Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.
The UK is currently being subjected to a true political conundrum. We stand as a nation divided: the rich versus the poor, the north versus the south, the young versus the old. And it is the latter that has caused the biggest shift in British social dynamic, with a small online meme suddenly and rapidly taking over young people’s views of the older generations.
The whole point of the term, ‘Ok Boomer’, is simply to try and regain some power from the famed oppressive older generation, but it can also be seen to be creating more problems than it’s solving. It’s a perfectly petty way of asserting yourself and it does the job exceedingly well, evoking the desired response from Boomer mindsets. This, as well as mostly differing political views, is what has been noted by Will Jennings, a political science and public policy professor from the University of Southampton. He claims that there is ‘great divergence between the age of the population,’ and this is what is causing such a stagnant and disappointing run in British politics. Westminster has been plagued with a Parliamentary deadlock for far too long, but it seems like, if each large and therefore powerful group in society cannot respect each other and listen to one another, this fact doesn’t seem able to change any time soon.
In a generalised sweep, it is thought that Millennials and Generation Z are focused on the inevitably of climate change and the destruction of British staples such as the NHS. Meanwhile, it is suggested that the Baby Boomer generation is more focused on internalising wealth and a more concrete foreign policy. However, this is not actually the case for either group as age does not indicate what a person is thinking, nor does it affect what kind of politics you defend. This has not managed to stop the new internet craze of ‘Ok Boomer’, where the younger generations have taken to the term in order to try and shut down negativity and dismiss unnecessary comments that come from disrespectful views. It was first used in 2018 but has recently snowballed into common vocabulary, even being used in New Zealand’s Parliament. It is important to note a key point of this effective weapon against adversity: Boomer is a state of mind, something beyond the realms of age being able to define.
Truthfully, it’s not just differing political views that are stopping us from respecting our elders. The typical Boomer stubbornness and unacceptability to change is one of the most dangerous things that could be placed inside this confusing mess. The older generation has been disrespecting their younger counterparts for a long time, blaming them for being too obsessed with the internet and innovative technology, or for destroying pointless commercialist products, such as the diamond industry and napkins. The older generation laid the cards at the napkin-less table many years ago, and now the youth have answered.
However, despite being a hilarious and effective technique at causing outrage, this will not get us anywhere regarding the outcome for our country. ‘Ok Boomer’ is a fine response, but would its effects be substantially maximised if it was followed with, ‘what’s next?’