Metavalent Stigmergy

How New Default Consensus Realities Instantiate

Elderly iPod users skip a beat

The excuse:<blockquote>this kind of test had never been carried out before because it was never really an issue, being that most pacemaker wearers tend not to have an iPod.</blockquote>“Never really an issue” because we ASSUME that All Those Old Morons will NEVER understand our hip, young, cool bullshit. I am getting increasingly outraged as the methodical disenfranchisement of older people in our society. “Yeah, don’t even test it for safety, they’re all too old and tired and lazy and stupid.” With that prejudice driving so much of product development, and with product development driving so much of popular culture, is it any wonder that age discrimination is not only alive and well in America, but getting WORSE and affecting younger old people (down into the 40’s and even 30’s), every day?

In fact, the more that I read the word “elderly” the more that I believe it has become the “N” word of age relations. The word has become an insulting dehumanizing pejorative. The phrase “the elderly” creates a monolithic group that is universally flawed, a “them” versus us, just like the use of “the blacks” or “the gays” or “the asians.”

Don Imus would still have his job today if he’d said, “nappy headed old fogies” or “elderly ho’s” while making fun of a group of older Americans taking part in a favorite pastime. So maybe we should start conducting the Imus Test against more and more of our social mores. Here’s how it works, place any other discriminatory terms into the famous Imus-ending quotation and ask yourself whether any of the combinations would still have cost him his job.

Odds are, if you plug in “chink” or “spic” or “dago” … you might answer, yeah, he might have got into trouble. But “fogie” or “old fart” or “elderly” or any other age-incriminating term, probably not. Look, I didn’t like the guy because he was never funny, so the decision to fire him didn’t affect me directly in any way. The only reason I even care is because the decision sheds a tiny sliver of filtered light upon some of the popular forces at work in our society, at the moment.

For instance, let’s not forget one other completely unspoken, but widely regarded as good-reason-to-skewer-Imus, “he was old and needed to move on, anyway.” After all, we can’t move forward and gain more distance from our historical embarrassments like slavery and racism, unless all the Ignorant Old People die. So we WANT THEM TO DIE as if to absolve us of our sins, as a society. That, my friends, amounts to nothing more than a revoltingly modern version of human sacrifice made to appease the youth-obsessed gods of political correctness and self-ablution.

To which thought, Imus might cue up the country western song, “there’s your trouble.”

Written on May 12, 2007


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