Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More on Marriage

Update: TNC has some typically astute thoughts about the whole thing:
Brooks is pulling a clever bait and switch. Sandra Bullock was married to a dude who, evidently, repeatedly cheated on her. Perhaps that's what Brooks considers a "happy marriage." I think a lot of people would beg to differ.

I also edited the below for clarity.
So the David Brooks article I pointed out yesterday has touched a lot of nerves.
Digby points out
Brooks' history of sexism and sez that he's insinuating that Sandra Bullock should have been working harder at her marriage rather than trying to get an Oscar:
these "values" conservatives never hesitate to inject themselves into the relationships of those to whom they feel superior and oddly enough, they tend to the same conclusion: the woman failed to keep her man happy.

That's not what I got out of the article, but the quotes she pulls from his other appearances are damning. (The real story to me seems to be that Bullock married an asshole.)
Along those lines, Matthew Yglesias points out that choosing career above your marriage or personal life isn't that clear cut:
that there’s more to life than being happy. There’s something to be said for extraordinary achievement as a goal apart from its hedonistic value, and there’s something a bit perverse about the idea of saying that Tolstoy shouldn’t have wasted so much time working on Anna Karenina because at the end of the day having a warm relationship with your kids is more conducive to happiness than producing a literary classic. Quality time with the family doesn’t meet the eternal recurrence test, achieving preeminence in your field perhaps does.

I'm ambivalent about this point. I understand that for some artists/politicians/businessmen, their success is due, in part, to the inattention to others. For example, if Picasso lived by the golden rule, we would have all those amazing paintings. But I think this obscures the fact that there just aren't that many Picassos! The myth of the artist as some kind of Nietzschian superman is persuasive enough that legions of young artists think they need to be jerks in order to achieve artistic heights. And perhaps some do! But this discounts the successes of normal folks - I'm thinking of Alice MonroeHaruki Murakami, etc. - who can achieve a balance between art and life.

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