Huffpost Media
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Tom D'Antoni Headshot

Stop "Old" Jokes Now!

Posted: Updated:
Print

The time has come to stop making "Old Jokes." I shouldn't have to say that. In most societies old age is respected for accrued wisdom. Not in ours. In ours you get ridiculed, marginalized and completely discounted as though wrinkles and other natural aging processes disqualified a person from being a member of the human race. Worse, that normal aging qualifies the rest of the world to make fun of you.

There are many reasons to dislike John McCain. His age is not one of them.

In my youth, as a card-carrying member of the "Youth Culture," I may have fought against the older generation, but I never thought they were laughable. They weren't. They were in control, they could and would send me to certain death in Viet Nam.

This all started when people began laughing at the "I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up" commercials. I was in my 40's when they were running and I could never understand what was so fucking funny about an older person who was unable to get up off the floor after having fallen. I still don't. The heartless cruelty a person must have within them in order to find that amusing escapes me. And I'm the guy who wrote, "Grandma Turns Pet Dog Inside Out Looking for Lost Lottery Ticket" for a supermarket tabloid. THAT is funny, sick and funny, but not in the same way.

Jon Stewart should know better. His hair is getting gray. He's over forty, or looks it. He is the worst of the offenders. I understand others, the Sterns and Mancows of the world whose job it is to be cruel. But Stewart should be above making fun of someone simply because that person is old. It is symptomatic of why "The Daily Show" is shrinking in its popularity. Once you no longer have Bush to kick around, you have to go looking for targets, real or imagined. Since the writers' strike ended, they don't seem to know what's funny or what to do to be funny. So they take the easy way out, "old" jokes. Fat jokes, too.

I wish you could feel what it does to a person of age who is at least as aware as any 25 year old, and in most cases more aware. It doesn't feel good.

Try this: substitute the word, "Nigger" or "Jew" or "Bitch" or "Sand Nigger" or "Dago" for "old," either literally or conceptually. Now how does it sound? Still think it's funny?

One of these fine days, all of the folks who make "old " jokes will look in the mirror and perhaps pause, suck in their breath and say, "Oh my God. Did I really say that stuff? Look at me. I got old." And then they'll look around and find that people younger than they are pushing them out, not paying attention to them, discounting their talents and making fun of them, in public, on TV....everywhere.

I don't have to wish I were around to see it. I know it will happen.

Their smugness will be gone. Their snark in retreat.

Perhaps if they stopped the "old" jokes now, they might be better able to live with themselves later on.

I don't expect this will happen. I am a better writer, TV producer, radio DJ than I was when I was 30. I will not have the opportunity to prove that. Nobody wants to hire an old guy, no matter how good he still is. "Old" jokes feed this idea. "Old" jokes are a result of this idea. They even think there should be an age cut-off for driving a car.

So shall it be for those who now laugh. That's my only consolation. That and making fun of those stupid wool-hats the indie-boys wear.