Out there, way out there
The Changing Aging blog declared Independence from Ageism on the Fourth of July and named four "incredible leaders to wage this war: Dr. Bill Thomas; the late Dr. Robert Butler, who coined the term ageism; Ronni Bennett, elder-blogger extraordinaire; and Ashton Applewhite, the Imperator Furiosa of anti-ageism." Played by Charlize Theron, Furiosa is the main protagonist of this summer's Mad Max: Fury Road movie, and she is seriously badass. Make my day, and what great company to be keeping. Saddle up!
On Thursday, June 25th, I'm teaming up with the Radical Age Movement for an evening of consciousness-raising and connecting. The evening begins with my new talk, "Let's Rock This Chair: Yes to Aging, No to Ageism." Then we'll divide into small groups for an hour-long breakout session, after which Alice Fisher will talk about moving from personal to cultural change. Guaranteed to entertain, educate, and provoke—come!
The inaugural issue of Salt magazine lists me as one of their “100 greatest change agents—women who have a hugely positive influence all over the world." I'm one of very few Americans and keep company with remarkable social justice and human rights activists, including Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Arundhati Roy, Pussy Riot, Germaine Greer, Jane Goodall, and Naomi Wolf. It's very exciting to see ageism on the world stage and have my work recognized in this way.
#Aging is living. Stop confusing it with #dying.
There’s a lot of disagreement around how to frame the last century’s unprecedented increase in human lifespan. Is it a crisis or an opportunity? Will a “grey tsunami” of incapacitated freeloaders sweep us off our feet, or will we tap into the social capital of millions more healthy, well-educated adults? Are longer lives a blessing or a curse? Experience and ideology shape the responses, of course, but there’s one thing both liberals and libertarians can agree on. What single characteristic of these older Americans will make the most difference? Their health. Living longer looks a lot more attractive when it’s uncoupled from cognitive and physical decline. It’s a lot cheaper too: illness is expensive.
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.
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: