Thursday, October 30, 2008

Everyone Wants to Live Forever, but No One Wants to Be Old

Elizabeth Farrelly is a columnist with the Brisbane Times in Australia, a nation as obsessed about its Baby Boomers as the United States, and she can write extraordinarily well. In her latest piece, "Still feelin' groovy? Your nursing home awaits", she tackles the Boomer approach to their parents' death and dying -- and it's not a pretty picture. Just a sample:

As baby boomers truck their parents from retirement village to nursing home to hospital to hushed, cabbage-stinking hospice, a terrible knowledge dawns. Not only did that whole cosmic revolution fail to shift either death or taxes from their relentless orbits, it also failed to reshape the options on how you die.

The man at the retirement home has gold cufflinks, bottle-blond hair that does not hide the baby-pink scalp and patent leather shoes that clack over the marble expanse from his office. The smile is broad, the hand limp. In a voice almost indistinguishable from the Muzak, which melds in turn with the fountain's chlorinated tinkling, he breezes: "And your relative is?" Dying, actually. "Let me show you round. You'll love it here." ...

Famously self-indulgent, baby boomers managed to convert a platform of non-materialism and selflessness into the most materialistic, self-absorbed lifestyle ever. They invented eco-awareness, then built themselves the biggest eco-footprint the planet has ever witnessed. They scandalised authority with music so subversive it's now played to four-year-olds at day care.

Through sheer weight of numbers they - or if you insist, we - instituted universal youth culture, where everyone wants to live forever but no one wants to be old.
The woman can write. Read the column.
(Image credit: Brisbane Times.)


Terry Cochran said...

In an ironic twist, the article at the Brisbane Times site also carried Google ads for:
1. Find local nursing homes
2. Get nursing home ratings
3. Wrongful death lawyers

Groveton said...

Yeah, Google is pretty darn clever but their ad placement engine sometimes does funny things. I sent my son an e-mail arranging a fishing trip we had been planning. On the sidebar I saw ads for fishing gear (expected), fishing boats (expected) and PETA (unexpected). So, I cliked on the PETA ad. It was an anti-fishing site. So, maybe these ads aren't so odd after all. Unfortunately for PETA - the fish are running out in the Gulf Stream and my boys and I are headed out.

Valuable Insights into the Hearts, Minds and Wallets of Today's Baby Boomers

This blog is by the authors of Boomer Consumer: Ten New Rules for Marketing to America's Largest, Wealthiest and Most Influential Group, on sale now.

Here is where you'll find information referenced in the book, as well as updates, news and perspectives from Matt Thornhill and John Martin, founders of the Boomer Project.