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A mother's final, best lesson: Part 8

Ageism Hits as Young as 35 in Seattle

Idly surfing around the blogosphere this afternoon, Crabby Old Lady came across a blog named The Two Hour Lunch of which “Pops” is the proprietor. He points with a good bit of righteous indignation to a story in The Seattle Times seeking applicants who want to blog in the newspaper about how the election campaign is going among folks in their community.

“Know your community? Like to talk politics with your friends, colleagues and neighbors? Want an opportunity to blog about your observations?” asks the paper.

Even Crabby, who has been known to disdain such cutesy-poo efforts at involving journalistic “civilians,” might go along given the crucial nature of the 2004 election and the generally abysmal job the mainstream media has done so far in raising the level of political discourse. Perhaps the civilians could do a better job at writing about the real concerns of the public, thought Crabby - that is, until she read the next bits in the story, and the reason for Pops’ indignation:

“We’re looking for contributors 35 and younger who are following the ’04 campaigns…There’s no pay involved; only a chance to make the voice of the community heard.”

If this were a paying gig, that advertisement would be illegal under the federal ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act).

This is the kind of kneejerk, gratuitous ageism American culture engages in every day, and it sends Crabby Old Lady right around the bend.

What does The Seattle Times think – that people past age 35 don’t know their communities? Don’t talk politics? Maybe they think no one over 35 has any friends, colleagues or neighbors?

And how old – or, rather, how young, do you have to be to run such a nasty, ageist news operation?

Here’s the executive editor’s email address in case you want to complain: Crabby sent him a copy of this blog entry.


Perhaps they're trying to reach that demographic and think people within it can best do so? If so, I have news for them - opinions on politics cross age boundaries, people who've lived longer may have insight others lack, and I suspect people over 35 will in many cases have more interest in doing that anyway. Not all, but many.

This is, in a word, tacky. I bet they just irritated any number of people who have learned of it, and hopefully some of their subscribers will have the smarts to become former subscribers over that sort of garbage.

This particular age bracket is a strange choice, though i have a theory that younger people in general are not as involved in their communities as older people.

Tried to post on Chapter 8 of your mom's final best lesson, but it wouldn't let me. This whole series is so thoughtful, poignant--and real.

Love this site!

My introduction to ageism came like a rude splash of cold water on my 40th birthday, when I went out after work for drinks with my 26-yr-old female friend and three 40+ (one in his mid-50s) men. I had not done this kind of casual bar thing for years and was quite excited. Except, once seated, the men proceeded to completely ignore me and talk to my friend, culminating in one of them asking her to a rock concert. Not only did I wonder what was wrong with my appearance (I had thought I looked better than ever), but I also thought it was the rudest thing I've ever experienced: to be ignored on my birthday.

It's gotten worse. Not with my husband, who is the same age as me: he still finds me attractive and we are both fairly content and busy with our two kids. But with my work life -- I am completely ignored in my department's social events, as are the three other 35+ women, even though the older men are included in everything. And nobody else seems to find this an outrage.

Hmmm -- have you reviewed the movie "Love Actually" yet? The ONLY two characters that seem to end up unhappy are the two women who appear to be middle aged (Played by Emma Thompson and Laura Linney). The middle age men all end up with young 20 somethings and super-models after them. Why do 40+ men seem to hate us so much? I'd bet they would turn down Sharon Stone or Demi Moore for an average looking 20 year old!

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