It’s safe to say that fruit fly-length lifespan of the phrase “OK, boomer” is approaching its unceremonious end. On November 11, television network Fox Media LLC applied to trademark the slogan with the “bona fide intent” to create a TV show by that name. What kind of TV show? Eh, they’ll figure that out later. According to the application, it could be a reality, comedy, and/or game show.
Born on Gen Z video platform TikTok, the phrase rapidly gained popularity as a concise, effective way to shut down outdated arguments and points of view that sound distinctly boomerish. It is, of course, predated by a growing belief that the Baby Boomer generation’s outsize political influence has irreparably damaged the country (not to mention the planet) in ways that are already being felt by subsequent generations. In June, The Atlantic examined how “the boomers ruined everything.” And way back in 2017, Bruce Cannon Gibney went so far as to call the boomer generation’s rejection of greater-good measures like raising taxes “sociopathic.”
But “OK, boomer” really got stuck in their craws. Bob Lonsberry, a talk radio host (maybe the most boomer profession ever?), caught the internet’s attention when he called it “the n-word of ageism,” and a slew of outlets ran explainers about how using the phrase is unacceptable in the workplace.
According to CNN, Fox isn’t the first to entity to apply to trademark the phrase—a New York man applied to trademark a line of clothing and a Philly brand applied to trademark a line of stickers and decals. Joshua Gerben, the trademark attorney who stumbled on the application, says that it’s unlikely any of the applicants will be successful since “OK, boomer” has already become a “widely used message.”
Might be time to retire it anyway. Boomer pun intended.
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