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Thursday 03 January 2002

The Continuing Infantilization of America

From an article in The Washington Post:

The Society for Adolescent Medicine, a physicians’ organization, now says on its Web site that it cares for persons “10 to 26 years” of age. A National Academy of Sciences committee, surveying programs for adolescents, discussed extending its review to age 30. (To which one committee member and mother of three gasped, “Oh my God, I hope not.”) The MacArthur Foundation has funded a $3.4 million project called Transitions to Adulthood, which pegs the end of that transition at 34.

Soon, everyone but Ronald Reagan and Bob Hope will be determined to actually be a child. I don’t think I have anything else to say about that right now.

Posted by tino at 02:24 3.01.02
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One difficulty that I feel can and should be eliminated in the aging process is societal prejudice toward the elderly population. Reagan and others like hime of prominent status have the potential to alter some of these views. Unfortunately, on the opposing side, television sitcoms often portray the elderly, especially male senior figures, as being incompetent, incapable, and lazy. They are portrayed in this bad light for humor’s sake, but I wonder how these television shows will affect the way the youngest, most impressionable viewers regard the elderly in the future. Children do not differentiate between middle age and old age. To them, everyone as old as their parents is in old age. Hopefully, proper education, parental guidance, and other role models, as exemplary as Ronald Reagan, will have a balancing effect.

Posted by: Paul J. Hanna at November 11, 2002 03:20 PM

Actually, I meant “Ronald Reagan and Bob Hope” to mean “very, very old people”. The baby boom generation, for the last fifty years or so, has really defined American culture. In the late 1960s, the boomers were in their twenties, and therefore anyone over 30 was “old”.

Now that the oldest of the boomers are in their late fifties, though, the terms are being redefined. Now, while people older than the boomers are still “old”, worn out, and useless, people younger than the boomers — people who would have been considered adults or even “old” thirty years ago — are also useless because they don’t have as much life experience as the boomers.

Posted by: Tino at November 11, 2002 04:18 PM