Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Dont Let America Age You

The irony of our hope I did before I get old culture is that it makes people old before their time. Our marketing colossus the United States of Mass Media pushes out pictures of the young while relegating the old to the drug commercials that are mystifying in their names and what ailments they cure. But we are typed very quickly. You are either young or old in America and if you doubt this then wait for the AARP flyer to descend even as you slip through your forties. But it is more insidious than that.

American culture demands everyone remain young. Just watch the digitally altered faces of Robert Deiniro and Al Pacino on the Irishman. Old actors who are extremely famous nead not apply unless they can be turned into twenty or thirty somethings.The frustrating view that everyone is young until they are old is that everyone ages at different rates and different ways. People do not magically turn grey and appear in commericals of retirement homes or 55 plus active living communities playing tennis or sitting on a porch swing in octogenarian bliss. Moreover people go about their lives, some showing their age and many who seem blissfully unaware they have crossed the cultural boundary dividing the vibrant young from the parked and decrepit old.

But America for all of its young ethos cannot deal with people aging. They are either performing herculean plastic surgery (see Jane Fonda or Dolly Parton) or they have a walker. The middle group is largely absent from our culture. That would be the youth cultures greatest victim, adults who grew up and no longer look like they are still just ten years our of college. Uh...they are called adults. You know those people in the old movies smoking cigarettes, having drinks, and sex, and everything else that young people have. So you really are as old as you feel. Just turn off the television showing all those drugged up old people and those vibrant young people. And then just live your life. 

Books by William Hazelgrove