Althouse | category: aging



an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"In a world where widely available AI thingummies such as ChatGPT can generate a 90,000-word 'thriller about a bloke with a tough British name racing against time to cut through some red tape'..."

"'... about something vaguely nuclear, written in the style of Sir Michael Caine' at the touch of a button, it is terrific to know that Sir Michael has gone to the trouble of writing such a thing himself, with his own hand. His publisher says he is 'bursting with ideas for fiction' which is good news, because when a chap is 90 years old and at the start of a seven-book deal then you want him at least to have the ideas for each one ready as soon as possible (talk about 'race against time')."

Fox News sought a response from the White House for a story it was doing on the problem of President Biden's advanced age.

But — as HuffPo reports in "Fox News Refuses To Run Snarky White House Comment In Story Criticizing Biden’s Age"  — the White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates only responded with attacks relating to the advanced age of Rupert Murdoch.

"We take inspiration from the 92 year-old owner of Fox News, and send our best regards on your accurate coverage of extreme MAGA Freedom Caucus complaining that President Biden outsmarted them on the budget as he continued the unprecedented bipartisan winning streak that is central to the best legislative record in modern American history."


"I go back and forth on whether these stories are born out of Fox News executives trying to send a signal to y’all’s 92 year-old chairman, or that 92 year-old chairman’s frustrations with the political successes of a younger man running an exponentially more complex operation.” 

There's a big difference between owning a company and seeking election to high office. That Murdoch hangs onto his power says nothing positive about Biden's effort to cling to power in his old age. Biden must convince us, the people, that he's fit. He's younger than Murdoch and at least as power hungry. That's Bates's argument.

ADDED: At Meadhouse, we've been catching up on the HBO series "Succession," which has a character based to some extent on Rupert Murdoch. I bought the Season 2 "Complete Scripts," and I thought this was interesting, from the Introduction by Frank Rich:

If the younger Roys at times echo the behaviour of some of the Murdoch progeny in their self-delusional confidence in their own non-existent talents, their hapless public relations efforts to rebrand themselves, and their bottomless sense of entitlement, their father is an archetypal self-made American tycoon rather than a scion who inherited his empire as Rupert Murdoch did. 

The primal connection between Succession and bedrock American mythos is one reason why the show resonates with an American audience that does not necessarily follow the Murdochs, the Redstones, Michael Eisner, John Malone, or other contemporary media and finance barons who sometimes inspired our show’s fictional stories. That audience is more likely familiar with classic entertainments that offer variations on the theme, whether Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy or Lillian Hellman’s frequently revived 1939 Broadway potboiler The Little Foxes, in which the vicious Southern siblings’ ruthless civil war over the family inheritance drives a Black domestic servant to observe: ‘There are people who eat earth and eat all the people on it like in the Bible with the locusts. Then there are people who stand around and watch them eat it.’ 

Your favorite track on "Shadow Kingdom"?

Is that Bob's favorite track? That's the one his YouTube account featured from the new album. I like the whole thing, played in order, but if I had to pick one, I'd say "Tombstone Blues" (which seems to be done in the style of "Murder Most Foul").

The album is the soundtrack from that video special I blogged about in the summer of 2021. 

As for "Forever Young," I like this new version better than the original studio album version, which came out 50 years ago. What's the point of this desperate need to seem "young"? It's also in "My Back Pages" ("Ah, but I was so much older then/I’m younger than that now"). If you want to live a long time, you'd better like the idea of being old.

"If their mom were too sick to make meals or wash or do anything at all, would they just leave her there?"

"Of course not. Instead, they meant that they couldn’t see where neediness fit into their lives, because their lives were arranged to pretend that care didn’t exist. For them — perhaps for you, too, if sickness hasn’t yet rearranged your life — care was something that happened to other people."

Writes Emily Kenway in "Family caregiving should be seen as an expectation — not an exception" (WaPo).

Where this column goes: "Ultimately, caring for loved ones should be a fundamental, protected right...."
Currently, family medical leave is unpaid and so restrictive that, according to the Labor Department, 44 percent of U.S. employees are ineligible. Instead, we could follow Norway’s example, expanding leave to all workers and sharing the costs between employers and government. If you need a business case, consider the recent Harvard Business School finding that providing caregiver leave can reduce turnover, especially of senior-level employees.

"It’s not you telling your mom, 'Don’t take the torn recliner.' It’s someone else saying, 'Maybe another chair would work better."

Said Donna Surges Tatum, chair of the Certified Relocation & Transition Specialist Certification Board, quoted in "Moving Is a Monumental Task for Many Older Americans. These Organizers Can Help. Senior move managers may spend weeks or months helping seniors and their families sort through belongings, pack and move into a new home" (NYT).
One woman who hadn’t cooked for 20 years insisted that she needed to hold on to a particular roasting pan, Ms. Bjorkman recalled. The woman also argued that, as someone who remembered the Depression, a freestanding freezer was a crucial source of comfort — even if it was full of expired food. The roasting pan could be disassembled to fit under the bed in the new apartment, Ms. Bjorkman said. The freezer — still packed with food — served as a living room side table....

From the comments over there:

5 years ago the brilliant, compassionate move manager my family hired to move my elderly aunt from a big house to a small condo did what nobody in the family could do -- persuade my aunt to relinquish some of the seven -- seven == precious bundt cake pans that she insisted she needed in her new home. As someone else here said: Worth. Every. Penny.

"I don't quite understand the emphasis on relationships/friends/etc. I'm an introvert, always have been..."

"... was married to an introvert, I am now a widow. No children, no family other than the toxic in-laws long out of my/our life. I spent 40 years of my life doing well at jobs that required interaction with other employees and/or public. Enough. When I got in my car at the end of the day I felt as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders - solitude! I LOVE the quiet of my solitary life, I grit my teeth when I have to participate in resident association meetings which are thinly disguised social gatherings - I live in a senior retirement community. I read, I stream, I read news online, I follow art classes online, I make my own art in sketchbooks, I read, I browse online, I read .... I do chat briefly, and happlily [sic], with the public library staff, the checker/bagger at the grocery store, the maintenance staff. But I love my solitary life! When I pass away perhaps no one will mourn. So what? I get tired of being advised that I'm not happy, not physically health[y], and will die sooner. Again, so what? I'm past my 'sell by' date anyway. I'm happy with myself, by myself."

I enjoyed the sentence: "I read, I stream, I read news online, I follow art classes online, I make my own art in sketchbooks, I read, I browse online, I read."

Another writer, using the same material, might argue that one is never really alone, that you have the company of the very best of humanity when you read. You can also work with the concept that you are not not alone when you yourself are your own substantial and beloved companion. And, for some people, there is God. For others, dog.

But I like this presentation, questioning the importance of relationships and vaunting solitude.

ADDED: The line "But I love my solitary life! When I pass away perhaps no one will mourn. So what?" reminded me of Alexander Pope's "Ode on Solitude," which ends:
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown; 
   Thus unlamented let me die; 
Steal from the world, and not a stone 
                            Tell where I lie.

"Even when our clothes wore thin, ripped or got stained, my mother would convert them into quilts, cutting tiny geometric shapes..."

"... stacking them, grouped by color and kind, into miniature towers, like sleeves of saltines with the packaging removed. It was in that poverty that I first saw how beauty and pride of appearance were used as ways of conveying dignity in a world intent on divesting you of it.... I have become consumed with the idea of freedom, with running toward it, with embracing it. I want freedom in all things: thinking, working, loving and living. That’s one reason I look forward to becoming one of those men with the quirky suspenders, bow ties and orange socks. I’ve often been delighted by how older men lean into sartorial whimsy.... They return to that magic that we all enjoyed as children.... So I bide my time‌‌, but if the years are kind and life allows, I want one day to be the old man with the orange socks."

Writes Charles M. Blow in "I Want to Be the Old Man With the Orange Socks" (NYT). 

It made me think of that excessively popular poem that begins "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple/With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me." Full text of poem and story behind it here

"I Want to Be the Old Man With the Orange Socks" is so close to When I am an old man I shall wear orange socks

Not that I think Blow owes the poet a (green) hat tip.

In fact, I prefer his wording. I've always been annoyed at the "shall" in "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple." A poet should understand the shall/will distinction. Explained here, with the classic example comparing I shall drown; no one will save me! to I will drown; no one shall save me!

Anyway, I don't really understand it. If you "want freedom in all things: thinking, working, loving and living," why wait to express yourself? It sounds as though you want the cover of age. What's the freedom in doing something only when you think other people will think that what you do doesn't matter?
Your favorite track on "Shadow Kingdom"?

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