Monday, February 01, 2010

Pratchett and Amis unite against the 'silver tsunami'

A "gentle tribunal" for death cravers? A scene from Logan's Run

Why on earth would BBC News lead with a report on Discworld author Sir Terry Pratchett's support for assisted suicide? Easy. To promote its Panorama show tonight whose theme is the public's warming to the idea of exterminating people past their economic usefulness, as affirmed by a "poll".

Supporters of this might want first to look into the topic of elder abuse before they get excited about Sir T's naive suggestion of "gentle tribunals" to decide who qualifies to be put out of their misery. One study suggests that 64% of elder abuse takes place in the family home - perpetrated by so-called loved ones unable or unwilling to deal with aged relatives.

I can well imagine a bunch of tearful adult kids, going on about the "loss of dignity" of a sickly aged mum or dad supposedly in their care, queuing up for a judicial release from responsibility. The scarcely researched and resourced problem of elder abuse is part of this debate.

Another atheist author who appears to support corpse tips for the clapped-out is my darling Martin Amis. I fully intend to read his new novel The Pregnant Widow. He created a stir last week with his cry against the "silver tsunami" (he means people, with grey hair, who no longer can fuck or read his books, in effect) and his call for a euthanasia "booth on every street corner where you could get a Martini and a medal."

Now he tells the Guardian he was just being "satirical". I believe him. But the damage is done. As Amis' interviewer Stephen Moss points out, on Google you'll find "137,000 items referencing Amis + euthanasia."

So please correct: Amis + euthanasia + joke. (Nonetheless Amis adds: "I stick to my basic point: you need to have a means to end your life.")


Blithe Spirit said...

MA darling,
Look what you’ve done! I didn’t know you wrote horror. I shouldn’t have read this before bed; now I’m going to have nightmares! I’m getting chills. What are we to do now? The “Logan’s Run” generation has arrived and we are going to be put down like sickly pets when we are not looking! (or hearing , or chewing solid foods).

This is definitely good encouragement to work out, eat well and stay fit; most importantly, to wear condoms.

Floss your teeth.

Methuselah said...

It is the inevitable result of an advertising industry that sexualises the very young and keeps lowering the age bar. But I would only question one of your points-that wrinklies have a use-by date as a consumer. It's a hugely profitable business on it's own and as more jobs disappear we baby boomers have a duty to hang around as long as poss. to give the young a useful occupation cleaning up our slops.

Personally I believe all us oldies should be given terrfic drugs-opium, smack, exstasy to see out our days which come oh so quickly as it is.

BTW-has anyone found that young people who bang on about senior citizens are always the ones to age the quickest ?

Madame Arcati said...

Teeth flossing is recommended. Martin Amis knows all about teeth flossing.

The papers today are quite excited at the prospect of death camps for the dodderies. The gerontophobic society wants death to be bureaucratised. Managed.

Ms Baroque said...

Dear Mme A, the whole problem with Amis is that he is so utterly charmless. Or scary - maybe there are times when he has a certain etiolated charm - are there? like Jeremy Irons? - but that must be quite scary so in fact not even charming.

He has spent many, many years never laughing at anyone else's jokes, never even smiling in public, not even in a grim, closed-mouth way; he has cultivated a reputation as the loony right of anti-jihadism, making even the Hitch look temperate; he cut himself off from the common run of humanity years ago with the casual remark that he found his bank statements far too boring to look at, just sent them to his accountant.

Of course it was satire. But having set himself up in public life as Mr Serious, doubling as Mr Outrage, he can hardly be surprised that some have opted to go for a Serious, Outraged response.

The only real question I have is why did they care what he said anyway?

On the charm front, btw, in response to someone's Facebook status this morning I dug out this very old post about the Amis Charm Issue:

And finally, btw, my word recognition word is remosing. No idea what it means but it sounds highly suitable. Sounds like making yourself morose over and over again. Unstoppably. Then stopping.

Ms Baroque said...

As to the "managed death" aspect, well, that is REALLY terrifying. Everyone knows the managers of Britain, whether public, private or private-public-finance, can't even organise the stationery properly. Then again, half their workforce are already semi-suicidal.

Madame Arcati said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Madame Arcati said...

Remosing? Lovely word, we must find a meaning for it.

With Amis it's all to do with odd ideas of what's cool, largely inspired by tobacco ads so far as I can tell. The Hitch-Amis (Hitchmis?) world is so convinced of its own infallibility that it carries many by its presumption.

Personally I find Amis more endearing these days as he stumbles over one PR disaster after another - look at the Telegraph today: apparently women have more power than is good for them. Yet in the Guardian yesterday he's been a feminist since Steinem converted him. It had to be Steinem of course - name check darling, name check. Culture enviromental control, darling.

The fabulous pomposity of Hitchmis World is something almost good enough to wank to. Or remose to.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the impression of a man convinced of his infallibility from 'The Information' or 'Experience' - quite the reverse, in fact. He's fucking terrified of aging and death and that desperate raging against the dying of the light comes across in the work. Amis is hugely underrated as a writer of deep feeling because so much attention is focused on the prose style. I find him as depressingly clear sighted as Larkin.

Five-Centres said...

I've always thought Martin Amis looks like a cross between Larry Grayson and Amdanda De Cadenet. I stand by that.

Never mind Logan's Run. The world is becoming more like Children Of Men every day.

Madame Arcati said...

I'm thinking more of his public image, the way he comes across in interviews and so forth. His novels showcase a brilliant technique for telling us what he may hide in life - the primacy of the technique creates delusions of infallibility in social interactions. Call it an infectious disease. Like Hitchens he's a Word God, articulacy is redemption. It impresses the failed writers who interview him.

Anonymous said...

It's odd how Madame's comments are always far more interesting.

Ms Baroque said...

More interesting than mine? I hope not.

Anyway, in Stephen Moss' interview Amis lives just around the corner from where his father Kingsley "had a house" which he "shared" (generously) with his ex-wife and her third husband. Wasn't it more that she and her saintly hub took him in as he was so doddery and hopeless?

(New word: Derses. I think remosing is more useful frankly.)

Madame Arcati said...

Love these words Ms B, determined not to look them up. I imagine Derses is what people said of Xerxes when he cocked-up, as in (phonetically) DER-erses ("Doh! Dickhead!"). Am I near?

Yes, Hilly took is Kingsley when he became a bit hopeless. I had that Elizabeth Jane Howard in the back of my office once (Kingsley's 2nd wife) - she'd come to IPC towers where I toiled as an editor on a glossy and talk about her garden column. She'd look at me askance, like I was ET or something hard to relate to. The feeling was mutual. The raw primitive sexuality of these Amis beasts discombobulates. All of them fucked for Britain before they didn't anymore.

Anonymous said...

Amis is not a good tennis player.