“Ageism” was coined in 1969, two years after the Federal Discrimination in Employment Act set forty as the lower bound at which workers could complain of it.
- The average life span grew more in the 20th century than in all previous millennia
- By 2020, for the first time, there will be more people on Earth over the age of 65 than under the age of 5
- Like the racist and the sexist, the ageist rejects an Other based on a perceived difference. But ageism is singular, because it’s directed at a group that at one point wasn’t the Other—and at a group that the ageist will one day, if all goes well, join. The ageist thus insults his own future self. Karma’s a bitch
- Ageism stems from the perception that old people are irrelevant. We don’t just caricature the elderly as raddled wretches. We also caricature them as cuddly Yodas.
- The TV show “Younger” deftly shows how the new ageism expresses itself as a question less of competence than of cultural fit.
- The young can’t grasp that most older people don’t feel so different from their youthful selves.
Older people may not be qualitatively different from “youngers.” only 10% of Americans who are at least 85 live in nursing homes, and that half of those in that cohort don’t have caregivers; for the most part, they are cognitively robust, sexually active, and “enjoy better mental health than the young or middle-aged.”
A representation issue:
- A study of the films nominated for Best Picture between 2014 and 2016 showed that only 8% of the actors were sixty or older, although that age group constitutes 18.5% of the U.S. population.
- Economists call this phenomenon, in which older women’s looks are judged more harshly than older men’s, the “attractiveness penalty.”
- Tom Cruise, for instance, was 3 years younger than his “Risky Business” co-star Rebecca De Mornay, in 1983, but lately he’s been as much as 20 years older than his female co-stars.
- Two years ago, Maggie Gyllenhaal, at 37, was told she was “too old” to play thelove interest of a 55-year-old man.
- As Goldie Hawn’s aging-actress character observed in “The First Wives Club,” “There are only three ages for women in Hollywood: babe, district attorney, and ‘Driving Miss Daisy.’ ”
- Last year, California passed a law requiring sites such as IMDb, the movie and TV-show database, to remove people’s birth dates upon request.
The Valley’s denizens, despite their sloganeering about worldwide empowerment, secretly believe that tech creates a series of moats in which digital immigrants eventually drown. Cord-nevers look down on cord-cutters, who look down on landliners, who look down on TV-setters, who look down on AOL-addressees