I first noticed the phrase “OK Boomer” a few months ago, but didn’t really get it. I’m neither a boomer nor a millennial; I believe I fall into the sociological sweetie jar called Generation X (named after the Douglas Coupland novel, not Billy Idol’s band or the Deverson/Hamblett book about 60s kids) so I believed that I had no particular skin in this game.
But I’m being pedantic, aren’t I, and referring back to books and music from the seriously olden days, which is exactly the sort of behaviour that prompts the phrase in the first place. It’s a non-specific “you wouldn’t understand” whine, just the sort of thing I probably wielded towards my own parents when I was about 15 and had been listening to Joy Division and writing some bloody awful poetry when I should have been doing maths revision.
What is interesting though, is that, by undergoing the intense analysis its suffered in the past few days, the #OKBoomer meme has immediately lost its special power, its ability to act as a secret code between the young, something that the old farts won’t get or even notice. It’s like a long-lost film or album that held us all in special thrall because nobody had ever seen it – A Clockwork Orange, for example, which couldn’t officially be shown in Britain for decades – that reveals itself to be pretty ordinary in daylight. But that was before your time, wasn’t it?