Thursday, May 18, 2017


A while ago I had cause to complain, albeit fairly mildly, on a website's comment thread where ageism was displayed in a couple of comments in relation to "seniors" and their activities on the internet and Facebook.

Ageism abides!

Racism and sexism do abide also, they are outlawed in general, and criticised in no uncertain terms when encountered. Ageism is hardly ever criticised. I've ranted on ageism more than once on this blog, relevant posts can be read by clicking on "ageism" in the Label Cloud in the sidebar.

I was pleased, this week, to come across a piece by another blogger regarding this bête noire of mine, in particular relation to content aired on Saturday Night Live recently:

Saturday Night Live Elder Bashing

We no longer watch SNL - it stopped being funny, for us, years ago. I can't say that I'm surprised about the criticisms made in the linked piece.

My own yardstick for being sure that I'm making valid criticism, not just being bad tempered and mean because I'm feeling uncomfortably elderly myself, is whether similar jokes, observations or remarks would cause problems if, rather than age being the focus, age were to be replaced by race, ethnicity, gender, or persons with disabilities. Would the same general tenor of the joke or remark be acceptable ? The answer is almost always a resounding "No!"


Zug said...

Agreed, but I'd say that what you call ageism I'd describe as stereotyping. Not a lot different than my thoughts and concerns viewing those younger than me and I'm old enough to have quite a few decades of successors, allowing me to be judgemental of several generations. Guess our brains group similar things rather than isolate each item (person) for what it is. My ageing brain cells do recall practicing my own *ageism* on those older than I from years gone by in my youth, or call it differences between myself at that time and those seniors over 40.

Twilight said...

Received from "JD" by e-mail --

Zug has a point when he calls it stereotyping. So what we have to do is alter the stereotype as in "Last of the Summer Wine" which I am sure you remember fondly. It is still repeated on the freeview channels and is still as funny as ever. Also being repeated is "Waiting For God" which is equally funny and also subversive with the oldies finding new ways to upset the care home manager. (a few of the episodes are on YouTube)

Some in Spain are also refusing to grow old -
"Francisco Nunez, 112, is from Bienvenida, Badajoz, southern Spain. Nunez lives with his octogenarian daughter. He says he doesn't like the pensioners' daycare center because it's full of old people."

I've included that in my care home post-

Don't forget, you are only young once but you can be immature for ever!!! :)

Twilight said...

Zug ~ Well, yes, there's stereotyping involved, in what I see as ageism, and in the other relevant isms also. I think re-categorising ageism as stereotyping is kind of missing the main point.

Age, race, gender, disabilities are all things over which we have no control. I'd say making any of those areas the butt of unkind jokes ought to be a no-no - and in all cases other than age, it now is - at least in public, on a stage or in internet conversations. Age deserves an -ism too.

I see those who enjoy poking fun at the elderly as lacking in emotional intelligence. That's me judging them!

Another side of ageism is the difficulty those of "a certain age" often find in obtaining employment - just because of their age. In the UK, not sure about the USA, there are, and have long been, laws in place to prevent racial discrimination, sex discrimination, but nothing regarding age discrimination.

Twilight said...

JD ~ I've never been a fan of "Last of the Summer Wine" - in fact I hate the darn programme! But, in its favour - it does rely on older people making fun of themselves - which is rather different from being made the butt of jokes of by others. Same for "Waiting for God", I guess, but haven't ever seen it.

I bet the Spanish lifestyle and especially its food traditions help towards Spaniards' longevity. Good for them! :-)