On Thursday, NBC’s Today show devoted a full segment to examining the popular “Ok, Boomer” meme on social media by talking to a group of teenagers and senior citizens about the generation gap.
Amid other reasons for the divide, correspondents Savannah Sellers and Harry Smith touted climate change as a major cause of generational tension.
“This ‘Ok, Boomer’ meme online began out of this place that was young people feeling like older people think everything with us is a kid problem, but really, young people are like, ‘But there’s no Social Security, boomers aren’t moving, they’re staying alive longer,’” Sellers told the group.
“It’s just difficult to care about politics when the older generation is inadvertently causing problems that are affecting our future,” 18-year-old Elijah Smith complained. Moments later, 68-year-old Lee Raines lamented:
I was coming of age, I thought there was progress, and it was just going to get better and better and better and better. And somewhere along the way that became untrue.
And I think this generation is coming into kind of the backwash of the same problems being as urgent as they were when I was their age.
Harry Smith confessed: “So I’m 68 years old. Everybody I work with is younger than I am. And I live in mortal fear. Like, am I the crazy old guy?”
Following the taped segment, Sellers argued: “You know, the meme has caught on because of things like climate change, that Millennials feel Boomers don’t necessarily understand their concern over.”
I remember the first Earth Day, right? But the climate, the planet has only gotten warmer and warmer. The seas are warmer and warmer. All these young people with hundreds of thousands of dollars of student debt. When you think about, there is truth in the grievance, I think.
Weatherman and climate activist Al Roker chimed in: “Sure. First generation that’s gonna do worse than their parents.”
Younger and older generations complaining about one another is certainly nothing new. The idea that climate change is the central issue driving a wedge between Millennials and Baby Boomers is really overstating the case.
Ultimately the “Ok, Boomer” meme is more about satire than any substantive policy debate.
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