Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ageism is alive and well these days...

Today I encountered a woman who put my back up in the worst way. Our very cool bus driver asked her how she was doing when we got on and somehow she ended up in a rant about young people these days. The only reason I didn't say anything was because of her age and the general rule I have about respecting old people and not calling them out for being obnoxious assholes. (This one was a nasty old bat, not an elderly person!) She went off about young people not being taught manners or respect, then just had to mention a neighbor of hers who was a slut (her words) and the children she had, all three of whom are also sluts. When Joe (the bus driver) kind of just uh-huhed her she had to mention that one of the slutty children was a man in his thirties. She then wished that he'd get AIDs because he deserves it. Of course, then the topic had to change to the fact that the taxpayers have to pay for all the children of these slutty young people, who have sex before marriage and all that.

I guess every single person of her generation (both genders) was a virgin before marriage. No pre-marital sex in the Thirties, Forties and Fifties.

I was amazed by the vitriol spewing from the mouth of this small, kindly-looking woman. I commented to Joe later something along the lines of her being the picture of Christian charity and good will. He just shrugged and said that he just lets people like her go, because he has to face them each day. He's right, the poor guy.

I would love it if, for once, some older person didn't lay the blame for everything on the younger people. I'm thirty. I have manners (mostly good) and a decent respect for the elderly (Count the holes in my tongue from not telling the old bat where she could stick her prejudices!) and my mother's generation. I also try to respect my contemporaries and the generation after me. Why is it that I am somehow less deserving of the respect due the elderly? Do these people who treat younger generations like crap not have any clue as to what they did when they were young and what happened in their own times and those before them? It must be selective memory/ignorance because some of the things my mother and great-relatives have told me about I wouldn't try if you paid me a million dollars.

Just a side note: when looking up "ageism" for the Wikipedia link, I encountered a lot more links relating to discrimination against the elderly. There were some nice links dealing with discrimination towards teens and such, though. You just have to look for them. You know, at this point there are a lot more advocates for the discrimination against the elderly than there are for discrimination against youth, although neither seem to be getting much accomplished in regards to either problem.


Sinspired said...

Well, I suppose the easiest answer for the lack of advocacy for young ageism is this:

The young will grow old, whether they are helped in this or not. The old can never grow young in quite the same way.

Shadowspun said...

Oh, I quite agree that advocates are needed for the elderly. I think more services should be available to help the elderly than are currently available now. Tee-hee. I have an entire rant that I could post on the inequities of the care system for the elderly (and their caregivers).

My point was mainly the stones and glass houses idea. I sincerely doubt our parents' and grandparents' generations were saints who did no wrong. I happen to know my parents did things I'd never do. Same thing with my grandparents. So why should she feel she has the right to accuse youngsters of things when I know these same things happened to her contemporaries or maybe she even did some of these things?

I know it's selective memory and there's nothing really to be done about it, but it's so damned annoying.

ntrlstgrl said...

Manners in general I think seem sadly lacking in recent times... :(