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Perspective: Kindness at the Oscars


Those who made it to the end of the Oscars witnessed an act of kindness when Liza Minnelli and Lady Gaga came onstage to announce the best picture award.

They appeared suddenly at the side of the stage, Liza looking slight and frail in a wheelchair. There was a standing ovation for her, the star of Cabaret, a classic made 50 years ago. She looked delighted at the applause, but when it was time for her to speak, she seemed overwhelmed. “I don’t understand,” she said, shuffling the cards in her lap. “I got this,” said Lady Gaga, who went on to pay tribute to Liza, calling her a true show-biz legend. A little later, Liza faltered again and Lady Gaga leaned over and said quietly, “I got you.” Liza whispered, “I know.” Lady Gaga picked up the script and the show went on.

We all know that as they age people may not be as sharp or as strong as they once were. Things that once came easily become more difficult. Disease and time take their toll. It’s hard to watch and difficult to know the best way to help. Lady Gaga got it just right.

Ours is a culture that values youth and vigor over age and experience. Ageism is accepted when many other manifestations of prejudice are not. The irony is that the one thing that will happen to every single one of us — at least the lucky ones — is that we will all grow old.

I’m Deborah Booth and that’s my perspective.

Deborah Booth retired in Fall 2014 from NIU, where she was the director of External Programs for the College of Visual and Performing Arts.