Sunday, November 17, 2019

OK Boomers, get over yourselves.

Full disclosure: I am a Baby Boomer, born at the end of 1957. In just three short weeks, I will qualify for Social Security (a.k.a. early retirement - my full retirement age is another 3.5 years away, assuming Congress doesn't dink around with the date in the meantime). So when the kids say, "OK Boomer," they're aiming it at me.

Not me personally, of course. But yeah, I'm one of the people in their crosshairs.

Let's go back. This whole OK Boomer business, as I understand it, began as a reaction to a viral video in which some idiot of an old guy criticized Millennials and Generation Z for having Peter Pan syndrome -- in other words, he claimed, they don't want to grow up. This was early last year, I guess. Who knows why this particular criticism tipped the scales, and not the avocado toast thing or the why-don't-you-work-your-way-through-college thing or the "Millennials have ruined fill-in-the-blank for everyone" thing? In any case, it did -- and like generations of young people before them, Millennials came up with a snappy comeback to all the clueless old farts everywhere:

The phrase has become shorthand, and it's aimed not just at Baby Boomers (those born between 1942 and 1963, give or take a year on either side), but at cranky old farts in general. It has finally gotten to be a big enough thing that the mainstream media -- the newspapers and magazines that, ahem, Boomers love to read -- have been doing features on it.

And I guess the phrase has made some Boomers crankier. About a week ago, Abigail Disney, heir to the Disney fortune (Walt was her great-uncle), had had enough. In a series of tweets, she told her fellow Boomers to stop being so "easily triggered." And she continued, "All things pass, you are old and you need to let history do what history does: move on."

That noise you here is me, standing and cheering.

Boomers really have made a mess of things. We were the generation of peace, love and understanding. The generation that recognized war was good for absolutely nothing. The generation that protested to end the Vietnam War, started the sexual revolution thanks to the Pill, and fought for water that was fit to drink and air that was fit to breathe. Remember Woodstock? Remember "don't trust anyone over 30"?

Then a bunch of us got haircuts and went to work for the Man, and somehow it all went to hell.

Now there's a cohort of Boomers trying to tell young adults that climate change isn't a real thing. They're unconcerned that Millennials have trouble getting jobs with benefits like health insurance, and they criticize them for not buying houses, even though rent payments eat up half their income and student loan payments take most of what's left. Boomers scoff at young adults who say the system is rigged, and recoil in horror when young people say socialism doesn't scare them. But these Boomers refuse to recognize that the world is different now -- and we (as well as the Greatest Generation) are responsible for it.

The thing is, I'm right there with the younger generations. (I keep wanting to call them kids, but they're not. Millennials were born from 1981 through 1996. The oldest Millennials are pushing 40.) So I feel compelled to explain that not all Boomers are the monsters we're made out to be. Not all of us watch Fox News (yeeeeesh). Many of us supported Bernie. Some of us even like avocado toast. (Guac on toast is even better.)

But from now on, I'm going to let the "OK Boomer" comments go. No, wait, I've got a better idea. I'm going to treat them as a call to action.

NaNoWriMo update: The word count widget is fixed - yay! And while I got a bit behind earlier this week, I spent the weekend catching up. I'm now at 28,522 words on Book 4 of the Elemental Keys series. This coming week will be challenging, with two nights tied up with meetings and stuff. But I'm hoping to keep pace -- and as always, Thanksgiving weekend will be waiting to bail me out.

These moments of generational blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

No comments: