Random Thoughts on Aging
Newspaper Clipping Found in Mom’s Wallet

The Same Old Story

Okay, I lied yesterday – or was mistaken, anyway - when I said those random notes on aging were unlikely to yield a full-blown blog post. I scribbled out this quote, as I read the novel a couple of years ago, because it nicely stated some feelings I had begun to experience occasionally:

"...an old man's impatience at seeing the show come 'round again one too many times.”
- John Le Carre, Absolute Friends

When Jayson Blair got caught making up stuff for his New York Times reports, I skipped most of the details. Been there, I thought, how many times before? Janet Cooke fabricated the existence of an eight-year old heroin addict about 20 years ago and nearly won a Pulitzer Prize before she was found out. There followed Patricia Smith and Stephen Glass and many others who fictitiously dressed up their news pieces.

This lapse is so common that although there is no way to know two millennia later, it wouldn’t surprise me if Flavius Josephus embellished his reports of the Roman wars in Judea and Homer probably fiddled the facts in the Odyssey too.

Then there are the weekly tabloid sagas of celebrity “scandals.” Please. Nothing from Hollywood is scandalous these days. We’ve heard so many versions of drug and sexual shenanigans in high circles during the last 30 or 40 years the sleaze and shock value are long gone. How much of this can we consume before our brains atrophy?

And while I’m discussing Hollywood, it’s commonly said there are only seven basic plots, but the movie and TV people don’t even bother to use all seven. What are we up to now, the third remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers? They are all cheesy compared to the first. I hear tell there’s a remake of To Kill a Mockingbird in the works. You tell me: is there anyone alive who could match Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch? Another cinematic telling is one too many.

In the world of public affairs, executives steal the corporate revenue. Government contractors can’t account for billions of dollars. Politicians skim taxpayer money to build bridges to nowhere. Elected officials lie. So what else is new? There was the Yazoo Land Scandal that started in 1795. The Whiskey Ring 80 years later. Tammany Hall. Teapot Dome. And all the gates since Water.

It’s déjà vu all over again and some of these shows have started to come around a few too many times for me. It is wearisome that none of it ever changes except in scale.

Maybe the very elderly who famously nod off in their rocking chairs aren’t succumbing to age but, like Le Carre, to boredom with the same old story.


Comments

:o) Its like the story I heard once - and used to effect in the movie 'Groundhog Day' - perhaps ones God isnt all knowing but merely been around a hell of a long time!
Have a good weekend Ronni.

Sounds like a Broadway blockbuster that has played forever. Only the cast changes from time-to-time as they wear out or die off.

Agreed on "Mockingbird". That is #1 on my list of favorite movies, and GP makes my top 10 actors list. Has there ever been a remake of anything that equalled the original?

My stepdaughter was just telling last evening that there is a remake of American History X in the works. Good grief, it hasn't even been 10 years since the original was out. Like Gregory Peck in TKAM, I can't see an actor doing a better role reprisal than Edward Norton in the original AHX.

Given the above, how long till we begin to see lousier remakes of lousy remakes...

Hollywood needs a makeover.

Did hear about a new Belgian movie that has potential: "Memory of a Killer". Heard the review today at NPR's Morning Edition.

TV needs a makeover too; every show on tap for next season reads like a copy of something in the past. Perhaps we are all getting jaded.

I agree with what you say, Ronni. Sadly, the attention span and educational experience of much of the public is such that it's all new to them.

"Sadly, the attention span and educational experience of much of the public is such that it's all new to them."

Some of them are like emus - every single day is a new experinece for them... it's a wonder they remember how to breathe and eat...

Of course, Ecclesiastes said it long before Le Carré.

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