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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Let An "Old Geezer" Rant

Sometimes, if we aren't careful, we let slip our prejudices and when we realize what we have done, we are chagrined. But if we think our prejudices aren't prejudices or are sufficiently widely shared that we don't think of them as prejudices at all then putting them into play becomes simply normal. Let's be clear, a prejudice is an irrational labeling and libeling of an entire group. Examples always help so let's meet Tim Fernholz and his wholesale beat down of 'geezers'.

Fernholz writes for publications in the Atlantic network of magazines, newsletters and blogs. In the May Saturday edition of Quartz he writes:"Good morning, Quartz readers! How did we let a bunch of geezers swindle global soccer for this long? Of the 14 top soccer officials and businessmen arrested on FIFA-related corruption charges this week, all but five were over the age of 60." 

Reading that, the only thing one can conclude is that corruption is an age thing. You know, all round moral individuals acting in the best interest of sport and then the guy turns 60 and wham, he is a sleaze bucket and corrupt to boot. And I guess the brilliant analyst that is Fernholz must assume that the 5 folks under 60 who were charged were corrupted by the geezers. What's not clear to me is whether the charges the 14 are facing relate to events that occurred before they turned 60 or after. And if the charges were from a pre-geezer state, how will the authorities, let alone the public cope?

Geezer is a word that originated in England in the 1800s and originally meant an eccentric or cranky male, and often carries the adjective old in front of it, except in America where geezer seems to mean old and male. I am not sure how geezer became associated with corruption so I asked Fernholz and Quartz the following: "What is the link between age and corruption, and can you cite some research that establishes that link? Are just males susceptible or inclined this way? Is it just white males? Is corruption a universal marker of people who turned 60? There is so much here that if you had only shared the full extent of your understanding I might have been able to describe it as something I read elsewhere that made me smarter." 

Fernholz and his colleagues chose not to answer, I am assuming because they believe those over 60 wouldn't get it and those under sixty just accept that those over sixty have lost their smarts, their morals, their integrity and their sense of what is acceptable. Or they didn't bother answering because they realized that what Tim Fernholz was blathering on about was simply a moment of spouting off an irrational and a hateful generalization without a basis in fact...wait there is is a word for that...what's the word...am I having a senior moment....no there it is....prejudice.  

Ironically for Mr. Fernholz, the whole FIFA scandal is only public knowledge because a 71-year-old journalist broke the story 9 years ago when he was 62....my God, how did that happen? How did an old Geezer do something that should have been the work of some guy in his 30s? I am waiting for Mr. Fernholz to explain it. 

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