Your Letters

Jan 22, 2012
Originally published on January 25, 2012 9:24 am
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Time now for your comments. Last week, I spoke with Patricia Cohen about her new book, "In Our Prime: The Invention of Middle Age."

PATRICIA COHEN: Well, I like to say that middle age is something of a never-never land. Younger people never want to enter it, and older people never want to leave it once they get there.

MARTIN: Our conversation prompted dozens of listener responses. Mark Kropf posted at NPR.org: It is fine and good to talk of these vague periods of our life, but what do they mean? In an era where one can see AARP stories of marathoning seniors, or see Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger still trooping about, how valid is it to talk of middle age? Senior citizens strut about both on and off stage as never before. So then, what of middle age? Is it even a construct of utility? Is it something we've outgrown?

Deb Dedon adds: Biological time is partly physical and partly emotional. Maybe the question is more social than biological. Women begin to disappear during menopause, a biological marker for middle age. We can no longer reproduce, so is our glass half-empty or half-full?

We also aired a profile of artist Chris Burden, who has a new sculpture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Metropolis II" is a scale model of L.A., with 1,200 toy cars zooming around on curvy tracks.

CHRIS BURDEN: It's like the real world. So it's like, you know, one accident causes more and more and then, you know, it's a pile-up.

MARTIN: Joe Wojciechowski posted this response: I love the reality of the automobile this piece portrays. Cars are not freedom; there is no large, open road anymore. People sit in little boxes in a line and wait - and wait. People don't drive around on salt flats, like car commercials would have you believe.

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MARTIN: And we received notes of thanks for our interview with Charlie Haden about his collaboration with pianist Hank Jones. Jones died three months after the men recorded the spirituals and folk songs on Haden's new album, called "Come Sunday."

Rebecca Hansbrough writes: What an exceptional piece that revealed a unique introduction, and source of inspiration, to Charlie Haden's world of jazz. Jazz, like blues, country and gospel, are musical art forms that quite often tell personal stories - painful ones but joyous ones as well. It also reveals growth and enlightenment.

Enlighten us, inform us - we want to hear from you. We're on Facebook and Twitter @NPRWeekend. I'm @RachelNPR. You can also go to NPR.org, and click on the link that says Contact Us.

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MARTIN: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.