Monday, 10 August 2009

These Ageist OLDIES are Really Getting Up My Nose!

Recently Kyle and Jackie O, 2Day FM Presenters, were hauled over the coals and then suspended from their show following a controversial incident involving questioning a 14-year-old girl on air about her sex life.

I'm not going to analyse that one. Plenty of others have already. It's enough to say that Kyle Sandilands especially has a pretty bad rep already so this incident didn't exactly do him any favours.

I read a whole lot of letters to the Editor in newspapers, mainly from people older than the teen and young twenties audience that 2Day FM targets, and the letters mainly condemned Kyle and Jackie O, calling them names like Vile and Tacky O (interestingly, the same handles that were used in the article several weeks ago by The Tele itself - who's impressionable?) and saying that they were disgusting, the world was better without them, but also saying things like Kyle got what he deserved and he only appealed to the "impressionable teen" audience, which really needed better guidance.

It's derogatory comments like this, written from the superior platform of older people to younger people, increasingly, that really annoy me. Sure, Kyle, appealed to younger people in general, but why because you don't like him suddenly lump all teens as "impressionable"?

There have been tacky, sensationalist and questionable presenters who have appealed to older markets. Mike Munro is well known for his style of trying to coerce tears from his interviewees (I met him and he thinks it's funny that some people think it's tacky, for him it's part of the job to get people going) to boost ratings. Alan Jones and John Laws were hauled over the coals for their dubious Cash for Comment involvement where the whole idea was to comment on products and impress their comments on their audience's mind (and the premise that this would work).

Yet no person from these generations, when these scandals came out and said, as I recall, "The presenters did it because they know as an age group that we are an impressionable lot" or something to that effect.

They are quite happy to tar teens with that brush, however.

Then I went to look up jobs and I found a job ad ... it said at the bottom:

No Agencies
No Gen Y Losers

Despite the fact that some might see this as a joke, and hopefully it comes out that way ... it again goes back to the age thing. Gen Y losers. What's the assumption here? That if you are from Gen Y you are a loser? That we would take an older person who is a loser, but if you are from Gen Y and a loser, sorry, goodbye?

Basically, there seems to be a perception that if you are of a certain age group you are more likely to generate certain loser-ish traits that you have to work harder to overcome, whereas the foibles of Gen X or Baby Boomers are acceptable. And let's face it, we've all got foibles.

And since Gen Y is directly linked to age, then this means that you could argue that if you are of a certain age and someone has these prejudices, you go into a job ion the back foot already. Someone is already thinking you are loser potential, and it colours what you say and do and how you learn and how you are treated, in a way they wouldn't think or treat you if you were 10 years older. Ba boom.

Anyhow, here's an article that I read today in Heckler. I don't quite get the author's argument. Firstly the author says we shouldn't give 16 year olds the vote. But then he goes on to say "Age isn't the best criterion by which to measure merit, maturity or voter eligibility."

OK, but certainly if you don't want to give 16 year olds the vote, you are endorsing age as some criterion, aren't you?

The author says that teenagers lack perspective, perspicacity and proficiency. That's an absolute statement he makes, rather than looking to the individual. Then he puts out a dubious test which filters who should vote (one which I assume would allow him to vote!) and also says that the state of his friend's 16 year old's bedroom leads him to believe that 16 year old's lack the organisational skills to choose a leader.

That's a great sample selection, by the way, mate.

The point here is not whether 16 year olds should vote or not or even whether voting rights should be conferred by something like age or a test like whether you know enough about the government.

The point here is the derogatory and stereotypical way in which teenagers are treated i the article. Assumptions are made - yes, the author does say he doesn't want to see idiots or non-knowledgeable vote, but then also jumps straight into saying that all teenagers as a necessity fall into that basket.

If one teenager's room is messy, then he casts all teenagers as being disorganised. I've seen junkyards of houses kept by thirty, forty, fifty year olds, and I'm sure many people in this age group would dislike the idea of saying "I've seen a my friend's forty-year-old daughter's place and it's a junkyard, I don't think forty year olds should get the vote." Not only would they think it's an insult but they'd say it didn't make any sense. People are different.

However when it comes to teenagers, many adults seem to have some idea that "you've seen one, you've seen them all".

It's like they don't have individuality or a soul.

But of course they do.


James Drax said...

Teenagers?? I was a very neat and tidy one... although I could imagine I would have just been lumped into the minority nerd category. They don't reeeaaallly exist!

Maria said...

My sister used to say my room was too neat. She said my room looked like it was 'waiting for someone to die'.

She used to bring the dog in to try to mess it up for me so it would look more natural.

James Drax said...

By that logic, someone must already be dead in my room.

Maria said...

I removed the corpse from mine because it was getting messy.