Here lately on Twitter, I've noticed people pointing out the ageism in SFF--sometimes as much as every other day--with little witticisms such as:
Jesus, won't you old people die so we can have your jobs? or
Why did they let [insert name] moderate a panel? Didn't they know s/he was ancient? or
Isn't [insert name] old and NEAR DEATH?
Those are paraphrased, of course, and just a sampling. There have been several variations on the theme over the last few weeks from many different accounts.
Still, those things weren't said by the kind of users that we would normally call trolls. The people that made these remarks were folks that I thought were sensitive and empathetic to others. That's what stunned me.
I didn't think I needed to point out to this particular group that there are a lot of people, such as myself, who are over fifty and are very liberal. Nor should I have to tell them that advocating people should die to open up the job market isn't funny, especially given how many people over fifty suffer from depression.
To be truthful, I don't believe that I deserve instantaneous respect for the number of years that I've managed to stay alive. Respect is something earned, not given. Likewise, I don't believe that I deserve anyone's derision simply because I'm older than you, nor does anyone else.
If you have a problem with something someone says, focus on the problematic language, not their age. One has nothing to do with the other, because if someone is saying (for example) racist things, those racist thoughts have been a part of that person long before they reached the age in question. Misogyny is just as prevalent in the twenty- and thirty-something young men I see online as it is in older men. Age is moot when it comes to prejudices.
I do know I've lost a lot of respect for several people over the last two weeks, and once lost, earning back that respect back can take years. Neither do I expect apologies. Silence will be the overwhelming response to this post, but don't tell me that there is no ageism in SFF, not after what I've recently witnessed.