You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.George Burns
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I like to laugh and “the new old age” is among my favorite topics. I’ve written about sex advice for seniors, Social Security, and an embarrassing mishap with my hearing aids. I don’t mind laughing at myself.
Unfortunately, people with much bigger megaphones than mine are still making fun of oldsters the way they used to target people of color, women, and those who are LGBTQ. The stereotypes are even coming from NPR, which wouldn’t last five minutes without older folks’ money (and whose founders, btw, are no spring chickens in the network’s 50th anniversary year).
Last month, the comedy quiz show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” took up the story of the 19-year-old woman who unintentionally moved into a senior living community. As reported by This Chair Rocks, the panelists cracked about older residents’ frailty, hearing problems, and memory loss. One said, “I’m just wondering how many gifts she gets from people who think she’s their granddaughter.”
Such sophisticated wit. Nobody would’ve laughed at that when my mother and my wife’s father were slowly dying of dementia. I’ve been coping with tinnitus and hearing loss, sometimes being driven to despair, since I was about 50, barely old enough for AARP. So why is this acceptable when anti-gay or anti-Black “jokes” would never get on the air? On the network where people probably blathered for hours about the wonder of Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday?
I’ve told my local station I’m through listening to the show. Please consider raising the issue with your station. If you want to send a message straight to the source, here’s the NPR contact form.
This isn’t canceling. If anybody laughs in my face about my hearing or my mother’s memory, their face will get rearranged. You don’t cross that line. “Wait, Wait” sure as hell did.