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Beware the... CULT OF YOUTH.

Byline: LORNE JACKSON

FOR many years I thought there was nothing more enjoyable than being young.

But I've changed my mind. Now I KNOW so for a cast-iron fact.

My evidence comes from getting old, which is no picnic - more of an empty wicker basket.

Not youth. That's a selection of Marks & Sparks gourmet sarnies on a cashmere rug.

Youth is smooth skin, loud music, fast times, faster cars, tight jeans, late nights, flirtatious glances, horizontal romances and, best of all, precious few responsibilities.

Unless you count it as a responsibility to squeeze as much joy-juice out of the sticky pulp of experience as you possibly can.

On the other hand, age does have one point in its favour.

The jungle fuzz that spews from your lugs means you never have to wear earmuffs in Alaska. Of course, you'd have to want to visit Alaska for that to be at all enticing.

Nope, being young wins every time.

That doesn't mean young people themselves are great. Most of them are rubbish, in fact.

Though try telling that to the people who run our TV channels. We live in an era when to be young isn't just to have a good time. It's also to be right - about everything.

Acne-addled yoof has the kind of unimpeachable authority that was once awarded to the grizzle-bearded elders of the tribe.

When Jonathan Ross and his chump of a chum, Russell Brand, masterminded their nasty little radio prank to humiliate Andrew Sachs, the BBC initially stood by its employees.

Defending Ross and Brand, the Corporation revealed it had surveyed a crosssection of viewers and discovered most people under 25 thought their 'joke' was a proper wheeze.

So everything was all right, then, presumably.

Does that also mean that if youngsters believe the murder and sexual abuse of women and children in Darfur by gun-totting warlords is amusing, the BBC will support rape and pillage?

Quite possibly, since the Corporation's in such thrall to the Kingdom of Kiddyland.

Now Radio 1 bosses have decided that many of their top broadcasters are past it.

The stars who could be threatened with the chop include such powder boned ancients as Sara Cox (34) and Chris Moyles (35).

Barack Obama is celebrated as a youthful Prez, a whippersnapper of a world leader, yet he's almost a decade and a half older than Cox and Moyles.

The pair may have more wrinkles than the standard Radio 1 listener, but surely what matters is that they remain on the same wavelength as their audience?

Cox and Moyles are insufferable loudmouths, lacking in taste, tact, intelligence and sophistication.

In other words, the dire duo are perfectly in tune with the youngsters listening to their broadcasts, and should certainly keep their jobs. Otherwise they may start broadcasting on adult stations, and spoil it for the rest of us.

The Cult of Youth doesn't just affect childish radio presenters in their midthirties.

Gordon Brown also suffers as a politician because he's tickling the toes of 60, while for David Cameron, 50 is no more than a malicious rumour.course, Brown has a few other tri-Of ing problems to add to the Grecian fl 2000 in the Number 10 medicine cabi lack of personality; collapse of policy. But maybe even Cameron is too old to be our next Prime Minister, while Obama's days as the vigorous voice of youth are also numbered.

Last week, the usually serious and sagelike economic commentator, Anatole Kaletsky, (you can tell he's serious and sage-like because he's got a name like Anatole Kaletsky) claimed the only person dence in the who could restore confidence British banking system was... Gail Trimble.

"Who be she?" you might ask.

She be the smarty-pants popette who almost single-handedly won University Challenge for her Oxford college, before the team were stripped of their title after a ringer was discovered in their ranks.

The disqualification wasn't Gail's fault, and the 26 year-old is undoubtedly a knowledgeable, hard-working girl.

But should she be held aloft as our slip of a saviour? I don't think so.

Even if she proved willing to heal our tattered economy, Gail would regularly take her eye off the ball every Sunday morning, during the Hollyoaks Omnibus Edition.

The Cult Of Youth defines our times, but didn't originate in our era.

Nor was it borne in the heady days of hippiedom.

Instead, its roots can be traced back to Hitler's Reich.

The Nazis worshipped youth - almost as much as the Beeb does.

They threw out tried and tested wisdom and scoffed at maturity, then they annexed Poland.

Our admiration for all things youthful is unlikely to inspire Britain's leaders to grow toothbrush moustaches or attempt world domination.

But the kiddy crush nurtured by Nazi Germany should remind us that although youngsters have plenty of questions, they seldom provide the answers we're looking for.

CAPTION(S):

Loudmouth DJs Sarah Cox and Chris Moyles have been told by the BCC that they're too old in the tooth.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Mar 8, 2009
Words:833
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