[Disclaimer -- I'm not saying that Psych *IS* a bulls*** science. I know a certain person in Wisconsin who a) is smarter than me; b) writes papers and studies on Autism in which I rarely understand more than "the" and "and."]
Last night brought the transcendent joy of the second Developmental Psychology class discussion. I really want to do well in all my classes, so I’m doing the readings and taking good class notes and trying to find interest in the material. Unfortunately, I keep getting sidetracked. Why?
Because the book and my prof insist on teaching us how bad the United States is.
Chapters 2 and 3 were supposed to be on “biological and environmental foundations” and prenatal development. Why, then, did we delve into the following highly educational tidbits?
- It’s shameful how the elderly are treated in America. In Japan, there’s a culture of reverence for the elderly. It’s a disgrace that we don’t share it.
- Also, China has playgrounds and parks specifically for the elderly. We, on the other hand, have ten times their income but we won’t spend it on the elderly because we think they don’t matter. How sad!
- Furthermore, Americans have these horrible stereotypes about the elderly, e.g. that they can’t drive. The Prof doesn’t know how we formed such ageist, hurtful stereotypes, but lots of elderly people remain active their whole lives and such derogatory stereotypes just hurt them terribly.
[I'm biting my tongue hard enough to bleed at this point. It keeps me from raising my hand and asking, "Are you frickin' SERIOUS? Those stereotypes exist because THE ELDERLY CAN'T DRIVE. We've seen our grandparents lose their verbal acuity and their motor reflexes; it happens to some earlier and some later, but it happens to all of us eventually (if we live long enough). That's a fact. So now actual facts that most people have observed personally equals an AGEIST STEREOTYPE. Good grief."]
- Prenatal care is very important for the mother and for the fetus. And yet somehow people are arguing against national health care.
[Yes. Yes they are.]
And my personal favorite? This:
Because (the professor kindly explained) it’s important to know how big a problem it is in America, that so many of our elderly live in poverty, and that so many countries care for their aged population better than we do.
Now, y’all know I’m no statistician myself, but . . . . seriously? Because fewer Romanian elders live below the Romanian poverty line than in the United States, this is a terrible country?
That’s right, folks — it’s better to be elderly in Russia, Estonia and Slovenia than here. Also, the Czech Republic takes better care of its elderly than does Austrailia, the UK or Switzerland.
And this nugget of wisdom is important enough to appear in CHAPTER TWO of our textbook.
*cue sound of Lissa’s head exploding*
Now, I’m not saying that a chart like that has no use. I think a discussion of how the elderly are perceived in each country dependent on economic status relative to the national average — and the resulting social stature — could be very interesting. Unfortunately, that’s not what the book was trying to teach me.
This may be a long semester.
P.S. Also? Sorry, book, but when you blithely state that one-sixth of all couples who try to conceive discover that they are infertile and list absolutely no backup for that rather astonishing number, I will probably assume that you are talking out of the southernmost aperture of the gastrointestinal tract.