Hurray for older people - August 12.1

 


Times Aug 7th, Rose Wild (feedback). 'Please don't call us Pensioners'. A column that receives its fair share of complaints about writing style and vocabulary. Some good things too.

Dates for receiving a pension are variable. And, strictly, this refers to the state pension. 'Retiree' is no better. 'Seniors' was an alternative suggested by Philip Burt. Officially, this refers to golfers and tennis players who no longer play in the main tournaments. 'Aged' and 'elderly' are sensitive as most over 65s are fit and well and likely to remain so for some time.

'Older people' is the least worst term.


Going back to March 2017


The Times Feedback on what to call people over 60

Times readers write to the Feedback article about house style - the right or wrong way to write; a discussion
 between them and The Times. Much in the way I use hyphens and semi-colons.

This week it was about what to call people and things of a certain age (Rose Wild, March 18th, 2017).
 'Getting a life' comes to mind. Cars' ageing classes are very precise and not to be mucked about with 
(veteran, classic and vintage). Human classification is more flexible. Experience and expertise influence 
the word used in addition to the amount of time involved. A veteran broadcaster for example may not have
 retired. Itoje, England's lock forward, is 'old beyond his years', which I think means precocious. 
The Times house style discourages 'old', 'aged' and 'elderly'. Here are some alternatives:

codger              a fish that lives underground, comes out at night and has TB
fart                    gaseous pelvic effluent or a committee member of a rugby or golf club
curmudgeon     a bird that reviews films
scrote               small, reclusive, wrinkled, unpleasant but has got balls
geriatric           mouse takes three wickets in three balls
grump              a tiger that bites your arse
grouch             exclamation when a tiger bites your arse
fogey               obscure green thing up your nose         
pensioner         he who writes letters on his mistress

We are not allowed to mention certain words but this opening 
partnership's combined ages was more than the opposition's total
    Any suggestions?

.....................................

Since exploring my family history I have taken an interest in the nineteenth century and industrialisation. 
Textiles in particular. It might be assumed that industry began with factories around 1830, but mining and
making stuff like cloth predated Arkwright. Smallholdings with a loom in the front room
for example.
'The Story of Work' by Jan Lucassen reviewed Aug 7th, Times, suggests that worker productivity increased 
during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, before technological advances came in. Reasons maybe 
specialisation, protestant work ethic and wanting to buy stuff from the colonies. Cultural change too. Work 
got attached to morality and personal identity. Sadly working conditions were dire even then.
Mechanisation has not abolished work allowing leisure to take over. We want more stuff and the office is a 
social good, especially as religion and group recreations have become less attractive.
'Work is important for humans - I don't think I've ever met anyone who is able to be happy without it. 
Nevertheless we must be wary of its ever increasing conquest of our lives'.

So its a book about work - I liked the bit about work and increasing productivity predating 
industrialisation.

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