Barack Obama put his head above the parapet when he dared question uncompromising and judgmental woke attitudes recently. ‘The world is messy,’ he observed. ‘There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.’
Cue a social media barrage of the maddening term now used as the verbal equivalent of self-satisfied eyeball-rolling at your elders: ‘OK Boomer.’
The insult refers, of course, to Baby Boomers like me born between 1946 and 1964. ‘OK Boomer,’ chorus Generation X (those born 1965 to 1980), Generation Y (1981 to 1996) and Generation Z (1997 to 2012) to demonstrate that, in their opinion, Baby Boomers are, in no particular order; old, entitled, uncompassionate, intransigent and woefully out of touch.
The generation now disparaged for not being woke fought for and welcomed: the legalisation of homosexuality, the 1965 Race Relations Act, the Abortion Act of 1967, the Equal Pay Act of 1970 and the founding of Greenpeace (file image)
Oh, and also, that Boomers don’t get it when they’re called out on social media for their privileged, complacent lives and prehistoric attitudes. Really?
I can’t personally claim credit for any of this since, during the pivotal years, I was still in my Chilprufe vest (maybe Google it, Millennials).
But the generation now disparaged for not being woke fought for and welcomed: the legalisation of homosexuality, the 1965 Race Relations Act, the Abortion Act of 1967, the Equal Pay Act of 1970 and the founding of Greenpeace.
A wave of social liberation that changed the world. But not impressive enough for the army of fortysomething commentators now rushing to join the condemnatory bandwagon, all desperate to be aligned with the OK Boomer crowd, as the closest thing, so far available, to an elixir of youth.
Drive school-run tanks off the road
Outside our house, right now, at eight in the morning, there is a solid tailback of traffic consisting of a few Toyota Prius hybrids stuck in a hefty phalanx of black SUVs. No, not part of President Trump’s security detail on a London recce, but the daily school run.
I’ve long hated road-hogging SUVs so I was delighted to learn I have genuine justification for my prejudice – which is more than they can ever have for existing in the city.
Nobody needs a humongous four-wheel-drive tank to ferry a couple of children and a dog a few miles along narrow, tarmacked residential streets on their way to yoga.
Last week the International Energy Agency released stats showing that SUVs use 25 per cent more fuel than an average car while their increasing popularity is wiping out any environmental gains made by those turning to smaller, cleaner, and electric cars.
Oh, and by the way – anti-social, polluting SUVs are hardly ever driven by Boomers. OK?
Here’s one medical opinion I’ll drink to
A friend being treated for breast cancer was asked how much alcohol she drank as she started her course of radiotherapy. She replied that she drank wine, maybe, every other day.
The nurse was intensely disapproving, reminding her that even the smallest amount of alcohol was known to be a factor in causing breast cancer.
Yes, I know, my friend replied meekly, relieved she hadn’t owned up to the actual amount she drank.
At her next treatment, she asked the radiotherapist whether she treated a smaller proportion of breast cancer patients from among the ethnic groups forbidden to touch alcohol. The surprised response to this question? ‘Good gracious, no. Not that I’ve noticed.’
The four-day week? It worked for me!
I have a small contribution to the four-day week debate. During my last few years at Vogue I instigated the American practice of Summer Fridays, which allowed staff to take most Friday afternoons off from mid-June to the start of September.
Some of those weeks, the staff would have taken holiday anyway but it would make the school holidays easier for parents to manage and just give the younger members a bit more flexibility.
It wasn’t straightforward. Those hours had to be made up during the rest of the week and rotas had to be devised to ensure there were people around to keep the show on the road.
Originally, we gave individual departments responsibility for this but it soon became clear senior members were leaving juniors to man the office while they swanned off. But once that hitch was ironed out, Summer Fridays in no way impaired office productivity and gave us all great pleasure.
Now clearly a magazine is not a vital public service like a school or hospital and neither does much of the work take place within strictly defined office hours.
But the life/job satisfaction benefits achieved by this small change were considerable enough to convince me that the idea of a four-day week isn’t quite as mad as it sounds.
The ideal Christmas gift is… a Coconut
For publishers, the Christmas Holy Grail is what’s known as the ‘Uncle Book’ – usually a fact-filled tome on a surprising subject.
My nomination for this year’s Uncle Book is Robin Laurance’s Coconut: How The Shy Fruit Shaped Our World, crammed as it is with riveting information I didn’t know, about something I never knew I cared about.
For example, coconut filters were discovered to be effective against poisonous gas in the First World War, while coconut-oil candles were handed out for the public to celebrate Queen Victoria’s wedding. Glad you asked?
Gold Digger’s Julia has the best lines
Lead actress Julia Ormond (pictured) deserves kudos for portraying a 60-year-old woman being taken for a ride by a much younger conman
To binge or not to binge. The new BBC chiller, Gold Digger is available to watch from start to finish even though only the first episode has been transmitted.
So far I’ve allowed myself the first two but I can’t vouch for how much longer I will be able to hold off watching the rest.
Lead actress Julia Ormond deserves kudos for portraying a 60-year-old woman being taken for a ride by a much younger conman.
She’s only 54. Most actresses go to considerable lengths not to be aged up, as she has been, by a make-up department and lighting crew ruthlessly determined to make every line and wrinkle count.
No need to flap – the Royal turkey is safe
I’m sure the Queen is completely relaxed about Meghan and Harry not spending Christmas at Sandringham. After all, it’s not as if she doesn’t have enough people around to justify serving turkey.
And isn’t that the big issue really, when it comes to Christmas lunch? You can’t have a turkey for just two or three people and if you don’t have turkey, then you don’t have stuffing and if you don’t have stuffing… well, where will it all end?