Boomer Bashing is like so cool dude

 

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 In a new Facebook group called ‘A group where we all pretend to be boomers,’ members of Generations X through Z adopt boomer-ish affectations for fun. Photograph: Getty Images

09 July 2019 || The Guardian

You know it when you see it: a couple of extra commas following a thought, a private message or search entry accidentally made public, a comment on a friend’s new profile picture telling them to “say hi to Joe and the kids for me,,, love! You”.

This is a baby boomer posting to Facebook. It could be your parent, an uncle, a family friend, a grandparent; if you were born between 1946 and 1964, it could be you.

Posting typos and non sequiturs are harmless, revealing a user’s unfamiliarity with the conversational conventions of social media, and perhaps an inexpert command of keyboards. Yet, as indicated by the skyrocketing popularity of a new Facebook group called “A group where we all pretend to be boomers,” in which members of Generations X through Z adopt boomer-ish affectations for fun, they can also be amusing.

The group, which has 229,000 subscribers, was created in mid-May. According to moderator Robert Snyder, 20, membership increased by over 5,200% within a month. Members-pretending-to-be-boomers enthusiastically share earnest personal news, Minions gifs, and hoax posts imploring friends to copy and paste alarmist messages, all riddled with whacky syntax and redundant punctuation. “It’s definitely been a lot more successful than I expected, and I think a lot of that can be attributed to the relatable nature of how boomers post,” says Snyder.

At any given moment, members of the group are creating tongue in cheek events with names like “SPEAK ON PHONE LIKE THE SPEAKER IS NOT ON WITH SPEAKER ON,” or sharing quotes such as “When someone says ‘stop living in the past,’ I say, ‘but the music was so much better back then.’”

Beneath one black and white concert video of the band MC5 playing live in 1970, one user commented: “I remember when Walter and I went to a concert in 1971. It was Strawberry Alarm Clock and Bread. We slept in the back of his Barracuda. It was so romantic! We had some Boones Farm and made love for the first time. I got so sick and threw up! This is Florrie.”

Comedic value aside, there are reasons why a younger crowd may want to channel boomers. Their generation boasted affordable college tuition, accessible home ownership and entry into a strong job market – no longer realities for today’s youth. Boomer envy is real.

Don’t believe me? Consider that the roleplay featured in the Facebook group isn’t the only recent trend in which younger demographics consciously emulate those in late-middle age. In recent years, style publications have taken heed of “menocore” a fashion trend in which young women adopt a linen-draped aesthetic associated with the wealthy, post-menopausal set (think Diane Keaton in a Nancy Meyers film). For men, 1960s-style Hawaiian and bowling shirts have returned to runways. Next time you get a manicure, you can even ask for “baby boomer nails”.

The stereotypes emphasized in the Facebook group happen to have struck a particularly resonant chord with younger demographics, predominantly millennials, long sensitive to being labeled entitled, lazy, wildly selfish and feckless by their elders.

“A very common reaction to stereotyping is the denigration of the other,” says Dr Elissa Perry, a professor of psychology at Columbia University. Perry explains that the impulse to satirize boomers may be a reaction to negative stereotypes younger cohorts face about themselves – a kind of generational tit-for-tat. “It’s playful at first, until it’s not,” she cautions.

Indeed, just as the preconceptions about younger generations are unfair, the group’s jabs against boomers sometimes veer harsh, or inaccurate.

Eric Fredericksen, a Gen X arts professional, joined thinking it would be fun to satirize the generation he grew up in the shadow of. However, while he enjoys the group’s humor, he also feels many of its members misinterpret the boomer identity.

“There’s this assumption for a lot of people that it’s an excuse to be a Trump/Maga-type, or to write homophobic things,” says Fredericksen. Yet that’s a reductive take on what was in fact an often-radical generation. “Probably most of the trans people who rioted at Stonewall were boomers,” he says.

For Fredericksen, the real comedic gems come from transmuting the way people who came late to computers communicate on social media into high camp – rather than jibes that simply convey “Oh, these are the olds who don’t get the world now,” he says.

“I almost feel like in the coming days there are going to be a lot of ‘#NotAllBoomers’; people coming out saying, ‘We’re not all like this!’” says Liney Marks, a 31-year-old teacher who joined the group because it reminded her of how her real boomer Facebook friends post online. “But at the same time, that’s how we millennials feel when articles are posted about how we’re lazy and entitled and don’t want to work. I think in a lot of ways it’s inaccurate, but I don’t think it’s unfair.”

In fact, Marks has found the group “kind of cathartic”, she says. “It’s sort of like the old comedic standard of punching up, not down, because we kind of feel like we’re being made out to be something we’re not, now we’re kind of turning the tables a little bit.”

Original Link: Meet the millennials pretending to be baby boomers on Facebook

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