Seeing as America is a youth culture we tend to cut some slack for all those kiddies who want to make it happen even if making it happen means casting blame on anyone they deem to be the “elite”. It’s really kind of endearing, in an annoying way.
“There's no fool like an old fool” so the saying goes and this is where an individual’s naïve actions are not so cute anymore; especially when the message is ridiculously sweeping or just outright delusional. So when I saw the photo of an aged protester holding a sign that read: “The real terrorists are in the White House, Congress and Wall Street!” It did not give me the warm feeling of the potential for a dissolving of the generation gap in light of an idealistic cause. It made me think about mortality and the persistence of human folly that seems to follow some of us right into our golden years.
Speaking of commentaries on human foibles… Francisco Goya did a series of etchings titled "Los Caprichos," one of which stands out in my mind: “Hasta La Muerte” (“Until Death”), Plate 55. This is a scene that depicts the vanity of a crumbling old hag adjusting her youthful bonnet in a mirror while being supported by a triad of young helpers. I thought of this scene when I viewed the photo of the old gal with the sign and realized that I was far less tolerant of her ignorance than I would have been if she were in her 20’s. Is this unfair? Yes.
This age stigma works in regards to power as well. A good example of this is the leniency that is given to the presumably disenfranchised in regards to hateful speech. For instance, if a group of protesters direct a sign towards a group of financial folks watching from a building that reads: Jump! You Fuckers!!! This could be seen as passion. But wait, if a group of stock brokers held the same sign up towards a group of protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge It would surely be seen as crass and insensitive right? So where does this double standard in terms of conduct stem from? Might it be the fact that the financers were drinking champagne instead of say consuming donated coffee and specialty pizza? In terms of hypocrisy, not much has changed since Goya’s series of 1799. Human nature remains the same for better or worse regardless of ones position and this is why moralizing is such a slippery slope especially when misplaced or mishandled. Many of us despise it from the religious sector but it can be just as off putting coming from the secular world especially under the “Social consciousness” flag. It is a point of interest that "Los Caprichos" was a visual manifesto decrying how regressive the so-called enlightened society was in
at that point in time. This is certainly applicable to our current situation and on more than one front. Spain
So, not to generalize or anything but this is to all you hipsters, trust fund kids and artists who are notoriously resourceful in securing the cash to pay for materials, excessive studio rents and drink… Protest away! We understand how you might want to align yourselves with the proletariat class. Hey, you are itching to be part of the dog eat dog working world that you have been deprived of for so long and you deserve the chance to sink or swim like anyone else in blue collar history. Wait, I’m sorry…I think I’m speaking to the wrong issues. uhm, what is it you are asking for again? Well anyways, time is on your side, you’ll figure it out.