Growing Old in a New World

How to Combat Ageism

Did you see the Fourth of July public service announcement (PSA) about patriotism that John Cena released for this holiday? The one-minute video that is a masterpiece of how age should be treated?

Ha! If you read Wednesday's post in which I admitted to having zero interest – and that means zero knowledge, too – in any sport, you're probably thinking I don't know who John Cena is. Amazingly, even to me, you would be wrong.

I know that John Cena is a superstar in the professional wrestling world. I know that because for many years some of my favorite television shows have been broadcast on the USA cable channel where the WWE Monday night wrestling show has been a fixture over the same period of time.

That means I have been saturated with promotional videos featuring Cena. Although I never bothered to watch a wrestling match, it is hard not to notice, even in short promos, that he is charming, attractive and not so scary as most other wrestlers look.

After seeing the PSA I have referenced above and which I will get back to in good time, I consulted Google about what else there is to know about John Cena. It turns out he's a multi-talented guy who co-wrote his own wrestling theme song, is a rapper, has appeared in several movies, not to mention a lot of non-wrestling TV shows and last year he became the first celebrity to have granted 500 wishes for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Who knew? Not me - not any of it until now.

Recently, Cena appeared on the new NBC-TV sketch show, Maya and Marty, which was developed by Lorne Michaels – you know, the guy who has kept Saturday Night Live relevant for more than 40 years and is no schlub at spotting talent.

So take a look at this professional wrestler, John Cena, holding his own quite admirably with some professional comedians:

My point is that Cena's celebrity reaches beyond the world of pro wrestling and I am guessing that he is deliberately expanding his professional horizons because – hey, how long can a body hold up to being pounded on the floor of a fight ring.

His growing range and the fact that he's really likeable onscreen made him a good choice to reach a wide variety of people for this Fourth of July “Patriotism” PSA, produced for the Ad Council by the R/GA Agency. Take a look and take special note of how age is treated:

If you missed it, scroll back to :31 seconds from the top where Cena says, “This year, patriotism shouldn't just be about pride of country. It should be about love, love beyond AGE, disability, sexuality, race, religion and any other labels.”

Did you notice how he just slips in "age" there with all the other ways to describe people as though we old folks are as worthy as everyone else? I cannot recall last time I saw, heard or read an instance of such perfect inclusion of elders.

Hurray for John Cena and all the people at the R/GA Agency who created this PSA. Great work!


OK, I never heard of Cena before but now I'm a fan.

I don't watch much regular TV and had not seen this, so thank you for posting this very inclusive PSA and the SNL bit. The skit was a very welcome moment of levity this morning.

Years ago, when Gayle King had a talk show on Oprah Radio, I listened to her interviews with rappers and other entertainers who I heard of but was never interested in listening to. Hearing about the person behind the music and his/her purpose in writing and performing, I changed my mind about so many of them as individuals although my interested in listening to their music didn't change.

From those interviews I learned to withhold judgement of many entertainers whose music held no value to me. Luckily, I am now a fan of Charlie Rose interviews and have become more tolerant of people I didn't have any previous desire to get to know. Thank goodness for him and thank goodness for my learning to be a bit more open-minded.

I must confess that I had never heard of John Cena. He is, as once described by people, a "hunk".

The fact that he is also a very nice man is icing on the cake.

Y-a-a-y for John Cena! I think I 'd heard of him but don't recall the context since I'm not a huge sports fan.

John Cena has a supporting role in Amy Schumer's recent movie "Trainwreck". He is wonderfully funny as Amy's non PC boyfriend.

Very impressive that age was included in this PSA. Makes me feel a lot better I age & ache more each day. Thanks Ronni. :) Dee

I didn't recognize the name John Cena, but as soon as I scrolled down to his picture, I knew I'd seen him before, someplace.

I love John Cena from this moment on.


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