in defence of ageism

October 13, 2006

Well, not all ageism, though anyone daft enough to want to work after 65 should be locked away for their own good as well as that of others. No, what I would defend is the practice, now being banned after the new legislation came into force, of making jokes about people’s age. Some firms, according to the Times,  have stopped employees from sending birthday cards with phrases like ‘bus passes’, ‘old codgers’, Viagra, ‘coffin dodgers’,’over the hill’ and ‘Dad’s Army’. I think this is patronising nonsense- no self-respecting oldie, who has stood up to everything life has slung at them for 50 years and more is going to fall in a heap when they are called a ‘wrinkly’, ‘old coot’ , or even ‘woopie’ . British society should take a leaf out of the Asian model, where the elderly are treated with respect and consideration, not patronised. For a start, they could stop choosing ‘leaders’ who look as if they are only just out of short trousers.


80 Responses to “in defence of ageism”

  1. SilverTiger Says:

    “Political correctness”, aka “Mealy mouthed crap”, is one of my pet hates. Not only is it stupid: it is also useless. “Senior citizen” still means what was meant by “old age pensioner” and people know this.

    I heard of an academic institution whose equal ops department decreed that the cantten should stop advertising “black coffee” on the grounds that this was offensive to black people. The menu had to read “coffee without milk” instead.

    Apart from the sheer stupidity involved, this mealy-mouthed nonsense encourages people to complain about trivial matters. In the case of jokes and banter, it is often not even the targets who complain but self-appointed champions who perceive offence where there is none.

    It isn’t difficult to distinguish a humorous remark from an intentionally offensive one. By all means censure people who are deliberately offensive but leave the others alone. Attack the intention, not the vocabulary.

  2. SilverTiger Says:

    Regarding work after 65, I think some people choose to go on working if they can. Apart from economic considerations (including wretched pensions) there is the fact that people are often quite fit at 65 and enjoy doing their jobs.

    Those firms who do employ older people, praise them: they are more punctual and work harder and more intelligently than young people; they are absent less often; they bring experience to the job and are good with people. Everyone gains.

    La dolce far niente doesn’t suit everyone. I think you have to have an aptitude for it, like most things artistic 😉

  3. tomeemayeepa Says:

    Yes, I guess I was thinking of the vast majority of people I know who hated their jobs.
    “I think you have to have an aptitude for it, like most things artistic” – zees eez your Breetish humour, yes?

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