The decisive rise of the “OK Boomer” meme continues.
On Monday, an MP from New Zealand’s Green Party, 25-year-old Chlöe Swarbrick, delivered a speech in support of a Zero Carbon Bill, which would provide a framework to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and establish a new Climate Change Commission. The government’s previous plan to limit greenhouse gases has been criticized by climate activists as insufficient.
“Mr. Speaker, how many world leaders for how many decades have seen and known what is coming, but have decided that it is more politically expedient to keep [climate change] behind closed doors?” she asked. “My generation and the generations after me do not have that luxury.”
“In the year 2050 I will be 56 years old… yet, right now, the average of this 52nd Parliament is 49-years old,” she continued. In response, another MP began to heckle her.
“OK boomer,” Swarbrick shot back.
Not sure what she’s referring to? The phrase “OK boomer” comes from a viral meme that originated on the social media site TikTok. The videos usually include an audio clip of an older man saying, “The millennials and Generation Z have the Peter Pan syndrome, they don’t ever want to grow up.” Teens then include their reactions, always a variation on the phrase “OK Boomer.”
The phrase has taken off across the Internet and beyond, and become a common retort used by young people when confronting condescension from older people, usually those of the Baby Boomer generation.
In an interview with Stuff, Swarbrick explained her use of the phrase: It’s a “simple summarisation of collective exhaustion,” she said. “Young people have suffered a decade of jibes about how millennials have ruined everything and need to ‘pull our socks up,’ or something.”
“‘OK boomer’ acknowledges that you cannot win a deeply polarized debate — facts don’t matter,” she continued. “It’s better to acknowledge that perhaps energy is better spent elsewhere.”