"The End of Friendly Generational Relations"
November 3, 2019 7:17 AM   Subscribe

"Now it’s war: Gen Z has finally snapped over climate change and financial inequality."

In the New York Times, Taylor Lorenz writes about "OK boomer", the latest discursive weapon forged from young people staring straight ahead at a future of social and ecological collapse:
“Ok boomer” has become Generation Z’s endlessly repeated retort to the problem of older people who just don’t get it, a rallying cry for millions of fed up kids. Teenagers use it to reply to cringey YouTube videos, Donald Trump tweets, and basically any person over 30 who says something condescending about young people — and the issues that matter to them.

[...]

Teens say “ok boomer" is the perfect response because it’s blasé but cutting. It’s the digital equivalent of an eye roll. And because boomers so frequently refer to younger generations as “snowflakes,” a few teenagers said, it’s particularly hilarious to watch them freak out about the phrase.
Speaking of freaking out, Lorenz suggests staying away from her inbox right now.

Cory Doctorow (previously) notes the paradox of the phrase when considering who young people actually support in American and British politics (and the material dissimilarities between a 75-year old Walmart greeter and a 75-year old billionaire):
The incredible support that Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn have won among young people -- even people too young to vote -- is a timely reminder that our enemy is oligarchy, not demographics. "OK boomer" is a snappy comeback for generalizations about so-called generations, but like all slogans, it fails to capture some very important nuance.
And in the backdrop, the graphite lurks undisturbed on the roof:
The Boomers got when the going was good. Beneficiaries of the hard work and courage of their own parents, the so-called Greatest Generation, they rode an expanding world economy and bought reasonably priced assets that have since increased dramatically in value. But where Boomers rode on an ascendant middle class, today Millennials inherit a world, notes the OECD, where the middle orders are shrinking, leaving them in danger of becoming what a recent St. Louis Fed Study warns is becoming “a lost generation” (PDF) in terms of wealth accumulation.

Downward mobility is increasingly the norm in the United States, a country built on aspiration. Increasingly, economic progress depends not on effort or grit, but on when you were born, and your parental antecedents. Stanford economist Raj Chetty finds that someone born in 1940 had a 92 percent chance of earning more than their parents; a Boomer born in 1950 had a 79 percent chance of earning more than their parents. Someone born in 1980 , in contrast, has just a 46 percent chance of doing so. No surprise that this generation reports the highest level of anxiety and rising death rates for its members .
posted by Ouverture (355 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hmmm ok. The first place I encountered this was from someone who was arguing that queer women over 30 shouldn’t be allowed in gay bars because they were gross.

I think like with most reductionist expressions of contempt meant to insult while avoid engaging with the person you’re insulting, it’s mostly going to be used by assholes wanting to be assholes.

But I’ll be happy if it gets those kids to vote.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:25 AM on November 3, 2019 [63 favorites]


Yeah, what gets me is that while policy preferences are pretty stark when segmented by age, they're far more stark (and causal) when segmented by socioeconomic class.

But as a millennial, I can also understand this reaction, if not approve of it, after having spent years being dismissed as "entitled" and "overly sensitive" by people who were lucky enough to be born during one of the greatest periods of prosperity in human history.
posted by Ouverture at 7:36 AM on November 3, 2019 [55 favorites]


Cutting and pasting an email I sent to my fraternity's free wheeling discussion list some month ago.

My parents each grew up in a freestanding house with electricity, plumbing and gas, a landline phone, a radio reached by a handful of stations, a television reached by one station, a record player, 35mm film camera, and bookshelves loaded with among other things, an encyclopedia. People sent letters, went to the theater to watch movies, and treated their children to a rented super-8 projector and handful of animated cartoons at each birthday party.

I grew up in a freestanding house with electricity, plumbing and gas, a landline phone, a radio reached by a handful of stations, a television reached by one station, a record player, 35mm film camera, and bookshelves loaded with among other things, an encyclopedia. People sent letters, went to the theater to watch movies, and treated their children to a rented super-8 projector and handful of animated cartoons at each birthday party.

For material difference, there was my TV being color, my collection of books also including comic books, and later on, a walkman. So it's not quite the same as how my parents grew up, but it means not really that much of a generation gap between someone born in 1945 and 1975.

My first kid was born in 2012. That makes for the kind of generation gap that to bridge over, you have to read Marshall McLuhan, Neal Postman, Sherry Turkle, and (why yes, this is me trolling [metafilter now] for a bibliography.)

(end of quote)

I sent this to start a discussion on the list, and the discussion did range pretty far. (Other people's words, so not forwarding here.) And I did this because from 2016 to 2019, this GenXer was walking around with a mild case of constant anxiety from thinking the next generation would be best represented by Pepe the Frog and MAGA hats, kids who didn't live through the nightmarish 80's and would need to relearn the lessons of 1945 to 1989 one day. Watching Greta Thunberg grab the kids and the limelight this year probably saved me from a nervous breakdown.

Okay, young ones. It's war. Armor up and win please.
posted by ocschwar at 7:47 AM on November 3, 2019 [62 favorites]


As a GenX-er who grew up in the wake of the Boomers, I share some of this feeling and have a lot of empathy for GenZ and everything they are stuck dealing with.

But, I can't help but feel disheartened at how casual agism is so readily accepted in activist spaces these days. None of us are only one thing, and making assumptions or marginalizing people based on their date of birth is just as wrong and dangerous as doing that based on gender, race, sexuality, or any other attribute.
posted by rpfields at 7:48 AM on November 3, 2019 [141 favorites]


I'm technically a boomer although born in the last year of that generation but I can't really fault younger folk for feeling this way. I came in at the tail end of things as Reagan and friends were starting the process of screwing over the country but life as a young person wasn't nearly as hard as it seems now.
posted by octothorpe at 7:49 AM on November 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


I hate seeing both younger people and older people reflexively reject each other based on age when they could have a lot of solidarity if they focused on the needs they had in common. As much as the “ok boomer” insult is juvenile and annoying, the boomers provoke it with their continued self-involvement. I guess this is what it feels like to be a middle child (pre-internet-era Millennial here).
posted by sallybrown at 7:54 AM on November 3, 2019 [25 favorites]


gen z: the world is burning, it's your fault, and you're still not doing enough about it

you: sorry, your messaging isn't nuanced enough
posted by gwint at 7:55 AM on November 3, 2019 [183 favorites]


TBH I've mostly seen "boomer" as an attack directed at a particular subset of boomer, the white middle-class and upper-middle class conservatives who are still sad they can't vote for Reagan again and don't understand that they grew up in a time of wild prosperity that everybody else hasn't benefited from and thinks black people should choose more professional names. Ideally there'd be a more particular term that didn't implicitly include non-shitty members of the Baby Boom but that doesn't seem to be how it's shaken out.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:56 AM on November 3, 2019 [91 favorites]


"Ok boomer" is the only appropriate response to someone whose mind has been warped by Fox News and cannot be changed, but who will pretty soon be flat out outvoted.
posted by ocschwar at 7:57 AM on November 3, 2019 [42 favorites]


"Ok boomer" is the only appropriate response to someone whose mind has been warped by Fox News and cannot be changed, but who will pretty soon be flat out outvoted.

The major project of the American right is ensuring that the consent of the governed is irrelevant to their ability to dominate and rule. They've been outvoted, in an honest system, for years. They didn't refuse to let Obama appoint judges, only to appoint literally a third of the federal courts in the past three years, to let a little thing like the majority of Americans not consenting to their rule stop them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:59 AM on November 3, 2019 [69 favorites]


What is this quote from the article like hi can I introduce you to Gen X and Millennials

Gen Z is going to be the first generation to have a lower quality of life than the generation before them

That said, I hope Gen Z destroys everything because Millennials responded to economic insecurity and oligarchy by working a lot and becoming brands. Will Gen Z drop out?
posted by Automocar at 8:02 AM on November 3, 2019 [17 favorites]




A lot of the bickering around “ok boomer” also reminds me of what Warren said a few debates ago when asked about banning straws, which is that fighting amongst ourselves about personal consumption choices rather than working together to make political and large structural change is a fool’s game. A lot of the generational bickering comes out of the dumbest possible issues, like banning straws, that alone will neither save the planet nor ruin anyone’s daily life, but you wouldn’t know if from the level of vitriol in some of these generational Twitter battles. “Take my straws from me and I will vote for Trump just to spite you kids!” / “You and your plastic straw are literally annihilating the planet as we speak!”
posted by sallybrown at 8:04 AM on November 3, 2019 [38 favorites]


But, I can't help but feel disheartened at how casual agism is so readily accepted in activist spaces these days. None of us are only one thing, and making assumptions or marginalizing people based on their date of birth is just as wrong and dangerous as doing that based on gender, race, sexuality, or any other attribute.

One light against this has been the DSA National Design Committee's Twitter ("bread and roses and ink and pixels") - it's a group of folks, mostly millennials, reaching back into the pre-digital graphic history of the radical left for inspiration.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:06 AM on November 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


Generational naming in the US is weird because it sort of only applies to rich white people. Especially the further you go back. I don't think I've ever even heard the phrase "black baby boomers."

People hear millennial and they think of young white suburbanites moving to the city and drinking lattes, and they hear Gen Z and think of someone in a sparkling college dorm with the latest iPhone, even though those aren't the majority of either generation.

Similarly, we talk about boomers and think about Trump and the Clintons and the pompous lady complaining about the strawberries in Whole Foods. We forget about the Vietnam draft, and 70s stagnation, and the AIDS epidemic and gender and race and sexual orientation discrimination, because those didn't much affect our stereotypical straight white educated 80s yuppie boomer.
posted by smelendez at 8:11 AM on November 3, 2019 [146 favorites]


Love this meme about generational war.

I think the more accurate version would change the bottom panel labels to carbon capitalists and war profiteers congratulating themselves for evading accountability once more.
posted by Ouverture at 8:12 AM on November 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


It is amazing that we've had Boomer presidents since 1993 with no end in sight. Buttigieg is now the only candidate under 70 with even a slight chance of winning (although I guess Sanders and Biden are actually from the pre-war generation).
posted by octothorpe at 8:14 AM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


Mid-Boomer. There is nothing new about inter-generational stereotypes. In the 50s it was the squares. In 1968 one hippies catchphrase was "Never trust anyone over the age of 30". In the 70s it was cool to hate the hippies, ("No future", that was a good slogan.). In the 80s it was cool to laugh at the punks. And every one of these generations saw themselves approaching an apocalypse. And so it goes.

These kids have a point about some boomers but it is infantile to alienate the rest, who are potential supporters, by lazy stereotyping. Of course, these kids will also get older and in their turn be stereotyped by their kids. I look forward to future mockery of the selfie/social media/influencer generation, won't be hard. I give this particular slogan about 3 weeks and I first encountered it over a week ago.
posted by epo at 8:15 AM on November 3, 2019 [18 favorites]


Why is "the end of friendly generational relations" when the younger group takes their place at the helm of pop culture and uses it to throw garbage back?
posted by Selena777 at 8:18 AM on November 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


#notallboomers
posted by klanawa at 8:18 AM on November 3, 2019 [21 favorites]


The things they do are awful hot
Hope I die before I'm bought
posted by rodlymight at 8:32 AM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


> But, I can't help but feel disheartened at how casual agism is so readily accepted in activist spaces these days. None of us are only one thing, and making assumptions or marginalizing people based on their date of birth is just as wrong and dangerous as doing that based on gender, race, sexuality, or any other attribute.

it's not ageism. it's not ageism it's not ageism it's not ageism.

it's clapping hands emoji not clapping hands emoji ageism.

if you think it's ageism you are missing the point altogether and should probably read some of the articles in the post.

we the olds have a fundamentally different relationship to the world specifically because we are olds. we must acknowledge that and let gen z and the younger millennials lead.

it makes sense for working-class people to organize as a class, in organizations that are specifically led by working-class people. this is because working-class people are exposed to types and intensities of systemic violence that non-working-class people aren't, and because as a result of our social position we have knowledge of the world that is largely inaccessible to the middle classes and the bourgeoisie. likewise, it makes sense for people of color to organize as people of color in people-of-color-led organizations, because people of color are exposed to types and intensities of systemic violence that white people aren't, and because as a result of their social position people of color have knowledge of the world that is largely inaccessible to white people. women are exposed to types of violence that men largely aren't, and as a result have knowledge of the world that is largely inaccessible to men. queer and trans people are exposed to types of violence that straight and cis people aren't, and as a result have knowledge that cis and straight people don't.

when people outside of the groups that are exposed to those particular types of violence bomb into organizing spaces that are not about them and don't make the effort to prove:
  1. their ability to let the people who know what they're talking about because it's been beaten into them lead.
  2. their credentials as someone who has learned at least the stuff that has been beaten into others
they are not helping. they are, i don't know, they are hleping.

likewise, gen z and the people at the tail end of the millennial generation are exposed to a type of violence that we olds absolutely are not. things that are largely academic for us — the impending destruction of the type of biosphere that comfortably supports humans, the climate wars that will result as the human-friendly biosphere dies — are not at all academic to them. we'll be in the ground before the worst of it hits. but they won't.

probably the best slogan to come out of the climate strikes goes like this:
YOU'LL DIE OF OLD AGE, WE'LL DIE OF CLIMATE CHANGE.
i promise you i will go in hard against anyone who pretends that gen z and millennials shouldn't privilege the views of gen z and millennials over the views of everyone else, and that they should give boomers and genxers the benefit of the doubt instead of demanding they prove their credentials. and i will go in hard against anyone who claims that that's an ageist position. if you want to bring that crap around here, i must quote in response the inimitable cusp millennial britney spears: do you want a piece of me??

tl;dr: ok boomer.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:33 AM on November 3, 2019 [216 favorites]


I hate seeing both younger people and older people reflexively reject each other based on age when they could have a lot of solidarity if they focused on the needs they had in common. As much as the “ok boomer” insult is juvenile and annoying, the boomers provoke it with their continued self-involvement.

It's not aimed at actual people born between the late 40s - early 60s, it's about anyone over 30 (because old people are creepy) and peers who indulge in "boomer" behavior and thinking--there's a whole taxonomy of "boomer" out there and if you're posting on MetaFilter, it probably includes you.
posted by betweenthebars at 8:36 AM on November 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


I read the term as being an attempt to remind gen-xers and millennials that we are becoming the new boomers. They are not incorrectly applying the category of boomers, rather they are trying to use a reference that we might understand. We know what it means to have been screwed over by the boomers, and we are now those people.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 8:39 AM on November 3, 2019 [17 favorites]


(Finally. I've been waiting my whole life for a chance to apply the political lessons of Logan's Run. I think mark zuckerberg is Box.)
posted by kaibutsu at 8:40 AM on November 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


i am facebook friends with a super-badass 19 year old organizer who has adopted the habit of saying "ok millennial" whenever anyone in their 20s and 30s says anything condescending or just dumb on her facebook page, and let me tell you i laugh and laugh every time she drops that on someone.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:43 AM on November 3, 2019 [31 favorites]


it's not ageism. it's not ageism it's not ageism it's not ageism.

What? Why are you going in on a totally false dichotomy that you just invented? And why would these be the first people in history to successfully parse all their negative feelings along perfectly woke lines?

It’s definitely ageism. It’s also definitely righteous anger. Both are true. Denying the shitty parts just robs the good parts of credibility.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:45 AM on November 3, 2019 [65 favorites]


Today I saw someone on Twitter say that the reason Word's spellchecker didn't recognize a word was, according to them, because the program was, and I quote, designed by "millennials with limited vocabularies", and honestly "OK boomer" sounds like it would be just about the only appropriate response.
posted by kyrademon at 8:46 AM on November 3, 2019 [37 favorites]


I will accept blame as a millennial for a lot of things, but not the devilry of Microsoft Word.
posted by sallybrown at 8:48 AM on November 3, 2019 [62 favorites]


oh ffs. it is not ageism because people under 30 are exposed to a type of violence that we absolutely are not, and because they therefore have a type of deep knowledge that we do not. they grew up in a world that is dying. we grew up in a world that still seemed alive.

i remind you that in this very post there are articles noting that the most popular politicians among millennials and genzers are bernie sanders and jeremy corbyn. neither of those dudes are easily mistaken for millennials. olds who get it get a pass, and they get support from the youngs. olds who lend their political power to the youngs get lots of support. olds who shout ageism miss the point.

get over yourself. it's not about you.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:48 AM on November 3, 2019 [76 favorites]


Taking the NYT as an arbiter of a discussion is a bad idea because they have bad class interests.

Actual ageism is bad, like "queer women over thirty are gross". Insulting an individual person to their face about their age and nothing else is bad. Twitter is bad and sometimes young people are rude and mean, so these rude, bad things actually do happen and should be called out. But they're not unique to the climate crisis - ageism is not new.

Seriously, like, I - a younger Xer - think all the time "I'm glad I didn't have kids, I'm worried about my friends' kids ability to literally survive". My father - a boomer, but a left wing one - recently told me that he was glad I hadn't had kids because of climate change. He would rather give up on being a grandfather than have grandkids who will live into the latter half of this century because he thinks it will be so bad.

When I look at people who are older I feel a mix of anger and envy sometimes, right? They won't have to see what I'm going to see.

~~
I don't think that on the ground, physical activism is divided by age, except very incidentally (and if it is occasionally divided by ageism, that's bad and should be called out). If you're eighty and you're showing up to oppose a pipeline, you're not going to be "okay boomer"-ed by some fifteen year old. Older activists are, as a broad generality, welcomed. Young people usually welcome people who show how to get older without getting pulled in to self-interest. This has been my experience both as a young person and as an aging person.

We need not to get sidetracked by the understandable fear, envy and anger of younger people when it comes out as slogans. We need not to let the NYT introduce dumbshit divisions over a slogan.

~~

Further, the greater responsibility always lies with the person with greater power. We who are not literally in crisis - like, for instance, I have a union job and while I have a lot of debt, I am not in the situation of someone driving Lyft while paying on huge college loans and living in a converted closet - need to not nitpick people who are, as a generation, in crisis.

It's just like anything else - if a Black person dealing with racism occasionally indulges in some slightly unfair hyperbole about white people, it is really the wrong, backwards thing to do to focus on #notallwhitepeople. If a queer person is all "are the straights okay" or whatever, it is not useful to be all #notallstraights. Sometimes some of that stuff can be unfair or it can sting or it can literally be based on incorrect assumptions, but people are saying it as an expression of larger social problems, not because it's analysis.

When you have unfair social advantages it is churlish and just...bad, an abuse of power....to insist that people who are disadvantaged be super polite all the time.
posted by Frowner at 8:50 AM on November 3, 2019 [147 favorites]


It’s definitely ageism.

I have a difficult time understanding how this is not like the generational equivalent of #notallmen.
posted by Ouverture at 8:55 AM on November 3, 2019 [44 favorites]


I would just point out the Okay Boomer is a response, not an initiation of attack. It's specifically a response to being told their age/generation is somehow wanting in knowledge that the person speaking claims to possess due to their "experience"/age.

The root problem is, as was pointed out, conflict between opposing values which arise from unshared context. Accepting that isn't to necessary then accept that younger people are always "right" or that older people are necessarily "wrong" in all circumstances, just that the context matters and speaking from a solipsistic perspective is always a problem.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:00 AM on November 3, 2019 [32 favorites]


Like most slang, it's about efficiency. Like, you can say "Hey, all of you people," or you can just say "Hey y'all" and the latter means the same thing but is fewer syllables.

Likewise, you could say, "The bulk of your thoughts and opinions, indeed your very personality, was molded in a time when the material conditions of human civilization were understood to be dramatically different than what we understand them to be now. Your attitudes are not only hopelessly outmoded but more damningly, your unwillingness to listen, to learn, to adapt and grow and change to confront the new realities we face is actively helping to drive our species toward a global catastrophe of unprecedented scope. You relentlessly cling to political power for no real reason besides fear, because for all the decades you've had that political power the only substantial thing you've done with it is pull the ladder of prosperity up behind you. I'm not going to waste my time trying to argue with you about the specific nonsense you're spouting now, because there's no reasoning you out of your bad opinions so long as they're propped up by a vast media/propaganda environment which you created and fund to reinforce your most dearly-held beliefs, despite the mountain evidence that contradicts you. There's only waiting for the inevitability of death and demographic change to remove your chokehold on society so that we can begin the radical restructuring of society that our world needs to survive."

Or you can just say, "ok boomer" which is fewer syllables.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:02 AM on November 3, 2019 [196 favorites]


No no, young people need to be more civil because governing means talking with people whose values you may not share

Said the biggest boomer of them all
posted by polymodus at 9:04 AM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


"...because governing means talking with people whose values you may not share"

That's one way to do it. There are many others. Most of them being practiced now.
posted by aleph at 9:08 AM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


Taking the NYT as an arbiter of a discussion is a bad idea because they have bad class interests.

It's an article in the Style section. A good Style section article is indistinguishable from trolling.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:08 AM on November 3, 2019 [28 favorites]


I need to leave that thread, so I'll just leave this here: my generation was ferociously cruel towards kids who kept tripping up on their own two feet, talking in monotones, or developing intellectual obsessions. This generation let Miss. GT take lead on the important issue of their time.

THat's enough for a license to throw a lot of "Ok Boomer" around. THere's a huge generation gap here, larger than what the boomers faced as kids or as parents. And the younger generation has the better idea of how to live.
posted by ocschwar at 9:10 AM on November 3, 2019 [16 favorites]


"THere's a huge generation gap here, larger than what the boomers faced as kids or as parents."

For someone that lived through the 60's and early 70s, not so large. :)

Seems like when a generation get's old enough a lot of it (not all!) just rots. In different ways. Reminds me of that (supposedly) Churchhill remark about if you're not a Conservative by 60 you have no brain. Or something like that. No, you just develop *peculiar* ideas of how the World works and you're numerous enough and wealthy enough to be insulated from Reality enough to do so.
posted by aleph at 9:16 AM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


And in the backdrop, the graphite lurks undisturbed on the roof:

Help a boomer out here. This is a... Chernobyl reference? Autocorrect problem? Obscure meme I haven't heard of?
posted by zamboni at 9:17 AM on November 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


if you're not a liberal when you're 15 you have no heart. if you're not an anarchosocialist by the time you turn 30, you have no brain.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:17 AM on November 3, 2019 [62 favorites]


Naah. If you're a predator then 30's no diff. Why/how people become predators, that's a different (and more important) question.
posted by aleph at 9:20 AM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


It is amazing that we've had Boomer presidents since 1993 with no end in sight.

I don't know that Obama counts as a "boomer." He's early GenX to me. I don't think the people born from 1961 to 1964 are "boomers." They're early Xers. If you can't remember where you were when Kennedy was assassinated, you're not a boomer.

And no, #notallboomers isn't like #notallmen or #notallwhitepeople. Because, whippersnapper, one day, YOU will be the old person cast aside and belittled and marginalized. Not everyone is a man, not everyone is a particular race or ethnic group, but unless you die young, you, too, are going to be One Of Them one day.

And I say this as someone who thinks that both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are too old to be President - not because being old is bad, but because neither one is in the best of health and POTUS is one of those very demanding jobs which has an effect on the whole rest of the world. 78 and want to keep your desk job with Chocolate Teapots, Inc.? You do you. Mandatory retirement is a bad idea. But POTUS is a kind of public safety job.

And we do have serious issues with age segregation in both public and private life. I have to dig up the reference for this, but, one research paper revealed that practically the ONLY cross-generational contacts of old with young were with kin. One thing about churches, they brought different generations into casual contact. Old and young people are so separated that they know little about one another except stereotypes.

tl;dr: just you wait till you find yourself older and getting a taste of your own medicine, Z-er.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:28 AM on November 3, 2019 [30 favorites]


I used to be a renegade, I used to fool around
But I couldn't take the punishment, and had to settle down
Now I'm playing it real straight, and yes I cut my hair
You might think I'm crazy, but I don't even care
'Cause I can tell what's going on
It's hip to be square

posted by srboisvert at 9:29 AM on November 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


Generational divides are a fake idea, and the tensions generational divides are used to describe are better described by class and race. But "ok, boomer" flies under the radar and avoids the knee-jerk reaction that something like "ok, condescending financially stable white liberal" wouldn't.

Rolls off the tongue better, too.
posted by Reyturner at 9:29 AM on November 3, 2019 [15 favorites]


There is one critique I have of the assumption that being over thirty is a really sharp dividing line on the climate crisis - the climate crisis is happening a lot faster and more pervasively than official narratives admit. There's the usual "by 2050" and "in the second half of this century" stuff which would mean that anyone over forty sounds likely to be able to eke things out...and then there is the fact that people have literally been discussing in the past week whether parts of California will just have to be uninhabitable from now on. That should freak everyone the fuck out, not least because you know what comes from California? A lot of food. And while it's not the farms that are burning, if we're just going to write off a big chunk of the state that seems like a real bellwether for the remainder. Add already existing climate displacement and violence on our own border and scattered through this country. Think about Nebraska last year, and think about having a Nebraska every couple of years.

Realistically, if you are expecting to live more than another ten years, you're going to see things get pretty bad. And if you're expecting to be old and medically fragile in ten years but not quite ready to pop your clogs, you should really be worried. "Old and medically fragile" and "climate crisis" go together like nightmare and nightmare.

So anyway, my only critique of "okay boomer" is that it may reinforce for some people the idea that if we're old enough, we're going to be okay. If you're over eighty or eighty-five and you have enough money to see you out, sure, fine, but everyone else should be very worried.
posted by Frowner at 9:30 AM on November 3, 2019 [81 favorites]


Nebraska last spring.
posted by Frowner at 9:32 AM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


betweenthebars: "it's about anyone over 30"

As mentioned, Don't trust anyone over 30.

(And that quote's 55 years old now, make of that what you will.)
posted by chavenet at 9:32 AM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


I like "OK Boomer". Not bad as a *response*. Wearing it on shirt before anything else is said? Noooo...
posted by aleph at 9:33 AM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


...and calling someone a jackass is like so species-ist...
posted by kaibutsu at 9:34 AM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


> tl;dr: just you wait till you find yourself older and getting a taste of your own medicine, Z-er.

I used to be with it!
posted by I-Write-Essays at 9:34 AM on November 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


ehh, we "grunt" and point. The message (mostly) gets across.
posted by aleph at 9:35 AM on November 3, 2019


> "(And that quote's 55 years old now, make of that what you will.)"

Well, mathematically, it means any over 85 should be viewed with gravest suspicion.
posted by kyrademon at 9:35 AM on November 3, 2019 [38 favorites]


I have a difficult time understanding how this is not like the generational equivalent of #notallmen.

Because ageism is actually a thing in the world with actual power behind it that is actually hurting people, and misandry isn't.

Although -- I will say that this reminds me of that FPP on accountability abuse. Power is fluid and intersectional and, most of all, local; the power one wield's depends on context. And having been abused is not actually an excuse for abusing others.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:42 AM on November 3, 2019 [18 favorites]


Pointing out that Boomers had opportunities that no other generation had and that are now dismissed as "socialism" when younger people want them? Those are just facts.

But characterizing the over-30 set as people who "don’t like change...don’t understand new things especially related to technology"? That's trafficking in some seriously ugly tropes.

"Old economy Steve" was a lot funnier and actually kind of helpful.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 9:46 AM on November 3, 2019 [17 favorites]


I think there is a generational/historical positioning that is a kind of privilege — not everybody got access to the benefits, but that’s how privilege works. The group we call Boomers got access to resources that later generations haven’t had; that many in that age category got cut out because of other privileges doesn’t mean it’s not a privileged status. That Age is a form of disprivilege is a red herring; it’s not that someone is 70, it’s that they were born in 1950.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:48 AM on November 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


If you're old and you don't suck, you need to step up and prove it, visibly and constantly. That's where we're at, my grey haired siblings. Don't just say #notallboomers, that's just talk, and the kids know talk is meaningless.

Rise up and march or get the hell out of the way.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:52 AM on November 3, 2019 [46 favorites]


I sure do hope to see every single one of those young adults wearing "OK Boomer" apparel items in line at their local polling place this November, at next year's primaries, and next November.

In last year's election, those under 30 were still more than 10 points less likely to vote than even those between 30 and 44, let alone the elders.
posted by PhineasGage at 9:55 AM on November 3, 2019 [18 favorites]


There is one critique I have of the assumption that being over thirty is a really sharp dividing line on the climate crisis

Yeah it's a bit strange to see 30-year-olds being treated as on death's doorstep, insulated from climate change by their impending mortality, when someone who's thirty today could reasonably expect to live to 2080.
posted by Pyry at 9:55 AM on November 3, 2019 [23 favorites]


but unless you die young, you, too, are going to be One Of Them one day.

Right but that's kind of the thing, isn't it? Life expectancy in the US has been going down because the people with political power in the 80s (y'know...Boomers) elected politicians who shredded the social safety net and gave us a dysfunctional healthcare system. The stress from decades under a mountain of debt, and the instability of a lifetime of financial precariousness, all that stuff hasn't even really begun to show up in life expectancy statistics yet except as an increase in suicides and drug overdoses - when all the stress-related illnesses really start to kick in a few decades from now it'll get worse. Oh and let's not forget the bigger factor by far than any of those: toss in catastrophic climate change and the potential for climate wars on top of all that and it is not unreasonable for Gen Z to think that no, in fact a tragically large percentage of them will not live to be One Of The Olds some day. Meanwhile, the Olds sit around not at all grasping how fucked the younger generation is, and saying things like "you'll be just like me when you're my age!" Good odds that if the Gen Zers you say that to were as confident as you are that they will live to be your age, they wouldn't be quite so bitter.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:55 AM on November 3, 2019 [49 favorites]


I'm uncomfortable with it. There is a way in which older women, specifically, are seen as uncool and gross. A woman's social worth is tied to her physical desirability, and once you're past the age you can be hot, ... well, why are you even still around? Dismissing older women because of their age is common and has typically not been a progressive reaction against older women having self-interested politics. It's just the same misogynistic status quo. I've seen it happen to many times to pretend it doesn't exist. And it's really bad for younger women who are part of marginalized communities, as well, because you lose a lot of knowledge, support, and resources when you shut out people who have walked similar paths before.

Bringing this up is not at all a #notallmen comment, because this is a real prejudice that exists and does harm.

But I realize that's not the original (or even primary) context of "ok boomer," so I try to get over it, and take it as the person means it. I don't want to nitpick the language of a growing youth movement whose concerns I largely agree with. This meme will pass, hopefully the movement remains.

I do prefer "old economy steve" type memes because they are more specific though. Some people will just houghtlessly grab any rhetorical weapon and wield it against people it wasn't originally intended for. They'll use language and slogans coined in progressive spaces and turn it against other marginalizaed groups; we've seen that again and again. It is harder to do that when the slogan is more specific.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:59 AM on November 3, 2019 [50 favorites]


Generational warfare, more flames of chaos fanned in the US. Who knows who hosts this fire? Accumulation of wealth, what a gross concept, measure it in trees, taken down in the Amazon, THE Amazon, not the capitalist facsimile. What kind of amuses me is, the media thinks so little of the young people in this country, they are handing out slogans to help them go through normal rebellion, and using it as some sort of tool, to what purpose I can barely guess. Someone uses OK Boomer with me and I will look at the side of their mouth and say, "Hey, there's some breast milk, on your cheek!"

I find this era of broken discourse, disappointing. How can the young people not be terrified? The old people who paid their dues and pay attention, are just more used to the real horror of what we are doing to this elegant, unique world, we must carefully inhabit.

The false prosperity post WW2, coming after the devastating depression, and the false and destructive prosperity brought by the switch to the energy economy, brought us all here to this moment. Yeah there is a reckoning and change that must happen. Intergenerational hatred is just a stumbling block thrown out by those who want to hold on to the last extraction profits.

I see plenty of Boomers with their figurative tin cups, they inhabit farmers markets, crafts booths smiling bravely trying to pay for a knee, or some glasses. It is not because they were not competent. They were frugal and lived modest lives in spite of the culture of financial oneupmanship that turned out to be mass pocket picking.
posted by Oyéah at 10:00 AM on November 3, 2019 [13 favorites]


If somebody is between the ages of 7 and 22, which is the actual Gen Z range, I'm not terribly worried about ageism from them. They aren't yet anywhere near the position of power where it'll matter, and by the time they get there they won't think that 30 is ancient anymore. Millennials have real problems with Boomers in a generational sense that aren't due to age but due to privilege, bigotry, and lack of empathy, and I'll absolutely defend that as being a real thing. But if you're a Boomer and you're upset about what an actual teenager is calling you on the internet, they're not really the ones who need to grow up.

Teenagers are not always going to be perfectly rational and sensible about their critiques of their society. I don't expect them to be. I expect them to care about stuff and to learn as they go. I'm capable of being the adult, here. I will snicker about teenagers who think that people who are 30+ don't belong in fandom, say, but I don't feel threatened by it. We can acknowledge that Gen Z has a lot of cool potential and great ideas without requiring them to have a level of maturity that we didn't ourselves have as adolescents.
posted by Sequence at 10:07 AM on November 3, 2019 [57 favorites]


"Old economy Steve" was a lot funnier and actually kind of helpful.


"OK Boomer" is how you respond to people who didn't get the memo from Old Economy Steve.
posted by ocschwar at 10:07 AM on November 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


One day we'll do away with silly generational thinking and realize there are slouches and stars in every cohort, and differences in thinking due to different ways information and work was arranged are nominal at best.

("ok gen xer" is the proper response to that)
posted by Burhanistan at 10:07 AM on November 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


It’s a good things kids these days can channel their anger into memes and ironic hoodies or else, you know, we might be at risk of seeing real change in the world. Every generation since the boomers has been co-opted by consumerism ahead of them exerting any real political power.
posted by simra at 10:08 AM on November 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


I'm uncomfortable with it. There is a way in which older women, specifically, are seen as uncool and gross. A woman's social worth is tied to her physical desirability, and once you're past the age you can be hot, ... well, why are you even still around? Dismissing older women because of their age is common and has typically not been a progressive reaction against older women having self-interested politics.

See: "Karen," and also "wine mom." Many, if not most, of whom aren't technically boomers anyway. There is no male equivalent to the "Karen" who wants to see the manager - maybe it should be "Steve" or "Dave?" In any case, that's telling. No craft beer dad equivalent to the dread Wine Mom, either.

Even though many, if not most, of the Karens and Wine Moms vote Democratic, they're treated like lepers by the young and hip, who think older women contaminate everything they touch. People who take any and every opportunity to belittle Elizabeth Warren or say "#NeverWarren!" for some peccadillo will swoon at the feet of Bernie Sanders, who frankly has far worse records on anything not economic. But Warren? Ew. Old lady. Gross.

Most of all, see: Clinton, Hillary Rodham.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:09 AM on November 3, 2019 [60 favorites]


I think there's a certain internet native coping mechanism at work here. A short memetic rhetoric for the casual dismissal of a category of thought.

Hoes mad
It's not that deep
OK Boomer
Silence TERF

I include both "silence TERF" and "hoes mad" because whether or not I agree that a category of thought deserves dismissal, the purpose as rhetoric and coping mechanism is similar. There are only so many hours in the day, and these memes enable you to dismiss something without addressing the specifics, by identifying it with a pre-dismissed category.

This also reminds me that "Silence Boomer" was a go-to phrase for a while there. The transition from "Silence" to "OK" is what made this "Unfriendly?"
posted by RobotHero at 10:10 AM on November 3, 2019 [8 favorites]


When boomers hold a majority of all household wealth while millennials hold 4% and when they outnumber millennials 50-to-1 in Congress, complaining that in fact boomers are actually the real victims (of "ageism") because younger people might think they are "uncool" or "gross" is absolute peak boomer whine.
posted by enn at 10:11 AM on November 3, 2019 [98 favorites]


It used to be shut the fuck up Boomer but you can't print that in the Times
posted by The Whelk at 10:12 AM on November 3, 2019 [16 favorites]


I used to be a renegade, I used to fool around
But I couldn't take the punishment, and had to settle down


fuck, I hate that song. Always have, always will.

If you're old and you don't suck, you need to step up and prove it, visibly and constantly.

Don't fucking tell me what to do
posted by philip-random at 10:13 AM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


As an early Xer I got to see the deal the Boomers got -- my college was free for the early boomers until 1970,[all numbers 2018 dollars] $3000/yr in 1975, still $3000/yr when I got there in 1985. Early 1990s CA recession pushed it up to $7200/yr in 1995, $9700/yr in 2005 (thanks Arnie!), $16,000/yr 2015-now.

$700/mo [$1265 in 2018 money] could rent a very nice apartment in West LA in 1991, same place now is $2100/mo

Total reg fees for my first quarter was $432 (1985 money, $1000 today). Now the student health plan alone is $840/quarter.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 10:13 AM on November 3, 2019 [23 favorites]


And Student loans/debt pursue you through life like little else does. Wasn't that a particular telling stab in the back?
posted by aleph at 10:20 AM on November 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


When boomers hold a majority of all household wealth while millennials hold 4%

But this isn't really about Boomers vs. millennials. The article makes it clear that this is about calling everyone over 30, including some millennials, "boomer" as an ageist insult.

I'm never sure what to think when people my age (barely old enough to be an X-er) traffic in this kind of thing, like that article in the Times a week or so ago about getting the old people out of power. Are they the old-person equivalent of the Cool Girl? Or do they just not realize that our society lumps them in with people 40+ years their senior as an Old Person?
posted by Ralston McTodd at 10:23 AM on November 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


You want to be *rational* about insults?
posted by aleph at 10:24 AM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


METAFILTER: to be *rational* about insults
posted by philip-random at 10:25 AM on November 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


Teenagers are not always going to be perfectly rational and sensible about their critiques of their society. I don't expect them to be. I expect them to care about stuff and to learn as they go. I'm capable of being the adult, here. I will snicker about teenagers who think that people who are 30+ don't belong in fandom, say, but I don't feel threatened by it. We can acknowledge that Gen Z has a lot of cool potential and great ideas without requiring them to have a level of maturity that we didn't ourselves have as adolescents.

Quoted For Motherfucking Truth.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:29 AM on November 3, 2019 [14 favorites]


So I’m on tik tok a lot, and drawing the vast majority of my “ok boomer” examples from there. It’s ALWAYS in response to someone older being rude for no reason to someone else why was just trying to do their work. It’s for the people who post “I’m surprised millennials can even read this!” Or “it’s so unprofessional for you to have tattoos/curly hair/piercings” or “immigrants are ruining this country” when their family only came here a few generations back. There’s also a strong contingent of wholesome stories where people talk about the older folks they’ve encountered who are actually kind and polite. So I disagree that it’s purely ageism rather than a pithy response to a specific set of behaviors.
posted by brilliantine at 10:30 AM on November 3, 2019 [61 favorites]


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=ppk1

Red line is consumer debt / personal income

blue line is federal debt held by the public (less Federal Reserve holdings) / GDP

Volcker tried to fight the boomers leveraging up in the early 80s but they put Greenspan in to let it go.

Last decade had one helluva consumer debt bubble/party that the Millenials totally missed out on

Still in the aftermath, alas.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 10:31 AM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


It's amazing what people can do with language. And how it evolves.
posted by aleph at 10:32 AM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


One light against this has been the DSA National Design Committee's Twitter ("bread and roses and ink and pixels") - it's a group of folks, mostly millennials, reaching back into the pre-digital graphic history of the radical left for inspiration.

*slowly walks backward into dark alleyway*
posted by The Whelk at 10:33 AM on November 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


When boomers hold a majority of all household wealth while millennials hold 4%

the odd thing is that boomer spending next decade is going to go mostly to the millennial workforce, and what the boomers don't spend said millennials will inherit!

(this is why I'm not entirely bearish on the US economy out to 2030 at least)
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 10:33 AM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


oh ffs. it is not ageism because people under 30 are exposed to a type of violence that we absolutely are not, and because they therefore have a type of deep knowledge that we do not. they grew up in a world that is dying. we grew up in a world that still seemed alive.

oh ffs, I'm sixty and grew up in a world that was dying. Link is to a piece about a 1976 National Geographic that asked the question: What Is Happening To Our Climate? But I recall an earlier issue (1972 maybe) that was completely concerned with the issue of pollution, dead lakes and rivers, species going extinct, the Cuyahoga river that actually caught fire in 1968. It hit twelve or thirteen year old suburban me like a kick to the balls. Add to that the very real horror of growing up in the shadow of Vietnam, the Cold War and the nuclear arms race and ... well, I'm not complaining, it's the hand I was dealt. So be it.

Anyway, this imminent apocalypse annihilation of all life everywhere scenario is not a new story at all. What's different now (and it's been building for decades) is the ubiquity of the discussion about it. You can't avoid it anymore. Which is good. It keeps forcing the issue. And yeah, if anyone's more to blame, it's probably those who've been alive longer. But if that's as far as you're going to investigate it before tossing the insults, then may I politely suggest you're probably not helping matters.

The problem is power, the very few who have it, and how its corrupted them. Maybe focus on that. And yeah, these days most of them are actual Boomers. But that will change soon ... and then who will we have to blame? Anyone over thirty, I guess.
posted by philip-random at 10:34 AM on November 3, 2019 [30 favorites]


More on the opportunity/necessity of young adults voting: These 7 Million Young People Can Beat Trump.
posted by PhineasGage at 10:35 AM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


A senior lawyer at the nonprofit where I work often asks younger employees if they plan on going to law school, and when they inevitably respond that they are thinking about it but probably won't because they can't get into that much debt, she responds, "Tsk. That's a shame, it was $400 a semester when I went," and changes the subject.

It is not exactly helpful.

It's not just young people being mad at the olds or clapping back because they were called spoiled snowflakes. It's a response to a wholesale lack of empathy or action, even on the part of nice older liberal folks who are aware of the issues and should, seemingly, be using their privilege and power to try to right things.

It's as if that colleague is dangling a gold chain of education, employment, capability, financial stability, and ability to give back in front of younger folks and saying, "Oh you can't have this? Sucks for you. Anyhow, moving on."
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:35 AM on November 3, 2019 [39 favorites]


King tide hitting the area near my office in Boston last week.

People who won't engage this issue like adults deserve worse than "ok boomer."
posted by ocschwar at 10:36 AM on November 3, 2019 [9 favorites]


I'm getting quite uncomfortable with some of the comparisons about this alleged ageism and other discrimination. High schoolers and those in their 20s wield little to no real power as a group save for cultural power from their purchasing habits, which is largely shaped to their supposed wants by corporations which are generally controlled by older people. Even the cases of actual ageist discrimination in hiring are controlled by people close to the same age as those being discriminated against, not by those that are being hired to replace them, but that's where the anger goes, to the young people who don't yet have power and control, instead of towards those who do wield it, who are far, far, more likely to be older themselves.

Likening "OK Boomer" to discrimination in that way is totally off-base, and should give one pause about your reactions.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:37 AM on November 3, 2019 [40 favorites]


I find the "ok boomer" meme amusing and to the point, and I personally want to say this to the conservative baby boomers in my life who won't shut up about how terrible young people are. Blah blah blah antifa snowflakes SJW fake news climate change isn't real blah blah blah... OH GOD SHUT UP YOU'RE RICH AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW GOOD YOU HAVE IT! FUCK OFF

Anyway, speaking of ageist insults for women, some random guy, at my shop, who was probably my age or a bit younger sneeringly called me "Karen" when I showed him where something was. When I informed him that was not my name, he shrugged and smirked.

Christ, what an asshole. I'd take "ok boomer" any day over THAT.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 10:37 AM on November 3, 2019 [13 favorites]


No craft beer dad equivalent to the dread Wine Mom, either.

There is definitely, in that progression, a Beer Dad, as well as a Vodka Aunt who is way, way cooler than the Wine Mom, and occasionally assorted other family members.
posted by Sequence at 10:41 AM on November 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


@suburban... Reminds me of that "Failure mode of Clever is asshole" from one of meta's own.
posted by aleph at 10:44 AM on November 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


Maybe our text should be "Terminator: Dark Fate," in which one great generation dude (Schwarzenegger), one aging boomer (Hamilton), one Millennial (Davies) and one Gen-Zer (Reyes) work together to overcome a monstrous unfeeling robotic evil that is the product of "civilization". That three out of four of them are badass women just makes it all the better.
posted by chavenet at 10:45 AM on November 3, 2019 [10 favorites]


Anyway, speaking of ageist insults for women, some random guy, at my shop, who was probably my age or a bit younger sneeringly called me "Karen" when I showed him where something was. When I informed him that was not my name, he shrugged and smirked.

I would argue that when someone - young or old - uses a specifically misogynist insult, they do have power, because they're leveraging the power of patriarchy. What they're saying is, "you think you have knowledge or skills but really you're Too Old To Have Value because you're a woman, so you're garbage". That's not powerlessness, that's knowing very well how to leverage gender inequality.

All that Karen/Wine Mom/VSCO girl stuff is misogynist, as you can see by the simple fact pointed out upthread that there's no VSCO boy or Craft Beer Chad. Hatred of women is reactionary. If people are excusing misogynist insults as some kind of heroic struggle against the right - and they do, they have, I have seen this - well, those people are wrong and bad and their struggle is just a struggle to get more for themselves while continuing to oppress women, so fuck that.

But the whole "OK Boomer" thing is something different, and I don't think that mixing up the two issues does anything except serve as an attack on the left.
posted by Frowner at 10:46 AM on November 3, 2019 [48 favorites]


The problem is power

Age does not always, but often comes with power in the form of wealth, senority, connections, experience, and gravitas. Oh, and the ability to vote, which most of Gen Z can't yet do.

Yes, a lot of power is concentrated, but if people could acknowledge and use the power they do have, that would be really cool.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:47 AM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


there's no VSCO boy

right, because there's soft boys instead.
posted by palomar at 10:48 AM on November 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


I don’t think the point of ageism in this conversation is to assert that Gen Z alone is driving ageism through “ok boomer,” but pointing out that like other kinds of societal discrimination, ageism can be an implicit bias and not easily isolated from other (and legitimate) motivations. A single Gen Zer alone saying “ok boomer” isn’t the reason for a company discriminating against older people in hiring, but it can be part of a widespread cultural bias on the basis on age. So to the extent people are tossing “ok boomer” around, they can also keep ageism in mind and interrogate their own motivations about it. It’s definitely something I will remember.
posted by sallybrown at 10:48 AM on November 3, 2019 [15 favorites]



there's no VSCO boy

right, because there's soft boys instead


So we're skipping over soy face and e-boys then
posted by The Whelk at 10:50 AM on November 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


Sorry haven't gotten through the thread yet, but...
"That said, I hope Gen Z destroys everything because Millennials responded to economic insecurity and oligarchy by working a lot and becoming brands. Will Gen Z drop out?"
- posted by Automocar at 10:02 AM on November 3
Considering the article is literally about kids selling bracelets and merch... and then wanting to "fund college" with it... I think... no. They're biting the lie hook line and sinker. They're going to make good little peons like us X-ers and Millenials.
posted by symbioid at 10:51 AM on November 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


If you're eighty and you're showing up to oppose a pipeline, you're not going to be "okay boomer"-ed by some fifteen year old

This is not my experience of how things are actually working though. There's a lot of solid activists being told off for being boomers even though they've literally put their life on the line for the last fifty years to fight some of this shit.
posted by corb at 10:51 AM on November 3, 2019 [17 favorites]


Hey enn, you seem to think that I was complaining about discrimination against "boomers." Given that you read the paragraph well enough to pick out the words "uncool" and "gross" and throw them back at me, this is puzzling. The paragraph was very clearly about the relationship between misogyny and ageism.

So, maybe you can clarify what your objection is for me. Do you think that the phenomenon doesn't exist, or that it does but it's "whiny" to be concerned about it? Do you think that this is a case where women who are concerned about misogyny should just be quiet about it, because it's not as important as the financial injustices being perpetrated against younger generations? Or something else?

For the record, I'm not a boomer, and I'm definitely not a financially privileged boomer. I'm a millenial who's never made median wage and never had any significant assets. I expect to live to see financial inequality and the climate crisis get a lot worse, and honestly, to probably die of one or the other or both. I've also had my "ok boomer" moments.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:57 AM on November 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


“ but what really characterizes the series of dents being made in our collective confidence in the existing system is the unspoken, but nonetheless very present acceptance among people, especially the “zoomers,” that the worst is yet to come. It hangs over us like a big clammy gray cloud on a dismal humid day on the East Coast. The rise of racist populism globally, the increasingly alienating and dystopian methods of worker control and surveillance that continue to be devised by silicon valley, and of course the existential threat of an ecological crisis are very real and frequently cited examples of what we are psychologically bracing ourselves for. In short, The Zoomers know the next 25 years are going to be rough.” Salutations, Fellow kids
posted by The Whelk at 10:58 AM on November 3, 2019 [6 favorites]


I don't know that Obama counts as a "boomer."

It used to be shut the fuck up Boomer but you can't print that in the Times

Opinion | Obama's Very Boomer View of 'Cancel Culture'

in response to Obama on Call-Out Culture - The New York Times

Obama is technically a hybrid Gen X and boomer who styles himself as Gen X, but it helps to deconstruct boomer as also a behavior, not a fixed identity
posted by polymodus at 10:59 AM on November 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


If you're old and you don't suck, you need to step up and prove it, visibly and constantly.

I'm 52. Gaining the approval of people who have, I am told, revived "Don't trust anyone over 30" is not something that I expect to accomplish. Even if I did, what's the payoff? Some kid saying, hey, that old guy is not so bad? That's not gonna pay for the Early Bird Special!
posted by thelonius at 11:00 AM on November 3, 2019 [14 favorites]


There's a large and apparently inexhaustible supply of men who make videos of their ignorance and unrelenting MAGA support while sitting in pickup trucks. I'm starting to see "you sound like you're saying this in a pickup" as a response to something stupid online. I have a vague hope "pickup guy" will be the new Karen because I'm also sick of that misogynistic shit.

In terms of "ok boomer", I'm mostly fine with it. But it does bother me when it gets used indiscriminately in some of my activist groups. I can't speak for the rest of the country, but in my part of it, the boomers (mostly women) are what keep things going. Both the activist groups and the local Democratic Parties. The kids bring the energy, but these boomers do the grunt work of always showing up to meetings, contributing what money they have, making the phone calls, making the coffee and snacks. These women (and a few men) are the backbone and the local orgs would fall apart without them.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 11:04 AM on November 3, 2019 [26 favorites]


Remember when that Gillette ad came out and men collectively lost their shit over the suggestion that maybe we could use a reminder to not be fucking assholes?

Yeah. You can choose to get pissy about being included in a demographic that is objectively, quantitatively shitty to other demographics, or you can keep your mouth shut, own it and try to be better.

I'm a cishet white dude of 44. I'm broke, effectively homeless and I spend 8 hours a week on my bike commuting. But guess what, I'm still a "privileged old white guy" and I've just made the choice to own it and not get in peoples' way (to the best of my ability -- lord knows I've got blind spots). If I can be a help, great, but I'd prefer not to be a hindrance.

I lose precisely nothing in the bargain, but there's so much to be gained.
posted by klanawa at 11:07 AM on November 3, 2019 [18 favorites]


As a 39 year old, I’m glad I’m now both described as a millennial and a baby boomer. Because naming generations makes perfect sense and people who do so aren’t full of shit at all.
posted by sideshow at 11:13 AM on November 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


Welp. This nasty old Karen wine mom* is outta here, at least for a while.

*not really a Karen, nor a mom, except to cats.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:15 AM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


So we're skipping over soy face and e-boys then

It hurts me to disagree with you, Whelk, but surely you can recognize that there's a cultural force/widespreadness to the misogynist insults that's totally lacking with the soy face stuff (and there are e-girls, and the venom that I see associated with that term is nothing like when people go on about e-boys.) Slate had a whole really garbage article about the whole VSCO girl thing, there are constant Karen/Wine Mom references wherever there are things similar to Splinter, etc. There's no equivalent insults directed at men, and certainly none of the backing venom, threats of violence, etc. "Soy face" is funny precisely because it's not part of a whole system of insults mobilized against men.

It's just weird to me that as long as misogyny is directed at women that people dislike, it's somehow not misogyny. There was disgusting and creepy misogyny directed at Margaret Thatcher, who was a monster who should have been tried at the Hague and/or sunk in the deeps of the sea. That doesn't make misogynist discourse revolutionary, any more than it would be okay for straight people to call Peter Thiel homophobic slurs because he's a monster. It's weird that this is opaque to people.
posted by Frowner at 11:17 AM on November 3, 2019 [45 favorites]


But the whole "OK Boomer" thing is something different, and I don't think that mixing up the two issues does anything except serve as an attack on the left.

It's harder to recognize them as different when you have literally seen "ok boomer" being used in this way. I wonder if this is where some of the disconnect is. I hang out in some spaces where prejudice against older women is common and seen it used as an expression of exactly the kind of misogyny embodied by that smirking man saying "thanks karen."

But this is why I said I realize this is not the original or even primary context of this meme and did not criticize all users of it for being misogynist.

It makes me legitimately angry to be told that it's "peak boomer whine" to share my thoughts about my the meme makes me uncomfortable. It makes me sad that those thoughts are perceived as an attack on the left. I mean, before I wrote that comment, I thought to myself, "feminist issues are not a distraction, it's ok to post this," - but now it seems they are. again.

Fuck, y'all.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:24 AM on November 3, 2019 [24 favorites]


All I have learned after reading this whole thread is the following:

1) my vocabulary of generational/demographic insults is SEVERELY lacking;
2) all it takes to declare war on an entire generation is to print something on a sweatshirt
posted by chrominance at 11:24 AM on November 3, 2019 [10 favorites]


And it's weird that there's this relentless trivializing of women's desire not to be minimized and hated in places where they have expertise and value, as if somehow the left didn't have a history of precisely this type of misogyny.
posted by Frowner at 11:24 AM on November 3, 2019 [35 favorites]


Also hey because it seems infighting is the thing now in this thread that final comma is important
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:25 AM on November 3, 2019 [16 favorites]


tl;dr but I can't help thinking my death isn't going to be natural; instead it's going to be at the hands of a crowd of angry young people. And now I know what they'll be chanting, as they kick me to death. And still I'll be thinking the real enemy all along has been the Yuppies, not all Boomers. Some of us are just aging hippies, who've been Green all along.
posted by Rash at 11:45 AM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


I'm well over 30 and I find the "OK Boomer" insult pretty amusing. Even moreso, in an eye rolling way, if someone is hurling it in earnest. If that's you, then you can fuck off. I'll retract that sentiment when your generation votes in rates that match actual boomers. Until then, your generation isn't ready to deal with the real world. I'll take the concerns of your generation as a whole seriously when your generation as a whole starts acting like it's serious about those concerns. Is it not fair to be tossed in with the rest of your apathetic peers? If so, think about that for a while.

Take up that challenge. For fuckssakes, we've all been waiting.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:53 AM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


And still I'll be thinking the real enemy all along has been the Yuppies,

note my previous hatred of those lines somebody posted from that Huey Lewis + The News song. Just because I was an adult in the 1980s doesn't mean I bought any of it. I couldn't even stomach Back To The Future because of the soundtrack.
posted by philip-random at 11:56 AM on November 3, 2019


@2n222 OK Boomer

Man this is fun. I love this phrase.
posted by Balna Watya at 12:01 PM on November 3, 2019 [16 favorites]


I'm truly not bothered by "ok boomer," and I'm truly not fussed that the 18-to-21-year-olds with whom I work probably think I'm old and out-of-touch a lot of the time. That's sort of a given when you're a middle-aged person whose job it is to give advice to young adults. Sometimes they're probably right, and sometimes they're probably wrong, and it doesn't really bother me. This is partly because some of my colleagues seem a little desperate to have students think they're cool, and I can think of few things more pathetic than middle-aged adults who want teenagers to think they're cool. I want to give my advisees good advice and information, and I want them to trust me enough to listen to it, and I don't care if they think I'm a dork because I don't know anything about TikTok. I try not to be insulting or to be out-of-touch about the things that matter, and if they want to laugh at my lack of knowledge about social media or pop culture, they can knock themselves out. Also, I stand by my belief that you should go to class even if your prof records and posts the lectures and that getting enough sleep will make you do better in school. They've never ok boomered me over that, but they definitely roll their eyes, and that seems fine and probably developmentally appropriate.

But I do sometimes encounter a certain kind of young man who is dismissive of his typically-female professor and who thinks he can lecture her on her area of expertise because he's watched two YouTube videos and listened to a Joe Rogan interview, and that twerp can fuck right off. That's not generational warfare. That's just garden variety Dunning Kruger mixed with misogyny.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:09 PM on November 3, 2019 [39 favorites]


Generational naming in the US is weird because it sort of only applies to rich white people. Especially the further you go back. I don't think I've ever even heard the phrase "black baby boomers."

There are definitely the same kinds of conflict, if not the same terms, in many communities of color. After all, mass incarceration and broken windows policing was largely voted in by black Americans from that age group in the 80s and 90s.

You may not be seeing it because mainstream journalists rarely write about people of color at that level of nuance and depth.
posted by Ouverture at 12:11 PM on November 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


I think there is generational conflict in black America, but it is really profoundly different from the whole "ok, boomer" thing. There were reasons that black Americans supported that stuff in the 1980s and early 1990s, and those reasons kind of fly in the face of a narrative about generational privilege. I don't hear "my mom had it super easy and doesn't understand my struggles" stuff from black young millennials and Gen Zers. I hear "my mom buried eight of her friends and two cousins and thinks I should be scared and careful in a way that I find irrational." Which is not the same.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:18 PM on November 3, 2019 [34 favorites]


And no, #notallboomers isn't like #notallmen or #notallwhitepeople. Because, whippersnapper, one day, YOU will be the old person cast aside and belittled and marginalized. Not everyone is a man, not everyone is a particular race or ethnic group, but unless you die young, you, too, are going to be One Of Them one day.

The massive, no good, very terrible difference is that unlike people from my parents' generation, I and every other young person in the world will grow up and old (if we even live that long) in an age of complete ecological collapse.

You're right that it isn't quite like #notallmen or #notallwhitepeople. But it is different in a way that is so much worse.
posted by Ouverture at 12:29 PM on November 3, 2019 [14 favorites]


There's a large and apparently inexhaustible supply of men who make videos of their ignorance and unrelenting MAGA support while sitting in pickup trucks. I'm starting to see "you sound like you're saying this in a pickup" as a response to something stupid online. I have a vague hope "pickup guy" will be the new Karen because I'm also sick of that misogynistic shit.

my current favorite meme response to this kind of ignorant, self satisfied ranting is “sir, this is an arbys”
posted by murphy slaw at 12:32 PM on November 3, 2019 [45 favorites]


I don't understand why people insist on having these arguments in terms of stereotypes. Last year, 70% of Americans between 18 and 34 self-reported being worried about climate change. 56% of Americans older than 55 did. If you decide to say that Boomers don't give a shit about climate change because they will all be dead whereas Millennials know the score, you are doing a bad job summarizing this information and you will piss off the huge amount of people you are mischaracterizing. I would say the same for most of these remarks that are framed as being all about age.

(Maybe it doesn't matter if teenagers say things that are wrong and piss people off, but that's what the thread is about, so as long as we're here I claim it is dumb to do so.)
posted by value of information at 12:41 PM on November 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


my current favorite meme response to this kind of ignorant, self satisfied ranting is “sir, this is an arbys”

"Man looks in the Arby's, there's nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the Arby's. "
posted by zaixfeep at 12:41 PM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


Even though many, if not most, of the Karens and Wine Moms vote Democratic, they're treated like lepers by the young and hip, who think older women contaminate everything they touch. People who take any and every opportunity to belittle Elizabeth Warren or say "#NeverWarren!" for some peccadillo will swoon at the feet of Bernie Sanders, who frankly has far worse records on anything not economic. But Warren? Ew. Old lady. Gross.

Most of all, see: Clinton, Hillary Rodham.


In terms of slangs that serve as useful shorthand, I still like "War Crime Karen" and "BBQ Becky" to describe the specific phenomena involving white women wielding the power they have available to them to harm people of color.
posted by Ouverture at 12:43 PM on November 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


Lots of GenY MAGAs and 8chan trolls. Lots of 50+ climate change activists. Age != political affiliation, even if The Youngs tend, historically, to skew left. Every generation since X has been doing worse than the generation before them, according to lots of articles. Intergenerational war is fucking stupid and it looks like #okboomer is already well on its way to full capitalist cooption. Next year it will be on the hottest EDM bro tanktops and Becky bikinis.

Vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:49 PM on November 3, 2019 [9 favorites]


On reflection, I think that probably the best response to the whole NYT OK Boomer thing is to actually go out and do activist stuff, and do it with some confidence and principle. Memes and slogans and so on have their uses but "painting a real and detailed picture of interpersonal relationships" isn't one of them. It's easy to get into a lot of really stupid headspace if the time you spend on the internet is more significant than the time you spend with real people doing things. We accord a lot of power to internet truisms, but really, you are far, far more likely to get along with people from a different generation if you actually meet them doing some kind of shared project than you are to have some reductionist interaction totally defined by your age.

The NYT (and the internet generally) operates to keep us internetting and to manage the crisis in its own interests. What does the NYT "want"? It wants to make as much money from the crisis as it can, and to insure that the crisis is managed in such a way that its friends and stockholders keep a grip on power. Any time that you read think pieces going around the mainstream internet, bear in mind that they wouldn't be published if they didn't in some way serve the interests of power.

The figures conjured up by the NYT, Slate, etc serve to stand between us and our actual experience, so that we don't see the people we know and work with but instead flatter, stupider, less complex and less worthwhile images that anger or depress us.

Even when real people say stupid or frustrating things, there's more going on and there's more hope for connecting and making headway than there is with any of these flattened stories that rich media tells us.
posted by Frowner at 12:59 PM on November 3, 2019 [22 favorites]


Apologies for skipping over half of a growing thread, but people have noted a certain anxiety about "becoming worse as we get older".

I suspect that's a bit of survivorship bias at play. The trouble is that the people who survive to 80 in our society are, as a category, typically more privileged. They've had the better health care, safer jobs, safer neighbourhoods, safer transport. They're the ones who could buy their way out of the mortal risks of their generation's experience.

So this isn't so much a "by the time you're age X, your politics will usually be Y" so much as "The people whose politics aren't Y usually hold their views because the forces acting on their lives make it unlikely they'll have a voice even if they make it to age X."
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 1:08 PM on November 3, 2019 [14 favorites]


That and the other point that previous generations "...who survive to 80" had a much better environment to do it in which is sadly lacking nowadays. That's a *large* part of it.
posted by aleph at 1:15 PM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


More than that, though - look, I have a union gig. I have been activist-adjacent since I was fifteen. I know plenty of older people who have good politics and have had consistently good politics. Are they on TV? Are they quoted in the NYT? I think not!

Percentage-wise, something like 80% of retirees who respond to landline polls are Trump supporters. So that's disheartening. However:

- no one in my family votes GOP and most are pretty left, and of the retired people, even the ones with landlines aren't doing any polls. Just how representative is "will do a political poll on a landline at a random hour" anyway?

- this is a very large country. Twenty percent - even if it is twenty percent - is still a large absolute number.

And on another note: even in the climate crisis, most people who are not quite late in life are looking for models on how to get older, even if all we're thinking about is "I am twenty now; what is it going to mean to be twenty-five" or "I am forty now; what is it going to mean to be fifty"?

I don't mean that we're looking for models about what kind of things we should consume and what we should own; I mean we're looking for models for how we can relate to others. Will we feel lost? Will we sell out? Will our lives be boring and meaningless? Will we keep our friendships? Will we learn and grow? Will we stop caring about haircuts, and will this be a good or a bad thing? Anyone with a marginalized identity also knows how important it is to see older people like you, and how moving and nourishing it can be to, eg, meet older queer people. My point being that none of us are getting any younger, and one of the things we can do is try to be decent people with lives of commitment and, and kindness so that we can be there for younger people.

Younger people - for any value of younger - need older people to be good, solid presences. The resentment and anger against older people is partly just the result of seeing climate disaster bearing down on us but also partly about how older people can fail younger people. (I mean, in a way it's no surprise - young people aren't all terrific, it's no surprise that they don't all grow up to be heroes.) But, like, don't fail people who are younger than you - whether that means people who are teenagers when you're twenty-five or people who are forty when you're sixty. Be the older person you want to see in the world.
posted by Frowner at 1:27 PM on November 3, 2019 [36 favorites]


Generations Throughout History, Critical Media Project.

[Alternate YT video]

Created in 2017 by BuzzFeed, this 10-minute video traces all seven living American generations and the formative social and cultural forces that have shaped their experiences. The generations covered include the:
  • Greatest Generation or G.I. Generation (born 1901-1927)
  • Silent Generation or The Lucky Few (born 1928-1945)
  • Baby Boomers or Rock & Roll Generation (born 1946-1964)
  • Generation X (born 1965-1980)
  • Millennials or Gen Y (born 1981-1997)
  • Gen Z (born 1998-2010)
  • Generation Alpha (2011-present).
America is a relatively small slice of History: perhaps a wider POV would help blur artificial divisions between ages.

With every human living and dying on the same Earth, under the same yellow Sun, we're just a Pale Blue Dot. We'd better start focusing on how to get together and get along.
posted by cenoxo at 1:50 PM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


As long as we can all agree that Gen-Xers are cooler than the other people, we're good.
posted by signal at 2:03 PM on November 3, 2019 [26 favorites]


cenoxo: That's the problem. There are large groups of people living on *very* different Earths. And you will *never* convince (a lot of) them that that is true. Some of those groups live on an Earth where Climate change is a Communist plot. Though they don't seem to be as common as they were.
posted by aleph at 2:03 PM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


My view is that the generation gap today is not as crazy or heated as the original generation gap between the boomers and their parents 50 years ago. But it is worse today than it was one or two decades ago. For that I think I'd blame the decaying media environment in general, with rise of Fox News & FB reflecting these problems.
posted by ovvl at 2:03 PM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


This. Seems like it. They haven't sent the National Guard in to shoot students yet.
posted by aleph at 2:05 PM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


> As long as we can all agree that Gen-Xers are cooler than the other people, we're good.

genx is beto o'rourke.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:06 PM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


As long as we can all agree that Gen-Xers are cooler than the other people,

Slacker, no slacking! Slacker, no slacking!
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 2:08 PM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


They haven't sent the National Guard in to shoot students yet.

Instead, the violence against protestors has been outsourced to the alt-right and the police (apologies for being redundant).
posted by Ouverture at 2:08 PM on November 3, 2019 [9 favorites]


You don't think the alt-right (and the police) was there then? Different names, different times. [Get a haircut dirty hippie!]. And where do you think a lot (not all) of the contempt about "hippies" came from? They won that war a long time ago.
posted by aleph at 2:11 PM on November 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


I was born in December 1980 and never knew where that put me, but now that I’m pushing 40, I know exactly where I am: old. And what a relief that is! Being young is horrible. Like, I just learned of the existence of “Tellonym”, which appears to be an app designed solely to give other people the ability to anonymously cyber-bully you. Fun stuff!
posted by Automocar at 2:12 PM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


You don't think the alt-right (and the police) was there then? Different names, different times. [Get a haircut dirty hippie!]. And where do you think a lot (not all) of the contempt about "hippies" came from? They won that war a long time ago.

The police have always been agents of white supremacy, but even compared to the worst of the Civil Rights Era, they were nowhere nearly as militarized as they are now.

And yes, when looking at the chronology of mass shootings, things really are different. There were roughly 20 mass shootings in the 1960s and 1970s.

There were about twice as many in the past two years.
posted by Ouverture at 2:17 PM on November 3, 2019 [8 favorites]


they grew up in a world that is dying. we grew up in a world that still seemed alive.

really? cue barry mc guire, 1965

remember the club of rome? remember the population bomb? remember silent spring? remember duck and cover?

no, the problem is that too many of us have forgotten what it's like to feel young and doomed - somehow, we've made it through to the point where we're old and doomed

the other problem is that the jerks who got elected to the homecoming court are now running the fucking world - and now the kids think we're ALL like them

here's my little bit of advice to gen z - it's not the old folks that will do you in - it's the bastards you grew up with - just what do you think happened with the boomers?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:20 PM on November 3, 2019 [27 favorites]


Mass shootings, you got me there. They tended to be a lot quieter murders/lynchings then but usually not by the police. Good luck getting them investigated though.
posted by aleph at 2:20 PM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


Something that always kind of perplexes me is young, frequently male and well-off, white people denouncing all "old" people based on the actions of white, frequently male and well-off, politicians, businesspeople and voters, while never making such blanket condemnations of white people, men, or the non-poor. I'm sure that many of those making use of the "ok boomer" retort are not white young men (and women) from financially comfortable backgrounds, and that I'm doing the same thing by excluding those who contradict my point, but yeah.
posted by cinchona at 2:21 PM on November 3, 2019 [8 favorites]


I’m not a Teen now but I was A Teen and, frankly, the fact that it annoys old people and drives the worst of them completely up the wall would be reason alone to keep doing it, whatever the moral and ethical implications. I think everyone got too used to the locked down and cowed post-9/11 teens and forgot what Youths are like.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:21 PM on November 3, 2019 [20 favorites]


remember the club of rome? remember the population bomb? remember silent spring? remember duck and cover?

The difference is that this is actually real. Even at just our current one degree of warming, we are already seeing its disastrous effects every single day. Even the worst contributors privately acknowledge the upcoming disaster. But the worst part is that it could have been stopped or at least seriously curtailed 30 years ago.

here's my little bit of advice to gen z - it's not the old folks that will do you in - it's the bastards you grew up with - just what do you think happened with the boomers?

Huh, I didn't realize John Sununu and Alan Greenspan were millennials.
posted by Ouverture at 2:34 PM on November 3, 2019 [9 favorites]


> remember the club of rome? remember the population bomb? remember silent spring? remember duck and cover?

what's fun is that this exact type of off-the-mark comparison is precisely what the phrase "ok boomer" is for. the population bomb was some scaremongering, silent spring, like the ozone hole, was a relatively easy problem to fix, but climate change is in fact the sort of genuinely pervasive problem that will require genuinely pervasive change.

and like yup the atom bomb existed and still exists and we're all continually on the edge of that apocalypse as well, but the climate change apocalypse — which is significantly more, ahem, real than the stuff you're talking about — is unique in that the people who are kids right now are going to live to see the worst of it, while the boomers get to pretend to their dying day that things aren't as serious as they actually are.

you're pretending that the situation of the world in the late-mid 20th century is in fact isomorphic to the situation of the world today, which is legit totally ridiculous.

there needs to be a single word or a single phrase for the sort of situation wherein if one denies the extent of a problem as a psychological self-defense mechanism, one reveals oneself as being definitely part of the problem, but also wherein the simple acknowledgement that a problem exists would in and of itself a big part of not being part of the problem.

like anyone who bombs in here all "lol things are just the same as when we were kids! those kids'll know better when they're older!", to you i say:

ok boomer.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:35 PM on November 3, 2019 [71 favorites]


If you wanted to blame a whole class of people-- not that I advise this-- a much better target than "old people" would be "white people."

Some depressing findings from 2016 exit polls:

Whites went for Trump 57-37. White men, 62-31; women 52-43.

By age: whites under 30, 47-43; whites 30-44 were 54-37; whites 45-64 were 62-34; whites 65 up were 58-39.

"Not quite as much for Trump as our parents" is not that much to be proud of.

Whites were still voting Republican in 2018, by 54-44. The age results are better, though.

Or we could just decide to oppose the reactionaries instead.
posted by zompist at 2:40 PM on November 3, 2019 [12 favorites]


I didn't realize John Sununu and Alan Greenspan were millennials.

They will be, they will be.
posted by No Robots at 2:41 PM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


You're so vain
you probably think this phrase is about you
posted by jklaiho at 2:51 PM on November 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


you're pretending that the situation of the world in the late-mid 20th century is in fact isomorphic to the situation of the world today, which is legit totally ridiculous.

then how is it that the situation of the world in the late-mid 20th century led to the situation of the world today?

it's like cause and effect don't exist for you - you say none of what i cited was "real" and yet this "unreal" stuff somehow led to what we have now

and of course, beneath all the pop culture references i threw out, because you would be able to recognize them, there were very many other people who realized the potential of where we were headed and tried to warn us

we've been headed down the shit highway for at least a century and you having just realized it does not make you any kind of superior genius - we did not just wake up one morning this decade and discover the world had been going to shit

things take a very long time to happen and pretending that the situation of the 20th century is somehow different is like saying we have nothing to learn from history
posted by pyramid termite at 2:55 PM on November 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


> "then how is it that the situation of the world in the late-mid 20th century led to the situation of the world today?"

Two people are locked in a room slowly filling with water.

"Well," says one, "I'm old. At least I'll die of old age before I drown."

"I won't," says the other.

"Honestly!" the older one says testily. "We've both been in this room with the water rising the whole time! Stop pretending it's worse for you!"
posted by kyrademon at 3:12 PM on November 3, 2019 [47 favorites]


> remember the club of rome? remember the population bomb? remember silent spring? remember duck and cover?


Before lecturing to young people about duck and cover, remember who is bringing that nightmare back with a vengeance.
posted by ocschwar at 3:14 PM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


Jesus backflipping Christ. I haven't been a teenager in 20+ years but I'm seriously tempted to link this hilarious, oblivious, overanalyzing, overcomplicating trainwreck of a thread on the r/teenagers subreddit just to witness the incredulous double facepalms of the age group that coined the phrase.
posted by jklaiho at 3:17 PM on November 3, 2019 [18 favorites]


> If you wanted to blame a whole class of people-- not that I advise this-- a much better target than "old people" would be "white people."

i mean, yes, of course. we need to abolish whiteness.

but also: if you think this is about the assignment of blame, you’re not paying attention. it’s about the conditions facing gen z being dramatically worse than the conditions facing earlier generations, and about the sheer pigheaded dumbness of the earlier generations insisting that everything is still the same.

it’s not about blaming you. it’s not about you at all.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:24 PM on November 3, 2019 [13 favorites]


Generations Throughout History, Critical Media Project. [...] Generation X (born 1965-1980)

except that Douglas Coupland, who wrote the book, was born in 1961.
posted by philip-random at 3:31 PM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: A hilarious, oblivious, overanalyzing, overcomplicating trainwreck
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 3:35 PM on November 3, 2019 [11 favorites]


Is this not a thread about Radiohead’s seminal OK Computer? I’m confused.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 3:36 PM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


Before lecturing to young people about duck and cover, remember who is bringing that nightmare back with a vengeance.

as if it had ever gone away for one second in the last 70 years
posted by pyramid termite at 3:41 PM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


The incredible support that Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn have won among young people...

Bernie is not a boomer; he's Silent Generation, a few years pre-boomer. (Same age as my dad. My household has people from five "generations.")

I am amused by the #NotAllBoomers reactions. Because while, yes, there are substantial differences between boomer millionaires and boomers now stuck working multiple part-time jobs at minimum wage because corporate shenanigans destroyed their savings, the ire isn't just about "who has the advantages now." It's also about, "who had the opportunity to pay for college with a part-time minimum wage job" and "how much you needed to earn to rent an apartment after high school" and "whose health insurance cost more than their food when they first wanted to move out of their parents' house."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:11 PM on November 3, 2019 [12 favorites]


You know, if the boomers hadn't spent the 80s and 90s creating lavish overproduced documentaries about the 60s, the "generation gap", and the whole "Don't Trust Anybody Over 30!!!" meme of the Vietnam war era, I might actually have a modicum of sympathy for them on this topic.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 4:18 PM on November 3, 2019 [8 favorites]


I keep hearing fellow Millennials, Gen Xer's, and Baby Boomers speaking in very hopeful terms about Gen Z and I think they need to stop. I'm a dead-middle Millennial, and I interact with a lot of Gen Z/very late Millennial kids. They're the pendulum swinging back; the boot lickers, the uncritical brand slaves, and toadies for conventional power (be it whiteness, capital, etc.). Nearly every white kid I meet - 22 and under- is a racist pile of garbage, spouting memes. It's not just the boys, but it's moreso an issue with them than the girls. Half of it might be rebellious later youth, but the other half is almost certainly ideological; the product of inoculation from the more accessible offshoots of /pol/ and the increasing mainstream media presence of right wing figureheads.

Almost all of them that I know, including my late Millennial partner, are conspicuously invested in the alarmingly unstable status quo. They worship social capital, and money. Frequently they reject queer people, and queerness altogether. Trained by social media, their understanding of socialization wavers between paradoxical alienation and superfluous information-saturated drama. None of them that I know can be bothered to read a book, whether it be on a screen or otherwise. I wouldn't be surprised if their generation is measurably less literate than those preceding them.

As far as I can tell, a great number of Gen Z is already captured by fascism and big capital. In the case of the latter, it's almost as if they've perfected the process by which we emotionally and socially internalize capitalism. At this point, people very willingly and unthinkingly commodify themselves and others. The surrender is complete. I feel very pessimistic about our future. As I was saying to a friend the other night at a Halloween party, I'm afraid that "The Revolution" will be a bunch of middle aged Millennials burning out and going ham on the rich in the streets, while Gen Z cheers the riot police on from their phones while they're on their single daily break from serving some pseudo-aristocrat as a serf.
posted by constantinescharity at 4:30 PM on November 3, 2019 [23 favorites]


Help a boomer out here. This [graphite on the roof] is a... Chernobyl reference?

yes
posted by thelonius at 4:32 PM on November 3, 2019


constantinescharity: I (a right-in-the-middle GenX) see this in my nephews, nieces and their friends, some of whom are in their early 30s now. Lots of them, my wife's side of the family is huge. They grew up in an extremely structured and scheduled environment, childhoods very dominated by adult supervision and surveillance.

Without pouring out a bunch of anecdotes about an admittedly mall, select group of tweens -to late 20-somethings, I don't see any glimpses of desire to undo any status quo at all. Not even a teeny, tiny bit.
posted by SoberHighland at 4:42 PM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


So basically, Millennials are like

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.

and Gen Z is like

ok boomer
posted by Automocar at 4:50 PM on November 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


It’s infuriating to watch people suggest that Generation Z “just vote”. You know when their vote would have really mattered? Before they reached voting age, if not before they were even born. It’s becoming obvious that representative democracy is a failed paradigm; ecological collapse happens on an transgenerational timeframe, and the electorate that suffers the consequences is not the same electorate that makes the decisions. We already see the younger generations rejecting capitalism. Get ready for the rejection of liberal democracy also.
posted by moorooka at 4:51 PM on November 3, 2019 [12 favorites]


as a millennial i have a lot of things i would like to say about this shitshow of a thread that would get my comment deleted. even “good” boomers are so self centered they can’t see any perspective outside their own worldview. everyone who has felt the need to defend themselves or their generation in this thread: you have so fundamentally missed the fucking point of all of this.
posted by JimBennett at 4:52 PM on November 3, 2019 [31 favorites]


I keep hearing fellow Millennials, Gen Xer's, and Baby Boomers speaking in very hopeful terms about Gen Z and I think they need to stop...

the children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. they no longer rise when elders enter the room. they contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers
posted by entropicamericana at 5:05 PM on November 3, 2019 [30 favorites]


Yeah, Automocar, sometimes I do think that with Gen Z in particular, there is a flippant, nihilistic sort of habit of dismissing serious discussions with snarky brogue. Whereas I found, when I was younger, that my generation was very concerned with being "unchill", to the point of never talking about serious emotions or practical problems, Gen Z is in this constant contest to sound smug and as if their jimmies remain permanently unrustled. In private, they let it all out about how people of colour are at fault (if white), or that it's dA jUiCe (seems common no matter the background); everything's a psy-op or a false-flag. They've been swallowed by cynicism to the point where, in public or social forums, they'd rather win small victories, not of rhetoric per se, but of an ironically performative stoicism.

@entropicamericana: That's not what I'm saying at all. They're not rebellious in any material way, and that's part of the problem. They're stunned and dazzled by the powers that be, and often weirdly identify with them in a personal way, regardless of whether they're in any real position to ride the coattails of said powers.
posted by constantinescharity at 5:05 PM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Without pouring out a bunch of anecdotes about an admittedly mall, select group of tweens -to late 20-somethings, I don't see any glimpses of desire to undo any status quo at all. Not even a teeny, tiny bit.
I really think you're not looking in the right places. Having said that, I do think that the Gen Z defenders here are overlooking a significant strain of Alt-Right support among Gen Zers, primarily but not exclusively white males. I can't really give examples because of don't-talk-about-work rules, but that's a thing. I think it's really tempting for people of a particular political stripe to envision them as some sort of socialist vanguard, but they're politically a lot more complicated than that, and some of them are deeply politically scary.

I'm thinking you need a new social circle, constantinescharity.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:09 PM on November 3, 2019 [12 favorites]


im just saying generalizing about any generations (except boomers because they had the world handed to them on a plate and then burned down the restaurant) is generally pointless

i really cant blame gen z for indulging in nihilism, given their prospects
posted by entropicamericana at 5:09 PM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


For the record, I was hating on boomers before it was a goddamn t-shirt slogan.

Fucking millennial poseurs. When I was your age, it was cool to be your age.



In all seriousness, though, ageism is ugly and in some ways this is just further division that’s being used to take our eyes away from the real criminals.

On the other hand, I can forgive the boomers for their naïveté, their simplistic ideas of god and country, their casual racism — maybe they were just normal sheltered people who didn’t know any better — right up until Reagan. Ronald Fucking Reagan. By that point, everyone knew the US had been involved in covert CIA wars where hundreds of thousands of innocents died, civil rights leaders peacefully demonstrated for basic human dignity and were murdered. A blatantly corrupt president was caught red handed being a dickhead. Reagan was more of the same manufactured racist America First bullshit and every knew it and the boomers lapped it up because they could pretend they were God’s exceptional children. And literally everything else bad in this country that came after including and especially fucking Trump came from Reagan.

I know a lot of boomers that work with me in the save-the-world industry and I can seriously assure you that none of them have any problem with blaming the boomers for all the apocalyptic bullshit going on right now. Absolutely if you don’t like being lumped in with a generation of selfish fuckwads who burned everything outside their gated community down, then you have a huge responsibility to step up. It’s all about privilege and maybe you individually worked hard and maybe you’re not sitting so pretty right now, but your generation absolutely enjoyed far more privilege and entitlement than the young generation now — Christ, they’re going to die younger than you — and either you’re ok with that or you’re not.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 5:11 PM on November 3, 2019 [21 favorites]


the children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. they no longer rise when elders enter the room. they contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers

Why should we care what Kenneth John Freeman said?
posted by thelonius at 5:16 PM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


i’m going to do something ridiculous and quote myself from the LAST time we had this conversation because i do not have the energy to say it as kindly this time:

the class debate is framed as a generational issue not because millennials are obsessed with boomers, but because BOOMERS are obsessed with boomers and make everything about themselves. despite the narrative, millennials don't really blame boomers for the state of the world, we're just jealous they got to experience something better. like yeah the middle class is eroding and as boomers age into retirement more and more of them are just as broke and destitute as my friends and i, but at least some of them got to be middle class, for a little while at least. and if we ARE mad, it's mostly because a lot of them won't shut the fuck up about how much better they had it back in their day. and if we're frustrated, it's because when we say "well it's actually really bad for us," even our class allies say "well sure but it's not really uniquely bad for you, because it's bad for everyone right now." like yeah no shit i know that already, my parents are both even broker than i am, and i am seriously legitimately crazy fucking broke. we're not interested in engaging in any sort of generational warfare, we just think you guys are really loud and we'd like you to just shut it for a bit, you're using up all the air in the room again, please, just five minutes of silence, just five minutes for us to be alone in the spotlight with how bad we have it before we get either a "back in my day" or an "i have it tough too," for the love of god.

or in other words: the whole point of “ok boomer” is that regardless of what your political affiliations are, we’re just fucking tired of hearing you talk. you really don’t know as much as you think you do.
posted by JimBennett at 5:18 PM on November 3, 2019 [29 favorites]


We already see the younger generations rejecting capitalism. Get ready for the rejection of liberal democracy also.

and so what do we have left? fascism? totalitarianism in the name of the dictatorship of the proleteriat? some kind of eco-religious inquisition? corporate careerism as a political philosophy?

or just mere apathy while the elites try to hedge their bets against catastrophe?

at my job i get to see millenial and now gen z new hires in the work place - and i'm not sensing a great deal of political engagement or engagement of any kind - people are after what they can get with as little effort as they can - it's totally logical in the short run and collectively, a bad outcome in the long run

but as long as the money's coming in, it's ok

the thing we're missing here is what happens when things really go to hell? are we going to see determination? conquer and divide? or more government supplied drug epidemics? (sure is odd how the meth and opioid epidemics spread in rural america once the militia movement become well-known)

i'm thinking that every generation has those who will be coopted by the MAN - and many more who will live their consumerist lives unless something disturbs them to the point they can't buy things

but what i would suggest is that some brilliant gen z person come up with a 21st century political and ecological thesis equivalent to adam smith or karl marx

i've love to suggest something but i'm not smart enough
posted by pyramid termite at 5:21 PM on November 3, 2019


@arbitraryandcapricious: If I could sum up the sentiments of the "zoomers" (Gen Z, for the uninitiated) that I know, it would be: "If I can't get to have what the boomers had, then I'd rather be holding the baton used to crack your skull in the streets in the name of the big guys up top, even if that means I eventually lose too." or, put differently: "I'd rather be victimizer than victimized, even if that means I eventually come to be victimized myself in the long run." So many of them would rather experience a mix of the passivity of schadenfreude (laughing at "weak" groups, whether that be people who don't want to participate in the status quo, or people of colour and others at the bottom of our hierarchies) and the activity of sadism (participating in online raids, surreptitiously resisting diversity hiring, assaulting people on the street for their politics or even their aesthetics, etc.)

As for avoiding these people, these are really the only social contacts I have. I'm a pretty socially isolated person. That's why my politics swing far to the left and into anarchism. The half-assed radicalization of those around me has, in a weird way, radicalized me in the opposite direction.
posted by constantinescharity at 5:37 PM on November 3, 2019


people living back in the liberal era genuinely thought that the worldwide establishment of market-based liberal electoral democracy was the "end of history" or whatever. we are now seeing that the liberal era was a great parenthesis, not the end of anything but instead a vast pause in the now once more ongoing dispute between the only two actually popular political systems:
  1. socialism
  2. barbarism
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:41 PM on November 3, 2019 [17 favorites]


Yeah, Automocar, sometimes I do think that with Gen Z in particular, there is a flippant, nihilistic sort of habit of dismissing serious discussions with snarky brogue.

They are literally under the age of 23 and I'm pretty sure more of them are in elementary and middle school than are over the age of 18. The oldest of them are barely old enough to drink. I only have peripheral association with a few of them via fandom and women-in-tech stuff. They're all at least within spitting distance of still being kids. That doesn't at all mean that they are never going to say anything useful or insightful--they do that a lot! But if you expect that to be the bulk of your interactions with people in this age bracket, you are going to be disappointed. Anybody expecting that when I was 17 would have been disappointed, too. The fact that we're all on the same internet doesn't change the pace at which neurological and social development happens.

Anywhere but the internet, is this what you'd expect? Do you walk up to random groups of teenagers in fast food restaurants and try to talk to them about global poverty? How much would you actually expect of an interaction like that? That's not a generational problem; it's something they need as much time to grow into as any of us did. It's a good reason not to immediately turn the world over to be governed by a few well-spoken children! But it's absolutely silly to talk about this like they're a doomed generation because they aren't ready for serious debate on the issues before any of them are old enough to rent a car.
posted by Sequence at 6:07 PM on November 3, 2019 [20 favorites]


And no, #notallboomers isn't like #notallmen or #notallwhitepeople. Because, whippersnapper, one day, YOU will be the old person cast aside and belittled and marginalized.

Or, the one is exactly like the others because any member of each of these groups can make a conscious choice to stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution.
posted by klanawa at 6:09 PM on November 3, 2019 [7 favorites]


If I could sum up the sentiments of the "zoomers" (Gen Z, for the uninitiated) that I know, it would be: "If I can't get to have what the boomers had, then I'd rather be holding the baton used to crack your skull in the streets in the name of the big guys up top, even if that means I eventually lose too." or, put differently: "I'd rather be victimizer than victimized, even if that means I eventually come to be victimized myself in the long run."

@constantinescharity, asa 44 year old with a 7 year old daughter, I don't get to have a good sense for what size of the Z cohort matches your description versus, well, not.

I don't sleep well.
posted by ocschwar at 6:27 PM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


One thing that never dies is people on the same side of an issue nitpicking definitions and drawing broad conclusions while the rich get richer.
posted by jeremias at 6:36 PM on November 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


Phew, yeah, I just can’t figure out why Gen Z is so dismissive of the olds. It’s not like we collectively shit on them to the point of labeling the entire generation a bunch of boot licking, money grubbing fascists or anything. Fucking WOW. How dare they be so mean as to say “ok boomer” in a bored tone of voice when we’re finishing telling them how much worse we have it and how they should really know their place by now.
posted by palomar at 6:37 PM on November 3, 2019 [20 favorites]


ok boomer is goddamn perfect and way overdue.

perfectly pithy distillation of a multi-faceted concept with apocalyptic stakes, and a meme that serves as a marker of unification against existential destruction while also provoking even more boomerisms out of boomers who just tell on themselves in ludicrous ways which reinforces the meme which increases uptake which unifies which provokes which reinforces etc etc etc

it is perfect and wonderful and i'm so glad to have it
posted by lazaruslong at 6:41 PM on November 3, 2019 [25 favorites]


I gotta say, when I think about how badly the up and coming generations have been treated ("millenial" hasn't become a near epithet by accident), particularly by people who have demonstrably had it easier than most of the young will ever have, the idea that the real problem is that the fee fees of some old people are hurt by powerless and angry young people deciding to stop fucking engaging with their oblivious and self-centered "well in my day ..." bullshit ...

... well, it's about the most boomer thing I can think of, honestly.
posted by tocts at 6:52 PM on November 3, 2019 [25 favorites]


Slacker, no slacking! Slacker, no slacking!

I'm working, but I'm not working for you.
posted by thivaia at 7:28 PM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


I haven’t read the thread yet, so I’m sorry if this has been noted already, but I was thinking about this exact phrase today and why it annoyed me so much.

I’m 30. It annoys me because my parents, who are boomers, got fed the same bullshit I got fed when I was a kid growing up. The capitalistic dream of growing up and working and having money and a family, etc. My parents are very liberal and are Bernie supporters, so for some reason I find it very sad that somebody would hypothetically be rude to them even though they’re on my generation’s and Gen Z’s side.

It also annoys me because there is a wealth of “institutional” knowledge to be gleaned from older activists who have invested their time and labor into fighting capitalism. A lot can be learned from boomers, a lot that is extremely important for this fight. It’s ageist and inappropriate to just blow them off when they are important allies.

And I know a lot of the time it’s used to be dismissive to those who are rude to the younger generations, but man, a shitload of people in my generation voted for Trump, and a shitload of Gen Zers will vote for Trump. It’s bullshit.

This is exactly what capitalism does: it segregates people from each other and forces them to fight one another. If these mfers fall for this ploy, jfc idk
posted by gucci mane at 7:55 PM on November 3, 2019 [23 favorites]


The definition of generation theory that I started this millennium with was created by a couple of writers from the boomer generation and seemed to be only developed just enough to become a profitable cottage industry.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:03 PM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


I haven’t read the thread yet

QUIT WHILE YOU'RE AHEAD
posted by biogeo at 8:06 PM on November 3, 2019 [28 favorites]


the population bomb was some scaremongering, silent spring, like the ozone hole, was a relatively easy problem to fix, but climate change is in fact the sort of genuinely pervasive problem that will require genuinely pervasive change.

Fuck no. Failing to understand the connection between these things is part of the problem.

The population bomb was not scaremongering, people just largely misunderstood it. We are seeing its effects now. The climate crisis and global overpopulation are connected, as the sheer number of people living on the planet continues to stress its resources. Of course those of us living in developed nations consume far, far more than our fair share of the planet's resources and bear much more of the responsibility for CO2 emissions, but deforestation in developing nations as more and more people rely on slash-and-burn agriculture to survive from one year to the next has also been a huge contributor. The global population is now predicted to stabilize at 11 billion as people continue to gain access to family planning technologies and as women in more countries gain rights to use them, which is maybe sustainable, but the reality is that the sheer number of us stresses the planet in a whole multitude of ways that make the climate crisis more severe and more, well, critical.

Environmental disasters caused by pesticides and CFCs were not "relatively easy problem[s] to fix," they required a huge amount of activism to achieve. And with a hell of a lot of hard work, activists and legislators of the Boomer, Silent, and Greatest generations achieved it. Unfortunately, with the creation of the EPA, the banning of DDT and most CFC usages, and other hard-won successes, people largely brushed their hands together and congratulated each other on a job well done. But environmental protection is not a one-and-done project, it is something that requires constant vigilance. Especially as the number of people on the planet requiring more and more intensive agriculture, and thus more and more pesticides, increases. And so now we find ourselves in a situation where insect populations are plummeting , including pollinators that are essential for keeping the entire biosphere running. In protected habitats in Germany, for example, the total flying insect biomass declined from 1990 to 2017 by over 75%. Many plant species rely on a single insect pollinator species: if the pollinator goes extinct, so does the plant. The exact reasons for these declines are complex, but overuse of pesticides for intensive agriculture appears to be an important contributory factor. And the impact of the human population on the rest of the biosphere is felt in many, many other ways. In North America, the bird population has declined by 30% since 1970. Silent Spring is still a very real possibility. Actually solving these challenges to the long-term stability of our biosphere, which are absolutely and deeply interlinked with the climate crisis but not wholly caused by it, requires "genuinely pervasive change" just as much as getting towards independence from fossil fuels does. Perhaps moreso, as it requires not just building an economy based on renewable fuels, but a society that fully accounts for all human impacts on the biosphere.

I'm 35 years old. Maybe that puts me above the 30-year-old cutoff for my opinion to matter, but I'm still expecting to see the worst effects of the climate crisis starting to happen within my lifetime. And if I don't live to see it, it will likely be because the economy and healthcare systems that I inherited are so fucked that I die young. My parents are Boomers. They spent their lives worrying about these issues. Yes, in their youth they expected to see nuclear war or environmental collapse within their lifetimes, but as they aged they knew that their only mistake had been the time horizon, and they worried no less for learning that it would be my generation, and the next generation, and the ones still to come, who would suffer the most from the mistakes of the past.

Generation labels are a useful way to understand the historical forces that shape peoples' lives. But by the time you're in your 20s it should be pretty obvious that they're a useless way to understand politics.
posted by biogeo at 8:58 PM on November 3, 2019 [39 favorites]


Discussing this over dinner, Jr Robots made the point that the blanket condemnation of the entire older generation is important because it is the only way that those to whom it applies will hear it.
posted by No Robots at 9:30 PM on November 3, 2019 [9 favorites]


Discussing this over dinner, Jr Robots made the point that the blanket condemnation of the entire older generation is important because it is the only way that those to whom it applies will hear it.

Unfortunately, boomers don't know how to read the Internet, so you have to send them all individual postcards and it's a lot of work :(
posted by value of information at 9:48 PM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


the blanket condemnation of the entire older generation is important because it is the only way that those to whom it applies will hear it.

I wish humans worked this way, but generally they don't. Condemnation is generally not a good way to get people to absorb important information, even if the condemnation itself is justifiable.
posted by halation at 9:55 PM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Supporting Bernie doesn’t mean shit when you got free (or nearly free) state college, affordable home ownership, and currently enjoy a pension + social security as well as comprehensive government paid for health insurance. Merely seeing the problem and agreeing to check the right box once a year isn’t enough. At some point you gotta give up the Costco membership and the RV. I know, #notallboomers, but there’s boomers that get defensive and there’s boomers who don’t. Being rude to older people just because you’re young and an asshole ain’t cool just like being rude to young people because you’re old and an asshole ain’t cool. But a young person who’s politically aware who’s angry about what I (Gen X) and my parents have left them? Fuck yes, be angry! Doesn’t matter if I vote for Bernie or if I have a Deadhead sticker on my Cadillac. If I’m really living the life and fighting the good fight I’m as pissed off as they are and I can take their misplaced anger. If I’m like “Whoa! What the hell is this? I went to Burning Man! I gave money to Beto!” then I’m just exactly the kind of sell out fink that should feel bad because I have resources and power that I know I should be directing to places I’m not.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:34 PM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]


Wow, this is a big and interesting thread I didn't expect to see on this boomer site filled with boomers.

Just quickly, you should all be aware of another classic boomer saying - "It's GenX/Silent Gen actually". This is well-documented as something boomers say about themselves and each other all the time. You don't have to care.

Obviously I think age is pretty low down in importance as the origin of social conflict, but that doesn't mean that we don't see a lot of that conflict play out in what looks a lot like generational conflict - when we're talking housing prices, full-time employment, climate change, queer liberation, workplace safety, etc the way it always plays out is arguing with someone who tells you a. that it was better in their day and b. that it was also worse and you have no excuses.

But really the #notallmen analogy works for me because no boomer needs to keep being a boomer, yes you'll still get a little flak, but that's still the analogy, sometimes you get yelled at or lumped in for something you're personally innocent of but fine, they're not to know and have every reason to assume otherwise, part of being an ally is not demanding that you always get a verbal carve-out with cookies and reassurance in it.

Boomer, as I know it, is a political term. As RNTP says, Bernie isn't a boomer, nor is the absolute boy, Lee Rhiannon or Angela Davis, at least not to me or those I know. As Frowner says, if anything we're happy to see older people get involved. But the assumption is that they won't.
posted by Acid Communist at 10:54 PM on November 3, 2019 [5 favorites]


It might help to think about what we call Labour "brokens" here, they're not even bad people, they're just older and completely "broken" by the Labour party and support them regardless of anything, strong overlap with the same ideas as a left boomer. Given we have preferential voting, they're even more infuriating than the equivalent Dem shills.

A broken you probably mostly agree with - but they're rarely intersectional in their approaches, often either through being class reductionist socialist or more commonly just small l-liberals. They're so broken by 2-party politics that they take every criticism of Labour as an endorsement of the Liberals and can't imagine a position to their left. Wants to ban plastic straws and "illegal" immigrants.

They're distinct from the right-wing boomer, who overlaps with the maga chud, who may be a "nuffie" posting simultaneously about the drought/poor plight of Aussie farmers and about how climate change isn't real.
posted by Acid Communist at 11:13 PM on November 3, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don't think I spotted this vitally important point: 'ok boomer' is a meme. If someone's using it to blanket dismiss anyone over 50 who does not have the inflated self-regard and selfishness masquerading as high-mindedness, they are memeing wrong - which is peak boomer. The meme simply isn't funny if you exclusively use it against old people.

Anyway, it was in the NYT, which means it's dead. If this meme offends you, if you find it ageist, please retort that at least your memes don't come from the NYT Style section. Follow it up with a misspelled Minion meme "from their Facebook page" to really ram the point home.
posted by Merus at 12:49 AM on November 4, 2019 [14 favorites]


A lot of the generational bickering comes out of the dumbest possible issues, like banning straws, that alone will neither save the planet nor ruin anyone’s daily life

Minor correction to be polite: the banning of splastic straws is not a dumb issue to argue about, as it severily impacts a whole range of disabled people who need them to actually be able to drink and no, there are no substitutes.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:03 AM on November 4, 2019 [9 favorites]


As noted in the article:

In the end, boomer is just a state of mind. Mr. Williams said anyone can be a boomer – with the right attitude. "You don't like change, you don't understand new things especially related to technology, you don't understand equality," he said. "Being a boomer is just having that attitude, it can apply to whoever is bitter toward change."

Show me a less ageist term which captures that meaning, and I'll use it.

There's a sea change afoot in American culture. The whole MAGA phenomenon can largely be explained as a backlash by people who perceive – correctly – that the social and political order they grew up with is under existential threat. "Boomers", regardless of age, are simply people who are on the wrong side of that fight.

I acknowledge that concerns about ageism are valid and deserve consideration. I also acknowledge that "ok boomer" is funny. At least it's punching up, you know?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:20 AM on November 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


Show me a less ageist term which captures that meaning, and I'll use it.

Words matter. Reusing a word which already has a meaning invites misunderstanding and if, when queried, you claim you actually meant something different then you are being either lazy or dishonest, probably both.
posted by epo at 5:19 AM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


There's a sea change afoot in American culture. The whole MAGA phenomenon can largely be explained as a backlash by people who perceive – correctly – that the social and political order they grew up with is under existential threat. "Boomers", regardless of age, are simply people who are on the wrong side of that fight.
As people above have pointed out, the MAGA phenomenon is tied not to age, but to race. MAGA is about white people. White non-boomers voted for Trump, and non-white boomers emphatically didn't. Using boomer this way, I think, renders whiteness invisible, lets a whole lot of younger white people off the hook, and erases people of color. I'm not faulting the kids who use it, partly because they don't exclusively use it about MAGA-like thoughts or behaviors and partly because it's a silly meme and they don't have to justify their silly memes, but this seems like a bad defense of it.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:30 AM on November 4, 2019 [11 favorites]


you say none of what i cited was "real" and yet this "unreal" stuff somehow led to what we have now

what

how did the club of rome have anything to do with global warming
posted by PMdixon at 5:30 AM on November 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm a simple man. I like my beer cold, my coffee black, and my Metafilter condescending and judgy.
posted by thelonius at 5:40 AM on November 4, 2019 [9 favorites]


I will simply add my continual frustration with generational naming. Boomers makes sense (baby boom). Gen X never resonated with me, because it always felt like the prior generations didn’t care enough to learn what made my demographic different from theirs and slapped an easy label on it. Like Brand X, we’re the generic counter to the name brand in the commercial - we were not, and have never been, the focus. (We’re just here to keep Social Security solvent long enough for the Boomers to cash out, while we stare at them sullenly and wait for them to finally retire so that we can take over. We’re Prince Charles to the Boomer’s Queen Elizabeth*.)

Adding insult to injury, Gen Y and Gen Z simply reinforced this. Is there a better way than that to say ”We don’t care enough about you damn kids to even bestow a name, here’s a lazy label, you’re just like the last two generations but younger”??

What’s next, now that we are at the end of the alphabet? Gen A? Treat it like Excel, and call it Gen AA because that’s the next column in the Generation Tracking spreadsheet?

I think we need to define our own generations, and I hate the current labels.

*and yes, this is the key difference. The Boomer’s parents ceded control earlier, because they could retire. Boomers either can’t or won’t, and are living longer and healthier than their parents, meaning they have held onto the crown for longer than prior generations. When they pass it on, they will not be handing it to the kids born in the 70s - a lot of us will be retired already by that point, or too burdened with debt to take advantage. We’ll be the generation that gets passed over, it seems, always waiting but never really getting to the top en mass like our parents did.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:51 AM on November 4, 2019 [8 favorites]


is there a site like metafilter that isn't so boomery. can we decamp somewhere else and leave the husk behind for the boomer liberals to have all by themselves.

has this already happened and i just didn't notice
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:52 AM on November 4, 2019 [23 favorites]


I think Gen Y and Gen Z are essentially placeholders until other (not necessarily better) names arrive. I'd argue that more people use "Millennials" instead of Gen Y these days. No doubt Gen Z will get something cooler, like they always do 😬
posted by adrianhon at 8:02 AM on November 4, 2019


is there a site like metafilter that isn't so boomery. can we decamp somewhere else and leave the husk behind for the boomer liberals to have all by themselves.

It's all discord and private communities these days.
posted by Memo at 8:02 AM on November 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


howdoyoudofellowkids.gif
posted by biogeo at 8:07 AM on November 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


zaixfeep: "my current favorite meme response to this kind of ignorant, self satisfied ranting is “sir, this is an arbys”

"Man looks in the Arby's, there's nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the Arby's. "
"

“He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if thou gaze long into an Arby's, the Arby's will also gaze into thee.” --Nietzsche
posted by chavenet at 8:29 AM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]




on the other hand:

When we have killed each other
then we can change the subject
But first
Let's talk about your life policy

(from a Daevid Allen lyric)
posted by philip-random at 8:45 AM on November 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


constantinescharity, this is not AT ALL my experience with Gen Z. Not even close. The zoomers I know personally and peripherally are conscientious, woke, accepting, organized, and ready to save the world. Yes, even the white ones. I'm sorry you've had the experience you have, but I promise you they're not all like that. There is hope.
posted by cooker girl at 8:58 AM on November 4, 2019 [10 favorites]


It’s infuriating to watch people suggest that Generation Z “just vote”.

It's infuriating to me because voting doesn't work, these aren't problems we can vote ourselves out of. We live in a time where the person who wins the votes, literally doesn't win the contest.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:07 AM on November 4, 2019 [16 favorites]


I live in an Obama-to-Trump swing state where the Republican state legislature/ governor is reeeeeaaaaallly screwing over young people (and a lot of not-young people). Voting might not be able to solve the deep structural stuff, but it could definitely materially improve the lives of many younger people here. And the state government has done a really good job of limiting other solutions by, for instance, making it illegal for localities to raise the minimum wage and weakening public sector unions. Young people here really need to vote, and that is a boomer hill I am willing to die on.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:15 AM on November 4, 2019 [11 favorites]


What’s next, now that we are at the end of the alphabet?

Climate change gets its timing right for once.
posted by Acid Communist at 9:34 AM on November 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


I'm Gen-X and the last time I had to visit my parents I made an Ok Boomer bingo card.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:35 AM on November 4, 2019 [9 favorites]


Fox News free space btw
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:36 AM on November 4, 2019 [8 favorites]


Young people here really need to vote, and that is a boomer hill I am willing to die on.

Do you understand that in making this statement the way you did you are rhetorically positioning yourself as most naturally being read to offer a guarantee that voting will improve their material circumstances?

Do you understand that attempting to offer such a guarantee will mark you as naive or malicious to your intended audience?

Do you understand that this sort of contextless bromide is why "ok boomer" is a thing?
posted by PMdixon at 9:36 AM on November 4, 2019 [26 favorites]


What will it be like to look back in, say, 2029 on a time when arguing over "OK Boomer" seemed politically intense and necessary? Like, don't you feel that we're all poised on the cliff's edge, where we're obviously about to fall but not yet falling, where there's still some semblance of "normal" life as it's been lived for the past fifty years or so? Do you ever get that sort of vertigo when you're, eg, doing a normal thing like going to a movie or making plans to see your family and then you just....sort of....wonder when the last time will be? Eventually the scrim of the "normal" will be gone and it will be all coping with disaster and climate war and repression all the time, and there's going to be a last normal night at the movies before that happens, but we'll only realize that it was the last one in retrospect.

Even these "normal" metafilter arguments feel eerier and eerier, a real whistling past the graveyard sensibility.

One of those morbid symptoms that the fellow was on about, I guess.
posted by Frowner at 9:39 AM on November 4, 2019 [51 favorites]


Do you understand that in making this statement the way you did you are rhetorically positioning yourself as most naturally being read to offer a guarantee that voting will improve their material circumstances?
Yes. And I am right. The way that I know that I'm right is that the local DSA decided that voting for Democrats was neoliberal and they would pursue alternative actions, so they expended a huge amount of energy convincing the county government to raise the minimum wage. And they did! It was a huge victory! And a few months later, the Republicans achieved a trifecta in state government and could pass whatever they wanted, and one of the first things they passed was a law saying that local governments couldn't have a minimum wage that was different from the state government's. And that meant that everyone who had received a raise took a paycut, and I had students weeping in my office because they signed a lease assuming they would be earning the higher minimum wage, and they weren't sure how they were going to get by now that they'd be earning a low one.

Now, I am a middle-aged woman, so I am very familiar with tone-policing. I have been told literally since the day I was born that I should be meek and quiet and ingratiating and non-demanding, and if I am just gentle enough, I might occasionally make people see my point of view. And fuck that shit. The DSA folks were wrong, and they hurt people. They did really good work getting the minimum wage raised, and they also should have convinced people to vote for Democrats in the state government, because not doing that erased all their other good work. And I will shout that from the fucking rooftops, because it is true, and I am done being a nice girl. And being meek and ingratiating hasn't worked very well, so I'm just going to speak my truth and other people can take that however they want.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:59 AM on November 4, 2019 [41 favorites]


Do you ever get that sort of vertigo when you're, eg, doing a normal thing like going to a movie or making plans to see your family and then you just....sort of....wonder when the last time will be? Eventually the scrim of the "normal" will be gone and it will be all coping with disaster and climate war and repression all the time, and there's going to be a last normal night at the movies before that happens, but we'll only realize that it was the last one in retrospect.

We saw Jojo Rabbit this weekend, and a good 45% of my crying during it came from this exact feeling.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:13 AM on November 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


Do you understand that in making this statement the way you did you are rhetorically positioning yourself as most naturally being read to offer a guarantee that voting will improve their material circumstances?

Sorry, but there are no guarantees in life. Do you have an alternative to voting? The notion that voting is useless is nihilistic, destructive and simply wrong.

Do you not believe that a mere 100,000 votes in 2016 would have made the difference between Trump and no Trump. Do you not believe that if Trump were not president that peoples circumstances would be much improved?

Do you not believe that less than half of those under age 30 voted in 2016 and less than a third in 2018? Do you not believe that those under 30 could have made a difference in the election results or their current circumstances? Yet you seem to be telling them not to bother. Boomers or no boomers, those under 30 do have agency and can make a difference.

Do you not believe in voting? If not, what do you believe will make lives better?
posted by JackFlash at 10:21 AM on November 4, 2019 [18 favorites]


Hi, old GenX, cis woman, and Marxist here.

"OK Boomer" is fine with me. To me it's wielded quite deservedly against "call the manager" and "old economy Steve" types, that is to say, wealthy white racists over a certain age who are constantly crying that they don't get no respect from the youngs. I doubt it will be wielded very much against people like working class women on a picket line.

Misogynist ageism, which works most virulently against the most marginalized (i.e. not the wine moms), is a different beast. It's brought to you in part by our lovely capitalist system, where folks born with uterii are essentially reproductive and household pack mules until it's time to go out to pasture. A working class woman on a picket line over the age of 40 would be a primary target of misogynist ageist abuse.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 10:21 AM on November 4, 2019 [16 favorites]


Y'all tell me what election I vote in that will preserve Obergefell.
posted by PMdixon at 10:29 AM on November 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


the local DSA decided that voting for Democrats was neoliberal and they would pursue alternative actions...

Ugh, this is the kind of thing that drives me crazy. They could definitely have done both.

Voting is not like marriage, it's like public transportation. If there isn't a viable plane, train, or automobile going exactly where you want to go, you don't not travel. You take the one going closest to your destination, have a Plan B in case something goes wrong, and do what you can to influence the direction.

I understand and share the frustration with people and systems that are not responding to real and urgent crises. I've personally spent a large part of the last twenty-five years working on the international mechanisms to flight climate change, which have obviously yielded less-than-stellar results. But that's not because dedicated people have not been trying, it's because these issues are difficult, and not always exciting, and there are powerful forces and interests who oppose progress.

Memes are great, and maybe they will be a wakeup call for the right people. But so would a few kickings at the polls, and there's no reason we can't have both.
posted by rpfields at 10:40 AM on November 4, 2019 [17 favorites]


I have been told literally since the day I was born that I should be meek and quiet and ingratiating and non-demanding, and if I am just gentle enough, I might occasionally make people see my point of view.

What you don't appear to be aware of is that so have the people saying "ok boomer." Your example is literally of them achieving something and then getting it stomped all over because clearly the ability to win at the county level by dealing with existing office holders translates exactly to being able to win at the state level by winning multiple elections.

Do you not believe that a mere 100,000 votes in 2016 would have made the difference between Trump and no Trump. Do you not believe that if Trump were not president that peoples circumstances would be much improved?

If I had a time machine I could do lots of things. There is an argument you are failing to engage with that the efficacy of electoral politics is qualitatively different than in earlier periods, and you are also failing to miss that this is a conversation about beliefs about the future more than analyses of the past.
posted by PMdixon at 10:43 AM on November 4, 2019 [7 favorites]


Like, don't you feel that we're all poised on the cliff's edge, where we're obviously about to fall but not yet falling, where there's still some semblance of "normal" life as it's been lived for the past fifty years or so?

I don't know. I mean, I've been sort of doing this dance for better part of forty years, ever since I started in with the psychedelics, I guess. And the thing is, at some point you just accept that whatever BIG shift is coming, it will do so at its own unique speed, via its own unique trajectory, working its own unique vibrations (man) ... and so you get on with your so-called normal life. Which is never normal anyway, if you're doing it right.

I do think we're living in an apocalyptic reality. It's not something that's coming. It's something that's here and it's been buzzing and erupting and percolating away since at least 1945 -- July-16-New-Mexico-Desert-Trinity-Test-first-split-atom. Marshall McLuhan referred to it as history's exclamation point, and I think he had a good point. Whatever humankind had been up to since forever, it all sort of peaked there -- the means to finally and forever exterminate all life everywhere.

You might say normal ended there.

The dilemma ever since has been how NOT to do the wrong thing. And so far (getting on almost eighty years now) we have managed NOT to. Which is more than our forefathers ever managed. Ever. They always, in the end, chose to use whatever new and improved and ever more horrible weapons were available to them toward having their way with things. And yeah, we've done a lot wrong since 1945 here-there-everywhere ... but we haven't done that.

Yet.
posted by philip-random at 10:52 AM on November 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


Y'all tell me what election I vote in that will preserve Obergefell.

2016
posted by octothorpe at 10:52 AM on November 4, 2019 [14 favorites]


Y'all tell me what election I vote in that will preserve Obergefell.

The 2020 election. If those under 30 were to turn out at the rate that boomers do, they could have the presidency, the House and the Senate.

But that is unlikely to happen because some people keep telling them that nothing matters, their vote doesn't count and there is no hope.
posted by JackFlash at 10:54 AM on November 4, 2019 [17 favorites]


Do the electoralists here really believe that young people don't vote because they spend too much time listening to Marxists and anarchists?

Because that's both a hilarious suggestion and a wonderful dream to have. I think I hope you're right, but I suspect that it's a pretty small drop in the bucket.,
posted by Acid Communist at 10:57 AM on November 4, 2019 [10 favorites]


Do the electoralists here really believe that young people don't vote because they spend too much time listening to Marxists and anarchists?

There are a lot of people to blame for the suppression of the youth vote. For example, I have a teacher friend who goes around saying all politicians are the same.
posted by No Robots at 11:02 AM on November 4, 2019 [18 favorites]


'Ok boomer' appears to be a plot by boomers to keep power.

If it gets strong enough, that will certainly be its effect.
posted by jamjam at 11:18 AM on November 4, 2019


Your example is literally of them achieving something and then getting it stomped all over because clearly the ability to win at the county level by dealing with existing office holders translates exactly to being able to win at the state level by winning multiple elections.

Yes, that is precisely right. Because the DSA was very effective at getting an individual piece of legislation enacted, but did not even consider how they were going to protect it. Protecting it requires voting in people at the regional and state level that share, at some level, your beliefs. There is no way of getting around voting as a vital and necessary political tool, no matter how gross it may feel to vote for someone with whom you are not 100% ideologically aligned.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:18 AM on November 4, 2019 [13 favorites]



Y'all tell me what election I vote in that will preserve Obergefell.

2016


I did, so you're wrong.

The 2020 election. If those under 30 were to turn out at the rate that boomers do, they could have the presidency, the House and the Senate.

The 'they' is the Democratic party roughly in its present configuration. Can you help me understand what that party will do to prevent a Republican SCOTUS majority from ruling on one of the many cases coming up the pipeline amounting to an overturn of Obergefell?
posted by PMdixon at 11:29 AM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


There is no way of getting around voting as a vital and necessary political tool, no matter how gross it may feel to vote for someone with whom you are not 100% ideologically aligned.

You are missing and enacting the fucking point simultaneously. It's not about "100% ideological alignment", it's "do you understand that your current actions are literally killing me?" This is not about what civil society should look like, it's about whether there should be one.
posted by PMdixon at 11:32 AM on November 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


If the DSA had simultaneously advocated for voting in progressive / democratic / neoliberal candidates at the state level, their minimum wage legislation may not have been overruled, so tell me how that would "literally kill" them?
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:36 AM on November 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


Rabbit Cohen's Dad's Monster
@BathysphereHat
Boomers: “Grow a thicker skin, millennial snowflakes!”
Millennial: “lol ok boomer”
Boomers: “This is literally a hate crime.”
posted by Ahmad Khani at 11:39 AM on November 4, 2019 [34 favorites]


The 'they' is the Democratic party roughly in its present configuration. Can you help me understand what that party will do to prevent a Republican SCOTUS majority from ruling on one of the many cases coming up the pipeline amounting to an overturn of Obergefell?

Buttigieg wants to pack the Supreme Court, so there's your answer.
posted by Automocar at 11:40 AM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


But look, I get it--this stuff is scary. Our system of government is literally failing. The legislature can't do anything, the executive keeps grabbing more and more power in order to get anything done, the judicial is filling in to answer vital questions of governance more suited to the legislature, and polarization has entered a feedback loop that last time resulted in a civil war.

Why aren't people marching in the streets? They still have food and a roof over their heads.
posted by Automocar at 11:44 AM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


His plan is risible and amounts to a paean to radical centrism and does not actually count as packing in any meaningful sense.

Moreover, Mayor Pete is astonishingly unlikely to be king of the Senate, who would need to pass such a plan.
posted by PMdixon at 11:45 AM on November 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


I didn't say I agreed with his plan, just that it exists. You can't do anything to protect Obergefell except vote Democratic.
posted by Automocar at 11:48 AM on November 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


Our system of government is literally failing at the moment in time when the existence of human civilization in any sense most of us care about it depends utterly on using that system of government to solve a collective action problem, said problem being in a shape that I don't believe any known human culture has solved with any set of institutions whatsoever.
posted by PMdixon at 11:49 AM on November 4, 2019


[This is getting circular, folks. Please agree to disagree and move on.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:54 AM on November 4, 2019 [7 favorites]


Conceivably, there might be space between "individuals should vote" and "the DSA has a responsibility to make their primary focus getting Democrats elected".
posted by Acid Communist at 1:05 PM on November 4, 2019 [6 favorites]


It doesn't really matter who they get elected as long as those candidates will advocate for the DSA platform in scenarios where grassroots activism does not have enough leverage.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:22 PM on November 4, 2019


Conceivably, there might be space between "individuals should vote" and "the DSA has a responsibility to make their primary focus getting Democrats elected".

Okay, what worries me when I hear the whole "the DSA did this which was then undone immediately by Republicans" bit is that it was very predictable but it either wasn't predicted or the DSA's messaging was really bad. That exact thing has been happening around the country. Putting a lot of effort into getting a minimum wage increase passed without being aware that it would immediately be undone if the Republicans got into power is bad; putting in that effort knowing that it would happen but thinking that it was worth doing without telling people about the risk for some "strategic" reason is worse, because it would show a total lack of understanding about how demoralizing that would be.

It's like striking when it's clear you can't win, something that my union did a few years ago - it was a disaster for morale, we lost ground and it's been basically all downhill since then. And yet, at the time it was clear to me, a non-expert, that we weren't going to win under the prevailing conditions and should have kept our powder dry. Like, there was literally no way to win and key information was withheld from membership to get the strike vote. (There were "reasons of state", if you will, for doing this, and let's just say that our union leadership has experienced a 100% turnover since then.)

It seems like an awful lot of people are just flailing away without an actual theory of political change, so we're discussing things in the abstract, like "always vote" and "voting is a waste of time", when it's so clear that we need a really fine-grained way to understand what's happening and when various tactics make sense. (There was just that big post on the blue about how the new prosecutor in Illinois has declined to prosecute a whole bunch of felonies, for instance - that's a huge, material, lived difference for all those people who are not going to be cursed with a felony conviction for the entire rest of their lives.)

I'm reading Stuart Hall's The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left and so far it seems really good on how a narrow and inadequate understanding of the scope of the problem just sank the left. It seems like it has a lot of useful ideas for the present situation.

Part of the problem is that we all have to let go of our egos, and while in this particular instance it's boomer-for-the-purpose-of-the-meme egos in question, it's not like everyone else is somehow absolutely self-aware and centered in every moment of their political engagement either. These are really demanding times. We all need to be smarter and better and let go of a lot of our preconceptions, and it's a bit scary.
posted by Frowner at 1:30 PM on November 4, 2019 [24 favorites]


Two thoughts:

* Republicans are going to win at some point; you can't run a campaign assuming that you'll just have to never let Republicans gain power anywhere. You have to move the Overton window so that undoing your work is unthinkable.
* The easiest way to move the Overton window is to get your thing passed, and become the status quo.

I cannot fault the DSA in your example for the tactics they deployed. There's no guarantee state Democrats will pass a minimum wage, because Democrats are terrible. Actually passing a minimum wage increase moved the status quo: people in that county will want their minimum wage increase back, which is a very different beast to getting it in the first place.
posted by Merus at 1:49 PM on November 4, 2019 [9 favorites]


Votes are earned, not deserved. If liberals in power (who generally tend to be wealthy, white boomers) want the votes of young people (who are generally far more diverse and leftist and less wealthy), they should field candidates who don't do war crimes and advocate for politics that young people actually support.
posted by Ouverture at 1:53 PM on November 4, 2019 [8 favorites]


* Republicans are going to win at some point; you can't run a campaign assuming that you'll just have to never let Republicans gain power anywhere. You have to move the Overton window so that undoing your work is unthinkable.
* The easiest way to move the Overton window is to get your thing passed, and become the status quo.


But I'd like to know whether DSA told people, "if Republicans win the next election they will very likely undo this as has happened elsewhere in the country" or whether they thought about the possibility but kept it quiet. In my experience, keeping things like that quiet really makes people not trust you and is very demoralizing, particularly for people who don't necessarily have a broad knowledge of what's going on elsewhere around the country.

~~
Votes are earned, not deserved. If liberals in power (who generally tend to be wealthy, white boomers) want the votes of young people (who are generally far more diverse and leftist and less wealthy), they should field candidates who don't do war crimes and advocate for politics that young people actually support.

I actually sort of disagree with this. We as people who want to be intelligent about politics should think out and understand our own beliefs and strategies rather than voting or not voting as if each election were de novo. In the past, I've been pretty down on the craftiness displayed by, eg, platformist Marxist organizations forging various alliances strategically rather than from pure principle, etc, but I think a little of that craftiness would serve us well in coming years. I mean that we should try to game things out and vote or not vote based on whether we think voting would tip things our way in the long game. It should be active, not reactive.

Like, people need to lose their faith in American democracy. Most of us most of the time are operating with a lot of faith in the system - if we only elect "the good guys" then everything will be hunky-dory, but if we elect "the bad guys" then things will be bad. It's the system that's bad. You have only to look at how corrupting it is - how so many people get worse over time, how people get richer as they make political connections and this fucks up their politics, how long-term work across the aisle corrupts people, etc etc etc. The system is bad. Use your own craftiness and common sense to decide realistically (and not according to received beliefs or your peer group) whether you're likely to gain anything by voting in a specific election and what that means for the political landscape long term. Don't be fooled by ideals. If you don't trust capitalism, why let idealism concerning the American political system creep into your beliefs?
posted by Frowner at 2:12 PM on November 4, 2019 [10 favorites]


Re: DSA and the Democrats--there has been a long-standing tension within the organization about getting coopted by Democrats and electoral politics more generally. DSA doesn't want to be seen as reflexively supporting Democrats, nor do they want to become just another endorsement Dem candidates try to win. There's a significant percentage of members that would like to see DSA stay out of electoral work completely.

You can see this in the way national DSA has gone all-in on Sanders again--they view this as a rare opportunity to put a self-declared democratic socialist in the White House. But they have no plan for winning back the Senate, which IMO reflects a dangerous naivete from some members about how politics works.
posted by Automocar at 2:12 PM on November 4, 2019 [5 favorites]


field candidates who don't do war crimes and advocate for politics that young people actually support.

How about young people just take over local party associations and run as candidates themselves?
posted by No Robots at 2:13 PM on November 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


how about young people just establish democratically elected revolutionary workers' soviets and transfer all power from the institutions of illegitimate bourgeois electoral "democracy" to the soviets
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:24 PM on November 4, 2019 [11 favorites]


^Better still (you see, you don't need to go to a different site).
posted by No Robots at 2:28 PM on November 4, 2019


how about young people just look hopelessly at the sheer volume of tasks that need doing, the total lack of support from people with secure finances and the power of established careers, and snarl a two-word meme before shambling exhaustedly towards whatever small things seem reachable in this terrifying and precarious moment?

there is a terrifying paralysis of choice and so much work to be done.
posted by sciatrix at 2:31 PM on November 4, 2019 [32 favorites]


That's probably more doomsaying than I normally mean, but like--why don't young people do more organizing and run for more offices? Well, it's because by and large most of the ones I know don't have much in the way of savings, and we're run off our feet as it is. Why don't people do $THING that might be better than what we have now but will also take much more work and requires re-routing entire careers? Well, it's because there's a cost to doing that, and it's a cost that there is no guarantee will pay off. Solidarity is important but it's hard to take a risk unless you believe that solidarity will catch you if you fall, and that belief has to come from somewhere.

Poorly planned strikes like the one Frowner mentions do a great job of convincing folks that solidarity is insubstantial, because the effort and the risk of doing so gets rewarded with a loss of faith that the risk other people are asking you to take is one that you'll be properly supported in taking. One poorly planned strike with no tactical understanding of the gains to be achieved, communicated to every single person being asked to take part in the strike, can undermine future striking efforts more surely than anything the administration could say. Morale matters.
posted by sciatrix at 2:35 PM on November 4, 2019 [16 favorites]


voting is a harm reduction strategy that's probably necessary given the amounts of harm we're facing. but our electoral systems do not establish anything resembling democracy, and any faith in the power of the ballot box is entirely misplaced. although winning electoral office can be useful for firebrands who can use those offices to provoke and focus non-electoral political action — aoc, kshama sawant, bernie sanders, and so forth — for the most part we must conceive of electoral politics as a holding action at best. witness how the story of the last 40 years at least has been the story of protofascists and full-fledged fascists shoving electoral-political institutions to the right, and then democrats coming in and only marginally shifting them back toward the center. a holding action.

so, my dear boomers, my sweet naïve boomers, if you are serious, if you want the kids to vote like you vote, if you are not just aggrieved at the sense in your head that you are being blamed — you really do tell on yourself each time you think this conversation is about blame — if you are not just ego-sore but are in fact genuinely concerned, you need to do real politics like the kids do real politics. you need to get out on the streets and march on the freeways and block the bridges and blockade the police stations and lock down in city hall and smash bank windows and etc. etc. etc. and you need to do mutual aid, which is something that many of you folx from the property owning generation could do quite effectively. hold radical left political meetings in your houses. open your spare bedrooms to anarchist kids who need a place to crash. fund the fuckin' revolution, or get the hell out of the way.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:40 PM on November 4, 2019 [19 favorites]


or, shit, you don't want to do any of that? you're too, i don't know, bourgeois-minded to support a window smasher down on their luck? then click over to the whelk's post about breadtube and give those folx your money.

don't just stop at giving to contra — natalie's excellent, but she's doing pretty well for herself these days. give cash to all of them. unburden yourself of your guilt-inducing material resources by using those resource to support the best propagandists the young left has got.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:43 PM on November 4, 2019 [3 favorites]


Or maybe just put a Twitter catchphrase on a sweatshirt and feel really, really smug.
posted by neroli at 2:55 PM on November 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


support the best propagandists the young left has got

Sounds good. Is there a list of suitable recipients? Do they accept PayPal? It would be fun to make donations to these people, even if they don't give tax receipts. Do they need a place to publish online?
posted by No Robots at 3:02 PM on November 4, 2019


hell, if you think electoral politics are the most important thing that the Youth can be doing, work on get out the vote, go join the League of Women Voters, make it easy for people to vote, go canvas for polling locations that folks without cars or 9-5 hours can get to in the working class parts of town, go make voting a fucking holiday in your town or advocate for paid leave for people who go vote.

I don't care what you think is the Most Important thing but you're the only person who controls your own actions. if you're concerned the youth don't think voting will make a difference, get your own ass out there and make voting easier. sure. might help, can't hurt. talk to people about what you're doing when it isn't election season. encourage people to think of politics as a thing you do all the time, not just in "season," and which is divorced from the names and faces and horse-racing media tends to pull. talk to people about going to their first rally. talk to people in line about what works to do. talk to people about what things are going to help us and what ones are just going to drown us.

put a fucking twitter catchphrase on your shirt if you think it'll help start a conversation about the work that needs doing, sure. talk to people. raise some hope, if you can. figure out what people are scared of and try to help convince them that if they add their shoulder to a weal, something might happen to fix it, but only if we work together. talk to people. talk to people. talk to people.

this meme started a conversation. cool. where does that conversation channel us? what points can you bring up generally when it comes up around the water cooler? Use the conversation to convince people that they can do something about the things that horrify them, even if it's just by banding together and making connections.
posted by sciatrix at 3:06 PM on November 4, 2019 [10 favorites]


This might be a good place to drop that the GOP has made concerted efforts in many states to make it difficult/impossible for many 18-22 year olds to vote where they reside while going to college. If you live in a college town, it's a worthwhile effort to get involved in.
posted by nakedmolerats at 3:26 PM on November 4, 2019 [24 favorites]


Meanwhile in New Zealand...

Green MP @_chloeswarbrick was heckled by a National MP during her speech on the Zero Carbon Bill.

She fired back with "okay boomer"

posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:46 PM on November 4, 2019 [8 favorites]


Ok, I dunno how we got all the way here to the efficacy of voting in enacting large-scale societal change but with respect to the original "ok boomer" phrase it is, as the youths say nowadays, not that deep. Sure, it could be some kind of warcry of intergenerational warfare like the NYT Style section has puffed it up to be. But a cursory glance at TikTok to see how it's actually been deployed by young people indicates (imho) otherwise. It does not seem commonly used as a blanket ageist slur; but rather, there are a few common, re-ocurring scenarios when "ok boomer" is used:

1) Complaints about appearance, especially tattoos, piercings, hair color, or
clothes (special mention for non-gender conforming wardrobe)
2) Being rude, overly demanding, or condescending to service workers
3) Reinforcing traditional gender norms
4) Anti-technology stance, usually of the "you kids spend too much time on your phones" variety
5) General bigotry

I thought there'd be more climate change denial ones but they're actually not that many. There were also more videos about stigmatizing/shaming birth control and tampons than I thought there'd be (maybe that falls under "reinforcing traditional gender norms"?).

Meanwhile, in case you didn't bother to click through to the first video linked in the NYT piece, here's a full transcript of the original audio:
The millennials and Generation Z have a Peter Pan syndrome. They don't ever want to grow up. They think that the utopian ideals that they have in their youth are somehow going to translate into adulthood and that somehow they're going to create this utopian society in which everything is equal. In which the government takes care of everything. Well, guess what. One of these days, just like the Baby Boomer generation, the generation before us, the Baby Busters who came after us, you're going to mature and you're going to realize: nothing's free, that things aren't equal, and that your utopian society you created in your mind in your youth simply is not sustainable. It's just a reality. You can't escape it. You can't fight it. Hell, even the hippies came to realize their society was not sustainable. So just realize what you created in your mind isn't sustainable.
If you're not watching the video, I cannot stress how incredibly condescending this white goateed, ball cap-wearing Boomer's tone is. The original video and account appear to be deleted, so we don't really know what other topics this guy has pontificated on. But remember this: if this really were an intergenerational civil war being waged on TikTok (which, again, it really, really isn't), the millennials and Gen Z sure didn't start it. This guy was Robert Anderson and this video was his shot at Fort Sumter.
posted by mhum at 10:26 PM on November 4, 2019 [23 favorites]


Arguing about why young people don’t vote is pointless. They just don’t! They never have! Your generation didn’t, either.
posted by Automocar


Largely because they couldn't:
In the United States, the debate about lowering voting age from 21 to 18 began during World War II and intensified during the Vietnam War, when most of those subjected to the draft were too young to vote, and the image of young men being forced to risk their lives in the military without the privileges of voting successfully pressured legislators to lower the voting age nationally and in many states. By 1968, several states had lowered the voting age below 21 years: Alaska and Hawaii's minimum age was 20, Kentucky's was 19, and Georgia's was 18.[71] In 1970, the Supreme Court in Oregon v. Mitchell ruled that Congress had the right to regulate the minimum voting age in federal elections; however, not at local and state level.

The 26th Amendment (passed and ratified in 1971)[72] prevents states from setting a voting age higher than 18.[73] Except for the express limitations provided for in Amendments XIV, XV, XIX and XXVI, voter qualifications for House and Senate elections are largely delegated to the States under Article I, Section 2 and Amendment XVII of the United States Constitution, which respectively state that "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature." and "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures."[74]

16 states permit 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections and caucuses if they will be 18 by election day: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico,[75] North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia. Iowa, Minnesota, and Nevada allow 17-year-olds to participate in all presidential caucuses, but may not vote in primary elections for other offices. Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Washington, and Wyoming allow 17-year-olds to participate in only Democratic caucuses, but not in the Republican caucus.[76]

Currently, the Maine Green Independent Party, the state branch of the Green Party of the United States, calls for the lowering of the voting age to 17.[77] Youth suffrage appears to be gaining ground in Massachusetts; three of the four Democratic United States Senate candidates in 2010 supported lowering the voting age.[78]

In 2013, the City of Takoma Park, Maryland became the first place in the United States to lower its voting age to 16, for local elections and referendums.[79][80] As of 2018, three additional cities have lowered the voting age to 16: Hyattsville and Greenbelt in Maryland and Berkeley in California (for school board elections only).[81] In 2018, a bill in the Council of the District of Columbia was proposed to lower the voting age to 16, which would make the federal district the first jurisdiction to lower the voting age for federal level elections.[82]

On April 3, 2019, Andrew Yang became the first major presidential candidate to advocate for the United States to lower its voting age to 16.[83] At 16, Americans don’t have hourly limits imposed on their work, and they pay taxes. According to Yang, their livelihoods are directly impacted by legislation, and they should therefore be allowed to vote for their representatives.[84]
posted by jamjam at 10:31 PM on November 4, 2019 [4 favorites]


Generational naming in the US is weird because it sort of only applies to rich white people. Especially the further you go back. I don't think I've ever even heard the phrase "black baby boomers."

That may be because (per Pew Research Center) whites show spiky population-by-age trends; basically everyone else shows smooth variation.
posted by Jpfed at 10:33 PM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]


[One deleted; PhineasGage, you were already asked to stop repeating the same thing earlier. ]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:41 AM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


I teach college students. I have a fair number of non-traditionally aged students who are Millennials (and not a few Xers), but most of my students are squarely Gen Z. They are some of the hardest working, most idealistic and ethical people I have ever known. When I talk to them about their after college goals, they all want to be in careers that help people or make the world better. I just had an IT major in my office who wanted to talk to me about how she could use her skills to fight climate change. I just don't see the nihilism among them that is being described here. Maybe it's because my students are mostly POC and other folks here saying they're all fascists are talking about white Zoomers?
posted by hydropsyche at 6:45 AM on November 5, 2019 [13 favorites]


It's because the ones who take swan dives down Youtube rabbit holes are not the ones who show up in your classroom.
posted by ocschwar at 7:08 AM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]




"Why don't young people vote" has many obvious answers, and none of them are "because they don't really care about what's going on."
* They rarely get guidance to learn how. Once you know the system, it's relatively easy to navigate, but the first-time learning curve can be steep. High schools often don't tell students how to register, what's required in their area, how to find a polling place, etc.
* The less privileged they are, the harder it is to vote - even aside from outright voter-blocking attempts (which are numerous), resources in poor communities, non-English-majority communities, and rural communities are all less supported.
* Figuring out what and who to vote for is complicated. It's complicated for those of us that have been doing it for decades; for someone who's also trying to figure out "how do I get and keep a job" and "how do I organize bill-paying" and "what classes do I need for a good career in 10 years," wading through the morass of "which of these stuffed suits is least likely to be damaging to my future" is an extra layer of hell.
* Many 18-25 year olds live far from home, at school. Figuring out where they're allowed vote is an extra hassle. Remote voting is a hassle. Local voting by students is often discouraged; they're perceived as tourists who won't be sticking around for the aftermath.
* Getting time off work or school to vote is more hassle. Sure, there are laws allowing 2 hours, but asshole bosses or teachers can undermine that.
* When your address changes every 2-3 years, you have to figure out the system in the new place all over. People over 40 are much more likely to have a stable address, stable schedule, and understanding enough of local politics that most of their decision-making is made before they get a ballot.
* Voting in the US was designed for rich white men, and every extension to other groups was deeply resented. And the voting arrangements show this - there is no federal or state support for "teach teens how to vote so they can jump into the voting pool as soon as it's legal."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:31 AM on November 5, 2019 [5 favorites]


Millennials earn 20% less than baby boomers did—despite being better educated

As usual, when confronted with astonishing numbers, I had to check for myself. And what I found is that the author made an astonishing statistical error. They compared the mean income in 1989 to the median income in 2016. It seems they accidentally copied a number from the wrong column in a table to come up with their error. And that error is very significant.

I reworked the numbers to make a fair comparison, median income in 1989 to the median income in 2016. And when you do that, it turns out that those families under age 35 today actually make slightly more than those in 1989 -- about $1400 more.

You can check the numbers for yourself using these links. The source for this information, as the author says, is the Survey of Consumer Finances which is compiled by the Federal Reserve every three years going back decades. You can access this same data the author used yourself.

To start out, here is the author's claim on page 6. It shows a table with $50,910 income in 1989 compared to $40,581 in 2013 which is the extraordinary difference that made me check for myself. Now, as I worked through this I discovered that the latter date is actually 2016, because that is the most recent data before the author's publication in 2017, but that is really a minor error.

So let's go to the data. First up is the Survey from 2016 here. Go to page 4. You will see a row "Age of head, Less than 35". You will see that the median income in 2016 is 40.5 (in thousands) so $40,500. It is obvious that this is the number the author came up with shown above as $40,581. So that is a correct number.

Now let's go back to 1989. That is shown here. Go to page 2. You will see a similar table as the one in the 2016 Survey. In the row "Age of family head, Under 35" you find mean and median for 1989. Note that the mean is higher than the median, which is always the case because of the concentration of income above the median.

So let's take the median income, just as we did for 2016. That is 20.0 or $20,000. Now we need to adjust that for inflation to 2016 dollars. For that we use the Bureau of Labor Statistics online calculator for inflation.

Plug in $20,000, January 1989 to January 2016 and you come up with $39,130.

So there you have it. $39,130 in 1989 compared to $40,581 in 2016. Those under 35 are actually making $1400 more today. Now, that is nothing to brag about. You should expect that 27 years later due to increasing productivity that households would be earning much more. But that is a far cry from the erroneous claim of 20% less.

So now let's see where the author went wrong. Going back to the 1989 Survey if you instead pick out the mean you get 26.4 or $26,400 and if you put that through the same inflation calculator you come up with $51,650 in 2016 dollars. And sure enough that is very close to the erroneous number the author came up with for 1989 income.

So it is obvious where they went wrong. They compared the median in 2016 with the mean in 1989. I don't think this was intentional. They just picked out a number from the wrong column. But when you get a surprising number, it should prompt one to double check.

So it isn't true that families under 35 are making less today than Boomers of the same age 27 years ago. Today they are actually making slightly more.

Those are the facts. You can check them out yourself. It's important to get the facts right. You don't want to go around quoting an erroneous number like "20% less." It simply isn't true.

That isn't to say everything is roses for young people. There are other issues to address. But let's get the issues right.
posted by JackFlash at 11:35 AM on November 5, 2019 [7 favorites]


@JackFlash: Does this take into account the cost of living, though? The inability to afford a home, and thus the need to rent? Usually when I hear talk of wages going down, it's not about the raw number itself. It's about the real wages as determined by comparison against both inflation and the cost of living. Even if today the average millennial makes more inflation-adjusted dollars than the late boomer in '89, it's likely still true that boomers made more if you also account for the cost of living.

I also do wonder, because I don't hear this talked about, whether the SD has changed for our generation, economically. It could be that our bell curve is broader (more people getting hit extremely hard, and more people of affluent backgrounds having life handed to them), or perhaps shallower (no huge median peak on the bell curve), too. Medians and means are informative but are not necessarily perfectly definitive.

I myself have been unemployed for about a year. Before this I was working on contract for barely-above minimum wage with indeterminate hours. I know several others who have effectively "fallen out" of society, including a few people of middle-income backgrounds who can't seem to find work and live on welfare. I also know a handful of people who are pinning their financial hopes on a partner that significantly out-earns them, while they struggle to find consistent and higher-paying work, despite having professional degrees or highly qualifying experience. Anecdotal, I know. But it's not like I come from a rough part of town and only know people from the underclasses.
posted by constantinescharity at 11:47 AM on November 5, 2019


Sorry, what I mean by that last sentence is that, by virtue of where I grew up, most of my acquaintances come from a place, economically, that implies they should have an immense, institutionalized advantage. These aren't people who had it hard growing up, and so it's surprising that things aren't turning out for them to such a degree that some are ending up on social assistance. Which isn't to say "Oh boo-hoo, everyone shed a tear for kids who grew up comfortable", it's just an indication that things are getting particularly bad.
posted by constantinescharity at 11:56 AM on November 5, 2019


I'm glad this conversation has turned in a more useful direction. I don't think that labeling generations is meaningful for talking about level of privilege, social attitudes, etc. A lot of times we are really talking about a hypothetical white person who has some sort of normalized level of advantage, and people's experiences are incredibly varied across geography, city/county boundary, race, gender, etc. I don't think "OK Boomer" is that interesting one way or another, since by the time this thread is over the kids will have probably stopped saying it and moved on to something else (sorry, can't resist). Personally I think the hyperconnected internet set of any age makes a poor model for what's happening in the rest of society and tends to get us "het up" about nothing.

In the real world, there are all kinds of conversations between age groups where the olds are being asked for their wisdom and the youngs are being asked for their energy and fresh perspectives, which is as it should be.

We just love to create imagined groups out of nothing. I myself was sorely tempted to list out a bunch of light-hearted aspects of "these kids today" but ... not helpful and not accurate. Here's how I remind myself to think about the world:

* Please do not put me in a group address me as part of a group unless I ask you to.
* Try not to coalesce other individuals into a group unless they ask me to.
posted by freecellwizard at 12:06 PM on November 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


Does this take into account the cost of living, though?

Yes, it does. This is accounted for by the inflation adjustment. The inflation adjustment includes as its major components the cost of housing, food, transportation and cars, education and tuition.

whether the SD has changed for our generation, economically. It could be that our bell curve is broader (more people getting hit extremely hard, and more people of affluent backgrounds having life handed to them), or perhaps shallower (no huge median peak on the bell curve), too.

That's possible but the median is pretty representative of a group. It means that exactly half are doing better than the median and exactly half are doing worse than the median. If you pick a random person off the street, they are most likely to be relatively close to the median.

The inability to afford a home, and thus the need to rent?

That is pretty much a localized issue. Housing is very expensive in certain cities like LA, San Francisco, Seattle and New York. But that is unrepresentative of most of the US. The median home price in the US is $231,000. Adjusted for inflation, that isn't really much more than in the 1980s. Remember that in the 1980s that mortgage interest rates were 15% and more compared to under 5% today. That means the monthly mortgage payment was roughly three times higher. Boomers were pretty unlucky for home ownership in the 1980s.

Other data from the Survey shows that about 40% of people under 35 owned homes in the 1980s. Today for those under 35 it is about 38%. So there really isn't that big a difference in ownership between Boomers and Millennials of the same age. Where you see the bigger differences are in the very high cost of living cities. But again, those are outliers. That's not the majority of America.
posted by JackFlash at 2:02 PM on November 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


It's all well and good to say that voting doesn't matter, but in the meantime your enemies have figured out that in some way voting does matter and are using the process to elect politicians that establish laws and norms that overrule any grassroots socialist commune you hope to establish because ultimately your commune exists under the purview of a government. It's well and good to argue that the Democrats aren't good enough for your vote, but in the meantime people who are much fucking worse are getting elected and decreasing the power of the vote and your ability to survive on a basic level. As a queer person neither party has been perfect, but one party is dismantling LGBTQ+ rights as fast as they can and the other party worked in some small way to establish anti-discrimination laws. So yes, I am going with voting as harm reduction, and if you can't realize the difference between Obama and Trump with respect to civil rights for example then you are either blind or hopelessly privileged.
posted by schroedinger at 3:12 PM on November 5, 2019 [11 favorites]


Where you see the bigger differences are in the very high cost of living cities. But again, those are outliers. That's not the majority of America.

The 25 most expensive places to live in the US have a total population of over 75 million. That's almost 1/4 of the population of the US. Those aren't outliers.

Add the next 25 most populous metro areas and you get over 175 million people - more than half the US lives in 50 metro areas, none of which are cheap compared to the surrounding regions.

And while home ownership for under-35s may not have dropped much, ownership by 35-44 year olds, the age group historically associated with "time to buy a house," has plummeted. It's never been higher than the slightly-over-70% it was at in 1982 (when the first of the boomers hit that category), and is now below 60%.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:14 PM on November 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


ownership by 35-44 year olds, the age group historically associated with "time to buy a house," has plummeted.

Mostly what you are seeing is a huge run up in numbers owning homes in the big housing bubble of the early 2000s followed by the big crash in housing during the Great Recession. It was just really bad timing for a lot of people, most of all those in their early 30s buying their first home with no money down. You can blame the big banks for pushing a disastrous real estate bubble.

The numbers are beginning to return to normal, a decade after the crash.
posted by JackFlash at 3:24 PM on November 5, 2019


A few issues with the stats that are being tossed around right now, just 'cause.

-The Survey of Consumer Finances is based on households/families and presumes a head of household. I'm not sure how great it is at capturing information regarding people who are in roommate situations, move often, are young and single, are living with their parents or in student housing, etc. There are also a ton of factors that need to be controlled, since the respondent pool isn't demographically the same as the US a a whole, but maybe the figures above are doing that?

-The Bureau of Labor Statistics bucket is universal, which is to say, it doesn't take into account how changes in the cost of living affect different groups disproportionately. For instance, the skyrocketing cost of student loans disproportionately affects young folks, which might result in a significantly different rate of inflation when you consider the bucket of goods purchased by 18-35 year olds in 1984 and one purchased by young folks today.

-Similarly, I don't know if it's all that valuable to look at the average cost of housing back in the day and the cost of housing today. Young people have increasingly migrated toward urban areas since the 1990s, which means they face greater exposure to the expensive urban markets that were listed above. That general number probably doesn't reflect a lot of young people's lived reality.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 3:43 PM on November 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


Young people have increasingly migrated toward urban areas since the 1990s, which means they face greater exposure to the expensive urban markets that were listed above.

This turns out to be a myth, probably because the great bulk of journalists and social media drivers are highly educated urban dwellers so dominate the conversation. But it turns out that most of their Millennial cohort are flocking to the suburbs just like their parents before them.
posted by JackFlash at 4:05 PM on November 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


I like the intensely informative turn the thread has taken.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:23 PM on November 5, 2019 [6 favorites]


If you scroll past the clickbait headline of that article and click through to the Brookings one, you'll see that their analysis doesn't have much of anything to do with age. The closest it gets is a comment that a recent uptick in suburbanization probably includes some Millennials.

So I don't know about it being a myth, that thing about journalists and social media drivers seems to be based on nothing at all, and I'm not seeing anything that says that the majority of Millennials are moving to the burbs.

Anyhow, this is kind of a tangent, since the post is actually about Gen Z.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:25 PM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


The important thing is to get the facts right. These are some of the comments in this thread:

>Gen Z is going to be the first generation to have a lower quality of life than the generation before them

>boomers because they had the world handed to them on a plate

>people who have demonstrably had it easier than most of the young will ever have

>we're just jealous they got to experience something better.

>your generation absolutely enjoyed far more privilege and entitlement than the young generation now

This is just wrong on nearly every measure. It isn't true that those under 35 are making less money than Boomers. It isn't true that Boomers own more homes than those under 35 today. It isn't true that Boomers had the world handed to them on a plate. In some ways they had it worse.

And that goes for GenZ as well. They are likely to have it certainly no worse than the Millennials before them that entered the work force in the middle of the worst recession since the 1930s. That was pretty bad.

But I think Constantinescharity was on the right track with the idea that the bell curve is broader. Even though the average member of the current generation is no worse off than those before them, at the margins they are much worse.

That is, the poor are poorer and the rich are richer - not between generations but within their own generation.

In other words, the enemy is not the Boomers. It's the 1%ers among your own classmates. Those are the one's who are screwing you.

The 1%ers are delighted to see folks engaging in generational warfare because it distracts them from the real enemy, the 1%ers. They are screwing everyone - young and old alike. The Boomers didn't take your money. The 1% did.

That's why I believe it's important to get the numbers right, because if you misdiagnose the problem, then you can't prescribe the right cure.

The young aren't any worse off than previous generations, on average. But the discrepancies between the 1% and the 99% are growing wider. That's not a generational problem. It's a problem for all generations.
posted by JackFlash at 4:46 PM on November 5, 2019 [7 favorites]


generational skirmishes are a great way to distract from the class war being waged from above
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:49 PM on November 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


I feel like you're cherrypicking stats to prove the point that the kids are just fine, rather than listening to young people describe the issues that they're facing.

1%ers aside, I don't think it's unfair for young folks to ask older folks to listen, be considerate, or to live up to their values, even when they're not the richest of the rich.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:57 PM on November 5, 2019 [10 favorites]


I feel like you're cherrypicking stats to prove the point that the kids are just fine,

Feelings or not, the stats are the stats. It's not cherry picking. If you want to understand the problems you have to get the facts right.

I'm not saying the kids are fine, just that they are on average no worse off than previous generations. They face lots of new problems, but so did previous generations face lots of new problems.

But on the margins, things are worse. Economic inequality is growing. The poor are poorer and the rich are richer. That is an important thing to distinguish from generational warfare.

generational skirmishes are a great way to distract from the class war being waged from above

Exactly right.
posted by JackFlash at 5:05 PM on November 5, 2019 [4 favorites]


I feel like you're cherrypicking stats to prove the point that the kids are just fine, rather than listening to young people describe the issues that they're facing.

I think we're all in favor of seeing additional, contravening stats if they're available.
posted by AdamCSnider at 5:07 PM on November 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


pretty sure none of jack flash's fancy stats mean shit if they don't even factor student debt in. certainly his figures have nothing to do with the lived experiences of the people i know my age.
posted by JimBennett at 6:58 PM on November 5, 2019 [5 favorites]


I'm not saying the kids are fine, just that they are on average no worse off than previous generations.

jesus fucking christ. go fucking talk to some actual human millennials.
posted by JimBennett at 7:08 PM on November 5, 2019 [8 favorites]



So I don't know about it being a myth, that thing about journalists and social media drivers seems to be based on nothing at all, and I'm not seeing anything that says that the majority of Millennials are moving to the burbs.


The majority of millennials are moving to housing that actually exists, and since large apartments are rare and de facto illegal to build in most American cities, that means a reluctant move to the burbs.
posted by ocschwar at 7:29 PM on November 5, 2019


I think we're all in favor of seeing additional, contravening stats if they're available.

They're available, but that's beside the point. (Plus, non-experts googling random complex stats on the internet is really one of the worst forms of argument.)

The bigger issue is that it is kind of awful to react to people expressing their stresses and lived experiences by doing five minutes of cursory googling and some not-so-great analysis, and then declaring, "My statistics show that your firsthand experiences are, on average, no different from anyone else's!"

That's the exact kind of dismissiveness and lack of empathy that the phrase "ok boomer" responds to. If you're actually interested in narrowing interngenerational divides so that people can band together to fight for economic justice, that is probably not a great place to start. It might be better to try to listen.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 7:55 PM on November 5, 2019 [8 favorites]


pretty sure none of jack flash's fancy stats mean shit if they don't even factor student debt in.

The Survey of Consumer Finances includes information on debt and also specifically education debt. Millennials spend about $2000 a year more than Boomers did on education debt. But remember that Millennials also make about $1400 a year more than Boomers did. In addition, food and clothing costs have come down about $2000 a year (part of that whole globalization thing). So all in all, for the median Millennial, total annual spending and dollars left over is roughly the same as for Boomers.

That isn't to say things are great in education. The rate of increase in tuition is very high. But as of 2016, from the most recent Survey, things aren't that out of whack compared to 1989 when you consider total income and spending.

Again, these are median numbers meaning half are better and half are worse. They show not that big a difference between Boomers and Millennials at the same age. What we have seen though is the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer within the Millennial age group.

It isn't that Boomers had it any easier. The stats indicate that isn't true. What is true that if you are on the low side of the median today, your money is going to those on the high side more than ever before.
posted by JackFlash at 8:06 PM on November 5, 2019 [2 favorites]


ok boomer
posted by Cezar Golescu at 8:08 PM on November 5, 2019 [11 favorites]


cool, millennials can use that extra $2000 a year (which doesn't actually exist btw) on the interest payments for their $70,000 student loans, which will continue to hang over them for forty more years or whatever.

i'm really not convinced by your back of the napkin stats. they do not reflect reality. you really don't know as much as you think you do.
posted by JimBennett at 8:13 PM on November 5, 2019


"My statistics show that your firsthand experiences are, on average, no different from anyone else's!" That's the exact kind of dismissiveness and lack of empathy that the phrase "ok boomer" responds to.

Well you can turn that around and say that it is pretty dismissive to say that young people today are experiencing stresses that are greater than any previous generations. Are you saying their lived experiences don't count?

I get that young people are under stress. But young people are always under stress. They are just starting out as adults and that is stressful in many ways. And every generation's stresses are unique in some way.

But stuff like

>Gen Z is going to be the first generation to have a lower quality of life than the generation before them

>boomers because they had the world handed to them on a plate

>people who have demonstrably had it easier than most of the young will ever have


is just not true.
posted by JackFlash at 8:19 PM on November 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


i want to scream at the top of my lungs.

STOP

MINIMIZING

MILLENNIAL

EXPERIENCES.
posted by JimBennett at 8:22 PM on November 5, 2019 [8 favorites]


I'm truly sorry. I didn't mean for it to get personal.
posted by JackFlash at 8:36 PM on November 5, 2019


Speaking as a millennial with debt I'll be working my way out from under for, at a rough calculation, at least another 18 years - I think as a generation we will survive JackFlash calling out some of the more ridiculous rhetoric surrounding the genuine issues we face.

Can't speak for Generation Z, but the best thing we can do for them is vote in a government that will help them dodge the bullets we had to take. Our best two bets to lead those changes being a Boomer and a member of a generation Boomers themselves rolled their eyes at.

They're available, but that's beside the point.

Interesting link, and thanks for it. It's not beside the point for all of us.

And taking advantage of the edit button - my apologies, JimBennett. Your experiences are your own and I didn't mean to diminish them. Best of luck. Think I'll duck out of the thread, now.
posted by AdamCSnider at 8:38 PM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


I mean you're right that generational stuff can be a distraction from class but there has to be more to life than income, food and clothing costs and debt.

Yeah I get that boomers tried to save themselves from conscription in Vietnam but since my earliest memories we've been at war in Afghanistan. Climate anxiety is widespread because again, pretty much since we've understood anything, we've understood that our future is actively being sold off.

We have decades worth of articles railing against myriad changes in our lives, privatisation, right-wing intentional disabling of government bodies, homogenisation of mass media, rise in unpaid internships, almost dead union movements, casualisation of labour, skyrocketing income-to-house price ratios, removal of public space etc. This neoliberal nightmare is all we've ever known, it's all some people nearly 40 have ever known.

I don't care if you can prove with numbers that we have it better, because if wellness is this what in hells name is sickness?
posted by Acid Communist at 8:39 PM on November 5, 2019 [7 favorites]


[One comment removed; valid feelings are valid, but we really need people not to talk about self-harm. More generally I feel like it'd be good if this eased back a little in here. The intercohort stresses of history and the state of the world are complicated things and people are gonna have all kinds of feelings about that and about their place in it. This, and discussions like it, is gonna be more interesting and a lot less fraught if people can focus on talking about their own experiences and listening to others instead of trying to argue each other down or use stats to dismiss broadly what people's lives are like individually.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:59 PM on November 5, 2019 [5 favorites]


Paul Hillier, the Guardian:
I suppose one needs to acknowledge that generational identity isn’t exactly new. In the age of identity politics, though, where membership criteria are crucial and exclusionary lines are drawn, capital-G Generation has taken on a new shape and form. And there’s been an obsessive attention to these birth-year categories as well. Generation Z. X. Millennials. Baby Boomers. If you follow any sort of media, you can’t go a week without hearing someone criticize or praise one of these “generations”. I won’t dignify any of them by listing what people say comprise their characteristics, because they’re all depressing bullshit. I’ll give you at least three reasons why:
posted by biogeo at 9:57 PM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


>Gen Z is going to be the first generation to have a lower quality of life than the generation before them

>boomers because they had the world handed to them on a plate

>people who have demonstrably had it easier than most of the young will ever have

is just not true.


This seems strange to me. A lot of things were genuinely (and quantitatively) better for my (boomer) parents when they were young compared to when I (Gen X) was at the same age. Being able to pay cash for a top-end college from a casual summer job meant that the phrase "student debt" wasn't even in their vocabulary, for example. I had to deal with student debt, but it was all subsidized federal loans and then about 1/3 of that debt went away through another federal program, so my level of student debt didn't much affect my life.

My millenial coworkers all have staggering amounts of debt (and these are children of the middle to upper-middle classes). My friends with kids who are heading to college (Gen Z) are looking at financial realities that didn't exist when I was that age.

Like many (if not most) boomers my parents have been hurt by these societal changes (like transfer of wealth to the super rich), not helped. So maybe those advantages people of their generation had as young people didn't end up helping all that much in the long run compared to the impacts of social disinvestment and wealth concentration?
posted by Dip Flash at 6:49 AM on November 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


On one hand it's reasonable to want to figure out exactly where the financial issue is generation-wise. But something is obviously wrong, something that has been going wrong for decades and hit critical mass around the financial crisis. I'd say I've noticed the material signs of increased poverty since the financial crisis - people's clothes are worse, the things in the stores are shittier, there are so many visible homeless people everywhere around here where before you seldom saw rough sleepers, etc etc. Something has gone wrong even if it's not captured in the conventional measures.

But let's assume for the moment that the homelessness, poverty, precarity, rent-stress and lack of access to medical care are in fact the American norm and that things are not worse now. Maybe what's happened is that the internet has blown the lid off things - however terrible the internet is, it does let you see, eg, video of people being treated badly, and it does let people who are semi-homeless talk about it and talk to each other.

If what is in fact happening is that zoomers and millenials are so "spoiled" that they don't want to deal with the endemic poverty and instability that previous generations just chugged on through and would rather have socialism, good for them, right? I too would like a society where precarity and poverty aren't just normal, and where we don't just write off, say, the bottom 10% of the population to literal homelessness, rat-infested apartments, virtual slavery, prison and early death.

I mean, it would totally be okay to get to socialism from "we realize that this has sucked all along and we won't take it any more" rather than from "we have it worse than everyone ever".
posted by Frowner at 7:00 AM on November 6, 2019 [18 favorites]




I'm too old to credibly use "OK boomer" so I just say "mom, you can't put that in the recycling."

About five times a day.
posted by klanawa at 10:21 AM on November 6, 2019 [11 favorites]


Mostly what you are seeing is a huge run up in numbers owning homes in the big housing bubble of the early 2000s followed by the big crash in housing during the Great Recession. It was just really bad timing for a lot of people, most of all those in their early 30s buying their first home with no money down. You can blame the big banks for pushing a disastrous real estate bubble.

The numbers are beginning to return to normal, a decade after the crash.


The same person:

What is true that if you are on the low side of the median today, your money is going to those on the high side more than ever before.

Why would people be buying homes in their 30s with no money down? Why would banks be even courting that market? Hmm. Who knows? Bad timing huh? This is exactly what the phrase 'ok boomer' was designed for, so kudos for that.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:38 AM on November 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Millennials spend about $2000 a year more than Boomers did on education debt. But remember that Millennials also make about $1400 a year more than Boomers did. In addition, food and clothing costs have come down about $2000 a year (part of that whole globalization thing). So all in all, for the median Millennial, total annual spending and dollars left over is roughly the same as for Boomers.

Not mentioned:
* How much rent has increased
* Health care cost increases
* How many Millennials/Gen-Zers can't afford school at all, AND can't get a decent job because the market now demands a degree for jobs where no actual education is required
* How much car prices have gone up
* General cost of living shifts with adjusted dollar values.

Also not mentioned:
* How much Startups Georg skews the mean, and drives up the cost of "luxury" goods and services like "an apartment" and "dental care."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:39 AM on November 6, 2019 [13 favorites]


Also not mentioned:
* # of hours worked to attain income listed
* Usefulness of information given the popular assertion that many more millenials have moved home than previous generations, deeming them not eligible to be considered in the study except as a member of a household, not head of household

Regarding rebuttals of cost concerns listed above. Clothes are cheaper, clothes don't last as long.

Much of what millenials are spending on debt is debt service, not payment on principal. That debt's still there, and will stay. It also prevents them from accessing more debt for the acquisition of assets in the future.

I don't see where the support for education being on par w/ 1989 is, but boomers weren't going to college in 1989. Even compared to 1989 I don't see anything that shows education is comparable based on earnings. Why did millenials take out such considerable debt (total debt tripled from 2006 to 2016) if education was so affordable?

I'm going to dig a bit futher into that the CPI is using as their basket of goods for inflation increase, but if it's not education, housing around universities, food around universities, housing around large job centers, and food around large job centers, I'll be not surprised but also annoyed.

Regarding the cost of housing, we built a lot of housing since the 80s as well. Lots of it sits there vacant. It sits there vacant because while it's listed at 100k, there's not a job where it makes sense to commute.

As an accountant, so much of the data supremacy above is bullshit, and it's use in the contexts above borders on gaslighting. There I said it.
posted by avalonian at 12:54 PM on November 6, 2019 [15 favorites]


Speaking of intergenerational warfare at the behest of capitalists aided by neoliberals. Whose inputs y'all using for your data again?
posted by avalonian at 1:21 PM on November 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


I think a lot of this is that the pain of capitalism is finally hitting the male children of the mostly white upper-middle class.

These are the only people who had it so great "back in the day".

I'm gen X; no one in my family or social circle had parents who went to a top school by working only a summer job, or bought a house and raised kids on one adult salary. It happened, yes, but not as widely as Gen Z acts like it did. All the boomers I know struggled to make ends meet, clipping coupons and having few luxuries.

For so, so many people -- including pretty much everyone of color (segregation, anyone?), everyone queer, and most women -- things were demonstrably much much worse for boomers.
posted by mkuhnell at 5:01 PM on November 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


Millennials spend about $2000 a year more than Boomers did on education debt

Hi, if you're going to google justifications to backfill your existing beliefs, at least have the honesty not to pretend a monthly payment of say a 30 year loan vs a 10 year loan is comparable.
posted by tocts at 5:01 PM on November 6, 2019 [10 favorites]


As an accountant, so much of the data supremacy above is bullshit, and it's use in the contexts above borders on gaslighting. There I said it.

thank you for saying this.
posted by JimBennett at 9:28 PM on November 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


Why are disagreements of opinion in this thread "gaslighting"? Can we have this interesting, important conversation without impugning the motives of our fellow MeFites...?
posted by PhineasGage at 10:30 PM on November 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


sorry but when someone pulls out a bunch of halfassed numbers in order to invalidate my own lived experiences it makes me feel a little bit insane and does feel like gaslighting, whether intentional or not. it certainly doesn't help when that person happens to say something to make it seem like they're not really arguing in good faith and are just trying to score a win against ????someone????, like, for example: "Well you can turn that around and say that it is pretty dismissive to say that young people today are experiencing stresses that are greater than any previous generations. Are you saying their lived experiences don't count?"
posted by JimBennett at 10:49 PM on November 6, 2019 [6 favorites]


Thirty years ago, my student loans after four years were about $3000 and only because I was an out-of-state student. I had paid my way mostly by working in construction during the summers and doing some pizza delivery during the school year. When I was 25, I bought a house for $40K in a walkable neighborhood. My mortgage, taxes and insurance came to less than $500 a month for six bedrooms and a garage.

It would be very hard for me to argue that I didn't have it relatively easy compared to young adults these days.
posted by octothorpe at 5:35 AM on November 7, 2019 [5 favorites]


it's not ageism. it's not ageism it's not ageism it's not ageism.
It is explicitly age-ist. The rest is justifification for the age-ism. For every group that gets labeled, other-ed, blamed and discriminated against, there will be reams of justification. Most of it's crap.

The Greatest Generation did a fine job in WWII, went apeshit over communism and gave us Joe McCarthy, and wars in Korea and VietNam, Reagan, the Military-Industrial complex, etc. A lot of Boomers protested war, even went to Canada or jail. Just like every generation, the Greatest Generation wanted to live nice lives with a house, a good school for the kids. They were my parents and they were genteel-y racist. If you think institutionalized racism is bad now, you're right. It was worse then.

You can blame Boomers for Climate Change and you're not wrong, but not right, either. Climate Change is the direct result of Unregulated Capitalism and Consumerism. Starting with Reagan, the Republicans, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Very Wealthy, have:
Slashed college aid
Wrecked labor unions and labor laws
Blocked increases to the Minimum Wage
Enacted Laws that benefit Big Corporations and the Very Wealthy,
Blocked Single-Payer Health Care/Promoted massive profit in the health care industry
Allowed and Promoted the aggregation of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer

When you blame us geezers, you aren't blaming the people who are doing the worst damage. A lot of them are Boomers, but their age isn't the cause of their behavior, it's Peak Fucking Capitalism, greed, consumerism.

Personally, I think OK, Peak Fucking Capitalism would look swell on a tshirt.
posted by theora55 at 7:02 AM on November 7, 2019 [8 favorites]


Okay, so we blame capitalism for everything. Cool. Now... how did capitalism slash college aid, wreck labor unions and labor laws, block increases to minimum wage, enact laws that benefit big corporations and the wealthy, block single payer health care, promote massive profit in the health care industry, and allow/promote the consolidation of wealth and power? Was it possible that voters had a hand in that? Perhaps... voters from the age cohort known as Boomers?
posted by palomar at 7:36 AM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Let's see, the Boomers are the biggest age cohort and turn out in the largest percentage to vote. Maybe the problem is... democracy? (joking) (not joking)
posted by PhineasGage at 7:45 AM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Time to bring back the Gray Panthers.
posted by theora55 at 7:53 AM on November 7, 2019


Let's see, the Boomers are the biggest age cohort and turn out in the largest percentage to vote.
I could swear that I read somewhere that there are now more Millennials than Boomers. However, I think that Millennials are more likely to be in places with relatively weak voting power. A lot of the less-populous, over-represented states also have relatively old populations.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:03 AM on November 7, 2019


As of 2017, Baby Boomers and Millennials were about the same but I assume that more boomers have died off in the last two years. Also the first Gen Z were able to vote in 2015 and by 2020, five years of them will be eligible.
posted by octothorpe at 8:28 AM on November 7, 2019


Cool. But the process of breaking all the things theora55 listed didn't start in 2017, it started probably 30 years prior (a rough estimate). And the Gen Z kids eligible to vote in 2015... how many of those people were going to college that year in locations where their vote was suppressed? How many future voting-age Gen Z kids will have their vote suppressed by older generations in their college towns?
posted by palomar at 8:36 AM on November 7, 2019


it’s about the conditions facing gen z being dramatically worse than the conditions facing earlier generations, and about the sheer pigheaded dumbness of the earlier generations insisting that everything is still the same.

Honestly I’m kind of shocked that I got to the bottom of the thread and almost no one is pointing out that this is only true if you are talking about heterosexual cis middle-class white men.

GenX here, and so like - we all saw the trauma and fucked up stuff that happened to boomers because those were our parents. Our mothers, for whom marital rape was still legal up until the 1980s. LGBT folks, with no anti discrimination laws, not even badly enforced ones, and gay men for whom AIDs was a death sentence. A generation who couldn’t afford college even at the lower rates, and who went to the bloodiest war that the US has known since the Civil War, who saw their friends die in front of them every week, month, year, and then who saw those broken men come back to homelessness, addiction, and suicide. I remember my parents talking about the relentless toll of death. And that’s not approaching the lynchings that took place in the South. The death of Freedom Riders who just wanted people to be able to vote. The assassination of MLK. The MOVE bombing. The boomers experienced that people who cared about causes, the best and brightest, and anyone outside the norm, would go get killed.

That doesn’t, to me, sound like they had it that easy or that they are deserving of all our scorn.
posted by corb at 8:36 AM on November 7, 2019 [11 favorites]


Nearly every issue cited upthread came about during the decades and decades when the Boomers were by far the biggest voting bloc.

If corporate capitalism were running *completely* rampant, Social Security, for example, would be a distant memory by now. The problem is democracy. Or, as Winston Churchill put it, the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried from time to time.
posted by PhineasGage at 8:41 AM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


sorry but when someone pulls out a bunch of halfassed numbers in order to invalidate my own lived experiences it makes me feel a little bit insane and does feel like gaslighting

Nobody is invalidating your lived experiences. Your lived experiences, those of your family and your friends and your acquaintances, are your own and can't be denied.

But you can't take your lived experiences and project them on millions of other people in your generation you don't even know. Those other people get to speak for themselves. You can't deny their lived experiences.

That is why the government takes surveys, like the Survey of Consumer Finances from the Federal Reserve, the Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the American Community Survey from the Census Bureau.

These scientifically tabulated surveys give a picture of how Americans are doing as a whole and in various sub-groups, not just anecdotally. Your experiences are you own, but other people's experiences are their own as well and are recorded in the surveys. You can't just say Fake News if you don't like the results.

The reason it is important to use the right data is because that is the only way to diagnose what is wrong with the current economic system. If you think that all Millennials or GenZers are disadvantaged relative to every previous generation, that would be wrong and lead to the wrong conclusions, generational warfare based on an incorrect premise.

So the real question is why are so many people poorer than average and a tiny percentage very rich. And that applies equally to every generation from GenZ to Boomers. They are all suffering the same problem. It's not the Boomers making you poor. It's the 1%ers who have rigged the economy to transfer money from the poor to the wealthy.
posted by JackFlash at 8:55 AM on November 7, 2019 [10 favorites]


are disagreements of opinion in this thread "gaslighting"?

Because they're being asserted as fact. JackFlash is specifically stating their information is "facts" and that the reality presented by others is not based in facts like JackFlash's. JackFlash's facts are flawed and not useful for making the conclusions reached, yet are being treated as such. This is textbook gaslighting.

JackFlash, please stop asserting your conclusions as facts. Your surveys are flawed for the reasons stated. Asserting them as fact is bullshit. Please stop.
posted by avalonian at 9:20 AM on November 7, 2019 [6 favorites]


This is a dumb and misaligned argument on both sides and I want all you kids to get off my lawn.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:43 AM on November 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


[Folks, this is going in familiar circles and I need everybody to take a step back and let it be.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:59 AM on November 7, 2019


I don't know why we're talking so much about income when the data, articles, and reports focus on wealth -- and it seems much more clear than millennials have substantially less wealth than their parents did at their age.

The title of the New America report in the post is not "The Emerging Millennial Income Gap," it's "The Emerging Millennial Wealth Gap."
posted by crazy with stars at 10:01 AM on November 7, 2019 [7 favorites]


i don’t know how else to express in this thread that the people who are saying this stuff are profoundly deeply hurting. we are hurting. our generation is hurting. and at every turn all we get from boomers is a scolding.

i feel like i need to reduce my participation in this website. none of you care about young people. none of you’re even the slightest effort to understand. what’s the point in engaging with a community this stuck in its ways.

ageism goes both ways.
posted by JimBennett at 10:40 AM on November 7, 2019 [6 favorites]


GenX here, and so like - we all saw the trauma and fucked up stuff that happened to boomers because those were our parents.

Well, mostly not - the whole "generations" thing is more of a leapfrog situation. Each generation doesn't produce the next generation, it skips.

There's some overlap on the edges either side, but as a general rule Gen X's parents were Silent Generation, the ones right after Greatest Generation and right before Boomers. Gen X kids are Z, Boomers' kids are Millennials.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:56 AM on November 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


JimBennett and others, I believe Millennials(among others) without wealth are being really screwed. It's a rotten deal. I hear you. You complaints and concerns are valid. I just think blaming another generation is a way of letting the culprits off the hook.
posted by theora55 at 11:16 AM on November 7, 2019 [5 favorites]


Income was focused on because that was an effective rhetorical tactic to make millennials believe their feelings of injustice were wrong.

I don't think most of the people here are blaming boomers. To me, the crux of the "ok boomer" meme is that people that "ok boomer" applies to are the same people that blame millennials for "ruining" industries and whom also think the world exists as it did when they came up with their dominant heuristics decades ago (exhibits a thru z noted above). They often refute arguments with assertions that don't align with the way the world works today, and that also oversimplify to the point of absurdity. They also think their viewpoint is the viewpoint. This has been my experience.

And here's part of the rub: regardless of quality-of-life assertions made above that compare boomers then to millennials now, the boomer generation holds almost all the power now. Was it easier for boomers, was it harder? The points above about race and class would've been a super good spot to turn. Regardless. Boomers have more power now. So there's an existing power imbalance irrespective of historical differences in material circumstances. With that part of the mix, telling those millennials that their experiences are invalid, or your decades old heuristics are the truth is using power against the disempowered. Saying their struggles aren't as legitimate, or that things have always been bad, from a position of having more power is fucking wrong. It's not just a debate. It's actively fucked up.

Anyway. I'mma bow out of this thread before I go in the way some members here have been allowed to.
posted by avalonian at 12:06 PM on November 7, 2019 [5 favorites]


I think that while it may be difficult to figure out the exact situation with money (and it's almost impossible to factor in, for example, the dollar value of being able to be out of the closet and still employable, something almost universally untrue even when I was born), the flat fact is that the older you are, the longer you got to live in a climate-stable world. That is an advantage possessed by everyone relative to people younger than them. In this regard, the zoomers are better off than the babies born today.

If it were just a matter of wealth and money, it might be reasonable to say, "hey, economies change over time, we can put moderate redistributive policies in place and conduct some social reform and besides millenials do stand to inherit from boomers, so class among millenials is still maybe the decisive factor".

But if you really believe that current climate science is right and you are not right now immediately supporting radical economic change, you're setting society up so that the bottom, what, three-quarters of society will be massively impacted by climate change and the top people will be able to mitigate its effects with wealth. We have to make radical economic change now so that as the climate worsens, the effects will be shared and mitigated equally.

I think that's the thing, it's not just a question of wealth-qua-wealth but also a question of just being able to live in a worsening world.

Even if things stay not incredibly terrible and I don't die, I'll be in my seventies in 2050. I probably won't live to see 2060, even if we're optimistic. What's more, if I do die of climate change in, say, 2040, I'll still be in my sixties, I'll have gotten to live a shortened but still not tragically short life, and most of it will have been relatively stable. Someone who is twenty-five right now who dies in the theoretical climate disaster of 2040 will be 45. Someone who is fifteen now will be 35. Those are tragically shortened lives.

In a big way, this is about time. Rich people get more time - they buy more life. Poor people get less time. People who have already lived much of their lives now have had more time, and they'll have more time. People who are just starting out - their odds of living to be seventy-five in a stable society are radically lower, and the more unequal society becomes, the lower those odds get.

Did you ever read Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, where they develop the longevity treatment and if you get the treatment you can expect to live to be, like, three hundred in good health? And that's what produces Earth-wide unrest, the idea that the rich will hoard all this life, all this time? That's a bit what we're having now, only no one gets to be three hundred. It's not just about wealth, it's about wealth as a proxy for time.
posted by Frowner at 12:16 PM on November 7, 2019 [12 favorites]


McSweeney's has this now: If You Call Me a 'Boomer' You Are Committing A Hate Crime: "Boomer” is not just a word, it’s a genuine expression of hate. When I express a horrific opinion on climate change, one thousand comments calling me a “boomer” hold within them unspeakable bigotry and dehumanization. I don’t want to live in a country where words such as “boomer” or “white” or “man” or “upper-middle-class” can be weaponized against me. I don’t deserve to have my generation’s negative impact on the planet plainly laid out in front of me. I shudder just thinking of what might happen to me if I have to read a single other internet comment calling me a “boomer.” My life is the hardest life of all.
posted by TwoStride at 4:06 PM on November 7, 2019 [13 favorites]


the flat fact is that the older you are, the longer you got to live in a climate-stable world

Just to drive this home: my home has flooded three times in two years, and only one of those was something to do with human construction of the plumbing. The other two were flash flooding brought on by climate change, and that is only going to be more and more common. I've dealt with cumulatively almost six months of displacement from my home in that two years and lost thousands of dollars, with federally subsidized flood insurance, as a direct result of climate change that did not exist twenty years ago.

I still need to scrape up the cash to get some flood remediation put together before it happens again in the spring, because sudden heavy rains after long periods of drought are clearly becoming Austin's normal. This is really difficult to do with the income streams I have, but if I can't pull the money from somewhere it is only going to get worse. And because this flooding was not a reality in the time period when people in my industry were also vulnerable, it factors into the way that my abilities and my luck is weighed: this misfortune has never happened before, so it must be coming from something you are doing, young person! That kind of cognitive association of the quality of the youth with the problems of the day is a huge part of what drives this kind of generational resentment for me, even if I understand where it comes from and how it comes to be. But knowing those last things doesn't make it easier to argue the judgement away.

There are people who have it much worse than me, of course. But my point is that in this climate-unstable world, the threat of natural disasters is going to continue to destabilize people who would not have been destabilized in a previous climate. People in vulnerable or precarious positions are going to fall, and they are going to struggle, and they are going to need a greater share of support than before or they are going to perish. That climate-generated instability will magnify the existing income inequalities that we see. What the Boomers grew up with in terms of wealth distribution is not good enough. Not with these storms. Not with these winters. Not with these coasts. There is going to be a tremendous amount of loss and instability as humans develop new normals and adjust to a changing climate, if we get our act together to keep things as stable as we can. We will need to shift huge swathes of our infrastructure to accommodate these changes, and that will take money--money that billionaires cannot and will not take equal responsibility for, unless they are forced to do so.
posted by sciatrix at 5:20 PM on November 7, 2019 [11 favorites]


Whatever the generationally-specific issues, just moments ago this piece appeared in Bloomberg, echoing sciatrix' experience, "Americans Start Adapting to Climate Change. They’re Doing It Wrong."
Decisions on projects and infrastructure are being made not on the basis of what’s effective or sensible in the long-run. And as is often the case, the poorest citizens are bearing the brunt of bungled policies. That’s the conclusion suggested by research published last week in the journal Ocean and Coastal Management.
posted by PhineasGage at 5:56 PM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


The founding editor of Jacobin arguess "Older workers and retirees are struggling to survive. They need solidarity – not rich kids shouting ‘OK Boomer’ at them."
...the problem with generational analysis is that even though it claims to be rooted in economic realities, it cannot see the reality of class...

But if we are to consider age, let’s try to harness the wisdom that our working-class elders can impart to us: the stories about bosses betraying their promises, about political elites neglecting those with nothing to offer them, about lifetimes of hard work not being rewarded with a peaceful retirement or even the respect of those we nurtured.
posted by PhineasGage at 8:36 PM on November 7, 2019 [6 favorites]


It's not the Boomers making you poor. It's the 1%ers who have rigged the economy to transfer money from the poor to the wealthy.

Isn't this a similar argument to "it's not white people or men who benefit from structural advantages, but the 1%"?

Why can't it be capitalism and the selective benefits endowed to an intersectional slice of race, gender, and generation?
posted by Ouverture at 8:42 PM on November 7, 2019 [6 favorites]


As for climate change, it is important to note that half of industrial CO2 emissions have been released in just the last three decades.

That is a full decade before the teens protesting climate change today were even born. They are only now able to participate in broken political processes that can't even help salvage the decaying world they have inherited.

In light of all that, it is pretty galling to hear adults complain about how young people aren't voting enough or eating too much avocado toast or whatever.
posted by Ouverture at 8:46 PM on November 7, 2019 [12 favorites]


I don't disagree with all the points about how boomer doesn't apply to a wide range of people as an insult.

Which is the point. I'm not sure why just because the NYT wrote an article you all have to scrabble to imagine that the word is being used in a regular way to disadvantage elderly people across the board. Yes it's only a criticism that usually applies to a subset of boomers, but they're also the ones who were being called boomers. As far as I can tell,t the only solidarity being shown here is cross-class solidarity between actual boomers and people who happen to be of the Baby Boomer generation trying to blunten the criticism and pretend like it's being applied to them. If you're not making shitty avocado toast jokes, then stop trying to make this about you and join us in condemning those who do make them.

As Merus said upthread, the joke loses meaning if you directly equate "boomer" to "Baby Boomer generation" so all the arguments that it's mistaken to criticise the Baby Boomer generation seem entirely irrelevant.

Look at the Weaponised Boomer Memes post fiasco de gama just made. The people putting out those cursed boomer takes are in their 20s. "using what they called "boomer memes", deliberately lame or cliched visual gags that are poorly designed and may sometimes reference themes in popular culture."

These are made Boomer memes not by being created by older people. You should take "boomer" as a criticism to heart if they seem like jokes for you and probably not otherwise. If people are delivering this new "slur" to you from your left, take the criticisms seriously, why do you consider yourself a comrade but those younger than you do not? And if it's coming from your right, ignore it like you would anything else they say.
posted by Acid Communist at 8:57 PM on November 7, 2019 [5 favorites]


The CBC's Ideas show just posted a new episode, Debate: Do baby boomers owe millennials an apology?
British sociologist Jennie Bristow debates U.S. author Bruce Cannon Gibney over the baby boom generation and its legacy for the world. Should boomers be held responsible for high house prices, the climate crisis, national debts, insolvent pension funds, and the woes of millennials?
posted by PhineasGage at 9:04 AM on November 8, 2019


My dad got drafted and then the army doctor was like 'oh your eyes are not good enough' and he was like...'uh, yes, that's right my eyes very definitely aren't good enough' and went back home to the steel mill with his perfectly fine eyes. His friends went to Vietnam, and some of them didn't come back, some of them didn't come back the same. In the meanwhile, the national guard murdered some college students at kent state a few towns over. Prominent political and civil rights figures were getting murdered regularly and everyone was waiting around to die in a nuclear war. Things were pretty fucking rough for working class white men! And obviously worse as usual if you weren't lucky enough to be white or a man. Differently bad than now but still bad.

It's my generation that had it pretty easy; if you graduated from college between the fall of the berlin wall and the mid aughts financial crisis, you were sitting pretty. Need a pithy derogatory name for those of us 35-50; at 37 they like to call me a millenial but that's never really fit.

We didn't do well enough with our opportunity and should have our own derogatory nickname imo.
posted by Kwine at 3:25 PM on November 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


It's my generation that had it pretty easy; if you graduated from college between the fall of the berlin wall and the mid aughts financial crisis, you were sitting pretty. Need a pithy derogatory name for those of us 35-50; at 37 they like to call me a millenial but that's never really fit.

Plus, the later part of us made it through high school before social media and smartphones but after online/computer research materials and word processing.
posted by sallybrown at 3:28 PM on November 8, 2019


The Baby Boom Was a Bust (Timothy Noah, Washington Monthly)
Nice takedown.
By 1984 [...] I published an essay calling out the Boomer vanguard for its generational chauvinism. The precipitating event was The Big Chill, a hugely popular 1983 comedy-drama about a group of college friends in their thirties who gather to mourn the suicide of a member of their circle who, one of them says, was “too good for this world.” [...]

My essay, “The Big Massage: How the Idea of the Sixties Takes the Politics Out of the Eighties,” argued that The Big Chill encapsulated perfectly the smug political insularity of the Boomer vanguard. In various ways the movie communicated that, as I put it then, “if the world doesn’t seem a much better place now that the college students of the sixties have assumed adult responsibilities, then, dammit, it’s the world’s fault, or perhaps the fault of adulthood itself. It certainly isn’t theirs.” Communitarian sentiment was laudable, I wrote, but the bonds that needed forging were those that crossed the boundaries that divided Americans: age, race, class. We needed community that was “more like a neighborhood, a city, a nation, and less like a class reunion.”

[...] Rather, Woodstock Nation turns out to be a group of old people who vote more Republican than their parents did. No age cohort supports the current president today as strongly as the over-sixty-fives. In a cold world, you need Donald Trump to keep you warm.

To the extent that the Boomers have accumulated a political legacy, it’s not one to be proud of. Boomers did nothing to halt a rise in income inequality that began just as the oldest among them were entering their thirties. They guzzled gas while doing virtually nothing to fight climate change. They did precious little for African Americans, and not much more for women. (The civil rights advances of the 1960s were, as Louis Menand noted recently in the New Yorker, the work of an older generation; so was the advent of feminism a few years later.) Boomers created a rhetoric of multicultural diversity that helped change attitudes but, apart from legalizing same-sex marriage, remains mostly aspirational. It didn’t change people’s lives very much.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:14 PM on November 8, 2019 [4 favorites]


Maybe a lot of this boomer anxiety could be alleviated* by recognizing that "boomerism" is like "whiteness" or "patriarchy": it's a sociological metaphor, lens or model through which certain phenomena make sense. Not every white person participates in lynching. Not every man enslaves his wife. Not every boomer cackles maniacally as he burns a pile of hundred dollar bills.

But the wind sure as shit blows in that direction. It's measurable. And certain boomers seem to react to the label the same way certain men and certain white people react to the existence of those other labels. Like children.

* lol, as if.
posted by klanawa at 11:27 AM on November 10, 2019 [4 favorites]


It's my generation that had it pretty easy; if you graduated from college between the fall of the berlin wall and the mid aughts financial crisis, you were sitting pretty. Need a pithy derogatory name for those of us 35-50; at 37 they like to call me a millenial but that's never really fit.

That's interesting, I'm 36 and definitely feel like I relate more to the millennial designation than any other generation, but I also feel like I had a different experience graduating in the mid-2000s than you may have. Wages sucked and student loans were nuts already and 2008 kneecapped an economy that I already wasn't paying the bills in while my career was in its infancy. Despite living paycheck to paycheck until very recently I know I was way more fortunate than most, but I still feel like I got the general millennial experience. But probably at the margins of the generational divides and different economies, things like geography and socioeconomic background and the industry you're in make a huge difference in experience.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:17 PM on November 10, 2019 [5 favorites]


Need a pithy derogatory name for those of us 35-50; at 37 they like to call me a millennial but that's never really fit.

Depending on the exact years of birth in your preferred definition people between about 37 and 55 are Generation X. That's already pithy. If you need derogatory the traditional usage is "Slacker."
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:13 PM on November 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


It's odd how "generations" creep. In the 90s at the peak of the GenX/grunge thing, I was a bit too young. GenXers were born in the late 60s and I was born in 1975. The baby boomer boundary is said to be in the 1960s, but in the 80s, those late arrivals would have been too young to be thought of as boomers, who were born immediately after the war.

So I'm presumably a GenXer, but I don't feel like one because I was basically a kid when they were angsting about the newfound stresses of adulthood, and my experience of GenX is exactly that dynamic -- not being old enough to fit in.
posted by klanawa at 9:17 AM on November 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


as I've already noted, I'm technically a boomer (born in 1959), but in being born toward the end of the boom, generally didn't see many of the advantages*, all the boats being full by the time I was old enough to make use of them (a standard Gen-X complaint). I didn't even get my own locker at school until halfway through Grade Nine. And it does bear repeating: Douglas Coupland who literally wrote the book on Gen-X was born in 1961.

* I did do okay on the price of my education, certainly compared to now. But then I graduated directly into a honking big recession. Oh well.
posted by philip-random at 9:41 AM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


I work next a (very diverse and generally progressive) public city college. I was waiting for my food from the truck and got to observe some politically active boomers attempting to engage with college students.

First I'll say that I entirely agreed with both their apparent long term (impeach Trump) and short term (get people to show up for a rally) goals.

It was so so very cringe-y. It was mostly one older white man haranguing a bunch of much younger students of color (first and second generation immigrants). He wasn't engaging with them but barking at them. They were minimally polite but did nothing to encourage the interaction and the barking just went on and on. When the older man finally moved on, the students turned to each other and started discussing potentially redeeming aspects of the Trump administration. (and these included visibly Muslim young people of color).

I'm pretty sure that Boomer will have a different story to tell about that interaction than his interlocuters, and who should get what kind of credit for political activism and intergenerational engagement.
posted by Salamandrous at 7:09 AM on November 16, 2019 [3 favorites]




:(

Of course it's coming from Fox. I know Fox News is not the same as the rest of the Fox Broadcasting Company, but they're both under the Fox Corporation umbrella.

“OK boomer” isn’t just about the past. It’s about our apocalyptic future. -- It’s not really about age — and it’s more complicated than just memes. (Aja Romano for Vox, Nov 19, 2019)

Romano traces the roots of the term to 4chan circa 2015, but notes "the phrase really took off this year on TikTok, as a rebuttal to angry rants by baby boomers about kids these days," and cites a song by Peter Kuli & Jedwill that define boomers as racist, fascist Trump supporters with bad hair as pushing the phrase further. (Here's a lyric video if you're trying to hear what they're saying.)

And it goes on from there. Pretty good roundup, IMO.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:10 AM on November 22, 2019


Look, I know this is closing the barn door after the horses are so far gone that you can't even see the dust anymore, but it's a "generation" thread, and I am contractually obligated to post "GOOGLE JOSHUA GLENN" in such threads. posted by ob1quixote at 8:56 AM on November 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


....and I am contractually obligated to post "GOOGLE JOSHUA GLENN" in such threads.

Ok.....[hook noises]
posted by thelonius at 9:30 AM on November 22, 2019


“OK Boomer” as a TV show seems like some hardcore shark jump hypotenuse calculation.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:26 PM on November 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


It reminds me of the days when people got actual book deals based on websites like "Shit My Dad Says"
posted by thelonius at 2:51 AM on November 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


ITYM $#*! My Dad Says
posted by Burhanistan at 4:45 AM on November 23, 2019


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