Bill Flanagan on the "OK, Boomer" controversy


My friend, Faith Salie, stirred up a lot of trouble on last week's show with an essay about the phrase "OK, Boomer," the Millennial Generation's way of waving away the opinions, instructions and interference of old people – people like me!

I take no offense. We Baby Boomers are used to being condescended to.

We grew up under a barrage of insults from the the World War II generation. They never stopped reminding us that they were raised in the Depression, they beat Hitler, while we had everything given to us.


A Boomer gets an earful from a member of the "Greatest Generation," a veteran of WWII, "The Big One." CBS

The Archie Bunker crowd were dubbed "The Greatest Generation."  Whatever. The era that included Beethoven, Napoleon, William Blake and Thomas Jefferson had nothing on you guys!

My generation gave the world three great icons: Seinfeld, Soprano, and Simpson.

Now, I concede that Baby Boomer culture has taken up a lot of oxygen. Springsteen and the Stones still sell out stadiums. "The Avengers" and "Spider-Man" dominate the box office. Every anniversary of Woodstock and "Sgt. Pepper" is celebrated like it was the discovery of America.

And I appreciate how burdensome that must be to the children of Facebook.

As to our having messed up the planet? No argument. I would only suggest that the planet was kind of in rough shape when we arrived – pollution, nuclear weapons, racial injustice and world hunger, we inherited all that.

What can the Boomers take credit for?

Look, America's cities were a disaster when we were growing up; the Baby Boom generation reclaimed the cities, and made them places people want to raise families.

Communication has been revolutionized.

Extreme poverty has shrunk.

Crime and violence have shrunk.

Prejudice is a neverending bane, but the Baby Boomers have advanced rights for African Americans, women and the LGBTQ community in ways undreamed of in our parents' time.

No generation gets it all right. No generation fixes everything. I sure hope my Millennial children do better than my generation has done.

By the way, when I read this essay to my 25-year-old son, he said, "OK, Andy Rooney!" I couldn't believe he knew who Andy Rooney was! 

        Story produced by Robbyn McFadden.

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