This isn’t one of those rites of passage birthdays like 18, when you can vote in the U.S. or 65 when you become eligible for Medicare. It’s not even one of those big, round, decade birthdays with a zero at the end we all like to celebrate. It’s just 67, of no particular significance, except that it feels like yesterday I turned 66.
You may know I appeared on the Brian Lehrer Live television show in New York City on CUNY-TV last Wednesday to discuss elderblogging. I was particularly pleased to be invited because I listened to Brian’s radio show when I lived in New York, more frequently in recent years when I worked from home a lot.
So I know first-hand that he deserves to have won a prestigious Peabody Award for 2007. Brian is always intelligent, always informed and always entertaining - what a talk show host ought to be, particularly compared to the shouters and instigators. The award citation reads:
“Lehrer's talk show is a wide open yet shrewdly managed forum in which every sort of political, social and cultural issue is considered and where New Yorkers, in all their diversity, can get to know each other.”
And so it is. And now I’m happy to discover that I can listen right here on my computer at WNYC.org.
The weekly television show emulates the daily radio program, but through the prism of technology and the web. One of the things we discussed is the importance of community to elderblogging, the give and take in the comments not unlike the call-ins on radio shows.
It’s not that there aren’t comments on younger people’s blogs. And on political blogs, the number of comments can sometimes reach hundreds depending on the controversy of the topic. But on our elderblogs, there is rarely the vitriol found often on the others; there is usually a discussion of the day's issue that is as smart and relevant as Brian's.
It’s that two-way street that has become important to me and that there is a variety of opinion and disagreement without snark or name-calling. Maybe we elders are just older and wiser (she said with a grin).
So instead of celebrating my innocuous-sounding birthday, let’s celebrate elderblogging – with Brian Lehrer. Some of you had difficulty accessing the feed online last Wednesday, so here now is the video (15:22).
A good interview is at least as dependent on the host and producers as it is on the guest. Brian and his producers, Derek Tutschulte, Alan Smith and Marty Goldensohn had done the homework (which isn't always the case), read TGB and researched elderblogging. They made it easy and a pleasure for me.
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Nancy Leitz tells the story of the uncommonly loving Walker Family.]