Millennials dislike Boomers for all the same reasons the Gen Zers dislike them. Gen Xers, for their part, are growing increasingly unhappy because it’s dawning on them that they are about to be leapfrogged in the scheme of national succession. The Boomers stubbornly cling to power as the clock runs out: there’s as little chance a Gen Xer will become president of the United States as Prince Charles will succeed his mum without bumping her off. This seems to have increased the bad feeling the X-ers have toward Millennials, who, as a generation, seem to have otherwise borne the brunt of many Boomer misfires (the Iraq war, the Great Recession). Meanwhile, the Millennials are quite happy to dismiss their youngsters as pampered and unworldly groundlings– snowflakes, to use the meme fist popularized in the novel Fight Club, written of course by a Baby Boomer.
What “OK Boomer” made plain is that the only thing all these age cohorts agree on is that, as bad as everybody else is, the Boomers are worse. There’s justice here. Boomers invented the generational antagonism that the “OK Boomer” meme thrived on and enlarged. For self-hating Boomers like me, this made the “OK Boomer” episode unusually clarifying and rewarding, and we should remain forever grateful to whatever whining, resentful non-Boomer thought it up. I’m sorry to see it go—especially because our elders never had a chance to use it.
These were the generations whose spawn we were, called the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation. Their silence was one of the things that made them great. Still, a snappy comeback would have been handy 40 years ago as we sanctimoniously hectored them with the many great truths we thought we had discovered, and with which we began our long cultural domination: “The Viet Cong are agrarian reformers!” “Condoms aren’t worth the trouble!” “Yoko Ono is an artist!”