A student at Vermont's Champlain College has helped fuel a social media wildfire that's become a rallying cry for his generation: "OK, boomer."
"Every day, more and more, I start to sort of understand the weight of all of it," said Champlain sophomore Peter Kuli, of Lexington, Massachusetts, referring to how viral the phrase has become.
Kuli and a buddy teamed up on a song that's been used in thousands and thousands of short mobile videos shared on TikTok, though the phrase has grown far beyond that app.
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A New Zealand lawmaker, Chloe Swarbrick, 25, even recently used "OK, boomer" as a clap-back in parliamentary debate when she was heckled by an older colleague.
When young people say "OK, boomer," they're basically telling off an older person they think is out of touch, often on issues such as climate change or LGBT rights. The phrase is akin to saying, "Get with the times, grandpa."
"It definitely has started a larger conversation that I'm really happy with," Kuli told necn & NBC10 Boston.
The student acknowledged that some think "OK, boomer" is ageist or rude, and the song's full lyrics do contain aggressive or provocative language.
However, Kuli added that he has found many older folks are quick to write off millennials or Generation Z as self-absorbed avocado toast-eaters. Therefore, the student thinks turnabout is fair play, he explained.
Gen-Xer Elaine Young, a digital marketing professor at Champlain College, agrees.
"This is social media doing what social media does," Young observed. "I think this is just a fun way for a younger generation to use their tools to poke back."
Syndi Zook, a baby boomer who manages a senior housing facility in Burlington's New North End, doesn't mind the "OK, boomer" videos. She said she sees them as helping politically active young people form important bonds
"I think it's the natural progression of things," Zook said of the viral movement, noting she and her peers used protest signs or letters to the editor to blast generations above them for their stances on civil rights, environmental concerns, women's access to reproductive health care or other issues.
"They've got a lot of work to do," Zook said of today's young people. "They're using the technology to make a point. Sometimes the point goes, 'ouch,' but who doesn't need a little ouch every now and then?"
Kuli said his own grandfather told him he was onto something with this modern form of an eye roll, which the student hopes will not just highlight divides, but also spark action for solutions.
"And create more change," Kuli said.