OK, boomer’: 25-year-old lawmaker shuts down heckler during climate change speech

During her Nov. 5 speech on climate change, 25-year-old New Zealand MP Chlöe Swarbrick responded to heckles from her older colleagues with, “Ok, boomer.” (New Zealand Parliament)

The 25-year-old lawmaker was just 40 seconds into her speech about the dire importance of stricter climate change policy when a heckle rang through the mostly empty hearing room.

As she spoke, one of her colleagues jeered at her age, shouting something indiscernible from his seat. With devastating concision, and like legions of teens on TikTok before her, Swarbrick replied without missing a beat: “OK, boomer,” she said, then continued her remarks.

The glib retort — often employed by millennials and Gen Z — has become global shorthand, a withering reply to condescension from older generations, notably, baby boomers. The viral phrase has also been labeled the latest shot fired in an escalating generation war, in which the front lines are social media comment sections and relations have frayed over issues such as student loan debt and climate change.

The reaction inside the New Zealand Parliament Building was muted — perhaps because the room was nearly empty, or perhaps because Swarbrick’s casual use of Internet jargon did not resonate with those in attendance, who, if they were like the average lawmaker, were twice her age.