Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things


What’s In A Marriage

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Beverly Willett’s piece from over the weekend, “My Fight to Stop My Divorce,” from The Daily Beast just caught my attention, which I’m sure was their intention (I can see the super-market tabloid with a picture of Tiger Woods next to it now). The topic of Willett’s piece centers around how New York State has recently become the 50th and final state to allow couples to file for a “No-Fault” divorce. Marriage and the culture that surrounds it has become a bit of a recent interest of mine, which you can chalk up to the awesome Politics of Reproduction class I took this past winter, or that I am the child of divorced parents. But I think the power of marriage to shape our society has probably been an interest to me for a long time: Most of my early memories surround family, both mine, and the one’s that I saw around me. Before you care about politics or what Kim Kardashian is wearing to the Emmys, you care about the people that you love and idolize.

In her story, Willett explains how her husband had an affair, and decided he no longer wanted to be married (seemingly out of the blue…she actually uses the phrase “Then one day, my husband began having an affair with a twice-divorced lawyer at his new job”, as if he had decided to start buying 2% milk instead of skim). She describes her devastation at his desertion of her and her children, and her jubilance that she lived in a state where she could legally fight against his claims. Because he could not file no-fault, he was left to argue with what she considered baseless claims about her inadequacies.

What Willett entirely fails to recognize in her diatribe against no-fault divorce is the history behind divorce law in this country, and what it has meant for American women. Instead of going on about American moral standards, we should recognize the liberation that divorce has allowed for some women; when first introduced in 1970, no-fault divorce gave women in unhappy marriages a chance to remove themselves from the circumstances without proving that their husband was abusive or unfaithful. At the same time, they were still given the right to receive financial support if they did not have their own profession, something that was much more common at the height of the Second Wave of the feminist movement than it is now. No-fault divorce acknowledged a woman’s role in the home as valuable, and their role in a relationship as equal. Alternatively, it has allowed men the option of removing themselves as the main breadwinner of a family, and choosing not to be in a dominant position in a relationship.

No one is arguing that Willett’s husband is not a jerk. But her piece paints her as one also. Nevermind the fact that it completely baffles me as to why someone would fight for five years to married to a partner who hated them. Willett says, “Governor Paterson commended New York’s legislature for ‘fix[ing] a broken process.’ But no-fault isn’t the answer. It won’t cure our national preoccupation with searching for happiness in greener pastures–the root cause of rampant divorce–any more than a fault-based system of divorce can. We’ve created a happiness culture without understanding what that means or how to achieve it. Ditch your spouse and eat, pray, love your way to the next one.” She fails to recognize that perhaps divorce isn’t the problem — perhaps marriage is. Excellent books like Nancy Cott’s Public Vows and Stephanie Coontz’s Marriage, a History, really put into the perspective how much this institution that we consider so permanent has changed. The meaning of marriage has shifted hugely over time, though its connection in the American mindset with a stable family persists. One only has to read George Chauncey’s short book Why Marriage: The History Shaping Today’s Debate Over Gay Equality (which actually cribs a great deal from Cott’s book as well) to recognize the degree to which people idealize an institution that may be, in itself, inherently flawed.

Willett tries to support her personal relationship problems with inaccurate legal and historical precedent. She ends her piece by saying, “Now, with fault-based divorce eradicated in America once and for all, and no-fault the law of the land, standing up for marriage and family really is an impossible dream.” It seems to me that the dream that she has about what families and relationships look like never really existed in the first place.


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Myrad Photos [Flickr]

Please Say This Is Sarcasm

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Youtube comments are actually my favorite reading material.

The Emmys: The Unlive Blog

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So it was live for me, but not so much for you, as my rambling really requires at least a little editing before publication…

(8:27) Jane Lynch says, 1) “Though not a Buddhist, they do seem like a very calm people”
2) “Thanks to my Lord and creator Ryan Murphy”
3) “And to my cast. You’re young and you’re wonderful and fresh faced, and when I’m not seething with jealousy I’m so proud of you.”

(8:37) How did they get George Clooney to do this?! i would love Modern Family even more if he was on it consistently. “I gotta get a film,” he acknowledges.

(8:39) Tony Shaloub — Monk. Monk is still on?

(8:46) Mom: Edie Falco seems pissed. Why is she pissed? She just won!
Kate: Maybe it’s all those years on The Sopranos; they’ve weathered her.

I want to know how you get a job as one of those on stage escorts. During the Oscars they’re always famous peoples progeny; here, they just look like upper-class vegas hostesses.

It’d be more fun to watch this if I didnt realize that it was a blatant push for the shows that are coming up. Did they always do this? Was I too young to notice the propoganda?

(8:51) Top Chef wins. Oh Padma go the fuck away. Ditto Gail. Why are you on this show. How did that happen.
Woah but they must put makeup on Padma’s scar during the show because it looks way worse now.

I actually stopped fast-forwarding the commercial so I could watch this preview for “The Farewell Season” of Oprah, which consists of shots of her screaming.

Mariska Hargitay looks good if a little hippy. She is Jayne Mansfield’s daughter I guess. Though I feel like she was always known more for her other assets…

I love it when people go up to accept and there are just randos trying to get a piece of the action by like, grabbing their arm as they run onstage. It looks like someone escaping a giant squid.

(9:04) Aaron Paul has actual drug dealer eyes. I think this role is not so much of a push.

Some guy apparently Tweeted “Nathan Fillion: This dude is straight off the meat rack yo.” AGREED. In a good way. If meat rack means “Hotness Rack.”

(9:12) OMG closeted lesbo from The Good Wife won! Others will remember that her real name is Archie Panjabi. She played the annoying sister in Bend It Like Beckham who was hilar. And Christine Baranski looks so happy for her.

Ann Margaret still has the sexiest voice. John Lithgow still does not.

Ricky Gervais in 4.5 minutes?! I like that they give me goals.

Federer’s Lindor chocolate ad is getting me excited for the U.S. Open.

I dont know who you are Andrew Sullivan, but you are not Billy with Oxyclean.

Old Navy: “Booty reader.” No.

Also, I tried to be healthy and buy froyo Cherry Garcia. Why is it so grainy? This was a mistake.

(9:45) Ricky Gervais is legit all about the delivery. “Mel Gibson. I’m not gonna have a go at him. He’s been through a lot. Not as much as the Jews.”

And then beer! He loves reminding people that it’s live. He always gets such a kick out of it. As do I.

My Mom is loving John Hodgeman’s voiceover.

(9:50) Bucky Gunts just thanked his friend/relative B.J. B.J. Gunts?! Too good to be true. Mom loves this guy because hes a dork like her. Also he won for the Olympics.

(9:52) Love how much this Daily Show dude doesn’t care that he thinks he’s the best.

Boardwalk Empire preview! So excited for Rudd. “When alcohol was outlawed, outlaws became kings!”

Who the hell is Nate Berkus? Apparently he has a new show and I’m being told he’s hot. I guess they’ve got me hooked because I just googled him. OH. He’s from Chicago and is Oprah’s go-to interior design man. Also just found out from googling that Martha Stewart and Bonnie Hunt have been cancelled, hence the need for new daytime.

Like this old man’s gray glasses.
Mom: So many gays.
(She’s sensing a theme today).

(9:59) George must be getting old to be eligible to win the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award.
1) Mom: Why is he winning the humanitarian award?
Kate: He does humanitarian work.
Mom: Oh right he does all this work in Africa! With Kristof!
2) Mom: Why is this woman presenting?
Kate: They used to be on ER together.
Mom: She’s got toned arms.

I still like January Jones’ dress.

I love it when people have to go up to accept their award and air-kiss random people. And when they forget who they were nominated with in their speech. They always remember everyone but like, one loser.

If I were on the Supreme Court I would totally watch this new show Outlaw with Jimmy Smits, which is all about how he quits the Supreme Court. Like, who does that?! It’s awesome how such a super serious career is being totally disrespected in the name of entertainment.

(10:14) KB will love Claire Danes’ outfit.
Update: KB did love Claire Danes’ outfit.

(10:14) I love how my Mom doesn’t know anyone until we get to the like, docu-dramas. And then she goes, “Oh David Straitharn, I always wondered how to spell his name.” That doesn’t mean she likes his speech. “BYE!”

Temple Grandin just stood and waved on her own accord I think. Baller. And she stands again. And they are really applauding for her.

(10:17) Jewel. ‘Cmon. Oh it’s for the dead people. And she wrote this song for her friend who died of cancer? “There’s a hole in my heart, but it’s in the shape of you.” God I hope not. And there’s too much glitter on her face.

(10:29) Claire Danes keeps squeaking. “THANK YOU HBO. LIKE, FOR SERIOUS.” I love her.
My mom is convinced she has a scar on her chest. I’m not. Yea Temple, you go girl, get up again.

I don’t think an Eames chair should be in a Friskies commercial. I think that’s like, design-sacreligious.

(10:34) Anna Pacquin needs to stop looking so weirdly at her husband. And giggling. And let go of him, please. We get it, you’re married.

I’m continuing to love how un-modest Temple is. She’s so into herself. As she should be.

(10:38) Al Pacino, maybe we’re laughing because of your ridic skin and hair color?

Is that Jack Kevorkian?!

Oooh Lawrence Fishburn. Your daughter does porn. And what you’re upset about is that she didn’t change her name. Except she has a great porn name, so I really don’t blame her. I mean, it’s not sexy, but what can you do.

(10:48) Wow Temple just cuts her off this acceptance speech with the longest hug. Way to take over the stage again.

(10:51) TOM SELLECK?! This is too good to be true. He is wearing a cream jacket. Wow. He looks like a cater waiter. But YEA MAD MEN. Obvi.

I’m just going to say it: Thank god 30 Rock didn’t win again.

Summary of the night: Clearly, Temple Grandin won the Emmys.

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