Pickings have been slim on NPR recently – few things have stood out enough to make me want to take a break from all the hecticness (to coin a word) and catch-up sleep I've been indulging in recently. But I did want to catch up on a couple stories that made it through the noise.
I’ll start today with a story on Weekday a few weeks ago. I came into it part-way through, as I was heading to work from the gym in the morning, and assumed that Steve Scher was interviewing a sci-fi author. They were discussing these clearly fictional communities where the local newspaper only prints happy news (which reminds me of this site) and children need visas to visit because only older people are allowed. But then I realized something horrifying – this wasn’t actually fiction. Apparently these communities are real, and springing up all over the US. They’re geared towards retired people who want easily accessible social activities and clean, well-maintained neighborhoods, which is fair enough. What’s creepy is that they want this with no children around. Andrew Blechman, who was the guest on the show, suggested that in addition to the obvious reasons for not wanting children (lower noise, crime, etc) there are more devious ones – you avoid having to fund school districts with your taxes, and you’re less likely to have minority families because they tend to live in multi-generational households, which wouldn’t be allowed. I think many would agree that this society does not generally treat our elders with the respect they deserve, but is this really the answer?