Friday, April 17, 2015

Our Plastic Culture

"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you".   The New American Standard Bible, Exodus 20:12.  

Although I have never liked the generalizations that have been embedded into our collective consciousness via jokes about the maladies of aging, today people have turned those generalizations into their personal beliefs about senior citizens. Of course, they seem not to have the foresight to understand that, should they live long enough, the very deficits they make fun of in the old will be the same ones they themselves will experience on the most personal basis.

In most cultures, the aged are revered for their wisdom, perseverance, skills, talents, and knowledge. Today, in the United States of America, the elderly are pushed aside as useless and unattractive consumers of those things the young think only they deserve. The old are marginalized, especially if they are single females. They are placed in nursing homes or senior housing, rather than taken care of by their family members. The elderly are still, in this age touted as the most evolved ever, the butt of many jokes, some of which are cruel at best.

Our culture is obsessed with youth, and cosmetic surgery is seen as a way to escape the now dreaded wrinkles and sags of old age. The plastic culture reigns and women are offered breast lifts, butt lifts, botox injections, face lifts, and liposuction as ways to look younger. Young women are enticed to have breast enhancements or reductions and to purchase expensive wrinkle prevention creams. Aging men are encouraged to take erectile dysfunction medications to enhance virile performance and in the process, often incur serious health risks. Young men are told they must shave the hair from their bodies to be attractive to women.

Americans seem to be living in a pipe dream. The young are enthralled with pop icons and attempt to emulate those icons in every possible way, and although this has always been common for teens, it seems to be continuing longer than it once did. We have a Peter Pan mentality that doesn't permit people to age. How unreal and absurd is that? Plastic isn't real and isn't even possible for most seniors who not only cannot afford surgeries and expensive creams, but have a belief system that values the real over the phony.

The admonition from the Ten Commandments is valuable not only for aging parents, but also for the soundness of their children's souls.

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