NZ Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick was giving a speech in favour of stricter carbon emissions standards when the 50-year-old National Party Climate Critic Todd Muller heckled her; without missing a beat, she fired back "OK Boomer" and moved on to making a rather good and eloquent point about need for intense action on climate.
Muller's National Party are the authoritarian money-launderers who ruled NZ under John Key, whose party used the Christchurch earthquake as an excuse to ram through their monumentally unpopular copyright/internet disconnection legislation, allowing an MP to hold up aid to people dying under the rubble unless the disconnection law was reintroduced at the same time. Key's Nationals also oversaw the transformation of New Zealand into a financial secrecy haven whose role in global money laundering was revealed by the Panama and Paradise Papers. In the 2017 national elections, the party was destroyed by Jacinda Arden's Labour Party.
"OK Boomer" is a viral zinger deployed by millennials and Gen-Z'ers when they are concern-trolled and mocked by their elders, including (but not limited to) baby boomers (older Xers like Muller are clearly fair game).
Swarbrick's no-eyelashes-batted-nor-fucks-given use of the phrase made a lot of elderly snowlflakes angry, including the noted reactionary William Shatner, who called it "childish," proving Swarbrick's point. Muller tweeted an incoherent vat of weaksauce that focused on the fact that he was too young to be a boomer.
Hilariously, the NZ Parliamentary captioning service transcribed the phrase as "OK, Burma" and later promised to hold weekly meme briefings to prevent a similar occurrence.
Swarbrick explained her use of the phrase in a great Guardian editorial that linked historic power imbalances with climate struggle.
All of this is why it feels so desperately bewildering that the thing which made international headlines, amidst Aotearoa New Zealand’s debate on a law to bend down carbon emissions and do our bit to keep our planet below the 1.5 degrees of warming required to keep life anywhere close to how we know it, was an innocuous two-word meme.
My “OK boomer” comment in parliament was off-the-cuff, albeit symbolic of the collective exhaustion of multiple generations set to inherit ever-amplifying problems in an ever-diminishing window of time. It was a response – as is par-for-course – to a barrage of heckling in a Parliamentary Chamber that at present turns far too many regular folks off from engaging in politics.
When regular folks are turned off, the status quo has an excuse to continue with business as usual. In order for democracy to work for all of us, it must look like all of us.
My 'OK boomer' comment in parliament symbolised exhaustion of multiple generations [Chlöe Swarbrick/The Guardian]