Remembering My Hat


There is a wicked inclination in most people to suppose an old man decayed in his intellects. If a young or middle-aged man, when leaving a company, does not remember where he laid his hat, it is nothing; but if the same inattention is discovered in an old man, people will shrug up their shoulders, and say, “His memory is going.”

Boswell, J (1791) Life of Johnson Vol IV, p.501

I like this quote for many reasons. It’s about ageism and the perception of older people, one of my academic interests. It’s 18th century, which is a bit of surprise, since we generally think of ageism as a modern concept, and I like seeing the historical roots of modern phenomena because it links me back to my original academic training as a historian. It’s about how annoying and harmful it can be to be given attributes because of a category you inhabit, and how difficult it can be to get away from those attributes without refusing the category. I’m interested in categories and how they work.

One of the reasons I blog is to capture those fleeting, interesting (to me at least!) thoughts that I would otherwise forget. It serves as a repository for resources that I might use later in course-writing or research. It helps me to stay creative in my work and to keep thinking about the wider world of health and social care, rather than just my day-to-day tasks. This blog helps me to remember my ideas hat.



  1. […] feminism I try to make posts to this blog substantive, rather than just announcing things, because that’s my main rationale for keeping this blog at all. But three events have come along at once that I’m really interested in. The first two […]

    Pingback by Event announcements x3 « Remembering My Hat — 28th September 2010 @ 11:18 | Reply

  2. […] of course, my particular favourite, after which this blog is named: There is a wicked inclination in most people to suppose an old man decayed in his intellects. If a […]

    Pingback by Quotable ageing « Remembering My Hat — 7th June 2011 @ 16:51 | Reply

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