Just before i left the house this morning CNN's "American Morning" was interviewing the youngest superDelegate for the 2008 Democratic Primary & a slightly hot, exceedingly severe College Republican... They were talking, purportedly (which i think is the snider way to say supposedly), about the "youth" vote & the "issues important for young people today"...
What they really showed, though, were a couple of prematurely 50-year-old Talking Heads using strict partyline talking points to "debate" Obama's help kids pay for school plan. First of all, the idea that the driving issue for 'young people' (which i'm starting to realize no longer really includes me) is how to pay for college is belittling & an oversimplification. This, of course, is not surprising for cable news (it's remarkable how little insight or information you can pack into 1 hour of cable news coverage), but it speaks to a larger issue i've been thinking about lately, namely old people.
The impetus for my discussion of this rampant problem is the crotchety senior citizens hired at Miller Park to walk through sections harrassing young people during poorly attended midweek games. Brooke & i had $6 nosebleeds (sponsored by Miller High Life - which, miller high life, if you'd like to sponsor this blog i'd be more than happy to sing your praises as often as necessary) and being a dead Wednesday nite (this is a subltle Miller plug) game, we found some better seats available on the Loge level. We sat down alongside a large contingent of other seat jumpers and made the classic seat jumper blunder of sitting a few rows back from the filled in seats (for those wishing to get better seats, the secret is 1) enter a section that is not currently being watched by old people & 2) choose seats that are in the row directly behind (or even better in front of) established sitters... They likely won't check tickets for large numbers of folks, but this system can still fail if - you're young-ish looking.
That's right, agial profiling is going on at Brewer's Games. I personally observed crotchety old people check tickets of several groups of youngFolks, but bypass an older couple of men in windbreakers who obviously didn't have tickets for that section (they were seated several rows behind the end of the sold tickets, but weren't checked because they were old).
Most disturbingly was the way we were addressed when the old man confronted us. He said "Sir, do you have tickets for this section?"
"No," i said, which momentarily confused him. I suspect he was waiting for a 'i can't find my ticket ploy', but he recovered and said "Do you have tickets on the Terrace Level, sir." His insinuation was that we clearly did not belong here, among the over-priced seats, but we clearly belonged 'up there'. Add this to our experience of a few nights prior when our Beer Pen seats were otherwise occupied and when we told the usher this she said, "aw, go find some other seats." (Admittedly this was later in a blowout, but the section, while having some empty seats, was significantly fuller than the Loge level seats we were occupying). I really wonder, though, if we'd been doddering old folks would we have gotten our seats...
This all points to, i think, a larger issue we're really facing, that of a true cultural divide between young & old. Walter Benjamin talks about this a lot in his early writing, the idea that the youth must revolt & drive social agenda, but the problem we have with American culture is that the youth pretty much has to rally behind an old person... No matter where you draw the line of 'old guy' & youth the average age of national leaders is telling... I'm not necessarily calling for a Logan's Run style abolition of old folks (i'd be finished in both the film & book versions), but there's something here and i'm not sure what it is.
Obviously, youth grow up & become older. For a while they're an 'in-between' stage, where i think i find myself now. Not sure i want to buy in totally to the Programme of american commerce/democracy (commocracy?), but also pretty sure that if i don't soon i will "be in trouble later"... Get your pension in order, workworkwork while you still can, maintain your health benefits (by never quitting your job or making sure you always have another one waiting) so you can stay healthy...
But what i wonder is, is there a way to maintain youth when you grow older. To continue to believe in the things you believed in before. Old white guys on the radio (i'm looking at you AM 620 - WTMJ in Milwaukee) will tell you that when you get older & "wiser" you realized you were confused when you were younger, that you just didn't realize how things worked, but what it really is is that you get scared by the Programme and then have to start telling everyone else to 'get with it' so you feel ok for joining up... (it's a lot like the housing market & how i tell everyone that it's really starting to come back & look good now that i own a house).
If we look at the art historical tradition of (??? early 1800/victorian/1600s? Art Historians help me out here) painting children as if they were miniature adults alongside this morning's CNN "youth minute" and even our entire educational system, which trains children, adolescents, and young adults to fill out forms - to complete strictly defined tasks, essentially to be middle-management we see that this Programme (yeah, i've taken a liking to that term) isn't what we want, isn't useful, and is infectious (spreading both in strength & geography). Perhaps the only solution is to turn the world's keys over to it's new drivers as soon as possible. It's better than being stuck behind a Cadillac that's had its left turn signal on for 15 miles and going 42 in a 55.