The more things change …
The latest internet “controversy” is the meme/joke/slur/put down/just kidding “OK, Boomer.” The number of articles and blog posts about this is astounding. Hit a nerve, maybe?
Is it, as some argue, ageist? A workplace no-no? Or is it, as other argue, just a ribbing and not to be taken seriously? Like a “stray remark,” maybe?
I have not thought it through enough yet to offer an opinion or anything close to a legal analysis. But stay tuned for more on that score.
Does it bother me, though? Nah, I had it coming.
Recall the immortal words of Pete Townsend’s stirring anthem of the early Boomers back in ‘65: “I hope I die before I get old.”*
“People try to put us d-down (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we get around (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Why don’t you all f-fade away (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
And don’t try to d-dig what we all s-s-say (talkin’ ’bout my generation)”
Pete is now 74, God bless him! Hang in there, Pete!
It has been noted that “The song has been said to have ‘encapsulated the angst of being a teenager.'”
“Don’t trust anyone over 30!” Remember that Boomer cry? Surely you do… it was only 50 years ago.
My research revealed that it was attributed to a young student activist at Berkeley (who is now almost 80 years old) and that “the saying went viral, becoming a favorite for reporters and columnists wishing to ridicule the young, the New Left, or the hippie/Yippie movement.”
Went “viral?” Did something “go viral” in the sixties? Remember that the internet was 30 or so years away from birth. Not viral then, but slowly contagious, maybe?
“Ridicule the young?” Would that be analogous to taking “OK, Boomer” and using it to ridicule the Millenials?
Hey, Millenials: try this out on the Boomers – “don’t try to d-dig what we all s-s-say!”
The supposed originator of the “Don’t trust anyone over 30” quip later said:
“I’ve done some things in my life I think are very important, and my one sentence in history turns out to be something I said off the top of my head which became completely distorted and misunderstood. But I’ve become more accepting of fate as I get older.”
I agree with that old dude: I too am more accepting of fate as I get older. And yes, it was a dumb thing to say back then.
But hey – we were just kids. What did we know? Did we realize that the young rebelling against the old was not something we invented, but went back as far as … Methuselah? (“Said to have died at the age of 969, he lived the longest of all figures mentioned in the Bible).” That every generation that ever existed stuck its tongue out to the preceding one?
I called my substantially younger partner and co-blogger, The Notorious AEG, and asked her to review a draft of this post. As she bolted out the door to go running and then to boxing class she agreed that I needed a nap.