OK, Boomer

Goals

To have an understanding surrounding how the meme trend "OK Boomer" started. Additionally, to have at least 25 of what Wonder considers the best and most iconic examples of its use. Finally, how this meme is expected to evolve.

Early Findings

Origins

  • The earliest mentions of "OK Boomer" can be traced as far back as 2015 on 4chan, where the phrase was used as an insult by the forum’s anonymous users, aimed at other anonymous users who seemed out of touch. The phrase really took off this year on TikTok, as a rebuttal to angry rants by baby boomers about kids these days. Peter Kuli & Jedwill wrote a song known as “OK BOOMER!”, (the verses define boomers as racist, fascist Trump supporters with bad hair), and it became a popular song choice for TikTok sing-along videos in fall 2019.
  • The meme, which originated among Gen Z teens using the phrase to mock their unwoke elders, first gained widespread attention late last month when Taylor Lorenz reported on the phrase for the New York Times.
  • According to Vogue, “OK Boomer” started with young people responding to a video of an older man ridiculing Gen Z and Millennials for having Peter Pan Syndrome.

How it is Being Perceived

  • The phrase, which is both a meme and an insult, is a way for younger people to put down older people who are clueless about reality. Not surprisingly, older people aren’t exactly pleased about it.
  • Elizabeth C. Tippett, a law professor at the University of Oregon, wrote a column for Business Insider saying the insult is age-related, meaning it could violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
  • "Given the prevalence of age discrimination lawsuits, employers should take heed and consider reminding their workforce about the impropriety of this and other age-related phrases and train their employees to leave the generation wars at the door," writes Anthony J. Oncidi in the National Law Review.

Expected Evolution

Iconic Examples of its Use

  • A 25-year-old lawmaker in New Zealand put down an older member of parliament heckling her about climate change. "Chlöe Swarbrick was speaking about the Zero Carbon Bill, which would set a target of zero carbon emissions for the country by 2050. When she was heckled, she casually dropped a sharp-tongued retort: "OK boomer", and, unfazed, continued talking amid the puzzlement and silence of the room."
  • According to the New York Times, Shannon O'Connor, a teen designer has already sold $10,000 worth of sweatshirts with the “OK BOOMER” slogan repeated many times on the front, ending with the line, “Have a terrible day.”
  • Brands crashing the party to stake a side in the "demographic wars" was all but inevitable. Natural Light used it to mock a tweet by Miller Lite, for example.

Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals

  • Our first hour of research provided a few plausible origins of the term "OK, Boomer". We also provided two expected evolutions of the meme. We feel that our research in these two areas are exhaustive and requires no further research based on our findings, however we will still offer an option to keep researching these two areas should that be desired.
  • Please select one or more of the options provided in the proposed scoping section below.

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