How Old is Too Old?January 28th, 2013
Every week, Time magazine’s last page is their “10 Questions” feature–Editor-at-Large Belinda Luscombe probes celebrities and people in the news.
In the Jan. 28th issue she interviews Sixto Rodriguez, the 70-year-old Detroit man whose attempt at rock stardom fizzled in the 70s, so he settled down to an alternative career in demolition. Then, one day in 1998, a visitor arrived, informing Sixto that in South Africa he’s a rock icon, up there w/ Dylan and the Beatles. Sixto’s life took a turn from daily demolition in Detroit to touring South Africa, collecting past royalties and enjoying musical success.
That’s why Belinda interviewed him.
Her last question to Sixto was: “Does he still do demolition?” He answered “yes, just yesterday, to his own house, which he’s renovating.” Ms Lacombe, aghast, blurted out an uncustomary question #11, “You’re doing your own demolition? At 70?”
What she really meant was: “70 is too old to do demo work!” Also implying that 70 is too old to do anything functional.
Ms. Luscombe, meet Sir Paul (McCartney)—he’s 70, used to be in a big rock band, but ½ the guys are dead, and another’s semi-retired, so he’s gone solo and, he just won’t quit. The amazing thing is “he still does his own singing.”
Imagine the stamina to go on tour, 3-hour shows, night after night, all that traveling, up-all-night-sleep-all-day kind of life. Certainly that’s as strenuous as doing demolition, which is probably more tying wires together then actually, personally, destroying things.
The point, dear Belinda, it that 70 is NOT too old to do demo, or tour, or be a U.S. senator (Dianne Feinstein, 79.) Or win a Nobel Prize (too many to count who got awarded at 70+).
Just as bad, and maybe this subtle bit of ageism could have been editied out, is that she reinforced to millions of readers a personal belief that is not evidenced based…just because she thinks that 70 is too old for a man to do demo—or anything else functional–does not make it true.
The media watchdog is growling.