Is the phrase "Ok Boomer" offensive?
By Joe Harker
William Shakespeare once said "brevity is the soul of wit", which basically means you want to keep your clever remarks short and sweet.
Some of the best insults and put downs are barely more than a few words and one doing the rounds on the internet at the moment is just two: "Ok Boomer".
Is it an offensive phrase or is it just a way for a much maligned generation or two to hit back at those they see as being responsible for many of the world's ills?
"Ok Boomer" is basically the same as that "ok mate" meme which makes it clear you've heard what someone has said and think it's utter nonsense.
Generational divides aren't new but in recent years they appear to have become more widespread.
A person's generation is a huge part of their identity, it has a part to play in their mentality and outlook on the world, the problems they consider to be all important.
The Washington Post describes "Ok Boomer" as two little words which say what anyone who has ever been talked down to by someone whose experiences were so radically different to theirs ever wanted to say: "you don't get it".
It is simultaneously a rejection and a dismissal, a message that someone's contribution is both unwelcome and useless.
The Counter Claim:
However, throwing generation based insults around is hardly the best way to bring people of all ages together.
Paul Hillier of The Guardian thinks we should do away with the nonsense buzzwords which define people by their age rather than their beliefs.
Generational identity is not new but in the last few years it appears to have become more weaponised.
Millennials get blamed for "killing industries" when the truth is they don't have enough money to keep them alive, while some would blame Baby Boomers for almost all of the problems in the world.
If we're all in this world together and things are only getting worse then shouldn't we be offering solidarity instead of division?
The boundaries between generations are a little bit fuzzy, but generally Baby Boomers are the generation born between the end of the Second World War and the mid 60s.
They are followed by Generation X, who were born in the mid 60s to the early 80s. The much maligned millennials come from the mid 80s to the late 90s while Generation Z are those born in the late 90s and beyond the turn of the millennium.
Quite what the next generation will be called is unclear but they'll probably have to drop the alphabetical theme. Generation A just doesn't sound very catchy.
Generational divides are absolutely nothing new in the human race. A popular quote often attributed to Greek philosopher Socrates, born around 470 BC, goes like this:
"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.
"Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room.
"They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."
Nihil novi sub sole.