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I'm having dinner with a few folks at a friend's house on Saturday. I'm excited about it because one of them is the 94 year-old artist/photographer Harry Drinkwater...who still likes to dance. He's traveling up here from Venice in So. Cal. The fact that he's still kickin' it at 94 got me to thinking about ageism.

Here at Dailykos we're dependent on an influx of new voices in order to grow. Marcos, in the DKOS caucus, correctly pointed out at NN13 that we need that influx in order to survive as a dynamic site on a long-term basis. With that goal in mind, he outlined a number of upcoming technical changes to the site (which without a transcript I'll leave to others to summarize). While NN13 often seemed to be dominated by folks in their 20s or 30s, the room in which Kos was speaking definitely wasn't. Nonetheless, everyone (or at least it seemed to me) took his words with good humor and in agreement.

I think we can do this as a group going forward without being led astray by ageism in either direction. It is true that from time-to-time (& noticeably recently) there are those of us who slip into the bigotry of ageism to attack or defend both kossacks & non-kossacks. Claiming a kossack is too young (or new) to understand, or too old to be in touch, should mean you've lost the argument.

Now back to Harry Drinkwater for a moment.

Harry Drinkwater was born in 1919 in Napa Valley, CA. Based in Venice Beach for over sixty years, Harry Drinkwater was the official photographer for Noah Purifoy’s 1966 group exhibition 66 Signs of Neon. A graduate of the Fred Archer School of Photography, Drinkwater’s stylized work belongs to a postwar scene linked not only to Los Angeles’ African American community, but also to the city’s broader jazz, beatnik, and mid-century design movements.  

Noah Purifoy, 1966

Harry would have a right to slow down after living through so many decades and witnessing so many changes, but he's not about slowing down at all. He's not about isolating himself within any one age group. He's also not about suffering any fool's poor soul's ageism.

When you're thinking about invalidating someone's views just because they're older than you, think about Harry. Just don't go there. You'd be working against yourself. And then Harry and I would have to come over and chew your mendacious ear off (can an ear really be mendacious?).

So, absolutely...I'm looking forward to learning from dining with Harry Drinkwater this Saturday. I know with his age his wisdom has increased. I hope to get some of that.

That's only half the story though.

If you think, on the other hand, that wisdom ONLY comes with age, then you're cheating yourself that way. You couldn't then have known doodley about our youngest kossacks who have already been paying dues for a while.

Last weekend I learned a lot dining at NN13 with the kossack below from the opposite end of the spectrum from Harry.

TLO & fellow-fighter Goldie at NN13 in Kossack lounge
You can't tell wisdom from age alone.

We're in this together, from the youngest to the those of us who can't make up our minds which we are and frankly, my dear, don't give a damn. Sea lo que sea. Ageism is just not acceptable.

Ageism isn't progressive. Don't be hating on anybody because of their age. Especially don't do that around here. Don't discount someone's views because you think they're too young or too old. That is all bad. When you try to rob someone else's dignity as a human based on their age you may also be robbing yourself blind in the process. Both the youngest and the oldest amongst us can teach us things we've forgotten, or even perhaps never learned in the first place.  

I can learn from both Harry Drinkwater and TLO. If you can't, you've got the problem...not them.

Originally posted to MBismo Vencerá on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:18 AM PDT.

Also republished by Courtesy Kos and Community Spotlight.

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