Thursday May 03 2007
They look like they’re having a good time making the point that their generation is cool too. Interestingly, a lot of normally ageist folks are applauding—expressing a kind of ‘good for you’ (you nice, sweet, otherwise decrepit old fogies). Personally, I think the song and the singing are fun, but it also reinforces a lot of ‘old people’ stereotypes.
Putting a little bounce in your step as you move across the street in your walker is fine, but what about the fact that lots of older people don’t need walkers? If we could change the cultural dictate that we are supposed to decline as we age, maybe even fewer would need them. The clip shows some people holding up signs like “I am bored in a nursing home” and “I haven’t left my apartment in 3 years”. These do highlight the plight of many older people, but doesn’t show the alternatives. The phrase they repeat, “I hope I die before I get old”, pretty well summarizes our culture’s view of aging.
The ending showing the performers bashing the instruments and shooting the ‘bird’ to the audience, reminiscent of punk rockers flaunting convention. This comes off as more or less saying, “See, we are young too.” I would encourage their next video to show less protest and show more of the wonderful aspects of being older. Show how getting older can be fulfilling and satisfying. Show older people singing about the things everyone else is singing about—love for example. When was the last time you heard or saw a romantic song written in the context of growing older? The last one I remember was from South Pacific about a love between an older man and a younger woman.
No, we either get young people singing about not wanting to get old—as with the Beatles original—or we now get old people flipping off the young in protest to being stereotyped, In fact, they’re demonstrating the stereotype.
Like I said, it was kind of fun and I do think the intention behind the production was positive. But please show us role models for growing older that are not buying into the culture’s images of ‘old’, of people who are still engaged in conversations with younger people and who are empowered by their age. Show us living examples of wisdom in action, people teaching all of us that growing older is a positive aspect of the process of life and that the prime of life can just as easily be at the end as in the middle.
That’s a vision for “My Generation”.