November 26, 2022

"Actually, if you google the word senicide you’ll see that many parts of the world have a push/pull relationship with their older members..."

"... the push of veneration, the pull of elimination. The United States with its chrome-plated dreams of spit-shine modernity was never much for the admiration of its senior citizens. Way before taunts of 'Okay, boomer' and the calling of people with experience the pejorative term 'olds' this country has had a tendency to isolate the grizzled dotard, if not on an ice floe then in retirement camps where they could gum pudding and play bingo away from the delicate eyes of youth. It would be easy to blame the sixties, with silly slogans like 'Don’t trust anyone over thirty' or even sillier movies like Wild in the Streets, where anyone over thirty-five is herded in camps and given mandatory doses of LSD."

So writes Bob Dylan, in "The Philosophy of Modern Song."

So, of course, I google "senicide," and I'm reading this Wikipedia article "Senicide," while picturing 81-year-old Bob Dylan reading it too. Highlights:

The Heruli were a Germanic tribe during the Migration Period (about 400 to 800 CE) [who]  placed the sick and elderly on a tall stack of wood and stabbed them to death before setting the pyre alight....

Herodotus says of the Padeans of India: "... It is said to be their custom that when anyone of their fellows, whether man or woman, is sick, a man's closest friends kill him, saying that if wasted by disease he will be lost to them as meat; though he denies that he is sick, they will not believe him, but kill and eat him...."

In Nordic folklore, the ättestupa is a cliff where elderly people were said to leap, or be thrown, to death. While the practice has no historical evidence, the trope has survived as an urban legend, and a metaphor for deficient welfare for the elderly....

Herodotus tells us about the Massagetae that: "Though they fix no certain term to life, yet when a man is very old all his family meet together and kill him, with beasts of the flock besides, then boil the flesh and feast on it. This is held to be the happiest death; when a man dies of an illness, they do not eat him, but bury him in the earth, and lament that he did not live to be killed.

Contemporary Culture — In modern day western-culture, senicide often takes the form of placing senior citizens in overcrowded conditions where preventable diseases can easily spread. More often than not, these spaces are separate from other generations of people so problems such as quality of life, hygiene and isolation are less detectable to the wider population.

There are 3 citations for that last proposition, and all 3 are about Canada. 

I'm giving this post my tag "gerontocracy," thought the topic is only implied. We currently have a gerontocracy in the United States, but when these old people were young, there was "Wild in the Streets":

44 comments:

Mary Beth said...

It is said to be their custom that when anyone of their fellows, whether man or woman, is sick, a man's closest friends kill him, saying that if wasted by disease he will be lost to them as meat

That sounds like a story told by that group's neighbors. I wonder if "closest friends" was the inspiration for the part of Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" where they honor the dead by eating them. (In the book, it was reverence, not a need for the meat and they don't kill the person.)

Killing someone when they're not dead yet made me think of Monty' Python's "Bring out your dead!" scene.

Wilbur said...

I love how Ed Begley's agent negotiated a credit as "guest star".

How can you be a guest star in a movie?

Kate said...

The grizzled dotard self-isolates. It's because we're a wealthy country. The old can afford to remove themselves from being a burden on their children. The gumming of pudding in a separate community is by choice.

narciso said...

What happened in nursing homes up snd down the coasts bob senicide

Bryan Townsend said...

The reason Canada is so "progressive" in its willingness to eliminate the elderly is that is a consequence of a single-payer health system. In a monopsony, there is one buyer, in this case government, for all goods and services. In the absence of competition the only way to control costs is through rationing. That is why in Canada the average wait for a simple MRI is three months. It takes an average 11 weeks to be referred to a specialist and an additional 14 weeks for treatment. And if you can get the elderly to eliminate themselves, there are lots of savings there.

tim maguire said...

There’s a quietly brutal movie called The Ballad of Marayama about life in a small Japanese village where food pressures have created a culture where only the first-born son is allowed to marry and have children and the elderly are abandoned on a mountain to die of exposure. One of the stories running through the movie is of an old woman who is ready and even eager to die and her son, who is reluctant to do his duty and bring her to the mountain.

Amadeus 48 said...

'...this country has had a tendency to isolate the grizzled dotard."

Surely he jests. We just elected a grizzled dotard POTUS, favoring him over a large, orange blowhard.

I am not sure about this Dylan/Zimmerman guy. I think Althouse invests him with too much authority. Is he the voice of his generation? Like Lena Dunham?

Big Mike said...

There are 3 citations for that last proposition, and all 3 are about Canada.

Nothing about Cuomo and Murphy and Whitmer forcing nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients, the better to (1) increase the death count, hurting Trump’s re-election chances; (2) save money long term by quickly killing people who were collecting elderly care money from the state?

Amadeus 48 said...

"... the push of veneration, the pull of elimination"

I don't think he has that image quite right. It is more like the pull of veneration, the push of elimination. "That last step is a doozy!"

Iman said...

How many slights must an old man take
Before they are forever banned?

#pipedownyoungwhippersnapper

Temujin said...

There will come a time when we finally understand that we cannot pay for social security, medicare, medicaid, AND a have a vigorous national defense, a more and more nationalized health care system, a national education system, a national subsidy of the 'clean' energy system so that we have only rolling- not permanent- blackouts, monies for DEI programs in every school and governmental office, and still have something left for Drag Queen Story Hours from coast to coast. We just cannot do it all.

Seniors will have to go. I think Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was way ahead of things in Michigan a couple of years ago. But I digress...

It'll play out something like this: But I'm not dead yet.

William said...

I don't think any actress ever played the role of ball buster with the skill and gusto of Shelly Winters. It would take a heart of stone not to rejoice in her untimely death in A Place in the Sun and Lolita.

William said...

Cannibalism is more disgusting than attractive, but there's something about it that gets our attention. Hannibal Lecter, Jeffrey Dahmer, the Eucharist. We're into it.....I've read about the seige of Leningrad and various government inflicted famines in the Ukraine and the Don region. Cannibalism is how many people there survived. My antecedents lived through hard times in Ireland. I wonder if that's how they got through them.

rehajm said...

POTUS under 25? Did they amend or just ignore?

Dave Begley said...

Apparently now in Canada you can get a doctor to kill you if you are depressed or have another mental health issue. The Catholic Church has protested. That won’t work. The Left will spin it against the Catholic Church. The CBC will be silent.

Oh, Canada!

But keep those hockey games going and the beer flowing.

n.n said...

Diversity (e.g. ageism, granny and baby), Inequity, and Exclusion (DIE)

planned parent/hood to relieve "burdens"

redistributive change through shared responsibility (e.g. progressive prices) forced by single/central/monopolistic solutions

Green deals to flatline

Oh Yea said...

There are 3 citations for that last proposition, and all 3 are about Canada.

But the Canadians are so polite when they put you out of their misery.

Enigma said...

@time macguire: The actual name is "The Ballad of Narayama" (1958)

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051980/

A second subplot in that movie is at least as brutal as the main story about the old woman.

Life in winter in medieval cultures...no spare food means someone is going to die. If the young die the tribe dies. If the old die the young live.


Also see the moral dilemma of throwing young versus old people from an overloaded and sinking lifeboat:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2595669/Would-YOU-throw-lifeboat-save-A-terrifying-shipwreck-freezing-ocean-savage-battle-survival-A-new-book-poses-ultimate-moral-dilemma.html

Carol said...

"It would take a heart of stone not to rejoice in her untimely death in A Place in the Sun and Lolita.".

Her roles were epitome of modern womanhood, everything I didn't want to be.

Sad af actually.

Robert Cook said...

"There will come a time when we finally understand that we cannot pay for social security, medicare, medicaid, AND a have a vigorous national defense, a more and more nationalized health care system, a national education system, a national subsidy of the 'clean' energy system so that we have only rolling- not permanent- blackouts, monies for DEI programs in every school and governmental office, and still have something left for Drag Queen Story Hours from coast to coast. We just cannot do it all."

So, the first order of business is to cut our War Department budget by at least 75%. We need many fewer guns and much more butter. If "we can't do it all," we must strip to the bone the budget for that most wasteful, corrupt, and destructive budget item. Beef up the budget items that provide direct benefits to people.

n.n said...

aging, cannibalism, viability, infanticide, progress, abortion

Human rites performed for social, redistributive, clinical, political, and fair weather causes.

John Holland said...

Canadian here. When the Medical Assistance In Dying Act was passed in 2016 as a result of a Supreme Court ruling in 2015, skeptics and objectors were written off as idiots or weird religious nut cases promoting a "slippery slope fallacy". Six years later, and here we are:

- Afghanistan veterans with PTSD are offered doctor-assisted suicide as "treatment"
- the chronically homeless are offered doctor-assisted suicide to solve their "unhoused condition"
- the government of Quebec used MAID as pretty much the only available treatment for the COVID racing through their nursing homes in 2020-2021.

On a personal note, a family member who needed a liver transplant was told, You are over 50 and overweight, so your odds of getting a transplant here are essentially zero (after a lifetime of paying 1/3 of your income into the "free" healthcare system). Have you ever considered MAID?

Maybe that's why I'm so pissed off.

Feels like that slope was greased with a 50-gallon barrel of K-Y jelly. The stack of corpses at the bottom is getting pretty big, pretty fast. Never thought our medical professionals would be so enthused about applying this hammer to every nail, nor that the public would be so blandly, wearily accepting of something that has IMMEDIATELY turned from a last resort for desperately hard cases to the second or even first resort for almost anything.

Depressed? Irritable bowels? Obese? Hangnail? Here, take this pill -- you won't feel anything, I guarantee it. And the rest of us Good Canadians certainly won't see, hear or speak any evil.

Saint Croix said...

Wild in the Streets looks like a really interesting movie. Starts off with an anti-baby vibe.

The vulnerable people in a society are the very young and the very old. You can spot the people who worship money more than human life. They want abortion for the young and death panels for the old.

I don't know if it counts as "senicide" (since the victims are 30-years-old) but the movie I always associate with killing off older people is this sci-fi classic.

Iman said...

“Beef up the budget items that provide direct benefits to people.”

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs… do I have that right, Robert?

Estoy_Listo said...

James Swan was among the first Euro-Americans to visit the coastal Indians of what would become Washington State. He describes an incident when his hosts carried a dying old woman out of their lodge into the night because her moaning was keeping others awake.

Joe Smith said...

'The United States with its chrome-plated dreams of spit-shine modernity...'

This is why he has a Nobel Prize for literature and I don't.

Although I would have put a comma after 'States' : )

donald said...

Actually more guns, less butter. Read your constitution commie bitch.

wildswan said...

In America the Dems ballot harvest in old people's homes so I think us oldies are safer here than we've been in a while - safe, anyhow, until election reform. "Fair Election Means Selection." "Vote for The Ballot Reaper, Not the Grim Reaper"

Signed
Not Dead Yet

JAORE said...

How long until Biden proclaims this as part of the Republican plan?

stunned said...

Death is easy, dying is hard.

Howard said...

I find that by staying thin, maintaining excellent physical condition and enjoy a wide variety of activities and hobbies, young people enjoy my company. Senicide is self inflicted.

realestateacct said...

How do the Canadians about the cultural appropriation of the Inuit practice of putting the elderly on an ice floe?

Mason G said...

"In America the Dems ballot harvest in old people's homes so I think us oldies are safer here than we've been in a while - safe, anyhow, until election reform."

They harvest in the cemeteries, too. Might want to sleep with one eye open...

Bruce Hayden said...

“Cannibalism is more disgusting than attractive, but there's something about it that gets our attention. Hannibal Lecter, Jeffrey Dahmer, the Eucharist. We're into it.....I've read about the seige of Leningrad and various government inflicted famines in the Ukraine and the Don region. Cannibalism is how many people there survived. My antecedents lived through hard times in Ireland. I wonder if that's how they got through them.”

One of the problems with cannibalism is prions. Misfolded proteins. Remember Mad Cow Disease? Prions from cannibalism. And, yes, it can, and does happen in humans too.

Of course, we may getting to prion caused neurological problems anyway - through the intensive effort to inoculate the population with experimental COVID-19 artificial mRNA gene therapy products (aka “vaccines”). I have bored many here with my screeds about the artificial mRNA, and pointed out the problems with substituting N1-Methylpseudouridine for Uridine in the “vaccines”. But some researchers seem to also be finding prion folding issues with excess 4G sequences in said artificial mRNA, and believe that they may be a significant part of the cause of neurological side effects of the “vaccines”. We shall see.

traditionalguy said...

Practice Tip: If you love your children enough to center your life on them for the 25 years raising them that results in grandchildren raised to worship you. Then you are safe from the Government plan for “Medical Ethicists” to push an early death. Provide however that you also honor your Mother and Father.

This is called traditional Christianity.

pious agnostic said...

Wow! Richard Pryor!

Lem Former Twitter Aficionado said...

“Andrew Cuomo, Governor of NY (during 😷) no matter what you may think of him, did a really nice thing. He did a genocide of the elderly. (Audience laugh) He did. And no one cared. Then he made a woman uncomfortable at a Christmas party, and they are like, “Now you’re outta here!! Now you go!” (Laughter) They had to step over bodies to tell him that. “Now you go!”” - Tim Dillon, A Real Hero. Netflix Standup.

Rusty said...

All I'm asking is a 24 hour MRE, a rifle with six rounds, some water and a 12 hour head start.

mikee said...

William, you forget Shelley Winters' excellent swimming and subsequent death by heart attack in The Poseidon Adventure.

Saint Croix said...

Cannibalism is more disgusting than attractive, but there's something about it that gets our attention...the Eucharist.

I guess Christians are too polite to mock the fuck out of atheists who think the Eucharist has anything to do with cannibalism. At a minimum I guess we could say they slept through that Reading Comprehension class. But even if your reading skills are abysmal -- and I would assume large numbers of atheists have never been anywhere near a Bible study -- you would think these "rational thinkers" might notice that they are surrounded by Christians who aren't cannibals at all!

Do you dummies think we're backsliding cannibals?

Lurker21 said...

At this point, everybody has probably heard about the tribe leaving grandma or grandpa out on the icefloes or behind on the prairie to die. Groups that take it further than that seem a little sketchy and disreputable to me.

You are already being judged and if you aren't found to be socially useful you are at the bottom of the list if you need a transplant, so it may not be that much of a jump to move to assisted suicide. Technology gives with one hand and takes with the other. Cannibalism, though, is probably going too far.

gpm said...

Didn't watch the clip, but "Fourteen or fight! Fourteen or fight!"

I've almost always found Shelley Winters to be annoying. Especially so in A Place in the Sun. I can't sit through Lolita, partly due to her but more to the awful Peter Sellers characters. Is it the characters or Sellers acting that is so off-putting?

Not to be confused with Peter Sellars, who was a couple of years behind me at a school I attended, um, near Boston. I didn't see it, but he did a notorious version of Antony and Cleopatra at the in-door swimming pool at Adams House. His production of The Inspector General was one of, I think, two performances that I walked out on at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge (IFIRC, the other was Orlando). There was a truly giant pineapple that was periodically dragged across the stage for no apparent reason (I haven't been there in a long time, but the pineapple used to be prominently displayed in the ART lobby). There was a female character who periodically laughed for no reason in an annoying manner. I haven't run across him since.

Enough for movie/theater criticism for the night.

--gpm

Saint Croix said...

So my post at 5:01 is an ad hominem attack, a violation of Matthew 5:22, and not as funny as it was in my head.

Grrrrrrr

Abology! Abology!

that kid still cracks me up

rcocean said...

Shelly Winters was great at playing characters that were so annoying, you liked when she dies. Lets see.. Monty killed her in "Place in the Sun", Mason tries to kill her in "Lolita" and Mitchum kills her in "Night of the Hunter". I don't think she dies in "Alfie" but Michael Caine dumps her.

While she usually got murdered, in the Posedian Adventure, she dies helping the group the survive. Before that act of bravery, she's pathetic and whiny, so its no great loss, although some in the audience shed a tear.

For some reason, Hollywood Producers loved her, and she kept getting work and Academy Award nominations despite being an annoying, over-the-top actress. Maybe it was because audiences like seeing her die, or she was good at playing shrews and blowsey overweight harridans.

Her best role was in the "scalphunters" where she uses her comedic timing to good effect and welcomes the arrival of a band of Indians bent on raping and pillaging with the comment: "What the hell, they're only men!"