No one—in either real or reel life—wants to confront the difficulties of aging, the imminence of dying. The point is best proved by Leo McCarey’s glorious Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), the most unbearably moving and resolutely unsparing work Hollywood has ever made about the elderly.
I cannot allow of our way of establishing the duration of life. I see that the wise shorten it very much in comparison of the common opinion. “What,” said the younger Cato to those who would prevent him from killing himself, “am I now of an age to be reproached that I go out of […]
The little hedgerow birds, That peck along the road, regard him not. He travels on, and in his face, his step, His gait, is one expression; every limb, His look and bending figure, all bespeak A man who does not move with pain, but moves With thought—He is insensibly subdued To settled quiet: he is […]
The witch that came (the withered hag) To wash the steps with pail and rag Was once the beauty Abishag, The picture pride of Hollywood. Too many fall from great and good For you to doubt the likelihood. Die early and avoid the fate. Or if predestined to die late, Make up your mind to […]
From Bill Withers’ “Grandma’s Hands” to Jack Yellin and Ted Shapiro’s “Life Begins at Forty,” music has our number when it comes to growing old.
One measure of the extent to which we believe age influences political beliefs is the extent to which we know Churchill’s famous phrase, “If you’re not a socialist before you’re 25, you have no heart; if you are a socialist after 25, you have no head.” Or, at least, whether we believe we know it.
There is perhaps one last chance for my exulted cohort, the baby boomers, to step forward and provide a moral voice and active leadership in righting the American ship of state toward its demographic realities. Those of us who are on the leading edge of our cohort are now moving toward our 70s.