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Politician, 25, fires back at heckler with millennial putdown ‘OK Boomer’

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Politician, 25, fires back at heckler with millennial putdown ‘OK Boomer’ when her climate change speech is interrupted in New Zealand Parliament

  • Chlöe Swarbrick was delivering a speech about climate change bill on Tuesday
  • She was interrupted by heckler in New Zealand Parliament and said ‘OK boomer’
  • Ms Swarbrick said the term is a ‘simple summarisation of collective exhaustion’

A millennial politician fired back at a heckler with internet putdown ‘OK boomer’ when her speech was interrupted in the New Zealand Parliament. 

Chlöe Swarbrick, 25, had been delivering a speech about the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill in Wellington on Tuesday when she was interrupted by a colleague. 

Addressing the New Zealand Parliament, Ms Swarbrick said: ‘How many world leaders, for how many decades have seen and known what is coming, but have decided that it is more politically expedient to keep it behind closed doors? 

Chlöe Swarbrick, 25, had been delivering a speech about the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill  in the New Zealand Parliament on Tuesday when she was interrupted

Chlöe Swarbrick, 25, had been delivering a speech about the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill  in the New Zealand Parliament on Tuesday when she was interrupted

What does ‘boomer’ mean? 

Boomer, short for baby boomer, is slang used for people born in the years after the Second World War. 

It refers to the marginal increase in birth rate in the post-war era. 

The generation after is referred to as Generation Y or Millenials – those who reached early adulthood in the 2000s.  

With climate change increasingly evident in recent years, young people, including 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, have taken a stand in a bid to save the planet for their and their children’s futures. 

Some youths have accused the ‘boomer’ generation before them of causing the climate crisis by polluting the planet and using up non-renewable resources.

In this sense, the term ‘boomer’ has been used as an insult.  

‘My generation and the generations after me do not have that luxury. In the year 2050, I will be 56 years old. Yet right now the average age of this 52nd Parliament is 49 years old’. 

Ms Swarbrick was then interrupted by a heckler inside parliament, who she swiftly shot down with ‘OK boomer’, before continuing with her speech.

It is unclear who had spoken and what was said when the Green Party politician was interrupted, Insider reported.

‘OK boomer’ is a Generation Z and millennial retort to older people who don’t understand the passions of younger generations. This could be anything from climate change, to mental health or financial inequality.

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In a text message to Stuff, Ms Swarbrick explained the term is a ‘simple summarisation of collective exhaustion’. 

She added: ‘OK boomer [acknowledges that] you cannot win a deeply polarised debate – facts don’t matter. It’s better to acknowledge that perhaps energy is better spent elsewhere. 

Ms Swarbrick was interrupted by a heckler inside parliament, who she swiftly shot down with 'OK boomer', before continuing with her speech

Ms Swarbrick was interrupted by a heckler inside parliament, who she swiftly shot down with ‘OK boomer’, before continuing with her speech

It is unclear who had spoken and what was said when the young politician was interrupted

It is unclear who had spoken and what was said when the young politician was interrupted

‘That rallying cry is the relatively innocuous “OK boomer”‘. 

The phrase appears to address those in the ‘baby boomer’ generation, who were born between 1946 and 1964, but is most abundant in responses to the social media posts of those over 30. 

Writing on Facebook after her comment went viral, Ms Swarbrick wrote: ‘Today I have learnt that responding succinctly and in perfect jest to somebody heckling you about *your age* as you speak about the impact of climate change on *your generation* with the literal title of their generation makes some people very mad.

'OK boomer' has become a Generation Z and millennial retort to older people who don't understand their passions or try and belittle them

‘OK boomer’ has become a Generation Z and millennial retort to older people who don’t understand their passions or try and belittle them

‘So I guess millennials ruined humour. That, or we just need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and abstain from avocados. That’s the joke.’

Shannon O’Connor, who created a line of merchandise brandishing the phrase, told the New York Times that the phrase is a way for teenagers to counter the ‘stubborn’ mind-set of the older generations.

She said: ‘The older generations grew up with a certain mind-set, and we have a different perspective. A lot of them don’t believe in climate change or don’t believe people can get jobs with dyed hair, and a lot of them are stubborn in that view. 

‘Teenagers just respond, “Ok, boomer.” It’s like, we’ll prove you wrong, we’re still going to be successful because the world is changing.’

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