Just because lots of people say it doesn’t make it OK. Picture: istock
Just because lots of people say it doesn’t make it OK. Picture: istock

Why it’s not OK to say ‘OK boomer’

"OK boomer."

By now you've probably encountered this unedifying phrase.

If you ever waste your time on Twitter, you'll have seen it repeatedly. It's a popular way to shut down an argument with anyone who appears they may be more than five minutes out of nappies.

The insult is often thrown around by people who claim to be "progressive" and "tolerant".

It surged in popularity after being used by Greens MP Chlöe Swarbrick in the New Zealand parliament last November.

Quite why the mere fact of belonging to the baby boomer age group disqualifies one from being allowed to have an opinion is not entirely clear.

Many of those using the "OK boomer" insult have the hard work, saving and sacrifice of this generation to thank for the lives of comfort they enjoy today.

The least they could do is show a little respect.

Instead, they resort to what can only be regarded as blatant ageism.

Baby Boomers deserve a bit more respect.
Baby Boomers deserve a bit more respect.

It's a symptom of the times.

One person being treated with even greater disdain by the know-it-alls on Twitter is Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Born in 1968, Mr Morrison falls just outside the "baby boomer" generation, but not to worry, he has been granted a popular new insult all of his own.

The Prime Minister is currently being referred to as "Scotty from marketing" so often that it is the top trending hashtag on Twitter.

"#Scottyfommarketing" also makes the top ten hashtags list, which may say something about the smarts of people using it.

Putting aside Mr Morrison's recent failings - including his grievous failure to control the weather - this columnist can't help but wonder what this particular insult is meant to say about the 269,000 Australians who work in the marketing business.

Granted, a marketing meeting is about as fun as a root canal, but it's not a criminal enterprise.

The people working in the field hardly deserve to be the butt end of such hearty derision.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s new nickname is giving marketing a bad name. PICTURE: AAP
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s new nickname is giving marketing a bad name. PICTURE: AAP


The petty, personal insults are not just confined to those with left-of-centre views. LNP leader Deb Frecklington did herself and her party no favours last month when she commented on the clothes worn by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and called her a "princess", drawing a contrast with her own life as a mother.

Whether intended or not, the heavy implication was that Ms Palaszczuk's lack of children adversely affected her ability to make judgment calls.

When challenged on her comments, Ms Frecklington appeared to double down.

"I was simply pointing out my real world experience and that my kids keep me grounded," she said.

Suggesting that not having kids means you're less likely to be "grounded", your "real world experience" less meaningful.

One suspects that all Ms Frecklington achieved by her comments was the alienating of thousands of potential voters who have either chosen not to have children, or have been unable to do so.

 

 

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: Lachie Millard
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: Lachie Millard

 

 

But we live in an era of nasty, personalised politics. Just look at what is being said about Gold Coast councillors on social media as the March 28 poll looms.

Much of it could not be repeated in print. No wonder Division 13 candidate Katrina Beikoff yesterday appealed to residents to dial down the "personal attacks".

If only people could have sensible, grown-up debates about the issues that matter without resorting to ageism, without sneering, without commenting on peoples' personal lives.

Tackle the issues not the individual. Treat people with respect.

A naive hope in this social media age? It would seem so.

Makes me sound like an old fogey just for suggesting it.

I'm not that old but I know what they'll say.

"OK boomer."



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