Aging and Ageism

The idea of a vast army of the wrinkly sends fear into the hearts of the young everywhere, so it seems …

Exhibit One:

This article by Michael Valpy in today’s Globe and Mail:

At the meeting of provincial premiers and aboriginal leaders this week in Regina, Manitoba’s Gary Doer characterized the H1N1 influenza pandemic careening toward Canada as a “truck coming around a corner.”

Make that two trucks – or better, a train – if you’re of a certain age. The wattled age. A wrinkly, with your reasoning, speed of thought and spatial visualization known to look like the insides of a putrefied cantaloupe and your productivity measured far down the ski slope of life.

Italian researcher Stefano Merler, writing recently in the medical journal BMC Infectious Diseases, says that halting the prescription of flu drugs for those over 65 could be the most effective way of containing infection and saving lives.

Read the rest here.

Exhibit Two:

This article, in today’s Times Online, by Wendy Holden:

“I’ve got the breasts of a 16-year-old,” Ulrika Jonsson bragged this week as she displayed her extensively remodelled physique on Californian sands.

Ulrika, love, you haven’t. You’re 41. Your breasts, like the rest of you, are heading into middle age. What you most definitely have got, on the other hand, is a bad case of extreme selfdelusion mixed with money, me-time, an inordinately high pain threshold and the determination to look half your real age. You are, in other words, a youthaholic.

And you are not alone. Take Demi Moore. Entirely rebuilt a few years ago, at 46 she now not only looks younger than her thirtysomething husband but also, spookily, her own teenage daughters.

Madonna, of course, stops at nothing to ensure that age shall not weary her nor the years condemn, whether or not her gym-honed arms look more gnarled than tree branches in winter. Even Michelle Obama, 45, and near-perfect in practically every other respect, has a serious gym habit, wears tweenage neon belts and has upper biceps that sparked an all-new type of American arms race.

Read the rest here.

My vote for middle-aged female role model is genius French actress Isabelle Huppert, age 55.

Isabelle Huppert

“You might think it gauche to conflate actors with their roles, but in the case of Isabelle Huppert it’s difficult not to. Throughout a career spanning some 80 films, she has specialised in damaged, unhinged women to the point where she’s inseparable in your imagination from the teen prostitute who kills her father in Claude Chabrol’s Violette Nozière, the crazed postal worker Jeanne in La Cérémonie (Chabrol again), or the mother-dominated sadomasochist Erika in Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher, a film from which, thanks largely to Huppert, audiences emerged dazed and weeping — and sometimes well before the end.”

Read the rest here.

Isabel Huppert

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