The day after he cursed at a newspaper reporter on Twitter, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin’s succeeding tweets set off thousands of “ok boomer” responses.
Interaksyon traced the mini-movement to a Twitter micro-influencer who proposed a witty clapback at Locsin, the country’s top dipomat, whose crass language on the social media platform has been raising eyebrows for being undiplomatic.
Let's all reply "OK boomer" to his tweet. I'll start. https://t.co/LYS7grSL7u
— MARJORIE BARATHEON (@Punongbayan_) November 6, 2019
The user retweeted Locsin’s retort to a report concerning suspicions of Vice President Leni Robredo’s camp that the anti-drug czar offer is not serious.
“[President Duterte’s] serious. He doesn’t want the credit; if you don’t like him carrying out the war on drugs you’re welcome to take the job; get it done or not,” part of Locsin’s tweet read.
In the morning of November 7, Locsin once again addressed a tweet to Robredo, bidding her luck after she accepted the task.
“The ball’s with you; you won’t hear anymore from me; play—clean and true; the President trusts you’ll do your best,” he said.
A majority of responses to both tweets only stated “ok boomer.”
Locsin, clearly part of the “baby boomer” generation, eventually noticed these replies under his tweets and called one out.
“Ok Boobo,” he wrote, a pun on the word “bobo” or dumb.
Okay Boobo. https://t.co/abvmWbbfbQ
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) November 7, 2019
Locsin’s Twitter persona
Known for his long career in broadcasting and public service as well as his flair for the written word, Locsin has a puzzling character online. On Twitter, he jeered critics with expletives, gave orders to his staff at the DFA and once gave Mao Zedong a vulgar nickname.
Earlier this week, he cursed at reporter Jhesset Enano when she posted a photo of him seated next to Southeast Asian leaders in place of Duterte who skipped some events at the 35th ASEAN Summit in Thailand.
Locsin drew flak from other journalists, and he later claimed he didn’t know Enano was a woman when he dismissed her with a profanity.
‘Ok, boomer’: Witty but divisive
The phrase was traced to a 25-year-old New Zealand lawmaker Chlöe Swarbrick who was heckled by an older parliamentarian. “OK, boomer,” was the only thing she said as a retort, amusing and baffling the audience at the same time.
It then became a meme among millennials and Generation Z on social media, especially on Tiktok, to call out older adults who are perceived to be out of touch.
Marketers have categorized generational demographics based on birth year and perceived common characteristics.
- Baby Boomers — born between 1946 and 1964
- Generation X — 1964 and 1980
- Millennials or Generation Y — 1981 to 1996
- Generation Z — 1997 onwards
Kalhan Rosenblatt, a reporter from NBC, said the remark was developed due to “a culmination of annoyance and frustration at a generation young people perceive to be worsening issues like climate change, political polarization, and economic hardship.”
Another Twitter user @TheGallowBoob shared a screenshot of an explanation for the phrase.
“Millennials tried for so long to explain using facts and evidence that they don’t actually have it that easy and they aren’t just lazy, but it became very clear that boomers don’t care about facts, evidence, or reality for that matter.”
My gf’s explanation of why “ok boomer” became a thing is spot on ✔️ pic.twitter.com/tRprQ4ImlU
— Ok Boober (@TheGallowBoob) November 3, 2019
However, the phrase went from a witty meme to an offensive gesture that appeared to have caused an unnecessary divide among adults and teenagers.
Some social media users warned that the phrase was another another form of “edi wow,” a Filipino slang expression used to smart-shame others.
A Twitter user, meanwhile, suggested a funnier alternative.
Pwede bang Filipino version ng "ok boomer" ay "luh si tanda" para mas nakakapikon
— Marie (@marieabesamis) November 5, 2019