Is the term 'Boomer' just ordinary ageism now?

Disclosure: I’m not technically a Baby Boomer, but Gen Xers tend to get lumped in (actually that might be part of the issue).

I fully understand the term ‘OK Boomer’ started as a throwaway joke, and quickly became a meme, and initially served its purpose in replacing the eyeroll emoji in the specific circumstance where an old person said something explicitly typical of their generation that required a dismissive response.

But I think it’s evolved way beyond that now, and the usage I’m seeing could now be summarised as ‘older people are so stupid/gullible/irrelevant/laughable/predictable/whatever’ - in other words, I think it has changed from a response into a general purpose prejudice; it’s stopped being about how some stupid things seem to be more commonly uttered by older people and it’s very much more, now, about how older individuals can be expected to conform to a stereotype. A statistical correlation (which may have had a basis in truth) has been generalised into a prejudice about all of the individuals in the group.

Of course, I’m not saying the magnitude of harm done is anything like it has been for other categories of prejudice; it obviously hasn’t, but I don’t think that necessarily excuses it as right or acceptable either.

It’s possible that I am just being oversensitive and there isn’t even a problem, but to me, it seems like there is; I didn’t go looking for a reason to be offended by something; this came to me, with offence as its explicit agenda.

There seems to be a somewhat larger than usual generation gap between Millenials and Gen-Z(?- today’s teenagers/early twenty-somethings) and Gen-X and the Baby Boomers.

In large part, it seems to be driven by economic, technological and social differences- the Boomers and Gen-X were apparently the last generations that were able to take advantage of a certain sort of career/life path that involved being able to tap into economic success to pay off student loans, buy houses, etc… And those two generations were also the last two to effectively reach adulthood without the Internet/social media/smart devices being a pervasive force in pretty much everything. Finally, the Boomers were the last to grow up in the older social era, with segregation, rampant homophobia, etc… being socially acceptable. Gen-X grew up in a transition period, where overt racism wasn’t acceptable, but homophobia was still mostly condoned, and things like institutional racism, equity, etc… weren’t even on the radar. Much like I suspect Millenials and Gen-Z will be with regard to things like trans rights, actually.

So the younger generations see everyone else as completely out of touch, and also view a lot of today’s problems as being caused by the Baby Boomers. Which isn’t really true; most of what they gripe about was more the Silent Generation, as the Baby Boomers didn’t come into political dominance until the mid-1980s. It’s like blaming Gen-X for stuff the Baby Boomers did do in the 80s and 90s- we were in our teens and 20s at the time!

In general, the attitude is basically that older generations are out of touch with what they’re facing, while to the older generations, they seem to be somewhat lacking in grit and resolve

That’s my view. Age 59

Not to me. Generally a word still mean the same thing to me as it did decades ago; thus boomers refer to people born from 1946 to 1964.

I’ve generally encountered it in the specific, not the general, sense, and then as a response to something an older person says or does. That’s not prejudice, that’s postjudice. And I say this as someone roughly contemporaneous in generation with you.

Do you have some examples?

Well, yeah, but ‘Negro’ is just the Spanish word for the colour black, isn’t it? The formal definition of a word is distinct from how people use that word.

I haven’t seen the OK Boomer thing in months. Is it still a thing?

And I find Negro a totally acceptable non-racist term. No one would ever accuse Martin Luther King of being a racist and that was the term he used in his “I Have a Dream Speech”.

I just don’t keep up with recent changes in language usage.

I would just like the Boomers to get out of the way, already. It feels like they’ve been fucking things up for 40 years now and even in their sunset years, they just won’t stop throwing their collective weight around. And they do this disastrously, over and over again.

I’m technically a boomer but since I was born late in 1964 I’ve typically identified more with Gen X.

The ‘OK Boomer’ thing never bothered me. When the phrase was more in use, younger guys at work sometimes said it to me jokingly, and my now 18 year old son started saying ‘OK boomer’ to me when I’d say or do something he thought was old-person style lame or stupid. So I asked him once "what is your generation called? (born in 2002). He said Gen Z, “I’m a Zoomer”. So next couple times he said something silly or naive I’d say “OK Zoomer”. He stopped saying “OK Boomer” to me right away after that :laughing:

I haven’t seen it used in a while, and the infrequent uses I’ve seen are in the general “You just said something stupid!” sense. Possibly they were “You just said something stupid because you’re old” uses, but in the way kids have always thought grown-ups were dumb.

Sure. All of these come from comments on my YouTube content (and granted, online comments can be a cesspool, but that’s kind of the point):

“I mean if you buy things from facebook, instagram or other socialmedia you are a boomer or Just realy dumb…”
(I actually bought the thing to demonstrate that it’s a scam)

“Stop doing these, you’re just an embarassing boomer.”
(on a scambaiting video)

“Omg why is there a boomer on youtube”
(Apropos of nothing in particular)

“Dirty boomer drank this off camera.”
(about a jar of pondwater)

“Sounds like a typical boomer”
(on some random video about scambaiting)

“you’re such a boomer it’s unreal, using an Indian accent isn’t racist.”

Edit: and there you go: Snowboarder_Bo’s statement a few comments up: a sweeping generalisation about the whole group…

Try. When people use the term boomer derisively, it is often aimed at old white people who expect the world to adapt to their sense of entitlement and prejudice. Being a productive member of society takes effort. I think a lot of people feel that white boomers spent their entire lives having their every whim catered to and avoiding making any sacrifice for the greater good.

Not so much - the meme has long since peaked, but the association ‘boomer = stupid bad old people’ is the thing that came out of it

It was mainly pushback from the almost decade long “look at the stupid millennials/zoomers” material being pushed by Boomers and Xers.

I think it’s also a push back to old people just straight up telling people what to do, or offering completely unsolicited advice to strangers.

Understood, but to push back against the entire group, based on behaviours of a subset of that group…

Boomers have a sense of entitlement that their cultural take will last forever. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’ve had 20 years of presidents born in the same freaking year of 1946, the first year of the Baby Boom, and we only averted 24 by electing someone older still.

Biden is a war baby, only four years older, yet I think the cultural take of the war babies was NOT overdone. The early rockers and folk artists faded away in a normal fashion. That’s normal, things are in fashion and they recede into the past. Not repeated for decades on end.

Obama was also a boomer, but at least a later boomer, 15 years between him and the others. But I have ZERO sympathy that the weight of culture has finally shifted to the boomers being mocked as out of touch.

All of them?

Too many of them.