Rinkli Funstaz

Exposing and exploring the commercial and cultural vitality of this generation of over-65s (and the one following hard behind).

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Forever Always Young?  (Or does retroactive pattern-seeking in old age ever create value?)

Forever Always Young? (Or does retroactive pattern-seeking in old age ever create value?)

Philosophy
Gustave Flaubert spoke to me once, telling me how unwise it is to touch your idols, given that the gilt is bound to come away on your hands. We hold this thought  -  which is not in itself specifically about ageing  -  while we add another. To wit : much of adult life involves a deliberate and entirely healthy dismissal of one’s childhood and adolescence. (more…)
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Ageing in Africa : it would be a fine thing.

Topicality
Just recently, UN News told the world that a large number of communities across Africa (and indeed elsewhere) were “facing catastrophic levels of acute hunger”. In real-time fact, some 34 million people were starving. By the Spring of 2021, the FAO was categorizing some 34 African states as requiring “external assistance for food”. The reason behind such dire straits was multiple : armed violence provoking mass movement of refugees, troubled harvests, volatility of staple prices, floods and locusts, droughts   -  the mix of human agency and bad luck cursing already malnourished economies and severely limited welfare-ism. Meanwhile, even before coronavirus struck, official figures (such as there are) were confirming a sad truth : millions of Africans are not going to see out their fifties. Life expectancy in, say, the Central…
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Living Dyingly (with apologies to C. Hitchens)

Philosophy
As a young schoolboy, many years ago, I began, perhaps not always very thoroughly, to read the Scottish broadsheet newspapers. Over time, I became aware of court proceedings as they were being reported, with special reference to big crime, sawn-off bank robberies, vicious gangsterism, serial killings -  all the things so appreciated by young boys in the epoch. In that setting, I have a memory still of court cases involving the deaths of elderly and sick people, deaths accelerated by the intervention of family members  -  those who delivered overdoses or willfully withheld the medicine critical to the prolongation of the life concerned. Yes, we talk of what is now called Assisted Dying. (more…)
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Can the European Union help us to age well now?

Can the European Union help us to age well now?

Topicality
From issue to major issue, many in the UK will still look to the institutions of the EU for counsel and leadership amid these twisted times. The sadness is therefore the greater that all the talent in the EC should produce this Green Paper on the subject of ageing  -  subtitled Fostering Solidarity and Responsibility Between Generations. For the piece is as trite as it is evasive. Mutatis mutandis and with little content that is really new, it could have been written in the late 20th century. Now one appreciates that the EC has limited powers of execution here and depends, whatever the virtues of its analysis, on the responsiveness and goodwill of Member States. But even then the grim absence of any political bite   -  the non-attack on the …
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The Rinkli Funstaz Book of Lockdown 21

The Rinkli Funstaz Book of Lockdown 21

Scholarship
Re-printed in 2020 from its first showing in 1988, this stands proud as one of the richest reflections on living, ageing and dying one could possibly lift. It is beautifully composed by a thoroughbred prose professional. There is a problem… but more of this later. Dr. Cassidy’s name will be familiar to those who remember the viciousness of Pinochet’s secret police, let loose to indiscriminately maim and murder in the wake of that coup. Here we learn variously of her own struggles to succeed in medicine, in the hospice movement and  -  though she may not like the language  -  in her own faith. The essentializing question herein posed is : what does it mean to age properly? (more…)
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A word for the couple in Room C19

A word for the couple in Room C19

Topicality
Years from now, a comprehensive history of the global coronavirus epidemic will still not have been written. It will be forever so. For the story is just too complex, engaging so many lives and livelihoods, inviting so much new medicine and science… that nobody will be able to pack everything into one book or TV documentary or whatever a podcast has become by 2030. We can be certain, however, that there will be those ready to throw a retrospective shawl over the virus years : it will indeed be argued that those years proved just how legitimized had become the dismissive contempt of broader society, most emphatically in the Western world, for elderly people. (more…)
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Sitting on the rocking horse does not make it Pegasus

Sitting on the rocking horse does not make it Pegasus

Scholarship, Topicality
First of all, it is morally inadmissible for anyone   -  whatever the politics or the agendas  -  to describe the Coronavirus crisis as “an opportunity”. After some 40,000 citizens have died in France alone, it is abusive to suggest that C-19 and all its consequences have somehow shown us a better way to live, to develop our civics, to organize human movement, to run our cities. One can but hope that Carlos Moreno has the decency to wince out loud whenever he re-reads his words on that subject here. C19 is not a social science laboratory; it has been a hell for millions. There are other problems. CM abominates the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the likes of Rassemblement National. Good for him. Yes, he elevates social diversity but, since he wants…
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In the heat of the triple lock down

In the heat of the triple lock down

Philosophy
Well, the author has a lot of humanity to share. Good for him. But his book could certainly have done without the favourable references to Abraham Maslow (surely the most raggedy old hat in the milliner’s bargain-basement), Carl Jung, Woody Allen and Ashton Applewhite…. Ugh. With such an untutored eye, all the cultural simpering of the New Age is jumbled onto the page here here with an utterly predictable critique of the way we live in this century. Now that “the storms of youth and middle-age are behind us” (sic), we can apparently be free to complain about acquisitiveness, materialism, the consumerism that “has the power to distract us from such vital issues as ageing and death”. Older people are, meanwhile, so dissed in the media / advertising and youthful…
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