Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Age Is Attitude

Carl Reiner, the great comedian who was on "The Show of Shows", wrote "Enter Laughing" and originated "The Dick Vandyke Show" among other things like "The 2000 Year Old Man" with Mel Brooks has turned 88 and just wrote a book "I Remember Me", a memoirs. On top of all that he is known as the father of Rob Reiner, "Meathead" in the iconic "All In The Family" as well as a renowned Director in his own right.

Carl Reiner is truly a comedic genius who no longer is in demand I guess because he had the temerity to become "old". So he turned to writing a book about his life which in my estimation is very good. By the way he wrote the book not some ghostwriter turning his musings into a readable form. He recently appeared on "The Bill Maher" HBO show. He appeared very sharp although a bit unsteady as he came onto the stage and had a step to climb onto as he took his seat next to Maher. He was enthusiastic, energetic and quite sharp mentally which I am sure surprised the younger people in the audience since being 88 years old they surmised he certainly must of slowed up mentally if not having the beginning of dementia of some kind.

He was great with the one on one interview but when the discussion returned to the panel it became clear that the panelists, and perhaps Maher himself, wanted to get on with their intelligent dissection of the political climate. Carl Reiner however wasn't going to be kept out of a discussion with which he had intimate knowledge of so he forced himself back into that discussion with some very salient comments and anecdotal stories. All this for the most part was very interesting not only because the discussion was bright and on the mark but from what I was picking up from the attitude of of all on the show.

The panelists consisted of a youngish cute female reporter, a politician from Florida who was perhaps middle 50's as I believe Bill Maher is also and a Tea Party leader and economist who seemed to be a smart ass in his 40's. I mention the ages because it was quite apparent to me at least they had a deference to Carl Reiner because of his accomplishments and even more so because of his age. Bill Maher gushed all over  him while introducing him and interviewing him but clearly wanted to leave him when the discussion included the panel. The panelist were interested in what he said as long as it was about the past but seemed to disregard his opinions about the current political life. This is observed by body language and maybe some facial expressions. At one point Carl Reiner insisted on being heard and interjected with a story that in his own life big government gave him the opportunity to become an actor through the WPA paying for his schooling during the depression. Without big government's assistance Mr. Reiner was saying, he never would have had the chance of becoming the success he is. The look on Mr. Tea Party's face said Mr. Reiner you just don't grasp today's situation, you are old and therefore irrelevant. Carl Reiner did talk a bit too much which is the problem a lot of the old folks have and they should be aware it comes a time in every discussion when it is better to keep quiet and let the others hold the floor.

The interaction of the younger panel and the very old yet sharp Mr. Reiner was interesting. The show got me thinking. Yes it is true the older folk talk a lot but maybe it is because they have a lot to say that makes a lot of sense because they lived it and have the experience which always seems irrelevant to the young people but really isn't. The younger generation seem happy to slot older people with people of their own generation but would like to exclude them from the younger generation. Sort of like what almost happened on the Bill Maher show. After all how would anyone so "old" have any sense of what "we" are going through?

The show got me thinking that maybe there was a prejudice against the old generation. Only the ones who had some celebrity like Di Nero, and his group that can still generate some shekels at the box office can get away with still living fully in the society. But for those who are just "ordinary" people who have gotten older for the most part they are segregated, senior clubs, senior assisted living  eventually nursing homes sort of warehoused, but comfortable. Probably, for the most part this is the way the older generation wants it but for some who like to live until they die the choice is to remain aware, to remain sharp, like to be with all peoples of all races and ages. These stand back and observe and really don't care what anyone else thinks as long as they are enjoying life to the fullest.
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