Sorry, I try not to do this too often, but it’s time to drag out the old soapbox from the dusty corner where I keep it hidden. It’s kind of heavy … can you help me by lifting up the other end? OK, here it is, front and centre. Now I’ll just climb up on it and let loose.
There are certain cultural phenomena that I know exist but try to avoid, just as there are certain political and religious viewpoints that I am aware of but try not to expose myself to. In both cases, it’s because I get all angry and flustered, and I hate feeling like that. Occasionally, though, I get to a place where the clash of things I’m ignoring rises to the level of a train wreck, and I can’t shut up anymore.
So consider with me, if you will please, these two scenarios:
1) Two women (they could be two men, but let’s take two women for example) love each other very deeply. They live together faithfully in a committed relationship, sharing a home, paying the bills together, perhaps raising a child, putting up with each other and laughing together and loving each other through the thousand and one daily stresses of sharing your life with another human being. They get irritated with each other and argue and cry and one or the other sometimes thinks about leaving, but they stick together because they love each other and believe in committment.
One day, the law of the country changes to allow these women to go through a ceremony of committment that legally recognizes the bond they’ve been sharing for many, many years. Now they have the same status in the eyes of the law as me and my husband, you and your wife, Mr. and Mrs. Smith and any other married couple on the block.
2) A young man decides to find a wife. For reasons unclear to me, but which doubtless have to do with significant financial incentives, he chooses to do this on national television. He is introduced to a group of attractive young women. He does not choose these women, nor are they chosen by his parents or the wise elders of his community. They are chosen by the producers of a television show, presumably for their ability to be pretty and personable on television.
In a competition watched by millions of strangers across North America, the would-be bridegroom takes each of these woman on dates, followed by cameras, producers and make-up people. The young man himself, the other women, and of course the audience, are all encouraged to judge each would-be bride and evaluate her strengths and weaknesses. Competition among the women is strongly encouraged, as are backstabbing and gossip.
At the end of this process, having eliminated one girl each week, the young man chooses a “winner” from among the last two women left standing, with the strong suggestion that he propose marriage to her (though in fact, of the fourteen times this bizarre ritual has been acted out in front of an apparently entertainment-starved public, only once has it resulted in a so-far lasting marriage, and that was between the young man and the second runner-up, rather than the originally selected winner).
Now, remind me again which of these two cultural phenomena is “destroying the fabric of traditional marriage”? ‘Cause, honestly, I’m having a little trouble remembering.
/off soapbox. Till next time.