The age of reason

Here are some extracts from a newspaper article this week:

Iain Conn, 56, chief executive of the British Gas owner Centrica, predicted at an event in Houston, Texas, that Britain would secure a delay past March 29…

Greg Clark, 52, business secretary, addressed business leaders on a call yesterday after the government revealed that 87 per cent of imports would not face duties under a no-deal Brexit…

Leo Quinn, 61, chief executive of Balfour Beatty, said the construction sector stood to benefit once uncertainty was eradicated…

Carolyn Fairbairn, 58, director- general of the CBI, called on ministers to seek a delay to Brexit that is “as short as realistically possible”…

Don’t worry about which newspaper this is, it could have been any of them. But why exactly are we being told the ages of the dramatis personae referenced here? Is it to show that key business figures all come from the same general age group? Or is it because that is what newspapers and other media outlets do, for no good reason at all?

I would suggest that it is time for this subliminal ageism to come to an end. The age of a particular person in no way either validates or invalidates what she out he may are saying, and indeed is irrelevant in almost every case to a story. If we have to qualify the person in some way, why not choose something different and much more interesting? Why not, then, refer to Joseph Freeman (favourite vegetable: asparagus), CEO of Traytime plc? Or Frances Mapton (motor cyclist), Finance Director of Traytime plc? That would be less ageist and more entertaining.

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