There’s been a lot of back-and-forth about the “OK Boomer” phrase, its meaning, who is (or should be) offended, who is (or should) be correct, etc.
This makes it, basically, just like anything else people argue about online these days.
I’m not here to further that argument or get at all political today. I don’t want this to be a hostile place, mostly because I’m just getting over being reallllly tired, and spending any more time being angry while trying to write seems counter-productive to me.
I do want to talk about one of the many “OK Boomer”* memes going around.
*(Can I just get something off my chest first? I loathe, loooathe, the spelling OK. That’s the postal abbreviation for Oklahoma, people. Stop being so damned lazy, even if it is what The Dusty Old Newspaper Stylebook would have you use.)
I must’ve seen 50 of these memes this week, but one in particular sticks with me.
The image is a screencap from Return of the Jedi — well, more accurately, two screencaps combined — that shows the following:
Top panel: The Emperor. His words from the film are captioned on the page as: “Your faith in your friends is your weakness.”*
*(I knooooow. The quotation is not quite right. I’m just describing, not correcting. As the kids say, don’t @ me.)
Bottom panel: Luke Skywalker stands next to his father, Darth Vader. Captioned above Luke’s head is a phrase uttered nowhere in any Star wars film every made:* “OK Boomer.”
This meme bugs the shit out of me.
It’s not that someone is taking scenes from a beloved movie and using them to drive a political argument — okay, it is that, a little — it’s that LUKE IS NOT A MILLENNIAL.
Oops. Used all-caps. I’m not a Boomer, I swear. Check my birth certificate.
The film came out in 1977. During filming, for most of 1976, Mark Hamill was 24-25.
On screen, Luke is supposed to be 19, per Wookieepedia.
I guess, within the film, on a strict comparison, you’d consider him on the tale-end of Millennials or an elder member of Generation Z.
But, wait. I just said Mark Hamill was 24 in 1976.
Yep. Dude was born September 25, 1951, making him … wait for it … a Boomer!
I’m not going to get into the “Boomer is a state of mind” debate, either. No debates today.
I am going to say this: Forget generational labels.
The Emperor is bad not because you can lump him in with people born in the same 20-year window.
Generational traits are kinda crap. You realize that, right? Worse even than horoscopes.
No, he’s bad because he’s an all-powerful dictator who uses his power to mercilessly crush the ideals of democracy and independence!
Put him in any generation, he’s the villain.
On the other side of the coin, Luke’s age and generational cohort also mean squat; he’s a hero because he stands up to The Emperor and says no.
Seriously, he says no. Won’t do it. Nuh-uh.
Chills. Every. Damn. Time. I. See. It.*
*(I do not know how many times that is. Can’t count/remember such numbers.)
That’s a hero, friends. My hero, forever and always.
He stands there ready to die, if it comes to that, because he believes, ultimately, not in his power, but in his friends, and in the power of redemption. He saves his father, his father saves him, and his friends save them all.
There’s probably a lesson in all this, but I promised not to be political today.