Skip to comments.Shame Is Deader Than Dead
Posted on 06/26/2009 5:35:44 AM PDT by Kaslin
"The author is ending her marriage. Isn't it time you did the same?" So the Atlantic Monthly provocatively introduces its July/August feature "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." It comes at a propitious moment. This seems to be the week for TMI -- too much information. South Carolina's Gov. Mark Sanford has told more, much more, than we needed to know about his mistress (how he met her, how their relationship ripened), his views on God's laws, on the Appalachian Trail, and on forgiveness.
Why must wayward American public figures stage these auto autos da fe -- these self-immolations on TV? Dignity, which arises from a proper sense of keeping private matters private, is a lost aspiration apparently -- along with so many other virtues, like dignity's companion restraint. Yes, Sanford needed to apologize to the citizens of South Carolina for going AWOL. But as for the messy private details, a simple written statement that he was having marital issues would have sufficed. At least Mrs. Sanford showed some sound judgment by declining to pose next to her straying spouse as he fielded queries about his extramarital activities. But even her statement -- and it goes without saying that she finds herself in this situation unwillingly -- strayed into TMI. She told the world under what circumstances she would consider repairing their union: "I remain willing to forgive Mark completely for his indiscretions and to welcome him back, in time, if he continues to work toward reconciliation with a true spirit of humility and repentance." That's the sort of thing that should be communicated to one person only.
The Atlantic's Sandra Tsing Loh -- not content to cheat on her husband and file for divorce -- compounded the betrayal by writing about it in cringe-inducing detail. Her account begins in the office of the couple's marriage therapist, where Loh recounts the moment she decided she couldn't "work" on her marriage despite having two young sons. "We cried, we rent our hair, we bewailed the fate of our children. And yet at the end of the day ... I would not be able to replace the romantic memory of my fellow transgressor with the more suitable image of my husband, which is what it would take in modern-therapy terms to knit our family's domestic construct back together." Does the whole world need to know that? Do her children? Her children's classmates?
But because Ms. Loh is a journalist, she cannot resist the urge to, in George Will's term, "commit sociology." Since her own divorce, she's begun a "journey of reading, thinking, and listening to what's going on in other 21st-century American families. And along the way, I've begun to wonder, what with all the abject and swallowed misery: Why do we still insist on marriage?" This, bear in mind, comes from the magazine that boldly declared "Dan Quayle Was Right" on its April 1993 cover.
Loh's form of sociology is a sloppy one -- a few quotes from pop psychology texts, a few examples from among her friends and acquaintances -- and she is ready to declare that marriage itself is the problem. "To work, to parent, to housekeep, to be the ones who schedule 'date night,' only to be reprimanded in the home by male kitchen b------, and then, in the bedroom, to be ignored -- it's a bum deal." How far we have come, sisters, from "The Feminine Mystique," when Betty Friedan cried under the lash of domesticity. Today's woman is apparently miserable because her husband is too much of a culinary perfectionist and too inadequate a lover. Maybe. But that's one problem with playing a sociologist in magazines. It's all impressions, not data.
Loh's solutions range from the casually immoral (wives should take lovers without leaving the marriage) to the tribal "Let children between the ages of 1 and 5 be raised in a household of mothers and their female kin. Let the men/husbands/boyfriends come in once or twice a week to build shelves, prepare that bouillabaisse, or provide sex."
There are no solutions to the problems Loh identifies. People will become dissatisfied with their spouses, and they will behave selfishly. But as countless real social scientists have shown -- W. Bradford Wilcox, Sarah McLanahan, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, and David Blankenhorn spring to mind -- marriage remains the most secure arrangement in which to raise healthy children. It also conduces to adult happiness more than any other arrangement.
Ironically, for all her fulminating, Loh hints at the end of her piece that her own selfish quest ended unhappily. "(A)void marriage -- or you too may suffer the emotional pain, the humiliation, and the logistical difficulty, not to mention the expense, of breaking up a long-term union at midlife for something as demonstrably fleeting as love."
How about another solution that is only about 3,000 years old? How about avoiding adultery?
Why? Because so many of these pols are monumental narcissists.
There are interesting contrasts how the U.S. Media handles these things as opposed to the French and Italian Media. I think it was last year that President Sarkosy of France dumped his wife of 20+ years for a Super Model and nobody seemed to even blink at it. Italy’s President seems to be having a fling with everything in a skirt and is pretty much given a pass.
Isn't that a description of the current inner city welfare milieu?
How's that working out?
Time to attack the base assumption that fuels putting these people in power.
That erroneous assumption is “all people are basically good”.
NO, they AREN’T. All people are basically wicked, flawed sinners.
And giving them too much power is a recipe for misery.
I charge FReepers with this grand commission - destroy the concept of the basic “goodness” of mankind wherever you encounter it. This erroneous assumption is the basis of all ideological error and human misery.
How about just realizing that people are people, and this sort of stuff happens?...and life goes on.
Jeez, if you read enough of that stuff, it might sound like it’s real life...
Well, at least we know he isn't gay.
Besides, wasn't Barney Frank given a 'pass' on having a gay prostitution ring being run from his house?
As are their wives, and their girlfriends.
Young men removed from any responsibility towards their families tend to run in predatory gangs. It’s quite possible this is an innate male tendency, with the aggression only painstakingly reoriented over the millenia to protectiveness.
The feminists who promote this kind of nonsense know not what they do. Everybody would suffer in a society of this type, but women and children would most definitely suffer the most.
A magnification of the public.
Oh no! That would topple secular humanism and the all the institutions it gives life to.
Like I said, that concept is the basis of all ideological error.
It is a lie straight from the “spirit of error” (1 John 4).
Very good point!
I will be mindful to look for it, and promote this observation.
I need to summarize my research of the past couple of years that led me to this conclusion.
It would be a good thing to post on my FReeper page.
I've been happily married for 15, going on 16 years. Has it all been happy? No. Has it all been exciting? No. Has it all been fun and games? Definitely, no.
Raising kids is work. Keeping a relationship healthy and bound by trust is work. Maintaining a functioning, clean and tidy household is work. Meeting the bills and striving towards goals is work. Sustaining love and igniting passion is work.
But at the end of the day, there is enduring love between my husband and I, with passion to spare. There is the overwhelming love that rises in my heart when I kiss my sleeping babies before going to bed. There are laughs so hard I'm crying, inside jokes no one else in the world will understand, a whole dresser full of pictures and paper cards with precious writing, "I love you, Mommy" on them, and peace.
So, based on my experience, marriage is the PERFECT place to find lasting happiness. Guess that blows this woman's theory out of the water!
paper cards with precious writing, “I love you, Mommy”
And the cherry on top is when the grand children come. :-)
Anne Frank wrote in her diary as she was being taken to the concentration camp that she too believed “people are basically good”. She learned she was wrong but never got to admit it.
No, feminists want MORE victims, for that empowers them. Doctors need patients; teachers, pupils; police officers, speeders; pastors, parishoners; mechanics, peope with disabled vehicles; and feminists, victims of male aggression to promote socialist policies.