How ‘OK boomer’ went from funny put-down to money-maker

Story by CBC Kids News • Published 2019-11-01 07:57

Plus, what is a boomer, anyway?

“Ok boomer.” You’ve probably been rolling your eyes and dropping that phrase for a while now.

Well, it seems the ultimate put-down for annoying adults is now gaining traction as a merch item.

Various companies — including mega-retailer Amazon — have started selling hoodies, T-shirts, buttons, iPhone cases, wall clocks, travel mugs, duvet covers and even shower curtains with the saying.

And it appears at least some people are buying into the craze.

Instagram post from em lee sleaze says Wow. very excited for my newest purchase to arrive. Next to image of Tshirt with OK Boomer, have a terrible day on it.

As of Nov. 1, nobody appeared to have applied to trademark the phrase through the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

(Hint: You might want to get on that!)

Bathroom with shower curtain that says OK Boomer on it.

‘OK boomer’ was funny on TikTok. Is it still funny on a $74.15 shower curtain? (Redbubble.com)

It’s hard to know exactly where the whole thing started.

A song called OK Boomer was posted to Twitter by user @jedwill1999 in July that eventually made its way to Soundcloud and TikTok.

Then, there was a video clip of a white-haired man accusing teens of never wanting to grow up, which spawned a slew of reaction videos on TikTok.

TikTok post from @smallgoblin shows girl with ok boomer written on her forehead in makeup.

TikTok from @cazlaur shows girl slamming door with caption People over 50 when a teenager says OK boomer.

What is a boomer, anyway?

Baby boomer is the term used to describe the sudden spike in babies born after the Second World War.

According to Statistics Canada, anybody born between 1946 and 1965 is a boomer.

Most grandparents probably fall into that category.

Your parents are more likely to be part of Generation X or Y than a boomer.

So, when you say “OK boomer” to your dad, does that even make sense?

Well, some have said that calling their parents boomers — even when they aren’t — is a way to get revenge on those adults who call anybody younger than them “millennials.”

Because, of course, if you were born after 1993, you aren’t a millennial, according to Statistics Canada.

Hello, Generation Z!

Melissa Pisano, 31, has jumped on the ‘OK boomer’ bandwagon and is using it to sell homemade merch on Etsy. (Paula Fleet)

Melissa Pisano in Oakville, Ont., started selling homemade “OK boomer” T-shirts and mugs on Etsy about a week ago, and she said sales have been pretty steady.

Pisano, whose homemade creations are often inspired by funny stuff she sees on TikTok, said the whole “OK boomer” thing really resonated with her.

When an older adult talks about “how we’re lazy, we’re entitled, we don’t work hard enough,” it’s a way to say, “Whatever,” and brush them off, instead of getting into an argument, she said.

“A lot of us can’t afford to buy homes, the jobs aren’t that great, the environment is basically destroyed at this point, but the older generation is just acting like nothing’s wrong,” Pisano said.

Tweet from Evan Sutton says I never knew how fast old people can move until I watched a bunch of boomers jump in to defend their personal honor after I pointed out that their generation is basically responsible for bringing about the end times. #OKBoomer

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