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    • POEM: Warning by Jenny Joseph (2/11/2006 11:49:00 AM)

      Well, if the point of the Red Hat Society is just about choosing to look silly and have fun, they Have missed the point. The aging process includes some subtle and volitional changes and some completely altering and completely involuntary. The poem alludes to all of these. The Red Hat gang doesn't do much spitting and pulling of alarm bells. They're doing good deeds, they're organizing groups, meetings, luncheons, chapters, causes.... They're probably still paying the rent, forgoing swearing, reading the papers, and trying to set a good example. The poem foretells a greater state of disinhibition. The literalist selection of red hats and purple clothes defies the individuated call to action- to Ovarios! to lime green pedal pushers! and to orange anaoraks! - of the poem. It does indeed descend to mere mimickry. The poem calls for a bit of honor and a lot of realism in aging. It doesn't beg a group of mature women to act like highly giddy, but equally highly insecure, conformist schoolgirls for the day on a regularly scheduled basis.