Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pretentious People LOVE Ageism


If you're over 25, out of college and entrenched in the work force (and don't work every day staring into the business end of a camera at the MTV studios), you most likely find yourself surrounded by people of many different ages. As you start to navigate the real world, you may even befriend those that are older than you are ... sometimes by as many as 10-20 years. If you meet this older crowd for the first time when you are under 30 and they are really into film noir, organized vegan dinner parties, going to see their friends' friends' old man bar band play disturbingly clean and accurate covers of "Richard and the Young Lions" songs or any like activities, there's pretty much not a chance of you ever being taken seriously, no matter what you do, how well you get to know them or by how many years you outlive them. Even if they die young at 40 and you die at 90, out-lasting their life span by 50 years, you will still never be considered a viable adult capable of really "getting" anything.

"Wait ... what about when I hit 30?"

No. Not even then. In fact, even when you hit 40, these older friends -- when meeting a particularly hip and worldly 19 year-old at a lounge, while sitting with their computer at the corner coffee house (aka, laptop comptroller station) or just out and about -- will almost always refer to the person as "your age" when asked. They also call any male under 35 "this kid," to the point you might sometimes be incredibly disoriented and actually think they went on a drinking binge/skinny-dipped/had a "jam" session with a 12-year old boy.

Despite the pretentious people like of calling attention to everyone younger than they are at every opportunity and lording their age over them like your grandma used to when trying to teach you the real value of a nickel (you ungrateful little snot), truly pretentious people who are older than you will be most likely in the online community to post a fake age on myspace so no one really knows how old they are.

(Incidentally, the approved official myspace age for pretentious people over 35 is either a very ironic "99" or an unnecessarily sassy AND ironic "69." The 99 is typically reserved for men over 40 that are trying to showcase their funny side to attract younger women, whereas the 69 is for women in their 30's who are having a hard time coming to terms with their sexuality and need to put it all out there.)

Why does this happen? Pretentious people LOVE ageism because it's the perfect opportunity to alienate people in order to make their own likes and dislikes seem even more unique. Did you ever go to a Clash concert? Did you get to go see the "real" Pixies (before they were in "reunited" form ... I mean, it was the same people, but a different attitude, because when you saw them, they weren't at their height. You just got their sloppy seconds, and you'll never be able to know how awesome they were in their heyday, because you're not old enough)?


Do you remember that one McDonald's commercial from 1975?

No? Too bad. It was awesome.

But why are pretentious people really obsessed with outing anyone younger than they are? Because they are totally insecure and also worried that perhaps other people might question what the hell they are doing hanging out with potentially cooler, more desirable younger people. And by calling attention to the "kids" and announcing their own experiences, they are reinforcing their very selfless role as "teachers." After all, you don't know any better, and they are just teaching you how to behave in the world and be as cool as they are ... sort of like very hip and self-aware versions of Jesus.

As a "younger" person that couldn't care less about age but also would never have the patience to hang out with a 21 year-old, I have developed the perfect comeback to shut up ageists:

"You know, there comes a point when I stop being young ... and you just start being old."


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