Friday, July 26, 2013

Three ages of man: Youth, middle age and shut-up and die.

Three stages of altar servers:
Altar geezer, Altar guy, Altar boy.*
You've heard the terms, Aging hippies, biological solution, save the boomers-save the world.  Age discrimination thrives amongst Catholics, just as much as it does in other sectors of culture.  It may explain why Pope Francis keeps reminding contemporary young people that "dialogue between generations is a treasure to be preserved and strengthened,"

A friend sent me an interesting study "by Princeton researchers aimed at measuring age discrimination, one of the toughest forms of workplace bias to prove."
The subjects of the experiment — 137 Princeton undergraduates — were shown a video of a man who would be their partner in a trivia contest. His name was Max, he was white, neither handsome nor ugly, wore a checked shirt and said he was from Hamilton, N.J.  
What the students did not know was that there were actually three different versions of Max, being played by different actors, 25, 45 and 75 years old.
Each Max adhered to the same script with one exception. When describing himself, half of the time the Max character said he was the kind of person to share his wealth with relatives (the compliant Max); and the other half of the time, Max said he felt no obligation to share (the assertive Max).
The students were then asked their opinion of Max. For those who saw the 25- or 45-year-old Max, it made no difference whether he was compliant or assertive. But students who saw the 75-year-old actor gave the assertive Max a high negative rating. - Read the rest here.

I don't want to reprint the entire NYT piece, much less overestimate it, but it really ties in with my observations of how some of the more 'early to middle-aged' amongst Catholic bloggers and cultural critics like to hone in on aging hippies and the boomers, as if their demise will solve all of their problems.  (Although they will defensively correct you and claim that it is not ageism.)  Some of the more vocal critics always strike me as resentful because they haven't the so-called entitlements they believe their seniors have benefitted from, or because they felt themselves to be easily dismissed, ignored or held down.  (Some probably were.) 

It strikes me as odd however, since one would be hard pressed to find such whining from young (or old) immigrants coming into this country, or converts coming into the Church.

Of course, the middle-aged whiners are getting old now too... and they may be expecting your donations to support their inestimable contribution to the New Evangelization in and through their online presence - because they are entitled.


Don't you worry Father!
He doesn't know what he's talking about,
writing a blog is a lot of work,
and the Bible says the worker deserves his wage.

*h/t NS


  1. It's time people held those who talk that way accountable- especially when they are clergy.

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  3. +JMJ+

    Generational theory actually fascinates me. But probably for the same reason astrology fascinated me as a teenager. And now that I've made the connection out loud, I see that it makes so much sense that people born under different planetary aspects would not like each other much. I think I recall one astrologer referring to the outer planets as the "generational" planets.

    Which is not to say that a critique of one generation by another is automatically invalid. But it's best to be aware when one is writing horoscopes rather than punditry. For the sake of the form.


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