On my way to Leiden I witnessed a conversation that literally made the hairs in my neck stand up, much akin to a pissed off cat. I was sitting in the train on a Tuesday afternoon, minding my own business as you do in a crowded train, when two people sat down in the seats across from me. At first I ignored their conversation, because my mother taught me that eavesdropping is rude, but their discussion grew so loud there was no possible way I could ignore it. For privacy reasons I shall keep my descriptions of their outward appearances to a minimum, but they couldn’t have been older than 60 years. I can’t remember their exact words, but they were discussing the possibility of climate change. That’s right, you didn’t misread that, the “possibility”. I’m sorry, but it is almost 2020: climate change is no longer a possibility, it is a fact. Anyone who thinks otherwise is either misinformed or just plain stupid. These two lovely people in question seemed to be a combination of both. The conversation dragged on, and then longer it went on, the more idiotic it got. To illustrate: one of the two brought Trump in as a source of knowledge about climate change. By that time I was almost ready to jump out of the moving train. Their conversation got cut short however when the train was slowing down towards Leiden Centraal. A girl walked by with a T-shirt that said: “If climate change kills, I hope Trump is first”. “What a disgusting shirt”, one scoffed to the other. “The youth have no more respect for their elders. That girl is probably one of those environmental terrorists. She should go to prison for that.” I just couldn’t help myself. “Ok boomer” was the only thing I said before getting the hell of that train.
In my last blog post, I wrote about the ‘ok boomer’ meme. What does that phrase mean? What are ‘baby boomers’? In this post I will write more about where this now popular phrase comes from. Who first said it?
Although the phrase ‘ok boomer’ has become wildly popular, there was someone who said it for the first time. The person who coined the phrase is Chlöe Swabrick, a member of the Green Party in the UK. She silenced a fellow member of the UK Parliament who was being disrespectful during her speech by saying, “ok, boomer”. An incredible power move, as I had mentioned in my last post. The phrase is so incredibly condescending and disregarding at the same time, and it was made up in a split second in a moment of annoyance. Maybe that is what makes it so great; the genuine annoyance that is laced in the words. The speech Chlöe Swabrick was giving was an inspirational piece about how changes must be made and how we cannot continue to ignore our obvious problems. Something that seems so obvious to me and many others, but that still has to be said apparently. Her plight to help give the newest generations a better future was interrupted by a man who started laughing. Honestly, I would have probably said something far worse than ‘ok boomer’.
Hi Moos! Before reacting to the content of your blogpost I would just like to say that I absolutely love your writing style. I’ve read the first volume of this blogpost too and both of them, volume 1 and 2, are written in such a nice manner, both being evocative and engaging. Now relating to the content of your blogpost, I did not know about the ‘ok, boomer’ meme/phenomenon (as for most of the memes actually, I am ignorant). I think that this ‘ok, boomer’ phrase being used and re-used in different contexts and across various media platforms showcases how social media platforms influence the spreading of such phenomena. Sometimes, absurd and non-sensical phrases become viral, yet what is interesting in the case of the ‘ok, boomer’ phrase is that it relates to a current topic being discussed nowadays: the Millennials and the clash with other generations. Recently, I went to a theater performance in the Hague called ‘Meet the Millennials’ and among all the interesting ideas the artist put forward, one idea particularly caught my attention. He claimed that the difference between our generation (thus the Millennials) and our parents’ generation for instance is that instead of suggesting change as they did, we make the change happen (or at least we try to) and I think that is a mindset that is often not understood by elderly people. Now linking the Millennial generation to technology: we use social media platforms as an empowering tool to encourage others to take action and make the change happen. Reading about your encounter on the train with these two ladies made my blood boil. How could they possibly be so unaware or willingly ignorant about climate change, when it is having a devastating impact on our earth? So, I can certainly say that I would’ve ‘ok, boomer-ed’ them to!
Thank you so much Chloe! I love the difference between Millenials and Boomers that you pointed out. I think it’s pretty accurate. I also think that the older generations put too much emphasis on tradition to hide their unwillingness and fear to change. Very sad indeed. Sorry it took me so long to answer 😉