Yesterday in an opinion article in Haaretz, Alon Hadad had some reservations about the video in which the retired president Shimon Peres is trying to find a job in different minimum wage employments. Indeed the humorous video portrays the sad reality of elderly people in Israel, and Hadad feels that the video ridicules this segment of the population,
Prior to reading Hadad’s article I had watched that video and felt that although it was amusing it had a relevant and poignant social comment. Peres himself is 90 year old, but he has always been lucky and successful. However, dressed in a different attire, like in the famous story of The Prince and the Pauper, he was just another old man. As a result, the video shows that Peres is either transparent to the rest of the world or is treated badly. The video was so accurate that it was almost unbearable to watch how in the Holy Land the Biblical Mizva of respecting the elderly has become yet another irrelevant value.
Hadad also claims that such a video about a retired president in which a weakened segment of the population is ridiculed would never be allowed in the US.
I am no expert in humorous videos about retired presidents, but recently I have had a chance to watch commercials on American TV and was quite shocked to discover how old and retired people are portrayed. The commercials for State Farm Insurance are especially annoying. In the two different commercials which I saw, in order to symbolize the ineffectual and useless competitors of the proficient State Farm agents, old people were featured.
In one of them after an accident, in response to the words: “State Farm Insurance person come help,” a State Farm agent appears as though by magic and saves the day. For the competitor “Blah blah insurance,” the mother/grandmother, of the people involved in the accident, appears and she tries in vain to get in touch with the insurance through an outdated pay phone. Her son shouts in frustration: “you are no help at all.”
Like the Peres’ video those commercials are amusing. However, while the Israeli video acknowledges that old people are eager to contribute to society and would do anything and take any job, in the business world of American commercials, as illustrated by the State Farm Insurance ad, an old person is an irrelevant relic of the past. Moreover, it is not only society which regards the old person as ineffectual, in the State Farm Insurance commercial even the son regards his own mother as a nuisance.
So perhaps Alon Hadad is right and every American president would never be caught producing a politically incorrect video, and would keep the humor in his retirement video clean, and respectful to all segments of the population. But it doesn’t mean that this considerate attitude represents the rest of American society.
P.S The Peres video:
The State Farm Insurance commercial:
Even a commercial for esurance depicts Shirlee, an older woman who understands nothing