Agism: What A Bitch!!!

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In recent years, I have lost considerable interest in anything on network television.    Why?  I don’t know. I have this problem with watching things that certain people life.  Take “Friends” for example.  Someone I know and didn’t respect, LOVED that show and because of that, I could not force myself to watch that show, so I never did.

And never will.

I’m the single most uninformed person on the planet.  I don’t even watch the news–local or network.  I ONLY know that the weather is about to change based on the pains in my once broken bones.   My dutiful ACCU-ANKLE rarely fails me.   

So no, if anyone asks, I didn’t watch the  “American Idol” final last night, but I did stop on it briefly while channel surfing towards the  Wednesday evening ghost-a-thon on the SyFi Network.  I lingered long enough to see a parade of people on stage singing (or trying to) and I hardly recognized them.

I looked closer. 

Oh my God!!!!  What was former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop doing on stage of  American Idol…..and singing no less??!!!?? 

He served during both of President Reagan’s terms and to hammer home the point, that guy is so old he’s farting dust!He was born in 1916!   Why is he singing?

And badly???

So, I looked even closer.  This rather old and portly mass of gray hair with legs, wasn’t former Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop.

It was a rather, old and portly mass of gray hair that is known as former Doobie Brother, Michael McDonald.

And that voice–the one that at one time, could melt a stick of frozen oleo; the one that was as velvety as any Elvis painting;  as smooth as a Ken doll’s crotch–was gone.    Every note was a struggle.  He didn’t seem comfortable being on stage either.

And then it was time for the Brothers Gibb…or what’s left of them.    Barry and Robin are the remaining brothers and since bother Maurice’s sudden death back in 2003, the brothers decided to disband the group after 45 years.   But last September, they announced the show must go on.

And after last night’s performance, they might be re-thinking that.   Two part harmonies no longer cut it and besides, their voices are gone, too.

I could take no more.

But I heard from friends who watched it and they said the Bee Gees and McDonald were only a fraction of the old rockers they trotted out on stage–sans walkers, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks and Lithium drips.

I heard that Alice Cooper came out and sang badly.  Hall and Oates, too.  Chicago I heard was painfully bad and old-looking (how dare they age???) and there was Joe Cocker who’s been old all of my life.

And they were all introd by younger singers.  

Was this some attempt by the producers to get the kids to watch ‘Idol” with their parents…and/or grandparents as it were?  Not to me.

Of the few minutes of the American Idol final that I could stomach,  I interpreted it as this metaphor for Old Music vs. New Musicians and my already troubled soul couldn’t handle its stark vividness.    To me, it seemed like a changing of the guard.    A torch had been passed and the flame was nothing more than an ember, really.

It’s never good to infuse the old with the new.   Things sadly have an expiration date and that’s different from “BEST IF USED BY”.   As I age, I appreciate the years behind me and look ahead with just enough trepidation to respect the unknown.  I’m not saying being old is another phrase for “shouldn’t try” or “is now useless”, but I just don’t think the pairing of aging rockers with these new breed of kid singers who sing and can’t do it without closing their eyes and holding their hands open palm in front of them and fluttering it around with every note they hit, is a good thing.  

Like trying to pair Julie Andrews with Bjork.   Listening to the first few notes of that duet and you instantaneously know that THIS WILL NOT END WELL.

But even so, I will admit that I have no doubt that had this transpired five years ago, these oldsters would’ve put the kids to shame.  Five years ago, I wouldn’t have felt as I do now. I would’ve loved my generation of stars in this kind of setting and I would have cheered as their still powerful vocalizations kicked nubile ass on stage.   But alas, it is now.  

Aging isn’t fair.  And the older I get, the more I realize that.     Though I think I’ve always sensed this.

After an interview for a TV news gig back in the mid 80’s, the News Director gave me a tour of the studio a few minutes before air time.   At the desk, going over her notes was an older woman; a female anchor who was at the time at least 15 years older than me.   She immediately bristled as the manager introduced me to her.  She smiled in this incredibly perfunctory manner, said hello just as forced,  then immediately went back to making edits to her script.    I tried to be polite; I said something about enjoying her work and then we moved on.   As we walked away, I heard the weatherman walk over to her and tell her in this half whisper,  “You just met your replacement”.

I don’t think he intended for the News Director and me to hear it, but we did.  I don’t know how the woman responded, if at all, but I know how she felt.    And as it turned out, the weather guy was right.   But karma is a bitch too.  Decades later, it happened to me, as well.  

And with each old rock act that walked out on that stage Wednesday night, that same thing happened over and over again and the message was very loud.   

But this time, it was in front of more than 20-million people.

At least the oldsters had/have staying power.   Their careers spanned decades..I’ll give them that much.   Careerwise, these kids today can see ahead a decade…plus a few years, that is, until the next processed, actress-slash-singer-slash-model-cupcake comes on the scene and takes over TMZ and Nickeledean or The Disney Channel by storm.

Enjoy the ride, Newbie’s.   It won’t last. ..

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4 comments

  1. I have a good laugh every time I see a concert on TV featuring some of those bands that I listened to back in the 70s.

  2. Joe Cocker is a lot like Keith Richards. His biological age has caught up to his looks. And Alice Cooper was just plain frightening looking. He’s finally achieved with age what his make-up could never accomplish.

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