It has been longer than it feels like to me since President Donald Trump announced he is pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate change – 1 June 2017 – proving yet again that he is dumber than I thought he was.
He followed through on that threat (yes, it is an actual threat to the survival of planet Earth) on Monday by sending paperwork to the United Nations that begins the year-long process of U.S. withdrawal from the Agreement.ITEM 2:
As reported in the Washington Post, on Tuesday while speaking about the dire need for a stricter climate change policy, 25-year-old member of the New Zealand Parliament, Chlöe Swarbrick, reacted to a jeer about her youth with an insolent aside, “OK boomer,” before smoothly continuing her speech.
It comes so quickly at :16 seconds into this video that you can barely hear it:
Just this week, I've run into that epithet about a dozen times. As befits someone even older than the boomer generation, I am apparently way behind the curve on the slang term. In fact, as Molly Roberts writes in the Washington Post,
“OK, boomer” was fun and funny, so we said it about a million times on Twitter in the space of one day, and now it has become unfunny and lame.”
Before that happened, a conservative radio personality, Bob Lonsberry who at age 60 is a member of the Gen X generation, denounced the word “boomer” as “the n-word of ageism.”
A bit over the top, don't you think, and it misses the point but I still wondered what “OK, boomer” means. The WaPo's Molly Roberts tells us that young people use the phrase to mock their elders:
”The all-purpose reply is designed to disarm oldish people who dispense condescension dressed up as wisdom,” she writes.
“Your mom tells you that your peers’ phones are rotting their brains, and that they should spend some time outside mowing the lawn. 'OK, boomer.' “Your grandpa tells you that kids these days have lost all sense of civility because they yelled at Ellen DeGeneres for going to a football game with George W. Bush. 'OK, boomer.'
“Some random grump in your replies on Twitter tells you Greta Thunberg should go to school back in Sweden instead of gallivanting across the 50 states spreading the green gospel. 'OK, boomer.'”
To put a button on the definition, Ms. Roberts further tells us that that young people use the slogan
”...because they’re inheriting a collapsing climate, an unequal economy and endless battles overseas that they didn’t start. They’re saying a lot with very little, and by saying very little they end up saying even more.
“'OK, boomer' sends the message that the grown-ups have screwed up so totally, and are veering so speedily into irrelevance, that convincing them of anything is a waste of keyboard characters.”
So what they are saying, it seems, is that some young adults can be just as thick-headed and intolerant as some old people. (Thick-headedness is not a generation-specific trait.)
While I was tracking all this down, I recalled a video that's been around the internet in one form or another for a long time. I'm sure I must have posted before but it's relevant in a different way now:
Once again it is a matter of people - generations in this case - talking past one another when in reality they have everything in common on the subject of saving the planet. Old folks have a lifetime of experience and the young ones have the energy and stamina to do what is necessary.
Although “OK, Boomer” is clever and it may be effective (among the young people who understand its meaning) in raising awareness, it is also divisive at a time when we all need one another as never before in the history of Planet Earth.