The "OK, Boomer" trend—in which members of Gen Z use the phrase to dismiss old folks as out of touch—has run into controversy in upstate New York, where a conservative radio host apparently found genuine offense in the dig at his generation. "'Boomer' is the n-word of ageism," declared Bob Lonsberry in a since-deleted tweet, reports the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. "Being hip and flip does not make bigotry ok, nor is a derisive epithet acceptable because it is new," the 60-year-old wrote. Critics, including Dictionary.com, immediately denounced the comparison. "Boomer is an informal noun referring to a person born during a baby boom, especially one born in the US between 1946 and 1965," explained the dictionary website. "The n-word is one of the most offensive words in the English language." Related coverage:
- The trend: Need an "OK, Boomer" primer? The New York Times and NBC News recently wrote about the surging popularity of the phrase. Here is how 19-year-old Shannon O'Connor sums it up to the Times: “A lot of them (boomers) don’t believe in climate change or don’t believe people can get jobs with dyed hair, and a lot of them are stubborn in that view," she says. "Teenagers just respond, ‘OK, Boomer.’ It’s like, we’ll prove you wrong, we’re still going to be successful because the world is changing.”
- Viral video: See this TikTok video for the essence of the phrase. It features a gray-haired man declaring that "millennials and Generation Z have the Peter Pan syndrome, they don’t ever want to grow up.” The kid in the companion video scrawls "OK Boomer" in response.
- Already over? Of course, if outlets such as the New York Times and NBC are writing about a trend among young people, that's a good sign the trend is already over. The phrase was hot, then the press coverage started, "and just like that, the air started leaking out of 'OK, Boomer' like a day-old helium balloon," writes Heidi Stevens at the Chicago Tribune. "We killed 'OK, Boomer.'"
- All the generations: New York writer Rachel Syme weighs in with a tweet: The "reason 'ok boomer' is such a great generational marker is it cleaves so neatly: boomers hate it, gen x will mock it, millennials will enthusiastically use it to the point of exhausting it without actually inventing it, and gen z has already moved on and thinks we are all nobs."
- The merch, the song: Yes, you can buy OK, Boomer merchandise. This popular site features a T-shirt and hoodie designed by the teen quoted in the aforementioned New York Times story. The phrase even has its own song.
- Defending boomers: Steve Cuozzo of the New York Post laments that young people hate his generation with a "ferocity" he thinks is unjustified. "But if they spent more time studying actual history, which can’t easily be found on iPhones, they’d know that boomers were, and remain, the most socially and environmentally conscious generation America ever has ever known." Of course, his take is being countered with two words. Any guesses?
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