ageism

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.  

 

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: 

 

What’s behind midlife malaise? The Happiness U-Curve. And an ageist culture.

 Last month the Atlantic magazine’s cover story described living past 75 as pretty darn inadvisableNow, in quite the about-face, the December cover story champions the Happiness U-Curve (or “U-shaped Happiness Curve," as I’ve been calling it, or “U-bend” in Britspeak): : the growing body of research showing, in writer Jonathan Rausch’s words, that “we reliably grow happier, regardless of circumstances, after our 40s.”

 Happiness U-Curve_DecAtlantic.png

Caption: An analysis by the Brookings scholars Carol Graham and Milena Nikolova, drawing on Gallup polls, shows a clear relationship between age and well-being in the United States. Respondents rated their life satisfaction relative to the “best possible life” for them, with 0 being worst and 10 being best.

 

"Ageism is a cultural illness; it's not a personal illness." Frances McDormand

Actress Frances McDormand has always played unvarnished women,  endearing herself to me—and winning an Oscar—for her role as queasy and massively pregnant state trooper Marge Gunderson in "Fargo." She plays another one as the title role in "Olive Kitteridge," a four-part HBO miniseries that McDormand acquired and made happen, and she's been wonderfully outspoken about herrejection of the industry-wide fixation on youth.  "Looking old," she told the New York Times, "should be a boast about experiences accrued and insights acquired, a triumphant signal “that you are someone who, beneath that white hair, has a card catalog of valuable information.

The disastrous consequences of pretending we'll never get old

 “Researching this story about getting old was revelatory thanks to @AndreaCharise and @thischairrocks” tweeted Anne Kingston, Senior Writer at Maclean’s magazine, when “Why it’s time to face up to old age” was published this week. That was gratifying, but reading the article—a sharp and balanced look at the social and economic costs of age denial—was even more so

 

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