Yoko Ono tackles ageist critics. And dances badly.

On her 82nd birthday, visionary artist and activist Yoko Ono released a music video called “Bad Dancer,” named after the first single on her latest Band album. Critics didn’t mind the dancing—they were warned, after all—but made plenty of disparaging comments about her singing and her costume. Ono struck back with an open letter about ageism in the music industry.  

 

Oliver Sacks on old age

I fell in love with neurologist Oliver Sacks' writing decades ago, after reading The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat, a collection of case histories of patients with bizarre brain deficits or excesses, and I've been a fan ever since. I'm interested in medicine and Sacks is a wonderful wordsmith, but his humanism and empathy are what make his writing so compelling and his patients so lucky. Now 81, Sacks recently learned that he has less than a year to live. His essay about this is another astonishingy lucid, even joyous, piece of writing, which brought to mind a piece he wrote 18 months earlier called "The Joy of Old Age Age. (No kidding.)"  

On old farts and creepy old men

A few years ago I took a dramatic monologue class to sharpen my speaking skills. The teacher was brilliant and a surprising number of the participants were talented too, including three who recently presented six moving and original pieces at the Producer’s Club. I laughed, I cried, and I stumbled over some language. One piece referred to a “creepy old priest” and I punted that to Yo, Is That Ageist? Another piece prompted this note: 

 

how my book starts

I've been buried in book-proposal purgatory. Here's how the Introduction kicks off:

It doesn’t make much sense to go through life pretending that something that’s definitely going to happen to you isn’t going to happen to you unless you die. Yet that’s how most of us behave when it comes to getting older. “Hey, it beats the alternative,” we manage weakly. What does that old saw actually mean? The only thing worse than being old is being dead.

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