An Obsession with Youth

Recently on The Drew Mariani Show, Drew discussed the recent statements from Pope Francis about caring for the elderly, a demographic that has never been more numerous in human history, and how the culture has become one obsessed with youthfulness.

Drew began the conversation by talking about the reputation that age has in today’s society. Looking at Hollywood and rock stars and other celebrities, you could almost get the impression that we worship youthfulness. In an attempt to stave off the effects of old age, people turn to plastic surgery, injections, and longevity drugs. Naturally, death is a scary thing, mostly because you can’t experience it until your first and last time. There’s no “practice run.” However, is the answer really excessive indulgence in artificial youth?

As Drew said, we’re living in a youth-obsessed culture. “The dominant culture has as its sole model the young adult, i.e. a self-made individual who always remains young. But is it true that youth contains the full meaning of life, while old age simply represents its emptying and loss?” asked the Holy Father. He said the recent generations have upheld this idea that the youth contain the vibrancy, the innovation, and the soul of the world while the elderly represent frailty, disability, and death. It’s such a backward idea because the older generations are the very foundation of everything we see today.

Drew welcomed Mary Rice Hasson of the Ethics and Public Policy Center onto the show to talk about the general audience and delve deeper into analyzing the distorted vision of today’s culture. She said that when you look at the youth today, you see an emphasis on what’s next, what the future holds, all the exciting new “things” we can get. It’s a plastic culture. Then when you turn to the older, experienced generations, there’s nothing plastic about it. “Everything is fast and it’s information and it’s [imagery], whereas scripture talks about wisdom being more precious than gold.”

Hasson pointed out that there’s more than meets the eye to this phenomenon because it’s also a spiritual disconnect. The myth here is that when you’re young and fit, you are completely free and capable of doing everything. But contrary to popular belief, we are dependent on somebody in all different phases of our lives. We can’t do anything without God.

Unfortunately, this strangely ageist culture is infecting companies and employers, telling them that they cannot hire or renew the contracts of older people who want to work. Marlena of New Jersey called in to say that she works for a plastic surgeon, and she hears from customers all the time that they only get work done because they have to. Older people who have to work come in to make themselves look younger so they can get a job. “I have many teachers. They come in in the summertime and they say, ‘My students won’t even look at me. I have to have this. I want to teach for another decade,’ or, ‘another five years.’”

She concluded by saying that it’s unfortunate because they do come out of surgery looking much younger and people treat them differently because of that. They are given more opportunities and life is, in a general sense, easier. “It’s a very shallow, imperfect world and we know that.”

In response to this culture of death, euthanasia, and abortion, we are called as Catholics and Christians to spread a culture of life. That means rejecting the concepts of artificiality and embracing the celebration of the diversity of life. We should celebrate birthdays, long lives, old memories, newborns, new parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great adventures, friends old and friends new, living life fast, and taking it slow.

“Honor your father and mother, that you may have a long life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

Listen to the full segment below:

Tune in to The Drew Mariani Show weekdays 2pm – 5pm CT

John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at and on the Relevant Radio® app.