A month ago, Champlain College sophomore Peter Kuli was in his dorm room, messing around with a friend's rap song about baby boomer attitudes. He uploaded the remix online, and in the weeks since the song – and its "OK boomer" catchphrase – have gone viral.
More from WAMU's 1A — "'OK Boomer:' Apathy, Anger, And A Viral Meme" [Nov. 7]
Kuli said members of his generation, Generation Z, feel like the baby boomers don't take them, or their concerns for human rights and the planet, seriously.
"You know, they're not giving us the time of day. So by saying 'Ok boomer,' we're sort of giving that back to them," Kuli said.
"OK boomer" is a dismissive retort to everything from intolerance about sexual orientation to comments about ripped jeans, but Kuli said it's grown beyond targeting an older generation.
"I think more and more 'Ok boomer' has stopped becoming directly baby boomers, and almost sort of becoming … critiquing like a mindset and an ideology that's sort of attached to baby boomers," Kuli said.
Hear the remix below (though note that Spotify classifies the song as "explicit"):
Kuli said the remix took him about a half hour on his laptop, sitting on his dorm room bed. He uploaded it onto the video platform TikTok, where people could use it under short videos. And they did – tens of thousands of them so far.
Kuli said his overnight fame has made him the target of some boomer ire. But, he said, his own grandfather has been supportive.
Still, Kuli said he's looking forward to the spotlight fading.
"I don't know. I think part of me is just waiting for Ellen DeGeneres to say 'OK boomer' and just sort of kill this whole trend," Kuli said.
According to Kuli, DeGeneres' daytime talk show is where online fads go to die.
Clarification 2:26 p.m. A previous version specifically stated the song is a retort; it's been reworded to note the phrase is a retort.