Ok Boomer – a weary insult from a gathering generational war

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Bless Chloe Swarbrick for just dropping the ‘Ok Boomer’ retort in Parliament as she explained why her generation struggles to remain calm in the face of Boomer apathy over something as agenda setting as climate change.

The casualness with which she slipped the insult in was perfectly dead pan and it’s set social media alight with those cheering her use of it vs Boomer indignation that their comfortable sense of complacency should ever be mocked so mercilessly.

‘Ok Boomer’ is a weary insult from a  gathering generational war.

Millennials were of course raised by helicopter parents and an education system that preached inclusion above all and how special everyone was for participating. Where the demands of the Millennial  to be safe trumped all other objective standards and expanded into subjective definitions of triggers and endless social media navel-gazing. Where precarious work environments, over education and lack of true economic wealth mean the only power was the policing of micro-aggressions. Can’t change the hegemonic structure of neoliberalism? Endlessly prosecute every tiny interpersonal interaction as a war crime. Lives in the shadow of climate change like the spectre at the feast.

Boomers of course lived under Governments who saw the impact unfettered capitalism caused democracies with World War 2. The unmodified crash and boom cycle could suddenly leave vast swathes of a democracy in crippling poverty and when capitalism failed people they radicalised to being Communists or Fascists. Governments post World War Two saw their obligations as subsidising from cradle to grave the lives of their citizens so that they had a vested interest in remaining democratic capitalists as opposed to Communists or Fascists.  Boomers grew up in this amazing economic time with universal services and a true egalitarian goal, sadly as a generation they lifted the universal ladder that had provided them so well up after them when the Gen Xers turned up.

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Gen Xers, my generation, can’t stand either of these generations. We are the first user pays generation, who put off having kids til later after education costs, got priced out of the market by property speculating boomers, are now told we will have to get our Superannuation late and remain unable to break through in a range of career paths because the bloody Boomers refuse point blank to retire.

The vested structures of neoliberalism that Boomers have benefited from will never be dismantled while the Boomers have numerical power at the ballot box, and this is the only ray of hope for Gen Xers and Millennials. In NZ the first election where we will have numerical advantage over Boomers is 2026. At that election there will be more of us at the polls than Boomers.

THEN we get our revenge comrades. Then.

The sacred promise of democracy is that a parent can look into the face of their infant and know that child will get a better deal at life than they’ve had. With the dominance of neoliberalism and a user pays culture that puts free market globalised profit above all else, parents can not meet the gaze of their children in good faith any longer.

The promise of democracy has been broken and there will be deep ramifications to that.

22 COMMENTS

  1. and while we are pissing around blaming each other the planet burns .

    yeah good one the lot of you..

    • i wish we could live in a society like the federation as they descrided in first contact where vefrom cockran truely changed society it would be nice

      • There are some mysteries that coinage can not penetrate. For example Galileo was able to come up with a theory of flight but there was no amount of money that could build a 2nd century airplane. We can make theories that make sense to humans but the machines themselves have limitations.

        The economic state predicted in Star Trek are as follows.

        1. Focus on self improvement of yourself and others
        2. Don’t monopolise material things and resources
        3. Maintain stockpiles of objectively valuable resources to trade with

        Gene Roddenberry the creator of Star Trek was able to force the evolution of humanity by wiping out a quarter of its population through a 3rd World War and irradiating the survivors.

        So with out forcing genocide and nuclear war on everyone there’s at least a couple ways to evolve to a state depicted in Star Trek.

        So before we get rid of the current monetary system we would have to get rid of materialism first. Materialism (and I’m quoting from professor Google here) is an interest in and desire for money, passion ect, rather than spiritual or ethical value.

        Materialism is a word that can be used to describe the majority of humans living in 1st or 2nd world countries. Materialism doesn’t mean humans are bad rather a product of the environment. All of our lives we’ve been raised on the mentality of save for the future and look out for number one. Ideas like this have left humans with an ingrained sense of hoarding materials, money and resources. Usually when people volunteer there time it doesn’t put pressure on quality of life.

        Star Trek offers a possible solution to not just explore the universe but to explore the human condition as we have chosen to accept as normal. If any of us was to be transported into Star Trek we would stick out like sore thumbs. Our wants, desires and needs would be noticeably focused on our own self benefit as opposed to those in need.

        So is it even possible to brake the mentality of materialism I don’t know but we won’t be able to brake it with a user pays health and education system. We’d have to have a fully funded universal health and education system and social safety net.

        So let’s use the example of a Scientist. Scientists have student debt forcing the better trained scientists to seek out higher paying jobs to pay off the loan and is forced to make money instead helping people.

        Compare that to the way a scientists life would unfold in a Star Trek economy. The desire to become a scientist would be free and helping people would be free. In this second example access to education is no longer thought of as scarcity requiring hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay off. Instead is seen as bettering yourself and others.

        Imagine for a moment Picard was told that he could not save a civilisation because they were not insured or just weren’t federation citizens. Barring the prime directive I don’t believe there is any red tape that would ban Picard from helping someone. In Picard’s life the screwdriver that stretches from earth to anywhere in the galaxy actually turns and solves the problem it was designed for. In Picard’s life saving others is what it’s all about not buying a yacht or paying off debt.

        Ultimately unless consumers stop buying things the boom bust cycle will continue and consumerism won’t stop until the markets are completely broken. Star Treks economic future isn’t a fantasy it’s just really difficult to avoid forcing humanity to evolve technologically through resource depletion and war.

  2. gen x are being branded the sneaky generation we are watching boomers and milleniels fight it out while we sit on side line pretending to be alot poorer than we are but i will vote with the milleniels the boomers have stuffed this country and i cant stand the thought of paying these bloody boomers the pension when we on brink of being stripped of our retirement because of greedy boomers can you imagine this country if labours 1976 retirement saving scheme hadnt been axed we would truly own our own future the capital would been there to build companies infer structure and the investment we need to make in climate change the faster the boomer drop dead the better we have to much work ahead and for the last decade they have blocked any progress and no to bailing the buggers out when they cant cash up there assets having screwed us over

  3. you wont be getting your revenge Martyn you will be watching the last bumble die and wishing to hell

    you had not been sucked into the divide and rule / the oldest game in the book by who ever neo liberal

    master is gaining by keeping us stupid and fighting each other instead of actually doing some thing about

    what needs to be really done to have a planet left for life to live on .

    eh ?

  4. Most of us boomers did not have careers, we had jobs, sometimes the same one for years, often dirty and dangerous, hoist sheep carcasses in the works and ports, shearing the bloody things, they were relatively well paid and relatively secure but they were jobs not careers.

    And by fifty five after working in mills, on farms, in tunnels and shearing for more than twenty years the body could not do the job anymore, but by then the generationxers were middle management and they not going to let a grey haired crumpy old boomer in.

    So apart from caring for various family members I have been campaigning like some xers and some millenials to retain the commons, to stop climate change etc. It would be sad to make it about the generations distracting us from the class issues

    • It’s okay, Stephen. We know not every single Boomer on the face of the planet is a miserable, cash-hoarding vulture. Just like not every Millenial is a hyper-woke, micro-aggression policing cry-baby abjectly terrified of reality. Insulting blanket generalisations don’t really help anyone. (Having said that, I will say that everyone in the National Party is either A) a bastard, or B) desperately lying to themselves by refusing to acknowledge they’re surrounded by bastards.)

  5. This generation war concept is nonsense. My children are not at war with my parents. I don’t hate both my parents and my kids. The idea is laughable.

    The reality is that we are working on ways to make sure that what wealth my parents did amass as average middle class boomers can be used by the generations following me (a Gen Xer).

    Portraying this as a battle between generation is so astoundingly unhelpful I don’t know how to put it into words. This is a battle of the uber-rich versus the rest of us – as it has always been. The uber rich redesigned the world economy to make sure the Boomers were the only generation that had cradle to grave care and it is they that have robbed my millennial children of their birthright – not the Boomers.

    To cast this as a generational war is to play into the hands of the elites who always want us to fight amongst ourselves while they make off with the loot. To find TDB has also fallen for this view of the issue is hugely surprising.

  6. Nah, Gen X will lose everything

    Boomers have it all and the Millennials will inherit is all, and then guard it resolutely of course.

    Gen X have nothing and never will, but for a generation of bad hair, bad music and shoulder pads, it serves them right 🙂

    • well actually Wiking we will all lose everything.

      unless we take seriously that climate change is all of generations present nuclear moment

      and its coming down very fast and its coming down now. calling each other names is not going to do very much to help this nor is attempting to fix the problem with the let handed monkey wrench od saying its all because of the boomers .

      the real problem is its all because { in these moments in time }of neo liberalism } and that is a disease my friend that is inter generational.

      • I wasnt really being serious RW Man.
        But its always good to have a poke at Martyns fav loser generation.
        Quite agree that name calling wont affect climate change, man made or otherwise too. But, like many folk, i couldnt really give a toss.

  7. At the risk of a foil hat, boomers are not the problem, just SOME boomers. And those few Boomers will be replaced by a few Gen Xers perpetuating inter-generational blame who will be replaced by a few Gen Yers and then a few millennial and so on….all the while taking more and more of the pie.

  8. Apparently, Parliament is currently comprised primarily of Generation X. It looks like my peers in Wellington abandoned the flannel, hosed off the stench of teen spirit, and have embraced the horror of neo-liberalism with open arms. It seems ‘you become the thing you most hate’ holds true. Is it any wonder Gen X is known as the “suicide generation”? We were the slackers. The apathetic. The cynical sneerers corporate marketing couldn’t touch. And now we stand in no man’s land while the Boomers and the Millenials fling shit at each other. I should probably care more about that than I do… but I’m feeling incredibly apathetic right now.

  9. I am a 1944 born poor boomer and take it as an insult that I am selfish as I have spent my life caring for the underdog every time they come through my life, as I took my family and struggled working as a common tradesman on modest wages until I was chemically poisoned in the workplace job while earning a average modest wage to support my family.

    I have not speculated on stock market or shoddy dealing so I don’t see why we are painted as deviant.

    This generation war is just a divide and rule ploy to take the ball off what politicians are doing wrong.

    Don’t fall for this old ploy that John Key and Steven Joyce began 10 years ago.

    • Thumbs up to that CLEANGREEN.

      I’m of the same generation as yourself and I don’t mind being called a BOOMER. It’s insignificant in the grand scheme of things to me, because my aim is to be respectful and caring towards all life that I share my existence with, including my environment. I hope that to be my legacy.

      Time to stop the inter generational wars, after all no one is responsible for the age or generation they were born into. No more bickering, finger pointing or blaming. Instead we can all pull together to make our nation clean and healthy for all life now and in the future to be able to survive, enjoy and thrive.

  10. Look we always blamed the previous generation. I did it with mine when post war we lived as kids wondering when the next nuclear bomb would go off ; we fought all the things ; apartheid, Maori Land occupations, sexism, gender and other discrimination. As the 1980s morphed into the 1990s the neoliberal nightmare we fought that too as we saw our generation who are Maori forced out of their jobs, sent to the cities, putting in place the inequalities that are so evident still today. This idea that Jack Tame is spreading is that we had free tertiary education ; so few of our families could afford to have their kids in university while they were still struggling to pay the bills ; those of us who did make it did so by working our arses off in the freezing works in the holidays ; that, in case you didn’t know was how organisation and politicisation was enhanced for Meat Workers. And there they are today, going oh well, I’m a boomer, I must be a bad person because Jack Tame and millennials (and you Martyn) say so – even though I might have the “privilege” of a pension, my bones and back and knees and hips are fucked. Wake up : it’s about class and privilege oh and race ; it always has been. So please Martyn et al, I think this is a fig leaf argument designed to divide us. Its awful to see you falling for it.

    • Too true Darien, is it any wonder the rest of us find the left so repulsive, although perhaps not as repulsive as they view each other. Happy days for the alt right indeed.

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