Star Trek Star Shatner Shames Millennials for “Ok Boomer” Comment

Shatner isn't even a member of the Baby Boomer generation

By Luis Arellano

November 7, 2019

Star Trek’s Capt. Kirk Faced down monsters and mind-reading aliens.  And the actor who played Kirk, William Shatner, is just as bold in fighting Twitter attacks from Millennials.

When dismissed contemptuously with the Internet meme “Ok, Boomer” on Twitter recently, Shatner fired back.  “Sweetheart, that’s a compliment for me,” he said.  The star was born in 1931.  “Ok, Boomer” is a widely used phrase that telegraphs that the Millennial generation faced unique hardships and that older generations simply don’t understand their struggles.  Shatner pointed out that the Millennials were born at the most prosperous time in human history.  By contrast, he said, his generations faced “war, depression (economic, not personal)” and many other adversities.

Shatner also suggested Millennials can’t take jokes also traded tweets with a Twitter user who suggested that millennial “hardships” were due to “boomers.” Though many, like the woman who tweeted it at Shatner, appear to be unaware of the origin of the phrase is a reference to the Baby Boomer generation who were born between the end of World War II and 1964. Generation X refers to those born between 1964 and as late as 1982. Members of the Millennial generation date from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s with Generation Z being the current generation. However, the precise cutoff years for each age cohort often being matters of some dispute.

Shatner who authored a series of science fiction novels about a dangerous dystopian world where individuals have become addicted to their technological devices may have lived long enough to see something similar amongst millennials.

 “And just what are we ignorant about Courtney?  We don’t understand struggles? War? Depressions (economic, not personal)? Inflation? Double-digit Prime Interest rates?” Shatner tweeted suggesting that Millennials and the members of Generation Z (those born in the late 1990s or later) had much to learn about the world.

Shatner was born in Montreal, Canada in 1931 in the height of the Great Depression that had a profound impact on the global economy. A third of Montreal’s population was forced to rely on government support programs to survive.

Life expectancy in the U.S. at that time was just 59.4 years by 1998 it had risen to nearly 74. In 1949, when Shatner was 19, the average U.S. wage for a worker over 25 (adjusted for inflation) was less than 5,000 dollars. By 2012, when many millennials were entering the workforce, that figure was over 45,000 dollars per year.

The phrase “Ok Boomer” has also been used to attack Hollywood director Martin Scorsese after he said in an interview that films based on comic books were not “cinema.”

The comments from Shatner and Scorsese have resulted in much internet debate over the past few days with many feeling the comment is offensive and an example of ageism.

Shatner jibs were often in jest at one point he tweeted on November 8th “Everyone knows I’m Gen X,” and using an array of Emoji images to suggest he was joking.

Shatner’s press representative did not respond to a request for clarification ahead of the deadline for this story. 

The phrase “OK Boomer” has gone global and has entered into the political mainstream outside of North America. New Zealand parliamentarian Chlöe Swarbrick, a member of the Green Party in New Zealand, using it to shame an opponent during an exchange earlier this week.