BY YOUTH POSSESSED: The Denial of Age in America by Victoria H. Secunda

BY YOUTH POSSESSED: The Denial of Age in America

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Well-meant strictures on age-typing generally, and its particular disadvantages for the old--in a disjointed meander over well-trodden ground that doesn't rate as a study or as guidance. Columnist Secunda, mis-typed as a teen, has collected some anti-typing data: e.g., ""Since 1957 [behavioral psychologists] have found that socioeconomic class has a great bearing not only on age attitudes but also on actual ages at certain events."" There are examples of how the media have defined age, since the 1930s--a whole chapter of them, concluding with fears that USA Today will bring TV values into print journalism. There's a section on work and aging: what we lose by discriminating, positive career-switching indications. There's consideration of how societal changes have affected the family: the phenomenon of the midlife crisis, of middle-aged children with elderly parents ""moving in on them."" Stuck into that section is talk of ""the myths and realities of aging""--where Secunda's want of any real grounding or judgment produces such fallacious platitudes as this: ""It is neither fair nor accurate to characterize the elderly as crochety, lamebrained, and demanding; if they have those characteristics, they in all likelihood had them when they were young."" Subsequently Secunda decries ""the dangers of quantifying children"" in school--and salutes ""the success of midlife students."" She's sorry about the anorexic teen and the face-lift addict. In the absence of insights or reliable, well-organized information, it's a meaningless mishmash.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1984
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill