenials is the product of a culture that is persistently infantilising young people, hobbling their opportunities to develop independence and blunting their aspiration to grow up. From infancy, today’s kids are trained to regard every slight or criticism as a threat to their own – or somebody else’s – mental health or self-esteem. Young children are discouraged from playing outside without adult supervision. Older adolescents are schooled in the importance of seeking professional support for all the emotional difficulties and life transitions that come with growing up. It is not surprising that they react against being labelled as ‘snowflakes’ by the very society that has instructed them in this way of thinking and being. OK Boomer, indeed.

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If only we could leave it at that. Unfortunately, this silly meme has been bounced into mainstream political and media debate to provide yet another opportunity for self-righteous claims that older generations have stolen their children’s future. Politicians, commentators and campaigners are relentlessly transmitting the message that adults have messed up the world for their kids. ‘OK Boomer’ deftly captures the sentiment that everything adults say is not worthy of debate, only summary dismissal.

As such, the meme merely follows a script that has been played out in a range of present-day political dramas – including those around climate change, the Brexit vote, and the election of Donald Trump – to shut up those whose values, attitudes and priorities are seen to represent ‘the past’. It is a script routinely deployed by people of all ages, who are so wedded to the rightness of their own cause that they arrogantly appropriate the voice of ‘future generations’ to put their claims beyond debate.

That is the spirit in which Chlöe Swarbrick, a 25-year-old MP for New Zealand’s Green Party, said ‘OK Boomer’ in a parliamentary debate about climate change last week. It wasn’t a joke, she explained in the Guardian:

‘My “OK boomer” comment in parliament was off-the-cuff, albeit symbolic of the collective exhaustion of multiple generations set to inherit ever-amplifying problems in an ever-diminishing window of time. It was a response – as is par-for-course – to a barrage of heckling in a parliamentary chamber that at present turns far too many regular folks off from engaging in politics.’

Leaving aside the question of what Swarbrick might mean by ‘regular folk’ – presumably, right-thinking graduates – it is worth noting the speed with which a silly meme has been filled with such deep meaning.

Proclaiming that the meme marks ‘the end of friendly generational relations’, the New York Times reports that: ‘Now it’s war: Gen Z has finally snapped over climate change and financial inequality.’ The teenagers currently milking the ‘OK Boomer’ meme – in some cases, for money – are elevated to the status of prophets, engaged in ‘their own little form of protest against a system they feel is rigged’.

Eighteen-year-old college student Nina Kasman is flogging the slogan on a range of single-use tat – from stickers and socks to water bottles and notebooks. She told the NYT that she was driven to producing OK Boomer merch ‘because there’s not a lot that I can personally do to reduce the price of college… which was much cheaper for older generations who then made it more expensive’. From there, she extrapolates:

‘There’s not much I can personally do to restore the environment, which was harmed due to the corporate greed of older generations. There’s not much I can personally do to undo political corruption, or fix congress so it’s not mostly old white men boomers who don’t represent the majority of generations.’

Frustration with ‘the system’ is channelled not towards political action but into making a quick buck. These young entrepreneurs seem impervious to the contradictions within their arguments, to say the least.

Twenty-year-old college student Jonathan Williams is credited with writing and producing the ‘anthem’ of the OK Boomer ‘movement’. The song ‘goes out to all the 65-plus crowd on SoundCloud’ and is peppered with the refrain ‘old ladies suck’. But it’s not really aimed at old people, the NYT assures us:

‘In the end, “Boomer” is just a state of mind. Mr Williams said anyone can be a boomer – with the right attitude. “You don’t like change, you don’t understand new things especially related to technology, you don’t understand equality”, he said. “Being a boomer is just having that attitude, it can apply to whoever is bitter toward change.”’

Swarbrick has also used this argument that ‘Boomer is a state of mind’. This, apparently, lets self-styled generation warriors off the hook: they have nothing against old people, so long as they agree with young people! And if not all young people parrot the same script about stolen futures and impending doom – which they don’t – they can be dismissed as Boomers, too.

All of which shows that, at the end of the day, this debate has very little to do with actual generational differences. As I argue in my book, Stop Mugging Grandma, the ‘generation war’ that supposedly defines our times is not about a clash between young and old. Instead, it masks disagreements over politics, values and ideas about the future. It has the character of an unseemly fancy-dress competition, in which claims-makers compete to see who can appear most like the twentysomething ‘voice of the future’, thereby appropriating the hopes and fears of young people, and using them for their own ends.

The generation war is a proxy, lip-synched conflict, in which the more young people are talked about, the less they are actually listened to. (1 image)

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Begin Trace Mode for Comment # 31.

#4. To: Deckard (#0)

Bring it snowflake.

rustynail  posted on  2019-11-14   10:03:21 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#5. To: (#4)

Come mothers and fathers throughout the land

And don't criticize what you can't understand

Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command

Your old road is rapidly aging

Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand

For the times they are a-changin' - Dylan

Vicomte13  posted on  2019-11-14   10:34:46 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#9. To: Vicomte13 (#5) (Edited)

I saw Dylan live a few years ago (Mark Knopfler was the opening act... and who I really wanted to see)

Ol' Bob was just beating the crap out of that grand piano they turned him loose on - and repeatedly, completely, out of sync with the rest of the band.

Bass player kept trying to gently nudge him back on time.. but Dylan was either too shytefaced or deaf to get a clue. Or maybe he just didn't care.


Wasn't much of a Dylan fan before that, and was even less of a fan afterwards.

Clearly a legend in his own mind though - and as much of a Judas Goat / Pied Piper as Joooooohny Caaaaaash.

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-19   12:01:51 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#10. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#9)

Clearly a legend in his own mind though - and as much of a Judas Goat / Pied Piper as Joooooohny Caaaaaash.

I liked Johnny Cash. Not sure why either is a Judas Goat - haven't seen any slaughterhouses for humans around lately.

Vicomte13  posted on  2019-11-19   17:03:22 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#12. To: Vicomte13 (#10)

I liked Johnny Cash

{ golf clap }

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-20   9:21:49 ET  (1 image) Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#14. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#12)

You've got something against Johnny Cash? Why on earth?

Vicomte13  posted on  2019-11-20   10:38:24 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#16. To: Vicomte13 (#14) (Edited)

You've got something against Johnny Cash? Why on earth?

Because he's nothing but a crossover Judas Goat fraud who dressed himself up in whichever costume sold whatever to whoever was dumb enough to buy it.

A typical, meth-tweaking, SJW Useful Idiot Snowflake

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-20   11:02:04 ET  (1 image) Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#19. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#16)

Because he's nothing but a crossover Judas Goat fraud who dressed himself up in whichever costume sold whatever to whoever was dumb enough to buy it.

You're talking about an entertainer whose heyday was in the 1950s and 1960s, and who has been dead for sixteen years now, and calling him a "Judas Goat"?

"Judas Goat" is a term generally used for high level authorities who betray the country or their oaths - like some in the conspiracy against Trump.

How is a country singer from the distant past a "Judas Goat"? It's just an insanely over-the-top charge. Cash was never important enough to BE a "Judas Goat".

Calling him one reminds me of a Monty Python sketch in which a very earnest televangelist starts to come unhinged and claiming that "the forbidden fruit" Eve at was FRUIT - and that FRUIT is evil. As the men in white coats are carting him away, he is still hollering "WOE unto the melons!"

Vicomte13  posted on  2019-11-20   11:20:51 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#21. To: Vicomte13 (#19) (Edited)

"Judas Goat" is a term generally used for high level authorities

Maybe in your newspeak dictionary where Judas Goat and Quisling are interchangeable, but in reality land - a Judas Goat is anyone who leads the herd to self-destruction.

Untold story of the Stockyards: Judas goats

Many members of the so-called Entertainment Industry have played that role - either as deliberate actors or Useful Idiots.

Organized Religion has played the role as well - pacifying the cattle as they march obediently, and ignorantly, into the Molechian BBQ.

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-20   11:31:09 ET  (1 image) Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#22. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#21)

Yes, I know what a Judas Goat is. Applying that to a 1950s-60s entertainer seems...inapt.

Vicomte13  posted on  2019-11-20   12:50:02 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#23. To: Vicomte13 (#22)

Applying that to a 1950s-60s entertainer seems...inapt.

Oh, well, what does camping in the desert with the windows blacked out as he binged on meth seem like?

And he was hardly the only 1950s-60s "entertainer" who the parasites running the popular meat machine used to herd the livestock profitably along.

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-20   13:00:14 ET  (1 image) Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#25. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#23)

Sounds like a man with demons. Many have them. I don't recall him singing about meth or urging his audience to use it.

Vicomte13  posted on  2019-11-20   16:18:42 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#26. To: Vicomte13 (#25)

Is he a role model?

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-20   16:44:05 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#27. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#26)

I don't recall him holding himself out as a role model. I recall that he sang a lot of songs about pain, and that we knew he was a tormented soul. I recall he lived out his love with June Carter in public, that she rejected him publicly more than once, that when they married it was tempestuous, with separations and other problems, and that Cash and Carter lived all of that out on the stage before the public eye, because there was nowhere to hide.

I don't recall him as a role model so much as a guy with a lot of pain, that came through his songs, and so did the love, and the simmering violence. Not a role model, a...mirror....for the pain and frustration and mistakes and demons, and really difficult love affairs and marriages that so very many people go through.

Johnny Cash wasn't a guy you wanted to BE, he was somebody covered with scars and flaws who sang about what he WAS, and that resonated with huge numbers of people because that's what WE are. Maybe not YOU, but millions of people. I see some of myself in his songs, especially those love songs and duets with June.

Role model? No, not really. Who wants that pain? Who wants to be unlucky in love? Who wants to be rejected on stage? And who hasn't been, in some fashion? It fucking hurts. Johnny Cash sang about that real pain, from his own soul, and people could relate. I was young, and even I could. "Yeah, that's what that feels like."

Bruce Springstein sang in a different genre, but some of his songs were the same. "I'm On Fire", or :Dancing in the Dark" came from the same place that "Walk the Line" and "Jackson" did, just through an electric guitar.

I think that maybe you are a strict moralist in all things, and you don't like public figures to have demons and flaws, or to sing about them, or certainly to be popular for exposing them. I am less perfect than you, having my own flaws and demons. I don't see Johnny Cash, or Bruce Springstein in his "downer" songs, being a LEADER, but as a fellow spirit. Life is hard. Love is hard. They hurt. Music doesn't really dull the pain, but it mellows it, and the shared popularity of some of the most famous songs of men with problems reveals that we've all got them.

You see a Judas Goat, I see a guy in the same boat, but with a guitar and the talent to sing about it.

I don't see anything wrong with that.

Vicomte13  posted on  2019-11-21   7:02:06 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#31. To: Vicomte13 (#27)

I don't recall him holding himself out as a role model

The parasites in the music bidness used him as one.

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-21   23:07:02 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

Replies to Comment # 31.

#33. To: Peromischievous leucopus (#31)

I think they used him to make money.

Vicomte13  posted on  2019-11-22 06:58:57 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

End Trace Mode for Comment # 31.

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