What Peter Tibbles Did on His Birthday
INTERESTING STUFF – 29 September 2018

Two Age Things of Opposing Interest

Yes, these look like items that would usually turn up in Saturday's weekly Interesting Stuff post. But I think they both deserve more attention than perhaps being lost among eight or 10 other items. See what you think.

Certainly I have banged on here – and will again - about how important it is for Americans to vote for their local and Congressional candidates in the midterm election on 6 November.

But never in my dreams could I have envisioned other voting advocates dismissing the need of some citizens to vote, and definitely not for the reason in this video.

It comes from an organization called the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that sounds righteous enough in their About statement on its website:

“NRDC was founded in 1970 by a group of law students and attorneys at the forefront of the environmental movement. Today's leadership team and board of trustees makes sure the organization continues to work to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities.”

“...ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water and healthy communities” but not, apparently, the right to vote after a certain age.

The video is obviously meant to have a little fun while promoting voting by imagining a Non-Voters Anonymous meeting based on the many flavors of such self-help groups. Take a look and be especially attentive at 2:40 in from the top:

Did you get that?

SPEAKER 1: You can vote in your 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s.

SPEAKER 2: Not 80s. Stay home.

SPEAKER 1: 80s too old. What's the point.

If that exchange was meant to be funny, it missed the mark by 100 percent. Shame on the National Resources Defense Council and everyone involved with the production of this video.

It is a credit to the simpatico between readers of this blog and me that most of the time when readers send links to stories, videos, books, movies, etc. they find interesting, I have just that day or so discovered them myself. (That doesn't mean you should stop sending them; there are plenty I wouldn't know about without you.)

I had just spent 13-plus minutes watching this documentary about Donald Hall when an email arrived from Jack Handley recommending it. He included this message in his note:

No sentimentalities
No denials
No woo woo
No sky gods
No perversion of emotions

And so it is.

American poet laureate, Donald Hall, who has been featured here on several occasions through the years, died in June at age 89. His most recent and now, alas, final book was published in July: A Carnival of Losses: Notes on Nearing 90.

The video, titled Quiet Hours by the producer/director Paul Szynol, premiered at The Atlantic website on Monday – a lovely meditation on old age in which Szynol gives us plenty of silent moments to contemplate what has been said and shown.

(One suggestion: Hall's voice is sometimes muffled and it helps to turn on the closed captioning which is, however, far from perfect but it will help you understand without having to stop and back up the video.)

For all my years producing television, it is words that have always mattered to me first. Two moments among others from the documentary that stand out for me – Hall speaking:

“My companion was her absence.” (Regarding Jane Kenyon, the love of his life who died 22 years ago:)

"Often, at night, solitude loses its soft power, and loneliness takes over. I am grateful for when solitude returns.”

Take a look for yourself:

More at The Atlantic website.


I've always respected the NRDC. But as a public service announcement, this one fails. It's way too long, and boring. I doubt anyone would even listen long enough to catch the mention of 80s.

Thank you for the Donald Hall movie. I understood him better than the subtitles. If he had lived with other people he might have been stronger and happier.

The video with Donald Hall was very moving. I have a lot of solitude in my life...and I loved the line, "when solitude turns to lonliness." I am only 72, so I keep wondering what I can do about that....

Thank you, Ronni, for the non-voters anonymous video. I found it on You Tube, copied it and sent it to my son and his girlfriend. We had had a disappointing discussion about the importance of this election, and their exercising their right to vote. They used some of the excuses that were in the video. :(

This video gave me another way to try to reach them.

I actually took that comment about people in their 80's not needing to vote in the sarcastic way I thought it was meant to be received, not as a serious message. Of course it's not funny in the sense that some younger people might actually believe it, but I think that's a different matter.

well now I am going to do my offensive number. Speaker number 2 is a comedian and either wrote the movie The Big Sick or was the star of it or both. There is a fellow on Parks and Recreation who is also of Indian descent who, in exactly the same manner, did an ageist routine. (I know this because I used the clip to show ageism in media). So what is it with these dudes of Indian descent and their seeming issue with age?
Very nice film, "Quiet Hours." Thank you for sharing.

I am much more active politically than when I was young. So voting takes precedence over everything now.

I hope the guy in the video was trying to be funny, but, if so, he failed miserably. However, there are some elders who I wish would not vote because they fail to keep current on what is happening and vote the with the party they have always belonged to without asking whether their vote is right or not.

Wow, I hope there aren't too many elder voters who don't know what is going on in the world, especially politically. Although I was raised in a rock-ribbed Republican household, I went in another direction. My first presidential vote was for JFK. One thing's for sure: what USED to be the Republican Party isn't any more! It's pretty much all about white male power, privilege and entitlement. Maybe it always was, but now it's become so blatant that we're paying attention to it. . .

This is how old I am. I remember when the Republican party was a serious, respectable party. That was before Fox news got hold of them and lying became the style. Rupert Murdoch did a number on all of us.

Don’t know if voting video was supposed to be funny but it wasn’t! Didn’t even come across as good sarcasm. I sent them an email protesting ageism. May phone their Santa Monica office to see what they say.

Surprising to me has been the number of individuals/friends I know who didn’t seem to recognize how their political party was being taken over by those with other goals beginning long before this current administration — wasn’t even what their Party once stood for. Then this last election culminated in what some of them now say to me: “I didn’t leave the Party, it left me.” But, then they keep voting with it though don’t support Administration. Don’t seem to recognize their best interests are not being served — are so married to old Party they can’t release.

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