Over the weekend, GenerationXpert (linked via my blog roll) posted an article from Time magazine about retired Boomers returing to college and university campuses. How nice. Isn’t just like these people to fuck up the “real world” and then go and hide behind the ivory towers that pumped up their already over-inflated egos to send them off on their failed quixotic revolutions.
And what’s more, the universities and colleges are encouraging this lame nostalgia-driven en masse return the “the best days of their lives.” Yeah. That’s right. Universities such as UCLA are planning to construct on-campus retirement communities. Of course, because these retired Boomers will be bloated with disposable income that they can spend auditing courses that are of new real use to them but may actually be a “requirement” for some struggling young college kid who desperately wants to get his/her degree completed as the sticker price of said education ticks up hourly.
All I can say is that I’m glad that I am done with college and will not have to share campus with these geriatric space-wasters. Of course, it may very well be that my daughter, who is now 7, will. And what will this mean for her? Can she be bumped from a class that she needs to graduate by some Boomer schmuck who has influence with the Presidence office because they went to college together the first fucking time around? And really, how much fun can college be with a bunch of foggies hanging around. Seems like a major buzz kill. But what do I know?
Of course, according the to the article:
An influx of silver hair on campus could be a win-win-win for universities, their young students and the retirees. Educators have found that the insight and experience that older students bring to the classroom can invigorate discussions. There are also natural synergies, as with a medical or nursing college and a university-linked assisted-living residence. “Every unit of the university has something it can gain from this,” says Bonnie Kantor, director of the Office of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Ohio State.
Why is it automatic to assume that younger student will benefit from the “experience that older students bring to the classroom?” Doesn’t it depend on the experience? Experience is not necessarily good nor is it automatically valuable. And doesn’t it also depend on the way that experience is presented? I’m sorry, but I can’t help envisioning a classroom discussion being dominated not invigorated by a bunch of overbearing, know-it-all Boomers whose experience in the “real world” has taught them how to manipulate and bully others to their way of thinking. Too many young, inexperienced college kids may find themselves ill-equipped to do rhetorical battle with these fucking geezers. The truth is the ones who will really benefit is the institutions and gay old Boomers tottering around campus, glutting up the pathway with their walkers and wheelchairs or whatever.
When I was an undergrad I remember the middle-aged divorcees in some of my Lit courses who believed that us naive young people could benefit from the wisdom of their experience, and insisted on interjecting their sad tales of woe into the discussion, often for no more reason than to vent their misery, which of course they claimed gave them special insight into the mysteries of Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Charles Dickens or whomever. It’s funny, you know, because at the end of thr semseter I often took away As in these course, despite tuning out the screetches of these cackling birds.
Look. I got no problem with people returning to school. I have visioins of doing that myself. That is if I can ever truly afford to retire, which I envision will be the more likely scenario. But this whole creating a fucking community on campus for these people is bullshit. But as per usual, Boomer’s are coddled and pandered to, no doubt by their own cohort who are the ones creating these things right now. And anyway, they’re already here.
About 50 of these facilities are up and running, including ones at Penn State, Notre Dame and the University of Florida. Thirty more are in design or marketing stages.
Ultimately, this is about Boomers refusal to go softy into that good night. They refuse to admit that they are now old: “These complexes can’t look anything like a retirement community.” Because that just unpossible. We’re going to have kick them into their graves.