In this regular weekend feature you will find links to news items from the preceding week related to elders and aging, along with whatever else catches my fancy. Suggestions are welcome with, however, no promises of publication.
An email note arrived from Peter Tibbles about a recent program on Australian television:
“There was a doco on TV tonight on Brigitte Bardot. I watched it (well, I am a bloke of a certain age). She was more interesting and thoughtful than I expected (besides the animal rights stuff that I knew about). I had to write this down: she said,
“'I was sick of having to be pretty every day. Now I'm hideous every day and I'm making up for lost time'.
“How can you not admire a woman with such perspective?”
The annual Trustees' Report on Social Security was released last week announcing that the trust fund will run out of assets in 2037, four years earlier that previous predictions. Undoubtedly, you've read the all the shrill headlines since then.
In reality, nothing has changed except the date when it becomes necessary to begin dipping into the trust fund to pay benefits, and if President Bush had made a few tweaks to the Social Security system instead of wasting two years trying to destroy it with his privatization plan, there wouldn't be a problem, even in a recession.
Here are a couple of links to more thoughtful writing on Social Security:
How Social Security Can Save Us, James K. Galbraith in Mother Jones
The Truth Behind the Social Security and Medicare Alarm Bells, Robert Reich
Healthcare reform is in the wind. One way you can track some of the information is at the Obama administration's new website, HealthReform.gov.
Unfortunately, I lost track of where I read about this video, The Story of Stuff, but I remember there is some controversy about it being shown in schools. It's not anything you don't know, but it brings home sharply how important it is for future life on planet earth to change entirely the way we produce and consume “stuff.” Take the 21:16 minutes to look at this.
This has nothing in particular to do with elders, but my friend Sophy in London sent along a website with some amusing math calculations such as Botox = skin – time – emotion. There are plenty more here.
For the past three years, on his blog at theatlantic.com, Andrew Sullivan has been publishing readers' photo submissions in a feature titled, “The View Out My Window” (damn, I wish I'd thought of that).
It's one of my favorite web features. He has amassed more than 1,000 submissions from more than 100 countries and now he has announced that he is publishing an on-demand coffee table book with the best of the photos. Sullivan held a contest to choose one photo for the cover of the book. You can see the winner and the finalists here.
I have no useful knowledge of the science of economics, so I've kept the thought to myself that the entrenched goal of unending growth of economies is deeply stupid, unsustainable, harmful to the planet and its inhabitants. (I can't be sure, but I think our current, worldwide, economic debacle proves that idea – that in trying to create wealth out of nothing, economies of the world have been destroyed). Why, I've wondered, hasn't someone invented an economy that works while shrinking to sustainable levels and then maintains that level?
Journalist William Greider doesn't address that idea directly in Future of the American Dream, but he's getting close. It's a long article and worth reading every word.
When I was a very little girl, my mother took me to see the film, The Red Shoes and it stands as one of my favorites to this day. At the Cannes Film Festival last week, director Martin Scorsese introduced a restored print of the classic, gorgeous movie. Here's a story about how Michael Powell, director of The Red Shoes influenced Scorsese and his work. The new print will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 29 June when I will be first in line.
In another movie event this week, The Guardian's David Thomson wrote a fascinating tribute to actor James Mason who would have been 100 years old this year. There is a bit of Mason at the beginning of this clip (which mostly features Cary Grant) from Alfred Hitchcock's magnificent North By Northwest. I miss the elegance of this kind of film production. [9:48 minutes]