‘OK, boomer’: 25-year-old lawmaker hushed heckler during climate change speech

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“How many world leaders for how many decades have seen and known what is coming" ...but stayed silent - Swarbrick

Washington Post - November 5, 2019

The 25-year-old lawmaker was just 40 seconds into her speech about the dire importance of stricter climate change policy when a heckle rang through the mostly empty hearing room.

“In the year 2050, I will be 56 years old; yet, right now, the average age of this 52nd Parliament is 49 years old,” said Chlöe Swarbrick, a member of the New Zealand Parliament, emphasizing that the burden of dealing with a climate crisis will fall on her generation and those who come after.

As she spoke, one of her colleagues jeered at her age, shouting something indiscernible from his seat. With devastating concision, and like legions of teens on TikTok before her, Swarbrick replied without missing a beat: “OK, boomer,” she said, then continued her remarks.

The glib retort — often employed by millennials and Gen Z — has become global shorthand, a withering reply to condescension from older generations, notably, baby boomers. The viral phrase has also been labeled the latest shot fired in an escalating generation war, in which the front lines are social media comment sections and relations have frayed over issues such as student loan debt and climate change.

The reaction inside the New Zealand Parliament Building was muted — perhaps because the room was nearly empty, or perhaps because Swarbrick’s casual use of Internet jargon did not resonate with those in attendance, who, if they were like the average lawmaker, were twice her age.

A conservative radio host compared ‘boomer’ to the n-word. Even Dictionary.com was appalled.

Later, Swarbrick said some were upset with the interjection during the Tuesday speech, but she said she was simply responding to the heckling lawmaker in kind and meant no malice.

“Today I have learnt that responding succinctly and in perfect jest to somebody heckling you about *your age* as you speak about the impact of climate change on *your generation* with the literal title of their generation makes some people very mad,” she wrote on Facebook. “So I guess millennials ruined humour. That, or we just need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and abstain from avocados. That’s the joke.” ...
Read full report at Washington Post

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