A Cautious Man
February 01, 2004
Two Kids Get Married, Same Old Thing
Frank Rich's column in the New York Times today was, well, awesome. His topic was marriage, and the popular culture surrounding the institution. After noting that the Super Bowl will feature adds about a number of products to deal with a certain, ah, "dysfunction", and also noting the recently proposed Federal government efforts to encourage marriage, he gets to the heart of the matter. Using different Diane Sawyer interviews, he points out how our popular culture may be warped these days, with respect to its priorities, and its ideals, about marriage.

Recently, Howard Dean found it necessary to subject himself and his wife to an interview with Diane Sawyer. As Mr. Rich noted:
Though I have no vested interest in Howard Dean, it was refreshing that he initially refrained from using his wife as a prop on the campaign trail. ... The Deans didn't want their marriage to be a proto-feminist, anti-feminist or even "Everybody Loves Raymond" role model. They simply refused to pose for the contrived and usually fictionalized marital snapshots that the political press demands and then analyzes to death.
Mr. Rich pointed out how, despite attempts by Ms. Sawyer, the network, and everybody else to draw a comparison, the Deans' interview was the exact opposite of the one the Clintons did after the Super Bowl twelve years ago:
But the Deans were not defending themselves against charges of marital turbulence and infidelity. Quite the contrary: they were defending themselves against charges of having a marriage that was if anything too deficient in the melodrama that might lend it entertainment value and too private to be repackaged as a circus.
The icing on the wedding cake, as it were, was Mr. Rich's contrasting of that interview, with one conducted by the same Ms. Sawyer with Trista Rehn ("The Bachelorette") and her husband who won the television contest, and her hand in marriage:
Yet neither the $1 million cash nor the $4 million ceremony that sealed their marital contract were mentioned when Trista and Ryan were interviewed by Ms. Sawyer on "Good Morning America." While the Deans were treated like freaks, the stars of "The Bachelorette" were treated as a perfectly normal all-American couple. And perhaps these days they are.
Well, here's to all those boring couples out there, who share their lives together while remaining individuals. Ain't love grand?



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