7 08 2008

It couldn’t have taken long. Paris Hilton has filmed a mock political ad, “responding” to John McCain’s “using her” in his recent ad about the “celebrity” of Barack Obama. She describes him as a “wrinkly white-haired guy.” The ad was written and produced by Adam McKay, who wrote Talladega Nights and Step Brothers. But on “Larry King Live,” August 6, 2008, guest commentator Kelly Anne Conway actually reproved Paris for using this language to slam McCain. “Paris has an 81-year-old grandfather, and I should hope she wouldn’t say he was a wrinkly white-haired guy.”

It being indeterminate whether or not Paris’s grandfather has wrinkles, it is hardly likely his hair, if he still has some, is not white. Conway is troubled by Hilton’s referring to a relatively old man as an old man. All right, the 81-year-old grandfather is young. 81 years young. He was born in 1927, the year that sound was introduced to cinema, two years before the stock market crash, eleven years before the Nazis annexed Austria, thirty-six years before the assassination of JFK, sixty-four years before the first Gulf War . . . but he’s still young. And John McCain is young, too. He was born in 1936 (he’ll soon be 72), but he’s totally, absolutely, happily, exuberantly young. Everybody is young. The late George Washington, first President of the United States, is still young. Frank Sinatra: young. Leonardo Da Vinci, nothing but young. Leonardo Da Vinci, Leonardo Di Caprio– young, both of them. Two Leos. It’s only all right to be young–it’s not all right to be old. Anyone who’s “all right” is young. Calling someone “old” is an insult, even–and especially–if they are old. (Oops.)

Have we all really become to terrified of aging that we cannot accept that it happens at all? Paris Hilton’s grandfather is, most likely, nothing in the world but a wrinkly white-haired guy. But watch out: Anderson Cooper is warning that he is getting ready to talk about this “ageism” on his show, too.

Let’s start calling John McCain a tike.




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