Is Marriage Obsolete?

In a word?

Yes.

Now… I’m not saying that people should stop getting married – it’s still a dream that’s impressed upon the youngsters of the world by various sources.

I’m here to talk about whether or not it’s a practical dream.

To really understand marriage, you have to examine it’s roots in history i.e. why weddings were invented in the first place.

Getting married was both a religious statement and a control point in social engineering when the human population was much, much, much smaller than it is now – designed to guarantee a steady line of baby breeding to bolster the local populace.

I know the above disregards the personal feeling involved, and that’s somewhat on purpose since I was only summing up the institution of marriage and not the per-person reasons.

The personal incentive for marriage was somewhat selfish: the odds of finding another compatible male/female was greatly reduced in the days of yore… and the amount of time you had in your life that you had to find that person was roughly half what it is today.

So you really felt the need to lock down that one suitable mate as soon as you found them or, otherwise,  your lot in life would be somewhat pointless and your social standing would be somewhat awkward (and we all know feeling awkward kind of sucks).

Also, marriage was born eons ago when the concept of sexual equality was non-existent: marrying ultimately was contract between a man and his bride’s father that transferred ownership and control of the woman in question – which still has an anachronistic throwback in today’s world in the form of more ‘romantic’ men asking their girlfriend’s father for permission to marry.

In fact, in certain populations today, marriage is still very much no different that buying a goat or a used car (in those areas of the world us Westerners deem to be less civilized i.e. much of the African continent, broad swaths of Asia, and various Pacific island nations) and love has nothing to do with it at all.

Which brings me to this: what does love have to do with it?

Is it impossible to love someone without wanting to marry them?

Of course not… and to say so is pure brain atrophy caused by religious brain washing.

Remember what I said about marriage facilitating breeding? Can you guess what parties benefited from there being more people in ancient times?

Churches and governments – and both for the exact same reasons, and those reasons are the same today as they were back then… and are why both priests and politicians still embrace marriage: taxes.

The more people there are in any given area, the more the local government makes in tax revenue.

The more people there are in any given church congregation, the more the church hierarchy makes in tithing fees e.g. 10% of your income going to church coffers.

How else are politicians supposed to pay for strippers and gay prostitutes?

How else is the Pope going to afford to wipe his geriatric ass with satin and velvet?

Blooming populations pay for those… at least in theory.

However, that theory is clearly broken in the Western world: 50% of first time marriages end in divorce (67% of second and 74% of third marriages).

Why?

Options.

There are more people alive on this planet than ever… more than the total number of people that have ever lived and died on Earth prior to 1900A.D.

7 billion choices for every man and woman – and given the rise of same-sex relationships, that is entirely accurate.

Sure… someone who lives in Seattle, Washington may not immediately have access to a relationship with someone in Brisbane, Australia when they’re born worlds apart – but now that the planet is largely wired and connected via the Internet, what’s stopping those two people from connecting in Second Life or on 4chan?

Also… marriage used to be the only place where you could legitimately have sex with another person without society condemning you as either a pervert or whore.

But in today’s age, the sexual revolution has done away with that almost completely in the Western world.

Hookups, booty calls, and ‘friends with benefits’ are increasingly the normal way of things in the population younger than 40 years old.

I’ve had sexual relations with upward of 35 women in my lifetime – and I’ve only married one of them (ended in divorce 8 months later), and got engaged to another (lasted 5 years on and off).

The rest of the women I’ve been with? Zero interest in marrying – and in fact, with each subsequent relationship, have had less and less interest in a formal relationship.

And this is generally the experience expressed by today’s generation: the overall softening of the relationship boundary.

Sure, kids today still want to have relationships, but the function of that relationship is rapidly changing.

In a wave of teens where ‘third base’ is now anal sex, relationships are increasingly less about emotional solidarity and more for exploring sexuality in a controlled environment.

What would marriage have that would interest these kids?

Being stuck with the same person for eternity is a notion frightening enough to give them an asthma attack.

In that world, marriage is an abhorrent concept – something antiquated… something that their parents and grandparents did, like talk on phones attached to a wall with a wire.

It’s not something that’s realistic – except in the minds of naive teen girls who have been spoon fed the marriage idea by a lifetime of Disney Princess programming and other ‘timeless’ cultural inputs that proclaim themselves to be the sole bastions of romance.

Is romance dead?

Honestly, no.

Romance is alive and well – but it’s upgraded itself for a new world.

However, romance has also been perverted by backwards thinking morons like Stephanie Meyer who are trying to enslave teen and ‘tween’ girls to a religious standard that no longer functions in the real world with antiquated sexual identities i.e. women are not complete without a man to control them.

Thankfully, the perversion of romance is a self-contained blip in the overall societal scope.

As romance evolves to veer away from the pre-programmed goal of marriage, various product vendors and cultural groups are forced to re-evaluate their stance – often in dramatically different ways and to varying levels of success.

Product vendors like Harlequin Romance have had to rethink their ‘literary’ platforms in efforts to snag new, young readers to replace the old and rapidly aging readers of yesteryear that got off on the sight of Fabio’s bare chest.

Many internet dating sites are seeing an increase in their ‘intimate encounters’ sections and less popularity in their traditional dating lines.

Wedding planners and other people associated with the marriage industry are pushing more and more elaborate packages to turn up the pressure on those people who would get hitched in an effort to mold the couple’s view into seeing getting married as a social event instead of a romantic ideal – especially focusing on young couples in hopes of selling the concept of wedding as a more personally tuned high school prom.

Changing the act of getting married from an act of devotion between two people to a dressy pageant that eeks out the couple’s position in their social circles.

Which begs that question again: what has love got to do with it?

Not a damn thing.

Love has nothing to do with marriage.

When you love somebody, and they love you, why complicate things?

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

If two people are in genuine love with each other, then they don’t really need an antique label that only advertises what their friends already know.

A marriage is only going to push couples toward debilitating amounts of debt – both on the front end marriage ceremony and the better than even odds of divorce lawyers.

Is marriage going to disappear?

I don’t know.

It’s hard to say, really – given the global scope of things.

Churches are struggling to stay relevant in Western society – but that doesn’t mean that countries like Canada, the United States, and the U.K. aren’t going to have a constant influx of immigrants from countries where religion is still a big influence on people… and therefore bringing scores of new people who will be interested in getting married by default belief.

My best guess is that marriage will never completely disappear.

However, I can say with absolute certainty that marriage will never again be as important to current and future generations than it was prior to the 1950’s.

Is that a bad thing?

Well… anything that keeps divorce lawyers from getting richer is a good thing, no?

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Thoughts On The 2010 Golden Globes

First thing off the bat that I noticed was the directing SUCKED.

Camera people were consistently out of place, and the coordinators had almost no idea of where anyone was seated.

WTF? How do you screw that shit up?

But I digress…

Big winner of the night were the Na’vi – who walked away with Best Motion Picture and Best Director – which A) really primes the movie for Oscar glory, and B) was inevitable.

Robert Downey, Jr. got some love for SHERLOCK HOLMES – but I was really puzzled about the category: Comedy/Musical.

Me thinks I’ll have to check that flick out to properly gauge the jokes and musical numbers.

Hollywood’s most overlooked workhorse, Jeff Bridges, finally got an award for his country music flick CRAZY HEART – which I have yet to see (anyone want to send me a screener copy?).

One of the most dumbfounding moments of the night was Drew Barrymore getting some hardware for GRAY GARDENS – not because she won (she’s always charming) but the fact that she’s never won a Golden Globe before, especially since she’s been coming to the awards since she was 7 or 8 years old.

It was cool to see what Michael Giacchino actually looked like (musical score for UP) as I’d never laid eyes on him before – so now he goes into the mental gallery with Danny Elfman and John Williams.

It was fitting that the scene-chewing Jew Hunter from INGLORIOUS BASTERDS won a trophy as Cristoph Waltz is actually a pretty decent dude.

The TV awards were pretty lame as nobody from any worthwhile shows won awards – though MAD MEN picked up Best Show (obvious, no?).

…Which brings me to the show’s actual Golden Globes:

Mmmm... global

Oh… and Ricky Gervais’ shot at Mel Gibson? Priceless!

Things That I Don’t Understand…

Today’s sermon from the pulpit is about understanding.

In this case, the lack thereof.

There are  many things in this world that I think I have a real good grasp of, and there are many other things that I know of in passing.

But sometimes I’m confronted with things that my brain (such as it is) cannot comprehend – in fact, if someone tried to explain them to me, I’m pretty sure that I’d mistake them for speaking Swahili with a touch of Polish.

I fully admit that this is through my own ignorance – which is probably incurable at this stage in my life.

For those who want to look down their noses at me for the following, please harken back to a simpler time in the golden age of cinema to the immortal words of Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Shall we get on with it?

ITEM NUMBER ONE

People who wear their watches on the inside of their wrists.

What is that all about?

Isn’t that a sure-fire way to guarantee your watch get’s scuffed up as it’s constantly rubbing against your clothes or things you’re carrying under your arm?

Also, it defeats the purpose of wearing a nice watch since nobody can see it.

Are you expecting people to compliment you on your outstanding choice in watch bands? “Hey, Frank! I admire your choice in stainless steel wrist bands. You should definitely see me after closing about a raise.”

Does this stem somehow from your being to lazy to turn your arm 45 degrees so you can tell the time?

I have no idea why this bothers me so much, but it does.

It’s just damn odd.

ITEM NUMBER TWO

Why do parents insist on bringing their screaming children to a store with them?

Are they so blissfully ignorant of their child’s wants/needs/tantrums that they don’t actually register the cacophony escaping little Jimmy Junior’s yap?

Do they simply not give a rat’s ass? Either about their child or the shoppers 20 aisles over that have to listen to the screaming?

Is it simply a symptom of parents being afraid of disciplining their children lest the Children’s Aid Society come and take their child away from them? (If this is the case, I find it on the whole unacceptable that a public bureaucracy has become such a boogeyman to society on the whole.)

If I had carried on like some of these kids do while my parents were in a store/restaurant/other public place, I would have for certain gotten a thump on the head – what us older people commonly refer to as a “brain duster” – for my effort.

Now, before you say it, I’m well aware that it’s hard to discipline a toddler or someone younger – and I’m not suggesting you apply the above method at all.

However… I am saying you should have the common courtesy of taking your child out of the store until she or he calms down.

Why is it that we have learned to tolerate ignorant people? It wasn’t so long ago that people would cluck their tongues and shake their head in an obvious manner as to let the parent know that they were being a major nuisance – or a store employee would politely ask you to step outside with your child.

I think store owners are just too afraid of being sued in this day and age for even suggesting something like that.

Which means the rest of us have to suffer as a result – at least until decency becomes trendy again.

Trust me… I’m not holding my breath.

ITEM NUMBER THREE

The machinations of the ice cream industry puzzle me to no end.

Can someone please tell me the difference between ice cream and frozen dessert? Especially since they’re  both packaged and marketed in the exact same way?

Ice cream comes in a 2 liter tub.

Frozen dessert comes in a 2 liter tub.

Both come in a cavalcade of assorted flavors.

Both are made from milk.

Both taste the same to me.

So what the hell is the difference?

Also… why has the price of store-purchased ice cream gone up by a margin of 100% in the past 3 years or so?

Are cows more expensive lately? Has the cost of feeding them skyrocketed?

Has the ice cream market chilled out to the point where they have to charge twice as much to make up for the fact that they’re making half the sales that they used to? (Yes… I’m discounting the circular logic that people are buying less ice cream since it’s more expensive.)

How has the price of ice cream at Dairy Queen or McDonald’s not followed suit? Ice cream at these stores has generally stayed the same with an allowance for inflation.

Why does it cost me $7 dollars to buy a tub of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream when it used to cost $3.50 only 3 short years ago?

Seriously.

What the hell?

ITEM NUMBER FOUR

Non-Alcoholic Beer.

What’s the purpose?

Does beer taste so great that you’re willing to forgo the actual reason for drinking beer in the first place?

Is this a product to make people who can’t handle alcohol look cool to their peers by supporting a popular beer brand?

If you’re a recovering alcoholic and purchasing this fake beer, doesn’t that make you masochistic?

ITEM NUMBER FIVE

People who bring large baby carriages onto public buses.

If two people do this, it remove six seats from the seating pool since they will flip up the two 3-person benches at the very front of the bus in order to park their carriages.

A) That seating is for the elderly, pregnant, and otherwise infirm populace.

B) It eliminates seating on already packed bus routes.

C) It creates difficult bottle-necking when it comes to getting on and off the bus.

When this situation occurs on a heavily utilized route, the bus ends up looking like a train in India.

When you think of it in civic terms, this is clearly a public safety issue, so why aren’t there firm policies in place to exclude this situation from happening?

ITEM NUMBER SIX

Finally, given the time of year it is, I ask this?

Why do TV networks pull new shows after like 3 episodes?

In this day and age, television shows are thoroughly tested with potential audiences for weeks (sometimes months) before being put on the airwaves for the mainstream public to consume.

This normally happens when they stupidly put their new show – which they’ve touted as the next best thing – against a ratings powerhouse like American Idol or Dancing With The Stars which have their own firmly entrenched fanbases which aren’t likely to switch to something unknown.

I understand the mechanics: poorly performing shows don’t pull in eyeballs to the advertiser’s commercials – which are what pay for network programming.

Instead of shifting a program around on the schedule to compete against something really weak – say, I don’t know, America’s Funniest Home Videos or some tripe like that – they just pull it off the air without trying  to foster audience growth which could lead to a bigger audience share for the network.

This happens to a lot of top-notch programming and is the major force behind the trend that results in pure crap Monday to Friday.

The best example I can think of in recent history was NBC’s short-lived Journeyman which built up a decent fanbase who were on the internet being quite vocal about their adoration of the program and the philosophical debates it inspired.

Though, I must admit, NBC did give the show a fair shake and allowed it to end somewhat on it’s own terms  with 13 epsiodes – which completely bucks the trend.

3 or 4 episodes tops! That’s all you get!

Unless your show is on Fox.

If it’s Fox, you’ll notice the inverse of this problem.

Successful shows are moved to days where nobody watches TV i.e. Friday night, and the shows that appeal to the lowest possible denominator move into the vacuum that’s left behind.

In case anyone missed it, Fringe has started that march to the TV Death Slot.

The show was on Wednesday with a solid American Idol lead-in last season, and now will be found on Thursday opposite CBS powerhouse C.S.I. and the like.

Watch it move to Friday at the mid-season point.

Then again, it IS Fox. It’s hatred for the television format is universal.

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