It's not ok, boomer.
(no. 16) Art for life. The aging poet. Your introduction to Tik Tok. Ok. by Stephen P. Williams
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But first, this: “I’ve thought of my body as a Maserati,” says Suzanne Somers, the 70-something actress and best selling poet. (see way down below for video).
Photo montage by Sean McCabe via ARP
The other night I went to a dinner party on the upper west side of Manhattan. Present: a lawyer and former head of an important non-profit; an important non-profit arts org founder; an important writer and teacher of immigrants; an important artist; an important artist and former ad guy; an important “genius award” winning writer; and me, the youngest by at at least a decade. I was born in 1958, six years before the end of the boomer cohort, in 1964.
A few minutes into the dinner, one of them said, “Can you believe this OK boomer thing? It’s just so offensive.” I rolled my eyes. I’d loved OK boomer when I first heard it — hilarious and pointed. But the others quickly made it clear that they were more than offended by the phrase — their feelings were hurt.
They saw themselves as people who had fought the good fight against the Vietnam War, had marched in favor of feminism, had stepped up for the civil rights movement. And some of them were still doing it. How could these youngsters dismiss them with such opprobrium? They had worked so hard to transform our society, and now they felt invisible.
I said that this is the natural state of youth vs. age in America — to challenge what your elders have accomplished, and to feel you know best. I also said it was just a harmless meme. But they weren’t having it. They were offended AF.
I suggest that before older people get their knickers in a twist about OK Boomer, they should look at the Tik Tok video, below. Tik Tok is the least boomer-friendly media around (although I have noticed a number of boomers behaving badly on the app). Tik Tok is all about homemade comedy and memes. The term, OK Boomer, was first used in about 2009, but it became a cultural product in 2019, thanks to this app. The vid below will make it clear what OK Boomer means — fun, rebellion, dismissal of older generations who think they are smart. Warning, the repetitive music is probably going to drive you insane (it’s meant to, Boomer).
The music sample is from Peter Kuli & Jedwill - “OK Boomer.” Well done. Highly irritating.
As the dinner party proceeded, and the wine lubricated people’s empathy centers, one guest said: “Remember we used to say, ‘Never trust anyone over 30?’ We were so naive.” Most of the others nodded somewhat in assent, remembering, perhaps, how it felt when their own parents and grandparents harshly criticized them for not respecting their elders — OK, Silent Generation. Still, the boomer phrase rankled those at the table.
Plenty of highfalutin pundocrats have said OK Boomer is a response to the idea that Boomers hoard all the money, didn’t stop climate change, and embraced injustice. I’m sure many youths feel this way (and I believe, basically, that Boomers are guilty as charged). But I think OK Boomer is less deep. It’s a healthy reaction by younger generations, especially Generation Z, to the condescension they receive from elders all the time, at home and in the media. It’s a response to the old “Kids these days!” trope that every older generation heaps on their youths. Kids these days only look at their phones; kids these days can’t read; kids these days are so concerned with their looks; kids these days won’t go out and protest. And the salient point for this story: Kids these days don’t recognize all the incredible stuff we boomers did to make their lives better! They just don’t get it!
To that I say: Ok boomer.
Sources and errata:
My kids and other youths in the know filled me in for this post. None of them believe I understand what a meme is.*
*obviously, I know that a meme is: “An element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by non-genetic means, especially imitation.”**
**Or so says the google dictionary.
Bob Dylan is a thirst trap for boomers. He recorded this song 56 years ago, yet it captures why some older people feel so misunderstood today — Ok, Crooner
The lyrics to this song are profound, and I think the line, “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now,” reflects the feeling boomers have when they feel “criticized“ by youth memes.
More news for zoomers, loomers and the rest
Get a grip
Older adults with weaker handgrips are more likely to have cognitive issues. If this is you, see a doctor.
Art saves lives
While this study strikes me as a tad unscientific, and the authors basically admit as much, I really like idea that going to art museums extends a person’s life.
Ageism goes two ways
No one thinks twice about maligning millennials. How do you think they feel about it?
Yup, the little forest weirdos might help prevent aging.
The poetry of Suzanne Somers
Suzanne Somers is a best selling poet. I’ve always admired that about her, along with her distinctive way of thinking. And now she’s trying to make money off aging (like so many of us).
I don’t feel like I’ve aged at all since last week.
Photo by selfie
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