Social distancing has relocated the workplace into our living rooms, forcing us to conduct morning meetings with our drying pants on display behind us, and wreaking absolute havoc as boomers are forced online – properly online, that is, not just into a WhatsApp group with their children where they share viral videos from 2012. Mums are joining TikTok, families are getting together to have their regular Sunday brawls on Houseparty and, regrettably, the government is now on Zoom.
Yesterday morning, Boris Johnson chaired "the first ever digital" cabinet over a video conferencing app without end-to-end encryption. In line with his one-man "Coronavirus Task Force" approach of boosting morale by being a reckless moron, he then posted a screenshot of the meeting – ID still in shot – to Twitter.
The decision to conduct sensitive government business over Zoom has since been deemed "astounding", not least because Ministry of Defence staff have been banned from using it due to security implications. But if you think the guy who said we should take coronavirus "on the chin", went around a hospital shaking hands with everyone and then literally got coronavirus is going to be afraid of a pathetic little breach of cyber security, think again, cowards.
While accidentally doxxing your entire cabinet is huge boomer behaviour, it's just the tip of the iceberg on display here. Liz Truss, for example, has a Union Jack flying high in her house at all times, and Matt Hancock looks like the star of a viral hoax encouraging children to injure themselves. Indeed, every kind of Online Boomer has been captured by one rancid screenshot, like a Street Fighter character selection menu where the object of the game is to be the most dogshit human. Let's take a look at our options.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Therese Coffey
These are the camera angles and facial expressions of someone who spends most of their time online sharing Minions memes and posts from a Facebook page called "Bible Verses, Encouragements and Thoughts".
The vast majority of Facebook Mums are just here to brag about their grandkids, add "We Love Our NHS" filters to their profile pics and provide updates re: the passive aggressive war they're in with the neighbour who keeps parking in their space. But there is also a joyless conservative underbelly, where the verses are homophobic and the memes are being used to reinforce a disparaging rant about immigrants, which they typed out using only their index fingers.
"It's not working. Why isn't it fucking working?" you hear shouted through the wall.
Straight away, your brain goes to the image of the giant in Twin Peaks, when he's like "It is happening again," his face all grim and stricken.
You hear a bang, which you assume to be a fist striking the side of the computer. It's at this point you have to go into the other room to see what's going on and, as expected, your father is standing up – furious as he might have been if someone had offered him outside at the pub in 1997 – peering into the back of the laptop, going, "Is something not plugged in? What is it? I can’t believe how much I paid for this fucking thing." You jostle him aside and notice that he is actually sweating, little beads of frustration and effort collecting on his forehead.
Checking the screen, you see that he has minimised his Zoom call so that only a small version of the screen is viewable. You maximise it for him in under one second. He quietly goes, "Oh, right," his face appearing at an awkward angle on the screen, features all out of proportion. Immediately he starts bellowing "HELLO JOHN" at the volume of an enthusiastic town crier. One of these morons holds the country's highest office.
Supporters of Toby Young's 'Free Speech Union'
Liz Truss, "Nat"
Presenting: the two archetypes of girlboss punditry. The bloodthirsty and patriotic blonde (Liz Truss) and the "everymum" who bravely speaks truth to power by leaving negative reviews of local restaurants on Tripadvisor and screaming at PTA meetings (Natalie "Nat" Evans, Leader of the House of Lords). Internet-literate enough to have a strong brand on Twitter, but not enough to be able to distinguish a meme from a direct personal attack, this Boomer can mainly be found comparing trans women to paedophiles while reporting milkshake videos to the police.
Horny On Main
Chris Whitty, Simon Hart
Tonight, Chris, I'm going to be a man who has just been busted by his wife for liking a porn star's tweets with a public profile.
No further comment.
Paying Member of Cultural Institutions Who Nevertheless Regularly Votes for Arts Resources in the UK at Large to Be Diminished
Robert Jenrick, Suella Braverman, Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland; AKA everyone in this image with a bookshelf behind them.
This lot have the sort of office setup that positions them as cultured and sympathetic to aesthetics – abundant bookshelves, nice light, the odd framed art print – and they probably have a few Tate and RA memberships between them, though they were a bit worried about the increasing amount of young "hot-deskers" they were seeing taking up the spaces in the members' bars pre-pandemic.
As paying patrons of the arts in the UK, they were very sad to see our amazing galleries close due to coronavirus (and will really miss the divine cake from the café at the Serpentine!). But then again, they get it to an extent, because they also acknowledge that art unfortunately can’t really be for everyone all the time. This is because, as raging Tories, they regularly and cheerfully endorse systematic cuts to arts projects for young people in deprived areas. So, like, they do understand.
Malevolent Sports Mum
No real evidence for this one other than her cosy-but-expensive top and the fact she just has the ruthless vibe of someone who’d arrange to have the legs of her child's Under 9s football rival broken.
Exclusively Has Meetings and Presentations for a Living But Calls IT Support Whenever They Close a Tab By Accident
A notch beneath the technophobe is the business Boomer who feigns confidence by throwing around terminology like "livestream" and "pdf" in meetings without the basic understanding required to back themselves up. Catch them getting scared because they tried to press play on a screenshot, or struggling to comprehend why the office IT department can’t do anything about their shitty home internet connection.
Frequent Sharer of Fake News
"Dom" Raab, Matt Hancock, Amanda Milling
Somewhere between leftist bloggers and InfoWars, there is a group of middle-aged people who see themselves as intellectuals by virtue of consuming strange, unsourced news. You can tell by the deranged array of camera angles and fearful demeanours that they have seen things, online, that they cannot un-see, and are now incredibly suspicious of the computer despite being medically unable to log off. Having gone too far down the rabbit hole, they often share data mining scams thinly veiled as viral videos about coronavirus with the caption: "Interesting."
Purely Practical User, No Social Media Accounts
George Eustice (Defra SOS), Alister Jack
If nothing else, at least they know how to position themselves in front of a webcam in a way that says "I know what I'm on about".