Ok Boomer: Cool or Not Cool?

"Ok Boomer" merch sent us through a range of emotions from indignation and outrage to wanting to reach out. Ultimately we asked: Is it worth the fight?

I have gone through a few different phases on this. The first was a certain outrage, provoked by the NYT piece. Last week they ran a story about enterprising teenagers selling merch with the tag line “Ok Boomer” or “Ok Boomer, have a terrible day.” There were a few lines about how some young people feel we older people have ruined their future.

What sort of victim mentality is this?

What followed for me was a multi-day jag of self-righteous indignation. How dare they make our already divisive world even more so? What sort of victim mentality is this? On and on my mind went. This article went through a dozen re-writes. I had banged out 1500 words on this mental run and I was not done. I started comparing these T-shirts to white power merchandise. How dare they segregate and blame a specific section of society when we were just trying to do the best we knew how?

Let’s cooperate

Next, I thought what was needed was to reach out to younger people, for them to continue to inspire and question us older people who may have become inured to the habits of our ways. Asking for help always seems a more effective way of connecting than blaming. I wrote another article, this time 2000 words, about how we are not the enemy, that we all live here together, and let’s cooperate.

You want to fight, bring it on

But that seemed like hokum. Basically, I was pissed off. Who were these upstarts to get on our case when we are the ones who made the phone they were using and the internet? On and on like that. Take that, young ones! You want to fight, bring it on. This one only got about 1000 words before I exhausted myself. Oh gosh.

Back to an even keel

Today I am back to a more or less even keel on this subject. My main beef was that I am opposed to labeling. We all do it, and it is lazy. What about the name-calling and what I took to be a personal insult? Let’s get real. It is a clever and somewhat silly meme. It makes a great graphic T-shirt, and if I can’t handle it, that is my problem. Basically I just got over it. 

There is only a fight if there are two people fighting

I studied martial arts for some time. One of the main things we learned was that there is only a fight if there are two people fighting. One person does not make a fight. Non-reaction is not nearly as much fun as a caffeine-fueled many-thousand-word retort, but it is the better use of time. There is wisdom in any age, and it is for all of us to work together on this. And some thick skin helps.

Glad this passed and we can move on to something more productive.


  1. I wish I could be as calm and collected, David.
    I simply cannot.
    These people lecture us non-stop about civility, every ‘ism’ known to peoplehood… and don’t hesitate a moment to disparage a huge group of people based on something that is not under their control.
    Like skin color, nationality, ethnicity… uncontrolled and natural traits are now going to be something we ‘line up’ for or against.

    It is stupid everytime it is done for whatever ad hoc crap they choose to use.

    I am not nearly so forgiving.

    Perhaps you balance my anger.

  2. Thanks for laying out these phases of OK Boomer grief. I went through a similar mental process, with a bit more paranoia about organized efforts to divide us. Hope this phase passes and we can get back to working together to make the world a better place.

  3. I am inclined to go along with your last point, where it’s only a fight if 2 are fighting. Just kind of let it roll like water off a duck’s back.

  4. I like Don Draper’s line when isulted by a young upstart – Ginsberg “I feel sorry for you.” — Don Draper “I don’t think about you at all.”


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David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.


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