The new ageism

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If the stars are in the right alignment and if you live long enough, you too can become a victim of stereotype and prejudice. I’ve been a semi-privileged, middle class, male Caucasian all of my life, but now, thanks to The New Old Age I’ve discovered that I too am a card-carrying member of a group that is besieged by politically incorrect language.

A stylebook for the media now shows how writers and broadcasters can avoid being sued for discrimination by, uh, well, er, whatever we’d rather be called (hint: it isn’t the e word). I’ll bet that this book will be cited in a slew of forthcoming lawsuits on age discrimination. Elderly is out, along with senior citizen, golden years, feisty, spry, senile, and grandfatherly.

As I understand ageism these days, I’m even supposed to be offended if someone says that I’m seventy-eight years young. Okay, I know about the more obvious ageist words, like codger, old fart, geezer, old goat, and fossil, but the insult of adding years young to my age mystifies me. For some reason I kinda like it. Maybe I need to get out more.

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