Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back in my Day...

For full details, please see attached article:


According to a study conducted in Germany, older people like to read negative stories about younger people. This should come as no surprise to anyone. I'm not even that old and I enjoy reading negative stories about tweens and secretly laugh inside everytime that I see a Justin Bieber object and think about how that person will grow up to regret their decision to love him.

Our world is youth-obsessed. Of course older people would enjoy taking a jibe at the young folk. Youth and their beauty, their perfect, tight little bodies and fresh faces full of hope and optimism staring at you from every magazine cover and billboard that litters the landscape. If I was an elderly person, I'd be fighting mad too. Especially considering how easy kids these days have it. Why, back in my day...

And these are the typical lines of an elderly person that we see depicted in media. It's no wonder that old people hate everything and everyone. Look at their choice of characters: old coot who rambles on, man who sleeps with no teeth, that little Frank's hot sauce woman who shocks everyone by swearing, rapping grannies, breakdancing grandpas, that guy with the cane who tells everyone to get off his lawn. Elderly people seem to have a wealth of choice in how they're depicted, from the purely ridiculous to the just laughable.

Then there are those people who think that old people are cute. Like puppies and cupcakes. Old people aren't cute, they're human beings who are complex and have diverse personalities and preferences and opinions. Reducing them to adorable, wrinkled mini-people can be just as bad as elder abuse, because it's dehumanizing and diminutive. And it doesn't allow them to have their dignity.

Worse is elder abuse. One of the most vulnerable social groups are elders, who are attacked because they're physically frail or mentally challenged. Some are just taken advantage of by family or caretakers who consider them to be those non-contributors to society.

It's easy to be optimistic, fun and relevant when you're young. Society revolves around youth and beauty and they pretty much control every industry on the planet, pouring millions of dollars down the drain on consumer goods and new gadgets. The youth retention industry is also huge, offering treatments to keep people looking and feeling young and offering an array of bright youthful clothing for an audience of 18-55. Clothes are so generic these days that it can be impossible to tell if a woman is 25 or 55. And then with treatments, it's anyone's best guess.

Is it any wonder, then, that with all the negative imaging surrounding them and their limited opportunities, that elderly people would enjoy seeing the suffering of youth? Of course, we all know that youth is the future and all that good stuff, but deep down inside every elderly person is the highly probable desire to see those snot-nosed smug little brats get what's coming to them.

The most beautiful thing about youth, other than the innocence and the physical beauty, is the fact that they hold a future. Their whole lives are about moving forward and looking ahead, and the world still holds endless possibilities because they haven't wasted years or made bad life decisions yet. They haven't felt the weight of responsibility or the constraints of adult commitments, and in many ways, they are the happiest people on the planet and they just don't know it.

Until the zits pop.

Somewhere, a group of old folk in Germany are laughing uber hard.

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