Friday, January 22, 2010

Cultural values

Captain Midnight and I have been laughing over the various beauty serums and creams and formulae being advertised on TV. "Go to sleep with this stuff and wake up years younger!" I'm pretty sure some SF or fantasy writer has written a short story about a woman who's obsessed with looking youthful, and who keeps taking this cream that eventually reverts her to something like six months old... and she's probably perfectly happy with it because at long last she has her youth back. Yippee.

I've said it before elsewhere, but our culture is weirdly obsessed with youth, and I don't really understand why. What is our sickness, that we worship potential rather than its fulfillment -- that we focus myopically on the bud rather than appreciating the bloom? Why, for instance, do we spend time on the quotidian antics of the vacuous Paris Hilton -- who frankly doesn't deserve any attention -- over the real accomplishments of Dr. Sally Ride?

, you say, speaks the forty-year-old woman -- you're just jealous of youth and trying to cover your avarice with a veneer of disdain. Meh, not s'much. Frankly, you couldn't pay me to go back to my teen years; I was often depressed and miserable, fearful of the future and convinced that nothing would ever change. I'm well shut of that.

There's nothing wrong with being young. It can be a great time of your life. But to try to hang desperately onto youth, as though it were the only thing that made your life of value, for as long as possible? Messed. Up.

Trying to imagine now what our culture would be like if we valued wisdom and maturity the way we now worship youth and callowness. Would there be crow's-foot creams on the market? Serums to deepen facial lines and coloring to silver one's hair? It would be fascinating and amusing to see that alternate reality, ne?

No comments: