gerontophobia

Jenny Holzer

Gerontophobia

Racism, sexism, antisemitism, xenophobia, and homophobia are no longer acceptable responses to diversity and multiculturalism.

“Isms” and phobias are being conquered, and then one after the other they are being put away in a cupboard marked history.

Make no mistake, conquered is the right word, because the prejudices, stereotypes, and ignorance that gives rise to all hatred of the “other,” takes generations of activism to eliminate.

Today, most Americans will hardly notice the African-American surgeon you didn’t expect to do your foot surgery,

…the Jewish gardener who shows up at your door to do your landscaping, or the two guys from the 3rd. floor you thought were “roommates,” the ones with the 3-year-old twins.

Gerontophobia however, has not been conquered.

You may have heard it before: ageism is the last “ism.” I certainly believe that’s the case, don’t you? But my question is, could it be fundamentally unconquerable?

Unlike being Black, Hispanic, Asian, Gay, or Jewish, if we live long enough, we will all be old.

So does that afford us a “pass” when it comes to ageism?

Because we’ll all be there some day, do we feel it’s ok to ignore, make fun of, and even denigrate our elders, because when it happens to us, it won’t be that bad. Or we’ll be “different,” or we’ll simply never get old…

Ageism has existed for as long as humans have been counting the years they have lived.  

This is what Shakespeare has to say about age. 

Pray, do not mock me:
I am a very foolish fond old man,
Fourscore and upward, not an hour more or less;
And, to deal plainly,
I fear I am not in my perfect mind.

and

And as with age his body uglier grows,
So his mind cankers.

Is this ageism, or is it a certain clear-eyed gaze and a kind of wisdom? Minds do age and eventually even fail, after all.

So what are we supposed to do about these imperfect and cankered minds?

As with all of the other prejudices we are subject to, to conquer them, we have to start with exposure. We tend to like the people we have learned something about, because when we learn we understand and then can empathize with.

Today, where and how do people of different generations come together to learn about each other?

When was the last time you were in an environment, beyond a trip on the bus, where there were people of different generations communicating or doing something together?

Lorde

This is Lorde, the singer and songwriter, in one of the dresses I liked best at the Grammys. It’s Valentino and I like Valentino! With her dark hair and pale New Zealander skin, the frothy red of the dress looks perfect. 

The red lipstick and diamond earrings aren’t bad either.

But what I love about this look is what Lorde did with it, or should I say to it? On the back, she had sown a manifesto of sorts, a quote by the “text-based” artist Jenny Holzer, whose work you see at the top and bottom of this post. Brace yourself. 

Rejoice! Our times are intolerable. 
Take courage, for the worst is a 
harbinger of the best. Only dire
circumstance can precipitate the
overthrow of repressors. The old &
corrupt must be laid to waste be-
fore the just can triumph.
Contradiction will be heightened.
the reckoning will be hastened by 
the staging of seed disturbances.
The apocalypse will blossom.

-Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer

J. Crew Recycles

J. Crew has started recycling jeans, and why wouldn’t they? They get free raw materials. You get $20 off. The trend continues, and that’s a good thing.

Anita

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