the adulteration of the adult

Mohammad Ali1

Senior Member
A recent American comedy, Young Adult by Jason Reitman, seems (judging solely by the title) to gauge the temperature of this strange fever overtaking the adult world. In this film, death is celebrated as a mirage of regeneration; the adulteration of the adult would consist in its regression to stubborn immaturity, to the (impossible) recovery of time passed, to a refusal to take on that limitless responsibility implied by their role.
Source: The Telemachus Complex by Massimo Recalcati
Q: What does "adulteration" mean here?
  • I means what it usually means: Spoiling/debasing.
    It's a noun.
    Understanding this author doesn't come easy to me, this is relatively straight forward. I guess he liked the word play of two adults, but the meanings don't overlap at all.
    What do you mean? Based on the movie "young adult", it seems an adult who pretending he is young.
    I don't know about that. Have you seen this film? I can't speak to his broader meaning. I was only answering your question about the phrase.

    Exactly what "spoiling the adult" means is a mystery. It seems thst the author hasn't even seen the film himself! He says "judging solely by the title "! He seems to think our modern society values youth and immaturity over the challenges of being a mature adult. I'd want more evidence of that than merely the title of a film he hasn't even watched.

    He also says "in this film death is celebrated as a mirage of regeneration"
    So we see he knows a bit more than the title.
    But is the film "celebrating death" or the mirage? There are two quite different possibilities there. Possibly the mirage element is the author's opinion. But, typical of his style, it's unclear.

    I see this book was written in Italian first. Maybe we are struggling with a poor translation in addition to his unfamiliar psychological content?

    Do yo HAVE to read it, Mohammed?
    What do you mean? Based on the movie "young adult", it seems an adult who pretending he is young.
    The adult might be pretending to be young, but that is not what “adulteration“ means.

    “Adulteration” usually means secretly adding a cheap substance (such as water) to a more valuable commodity (such as milk) so as to make a bigger profit when selling it.

    The passage seems to explain exactly what it means by “adulteration”: the adult is no longer adult but “has regressed to stubborn immaturity”. The essential characteristics of adulthood have been diluted.

    (There is of course a pun on adult-adulterate, but I don’t think that really affects the meaning.)