‘OK boomer’: Columnist busts Paul Gosar for his cringe-worthy attempt to impress younger voters
Gage Skidmore.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) was formally censured by the U.S. House and stripped of his committee assignments, but he appears to have gotten what he really wanted by tweeting violent threats against a colleague.

The 62-year-old dentist has been unable to stand out among the right-wing outrage merchants in the Republican House caucus, event after his siblings and others accused Gosar of helping to plot the Jan. 6 insurrection, but Washington Post columnist Philip Bump said the lawmaker found the trouble and attention he craved by attempting to play a younger man's game.

"Gosar sees this sort of thing as strategic," Bump writes. "It is very safe to assume that he doesn't spend a lot of time watching anime. It is even safer to assume that someone on his team is deeply embedded in the culture of right-wing memes that has blossomed over the past five years and convinced Gosar that sharing weird, controversial in-jokes — a practice that we will call 'hitposting' in deference to The Post's rules about using vulgarities — is a strategy for building an audience. That it can be a niche."

Gosar defended his tweeted threat against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) by insisting that he was speaking up for the GOP's younger voters, but his effort reminded Bump of another online collision between generations.

READ MORE: Paul Gosar pushes out more ghoulish social media content following House censure

"To some extent, Gosar's ploy smacks of the 'OK boomer' tension that emerged several years ago," Bump writes. "A few months ago, I spoke to Taylor Lorenz, the New York Times reporter who first reported on the trend in 2019, and she pointed out that the dismissive phrase largely originated on TikTok, a social media video site that saw a flood of new, older users in 2018. Their often awkward efforts to integrate into a community dominated by younger voices helped crystallize a lot of intergenerational frustration. So: 'OK boomer.' Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts."

There are already plenty of right-wing content producers who serve two purposes, and neither of those attract many younger people to conservatism.

"They aren't wooing younger people to the cause as much as they're making members of the cause feel young," Bump writes. "Likewise, Gosar is not winning over young people to his worldview as much as he's ingratiating himself with an existing universe of young right-wingers."

READ MORE: 'Weak' Kevin McCarthy blasted for bragging about his handling of Gosar scandal