Every year the NYTimes has a spread of photos about the year that was. Sunday's was four double pages. Of the photos only perhaps 5 or 6 were not of violence, war, dead bodies, horrible events. The only positive picture that stays in my mind is a wonderful one of Serena Williams winning the open.
When I began taking a poetry class one of the first poems I wrote described reading the morning paper and seeing one violent story after another from wars to causal shootings, and then saying that the world I live in is full of terrible things. After I read the poem in class I receive very few comments (which is not unusual), The one comment that stays with me was from a man who said, "You should stick to reading the sports section." Sports is one section I never read unless it is about tennis tournaments.
I think of that man's comment often. I live largely in a community of retired people. I spent a lot of time with a people who are taking classes in a very fine adult education organization. Some classes are on current events. A very popular one that even meets in the summer when there are no official classes is a sports class. Most classes are on academic, or semi-academic subjects: various aspects of history, French, Latin, great books, short stories, Shakespeare's plays -- really a huge range. But, in fact, very few people read newspapers closely or watch much international news. I do not believe I've heard comments about suicide bombings, very little about the battles of the Arab Spring, etc. We retired older people chose to live in a world apart just as out physical homes are a bit apart (on an island, in fact). Yet, even the sports page readers were shocked and horrified by the bombing at the Boston marathon. But it was not a widely discussed topic, even at the time. We seem to be in a different world, one with protective walls around us.
I suppose all retired people have usually chosen to live like this if they are financially able to do so. We've done our battles with the wider world -- or not, for many as Eliot observed, measure their lives with coffee spoons. We talk about ecological problems in the documentary film class and other larger subjects. Yet I open The Year That Was in the Times and wonder if anyone else knows these things happened and do they feel pain at the endless violence in our world.
Rethinking Ageism - There has been a surge recently in the number of print media stories about ageism. Two I've seen are important. In November, Joseph F. Coughlin, who is fou...
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