Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Publication Title

Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture






1-13 pp.


Not since an eager, combat-booted pair of massive biceps attached to a deconstructionist waterbug with a PhD buttonholed me and shoved a Cultural Studies reader into my trembling matchstick arms has a single text caused me to enact as many multiple readings and to apply as many simultaneous readings as Margaret Morganroth Gullette’s Agewise: Fight the New Ageism in America. Honestly, I cannot offer a review of this text. It does not need one. I am only able to respond to it, and even then with the timidity, awe and respect imbued in the above-cited recollection. To put it simply—if that is even a credible goal—the author rightly recognizes the relationships between and among the (north) American ideology of progress, the current era of austerity and/or recession and the perception, perpetuation, propagation and proliferation of myths of decline. Yet, there is so much more to the situation than that summation offers. To put it abstractly, aging, along with its effects, may well represent the singular best example of cognitive dissonance, its determinates and its denial. In this way, Morganroth Gullette argues that the current era’s relation to aging reminds one of the “1980s in relation to HIV-AIDS, and not only in terms of scientific ignorance, rumors, bad jokes” (193). Victim blaming becomes the order of the day. Significantly, this insight reappears and plays a central, if unstated, role in forming the layered, over-arching discursive formation that characterizes the problem.


© Marc Ouellette. Posted with permission of the author.

Original Publication Citation

Ouellette, M. A. (2013). [Review of the book Agewise: Fighting the new ageism in America by M. M. Gullette]. Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture 13(3).