Ageism, Getting Older, and the new Doctor

In six days I turn 48. Not one of the milestones to be sure. Certainly not like turning 30, 40 or -gasp – 50! But for my own reasons it is. My Dad was 48 when he died, and while the chances of that happening are probably pretty slim, it still weighs on me. As I get older, I’ve noticed how much ageism exists in society. While it’s not to the extent of say, racism, class warfare, or homophobia, it does exist, and it has affected me.

I started thinking about this today because of the revelation of the new Doctor. 55 year old Peter Capaldi will be the new Doctor Who, replacing the 31 year old Matt Smith.

Peter-Capaldi-005

When the announcement was made, the reaction was interesting. Many of us long time Doctor Who fans cheered as it was a return to the Doctors of yore. For others who haven’t seen anything prior to David Tennant, or maybe Chris Eccleston it was a huge let down. While there were younger Doctors (Peter Davison was 30 when he played the fifth incarnation), none had the rabid fanbase of Matt Smith or David Tennant.  Certainly none of them had the looks of either of them as well.

So it was with at first bemusement, then annoyance and now outright anger that I began sifting through all the reactions.

“Too old!”

“Too ugly!”

“The Doctor should be someone you want to snog, not whose diaper you’d need to change!”

As a society we’ve been led to believe that youth and beauty are the only important things. Who cares about education, wisdom, and experience when you don’t want to bed them? I expect this in certain areas. Advertising, movies, are geared almost exclusively around the young and pretty (talent not required).  We see the importance of this in the amount of plastic surgery, botox injections, hair transplants, tummy tucks, ass enlargement (not to mention penis enlargement) that is thrust at us in almost every way.

Yet I was still surprised by the reaction. People didn’t want a Doctor, they wanted masturbation material. They wanted someone who could fulfill their lacking lives by giving it imaginary meaning. This is becoming so ingrained in our psyches it affects everyday life in ways you don’t notice unless your of “a certain age”.

I’ve been unemployed for longer than I care to think about. I’ve sent out and filled  well over 1000 resumes and applications. Actually closer to 1500 at this point. when I go for an interview, there’s invariably a waiting area filled with other unemployed hopefuls, all of whom are at least 10-20 years my junior. They’re easier to train, demand less money-naive. Older workers know the ropes, have been around the block and have more experience which should be adequately compensated.  It’s depressing, it’s wrong but it’s also the world we live in.

I’m very happy for Mr. Capaldi, very excited to see what he brings to the table, but most of all happy that sometimes the old fart actually wins.

Now get off my lawn.