December 3, 2009

8,000+ words on Elizabeth Weil's marriage.

In the NYT Magazine. Seriously, I did not see the value of all this. Help me out. I agreed to talk about it on a Bloggingheads episode, to be recorded in a few hours, and I cannot figure out what is interesting here... aside from the fact that the husband's cooking obsession entails the use of very expensive ingredients. There were those "Taoists Thrusts" for the "Multi-Orgasmic Couple," which were mainly about visualizing one kind of animal or another burrowing into some sort of hole, but really, I found nothing to justify all this blather about one couple. And this is a condensation from a memoir. There's nothing even wrong with Dan. He works out. He cooks.
He was now reading Soviet-era weight-training manuals in order to transform his 41-year-old body into that of a Marine....

On a ho-hum weeknight Dan might make me pan-roasted salmon with truffled polenta in a Madeira shallot reduction.
She's vaguely dissatisfied with the man even as she feeds us the stuff of envy. Yes, your man is very muscular and he feeds you delicious food and you feed me 8,000 words.

92 comments:

rhhardin said...

Stanley Cavell writes somewhere (I have the feeling it's in "Disowning Knowledge in Six Plays of Shakespeare" or its sequel) that the male failing is hyperbolic skepticism, a need for knowledge beyond the human conditions of knowing (which accounts for the obsession with philosophy), and the corresponding female failing is fanaticism, loving beyond the human conditions of loving (which accounts for soap opera).

This might be the latter.

The guy is probably just going along while he thinks about improving his carpentry skills.

rhhardin said...

cont.

Yes, search for "fanaticism" here.

rhhardin said...

cont

take page 17 and 18.

Pogo said...

First mistake was when she said "From the myriad psychology books that quickly stacked up on my desk, I learned that..."

Oy.
While the unexamined life is not worth living, the overexamined life is lethal.

At a minimum, that sort of narcissism is terminally dull.

Ron said...

Perhaps this is the NYT's way of talking about an entire privileged class working out and creating buerre blancs on the deck of the cultural Titanic?

HKatz said...

I started reading the article. It didn't pull me in either. Because really the tone comes across as bored and clinical (and the photo on the first page sort of says it all). You don't feel like she's writing about something that she truly cares about.

But I think that's the tone in a lot of "sophisticated" pieces. There's no real wit or real wisdom about life. Just little fashionable details and a healthy dose of narcissism and pop psychology.

Reminds me of people on "reality shows" that document their day-to-day lives, where it feels like the most important part of the day for them is when they sit in front of the camera for those talking-head portions and gush and gasp and dissect the "drama". Or analyze the "spontaneous joy".

Zach said...

The guy sounds a little OCD, but nothing unbearable.

The woman sounds as though she's writing a book about marriage counseling, but doesn't actually need it. Narrative requirements force them to go to therapist A and try technique B, but there's no core problem to be solved and it all seems kind of pointless.

David said...

Again: Nearly everything about the New York Times can be explained by its yuppie staff and readership.

Of the smug, by the smug, for the smug.

MadisonMan said...

8,000+ words about Tiger Woods' marriage. Now that would be interesting!

Big Mike said...

... even as she feeds us the stuff of envy. Yes, your man is very muscular and he feeds you delicious food ...

Ah, Meade, better start censoring what your sweetheart reads.

MPorcius said...

Complaining is the sophisto way of bragging. Think of how New Yorkers compete over who has the smaller/more expensive apartment, or the way so many middle class professionals "complain" about how hard they work, how tired they are.

Seneca the Younger said...

Sometimes a thing exists just because it's fun to read.

Or in this case, because it's flogging her upcoming book.

knox said...

Seriously, I did not see the value of all this. Help me out.

I tried--I read the whole thing! Other commenters here are right: the article is essentially a thinly veiled outlet for bragging.

This woman obviously needed something to write about and made up a problem. The only surprising thing is that anyone found it interesting enough to publish. And that she has a husband who puts up with her.

paul a'barge said...

I smell a book deal.

Quayle said...

Her entire experience seems utterly normal, but somehow she's sure that it is a unique and unusual journey.

I guess in the upper west side its really big news, worthy of 8000 words, when someone posits that marriage might be a good thing for a woman and that a good marriage requires hard emotional work.

As we used to say in Jr. High: "Well, duh!?!"

Fred4Pres said...

Elizabeth Weil's comments are comments I think everyone in a marriage has on occasion. She should be thankful for the good things about her husband, but I am sure he does do things that annoy her. The cooking thing, for example, seems to be more about control than actually culinary exploration (becuase most great cooks can tell you you can make amazing things with the simplest and inexpensive ingredients). There is nothing wrong in thinking these things, and working through the ones that are annoying, but sometimes thinking about them too much is not healthy or helpful.

Plus, she takes way to long to get to her point.

Balfegor said...

"Taoists Thrusts"

Now, I'm not a Taoist, but I'm pretty sure Taoist mystics were keen on suppressing orgasm. There was this whole thing about not expending any of your precious bodily fluids, in order to obtain immortality, wasn't there?

john said...

MM said -

8,000+ words about Tiger Woods' marriage. Now that would be interesting!

I heard that since Tiger was driving an Escalade, he is blaming his caddie for the incident.

Paul said...

"She's vaguely dissatisfied with the man even as she feeds us the stuff of envy. Yes, your man is very muscular and he feeds you delicious food and you feed me 8,000 words."

Of course she's dissatisfied. He's a beta. Feminist or not, no woman is satisfied with a beta.

Big Mike said...

@john, candidate for pun of the year, maybe even of the decade.

kalmia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Widmerpool said...

As the ever-insightful Anthony Powell once wrote, there's something to be put up with in everyone.

Skyler said...

Are we supposed to know who Liz Weil is? Maybe I missed that class.

traditionalguy said...

She is afraid of intimacy. So she tries every method of help she can find. Then she runs away from each solution offered her because she still fears intimacy. This lady needs one very patient husband, and she seems to have found one...But that raises her fears of intimacy all over again.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Like most of my peers, I applied myself to school, friendship, work, health and, ad nauseam, raising my children. But in this critical area, marriage, we had all turned away.

Number of those 8,000 words devoted to exploring the possibility that she was giving the marriage the right amount of effort but being overwrought about all those other things: 0.

Ricardo said...

"Now, I'm not a Taoist, but I'm pretty sure Taoist mystics were keen on suppressing orgasm."

True. But the "thrusts" themselves were/are good for you, because they help to balance the yin and yang, and the hormones. It's stopping in time that's the rub (no pun).

vbspurs said...

I hate French kissing

WHAT! That just lost whatever interest I had in reading this magnus me-us. You're on your own, Ann. Especially since I'm getting ready to go out. :P

vbspurs said...

BTW, since when did the NYT become Cosmo? Come on, when people mention the chickification of media, this isn't what they mean, but they should.

vbspurs said...

While the unexamined life is not worth living, the overexamined life is lethal.

POGO, YES. The tragedy of the modern world is that we cannot leave ourselves alone enough to live it.

Blue@9 said...

My wife and read this article together last night. Verdict? They're both insane. He's a child in a man's body and she's a neurotic nutjob who should be alone. She's a decent writer, but you're correct that there's no there there. They're just oddly disfunctional and appear to bring out the worst in each other. Him: I'm going to cook away my fears! Her: Don't touch me, I'm in existential angst!

Jeff with one 'f' said...

She hates French kissing?!?

Squid said...

What is it with upper-class neuroses? I suppose I should be happy that the NYT Mag's staff and readership are all so well-off that they can burn 8,000 words looking for meaning in their meaningless lives. I suppose I should be happy that Liz Weil is willing to expose herself as a neurotic 40-something who's so desperate to find some way out of her bland and effortless existence that she's willing to create a "struggle" for herself to overcome. It may not have any educational value, nor any real entertainment value, but it does serve an important purpose: showing the NYT Mag readership that their peers are every bit as screwed-up as they are.

XWL said...

"On a ho-hum weeknight Dan might make me pan-roasted salmon with truffled polenta in a Madeira shallot reduction."

Using mindfulness, I willed myself into finding that to be a far more interesting sentence than written.

Also, I imagined that she meant "wee knight" instead of "week night", and I'm picturing her partner riding piggyback on a bored, diminutive man in a suit of armor while cooking his frou frou meal.

Instead of some boring tale of middle aged ennui, I've got an imaginatively absurd scene worthy of a Monty Python sketch.

I like my version better.

Penny said...

"I started wondering why I wasn’t applying myself to the project of being a spouse. My marriage was good, utterly central to my existence, yet in no other important aspect of my life was I so laissez-faire. Like most of my peers, I applied myself to school, friendship, work, health and, ad nauseam, raising my children. But in this critical area, marriage, we had all turned away."

I'm not sure I want to read ten pages about the Weils, but I do think the above question is a good one for any married person to ask. Are you "applying" yourself in your role as spouse?

vbspurs said...

He's a child in a man's body and she's a neurotic nutjob who should be alone. She's a decent writer, but you're correct that there's no there there.

Blue, you know, what you wrote reminds me of that article the NYT published about Michael Roach and Christie McNally, a Buddhist couple who live in a yurt in the Arizona desert, and do everything together. They're never apart for more than FIFTEEN FEET. Furthermore, they don't have sex!

That inspired David Plotz and Hanna Rosin to do the same thing, and write up their day tethered together (as well as to shoot a video) on Slate.com.

Although the tone is different (they are conscious it's a gimmick), it's the same kind of insistence that their private life as a couple, with personality quirks and all, would be of such interest to us, that they must write it down for all to read.

Maybe it's a New York thing.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

I like XWL's version better too.

sonicfrog said...

Who??????

jpr9954 said...

I honestly tried to read some of this article. I just couldn't read any more of this navel gazing.

I rather be sentenced to reading a Harlequin romance than reading any more of this stuff.

Paul said...

More proof as if any was needed.



Liberalism is a mental disorder.

John said...

"Maybe it's a New York thing."

No. It is a self absorved upper class journalist thing. Tabitha Soren, the former MTV Newsbabe and her husband did a blog on Slate or Salon decribe the pitfalls of raising their daughters Dixie and Tellulah (yes those names are real). It was a perfect example of what you are talking about. And they lived in Berkley.

My impression from this article is that Weil should have married someone who was better in bed than they were in the kitchean. Beta males always leave women unsatisfied.

Skyler said...

No, seriously, who the heck is Liz Weil?

wv: moboons, I'm not sure what that means, but it is a word desperately crying out for a definition.

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JohnAnnArbor said...

What is it with upper-class neuroses?

Some people feel the need to create drama for no reason other than to have drama.

I avoid them as if they had H1N1.

vbspurs said...

moboons

Moonbats who are maroons? Baboons?

vbspurs said...

Dixie and Tellulah (yes those names are real).

HEHE. Of course, I love Dixie Carter (she's Republican to boot) and Tallulah Bankhead, so it doesn't seem weird to me. But how you describe their series...well, you're right. It's exactly like these examples.

I've dated Alpha males and they can be fatiguing, embarrassing, and self-involved, every bit as much as being stimulating and take-charge. It all depends what you're comfortable with as a woman. At the risk of revealing my Elektra complex, I want a man like my father -- sweet, but commanding.

Paul Zrimsek said...

moboons

Nice hut you got here, Tarzan. Be a pity if anything were to... happen to it.

careen said...

You really are obsessed with marriage, huh?

I can't even be bothered to read it. I'm sick of spoiled, obsessed bobo wives. They're all around me - demanding more hiking trips to the Swiss alps, more artworks, more help with the kids, more healthy eating on the part of their husbands, another home because this one is already filled to the breaking point with stuff - all the while whining that cheating is okay (for the wives) because they aren't getting enough attention and would be out of there if they had the same earning potential.

At least this one has a job.

John said...

"I've dated Alpha males and they can be fatiguing, embarrassing, and self-involved, every bit as much as being stimulating and take-charge. It all depends what you're comfortable with as a woman. At the risk of revealing my Elektra complex, I want a man like my father -- sweet, but commanding."

I don't think of myself as an alpha. I was always the class smart kid not the bully. But, then I see guys like Weil's husband and think maybe I am. My wife would tell you I am.

Paul said...

"At the risk of revealing my Elektra complex, I want a man like my father -- sweet, but commanding."

Still an alpha. Sounds like me.

John said...

careen,

My wife works at a very high end private day school. Some of her parents are housewives. While their husbands are out earning huge salaries, they hire nannies to take care of the kids and help to clean the house and just seem to hang out and volunteer all the time. What does the husband get out of that deal? I think that is justification for a mistress.

Paul said...

A must read. I challenge Ann to link to and discuss this rather than the awful neurotic urban liberal NYT pap that she links to ad nauseum.

"It's Not Marriage, It's The Woman"

http://emach.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/its-not-marriage-its-the-woman/

Key graph:


"I strongly believe the divorce rates in our parents’ generation are a direct result of men sacrificing their balls on the altar of openness and understanding and essentially allowing their girls to dictate to them how they think they want to be treated, thereby sculpting an entire society of men afraid to act like men. We, the children, have pretty shitty role models. A lot of divorced men tell their sons not to get married."

Ralph L said...

Someone needs to ruffle her placenta.

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

The following weekend: jealousy again (or was it an attempt to fuel our eroticism with tension?). I said yes a bit too forcefully when Dan asked if I’d noticed a well-muscled young man at the pool. Dan was allowing for my sexual free agency, granting me my full humanity. We lived, raised children, worked and slept together. Now we needed to gouge out a gap to bridge, an erotic synapse to cross. It was exhausting. “That guy did the epitome of bad-values hypertrophy training” — vanity weight lifting, in Dan’s estimation, just to get buff. “You’re like a guy admitting he likes fake boobs. And he had chicken legs. Did you notice that, too?”

Who has these conversations? I can't imagine any guy I know bothering to notice if his wife is looking at other men. That is what women do.

John said...

And her husband looks just like Clinton from What Not to Wear. There is something oddly gay about a man who is a little too much into his looks. I think her husband will be a late outter. I would be curious what Titus thinks

MadisonMan said...

The obvious question: Why don't they have matching lamps on their matching bedside tables?

John said...

"The obvious question: Why don't they have matching lamps on their matching bedside tables?"

Or anything on the wall above their bed. Blank walls are depressing.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Self-involved city
Folk need to appreciate
The colors of fall.

careen said...

@John I don't pretend to understand it, but it's the women that are cheating and threatening divorce, not the guys. I don't think most of the guys have the time. So the guy could cheat, but then he'd get the divorce. As to why they don't want the divorce already, I don't know.

These women create a world for their husbands. The social agenda, the kids, most of the friends, the beautiful home, none of it would be there w/o them, but cheating is taking it a little too far imo if the guy is loyal. If the guy is cheating, all bets are off.

Honestly, I think it is just a weird human trait that goes back to junior high school - if someone rejects a person a treats them badly, 70 percent of humanity wants that person more. If someone treats a person well, 70 percent of humanity gets bored and loses interest. Male and female, opposite sex, same sex, married, unmarried.

Ricardo said...

I can't remember where I read it (can anyone help out?) but there was a study earlier this year that showed that "happy people are generally happy in relationships" and "unhappy people are generally unhappy in relationships". It all comes down to your OWN level of happiness and not so much to the dynamics of the relationship itself. Of course, that excludes the extremes (drugged-out-happy, or in an abusive relationship), but I think there's a lot to this.

Skyler said...

Okay, either everyone in the world except me knows who Liz Weil is, or no one knows. Why is she important and worth writing about? Is she some kind of celebrity? What are her 15 minutes all about?

DADvocate said...

vbspur - My favorite Tallulah Bankhead quote: “I'll come and make love to you at five o'clock. If I'm late start without me.”

John said...

Sometimes I wonder if women like Weil wouldn't be better off if they were lesbians and just lived with other women. Look at Meridith Baxter. She had three bad marriages and now seems happy with a woman. Maybe Weill wouldn't have to work so hard if she could find someone more like herself.

Salamandyr said...

Okay, either everyone in the world except me knows who Liz Weil is, or no one knows. Why is she important and worth writing about? Is she some kind of celebrity? What are her 15 minutes all about?

You got me. I would imagine she's famous (to the extent she is) for writing just these sort of vapid self-examinations in elite New York tabloids.

Methadras said...

Shouldn't this be an expose on things white people like?

Chris said...

@John. The wall above the bed is a no no for a lot of hanging art in earthquake prone San Francisco.

John said...

"@John. The wall above the bed is a no no for a lot of hanging art in earthquake prone San Francisco."

I thought they lived in New York. But, yeah, that is a good point.

traditionalguy said...

She shares too much information about a rather dull life. Heck, Sarah Palin has more excitement going on than this lady. She is a good writer to get an audience for her "problems and their resolution" type of self disclosures.

Ralph L said...

The wall above the bed is a no no for a lot of hanging art in earthquake prone San Francisco
fresco or fabric.

Joan said...

I waded through the whole thing, inexplicably. Towards the end, Weil wrote, improving my marriage in one area often caused problems in another. More intimacy meant less autonomy. More passion meant less stability.

She's clearly dysfunctional. How does intimacy interfere with autonomy, or passion with stability? Maybe I'm just special or something, but I've got all four in my marriage.

I think Weil's problem is she doesn't trust her husband. She certainly doesn't treat him as an adult, in spite of all the "equivalence" and "co-parenting" verbiage she throws around. Why the hell can't she ask her parents, for example, if Dan can cook breakfast for the family when they come to visit on the weekends? How hard could that be?

I have to say, I feel bad for the girls. Chances are very good they'll grow up neurotic, too, with parents like this.

Blue@9 said...

vbspurs:
"That inspired David Plotz and Hanna Rosin to do the same thing, and write up their day tethered together (as well as to shoot a video) on Slate.com."

Yes, and Hanna Rosin also drives me nuts for the same reason as this Weil lady. Seriously, Rosin should forget the college fund and start saving up for her kids' therapy bills. There's something about middle-aged Jewish ladies and their need to overanalyze their lives. Seriously, ladies, billions of people have managed it before you ever came along. What kills me is that Weil's marriage seemed to be fine before she decided to toss in a hand grenade; later on she seems to acknowledge that this overtherapization may be hurting more than helping. Really, it took that long to figure out? She should kiss her husband's feet every day for putting up with her nonsense.

Youngblood said...

I disagree, Althouse. There's something seriously wrong with Dan.

He's fit, but in order to be fit, he has to work from "Soviet-era weight-training manuals". However, muscle is muscle, and the same exercises and advice that can be found in those can be found at a lower cost and with less effort from a host of other sources. Yet, here's a guy who has to track down old Communist tomes.

Why bother?

So when people say that he's looking good, or ask him if he's been working out, he can say, "Yes, thank you. But I got buff by studying Soviet fitness books, not by engaging in bad-values hypertrophy training like other Americans. I may be fit, but unlike most fit people, I'm also smart and ideological pure."

He cooks, but his wife has to handle the family finances and had to raise the kids while he was seeking personal fulfillment through cooking, blowing his kids' college funds on the most absurdly expensive ingredients in the process.

It's great that he makes pan-roasted salmon with truffled polenta in a Madeira shallot reduction, but Weil makes it clear that they're unable to afford such extravagant dishes while planning for their children's futures.

If any other husband had a hobby like this, a hobby that was a serious financial drain on the family and took up a huge chunk of his time, we'd say that he was a jerk-off. But his expensive hobby involves cooking the kinds of meals that upper middle class types imagine that they deserve, so he gets a pass.

And, of course, he threatens divorce because, while Weil is close to her parents and wants her children to grow up knowing them, he doesn't like how bourgeois they are and he sees them as cretins. ("Wah! They pamper the kids with popsicles! And there's a golf course that obliterated the landscape! And their tinted windows keep out the natural light!")

If any other husband did this, we would recognize him for the controlling asshole that he is. But here's a guy who has the right ideology, who's oh-so-intellectual and clever that even the marriage therapist sides with him when he's clearly in the wrong.

Don't even get me started on his need to tell everyone about his former sexual partners while flipping the fuck out that Weil dated people in the past herself.

At the end of the day, Dan is a self-centered douchebag whose ideological purity and personal fulfillment are more important than the well being of his family, wife, and children.

He's an asshole, and not the fun kind, but an uptight priggish holier than though asshole.

Weil's problem is that instead of recognizing her husband's a self-centered asshole and poser, she turns to novels about dysfunctional upper middle class people instead of relying on common sense.

Youngblood said...

That should have been: "...uptight priggish holier-than-thou asshole."

JohnAnnArbor said...

He's an asshole, and not the fun kind

Great line.

John Lynch said...

It's amazing how some people are just determined to be miserable.

John Lynch said...

The whole piece seems like someone trying to talk themselves out of divorce. I was really depressed after reading it.

Iapetus said...

He's a Christian with OCD, she's Jewish with helicopter parents who dote on their grandkids. Yet no mention of whether religion is an issue? How are the kids being brought up: Jewish, Christian, atheist/agnostic? If the unspoken religious upbringing of the kids is no part of this marital conflict, then I'll eat cardboard crepes.

John said...

Youngblood,

That is a great post. You are exactly right. Her husband reminds me of the douchbag boyfriend in Forrest Gump blaming his beating up Robyn Wright on "that damn Johnson in the Whitehouse".

He is awful. And Weil isn't a bad looking woman. For all of her flaws, he still doesn't deserve her.

Ralph L said...

Remember, we're only getting her side of the story.

Youngblood said...

John wrote:

"That is a great post. You are exactly right. Her husband reminds me of the douchbag boyfriend in Forrest Gump blaming his beating up Robyn Wright on 'that damn Johnson in the Whitehouse'."

Thank you!

And yeah, exactly. It's all right there if you read between the lines: Soviet-era fitness manuals and whining about Weil's criminally bourgeois parents. The guy's a hopeless ideologue... and a hypocritical one, at that! (After all, he has to have the finest, most expensive markers of class in his own cupboard.)

And this part:

"I could not believe Dan thought my primary relationship was with my mother. I needed to know if he felt that way generally or just on these weekends. Dan declared the distinction moot: any rupture in our monogamy weakened the whole. I wondered if improving my marriage had to mean cutting myself off from the world?"

Dan believes that Weil's not being monogamous if she maintains a close relationship with her mother? I mean, here we have an adult male who's jealous of his wife's mother. Openly jealous of her and willing to freely admit it. (And this is encouraged by the marriage counselor.)

What the fuck?!

Crazy. Dan needs to man up and stop acting like a little spoiled brat.

Joan said...

Yeah, I was seriously weirded out by the article's discussion of "our first experience of monogamy" being with our mothers, and the problem being that we, as babies, are monogamous with our mothers, but our mothers were not monogamous with us. Lord, have mercy -- is this an accepted line of psychological analysis? Does anyone really believe it?

I have a huge problem with analogizing the marital relationship with the parent-child relationship... although while typing that, I realized that I do believe you can tell how man will treat his wife by looking at the relationship he has with his mother, but that's going more to attitudes towards women in general, and not some phantom incestuous 'monogamous' relationship.

I also agree that Dan, apparently, has issues. As noted, we're only getting Weil's side of the story.

Freeman Hunt said...

Wow, that Youngblood comment was inspired.

PatCA said...

I read somewhere about our vacuous, affluent times that at least "depression is better than hunger."

After reading this araticle I'm not so sure.

WV- antorro. Liz W's new lover, Antorro the pool boy.

Skookum John said...

I would rather go to dinner with my pool boy and his dingbat tattooed girlfriend, who combined don't reach 180 IQ points, than with either or both of these insufferable lotus-eaters. This must be the high water mark for insipid upper-class New York neuroticism. I think they and everyone around them would be happier if they both just went and jumped off a bridge.

muddimo said...

Dan = douche. He even sits cross-legged in a pretentious, self-absorbed way. She turns slightly acknowledging his presence next to her. He is pissed that she is ruining his symmetry. Elizabeth secretly hates him but she can't force herself to admit it. Her fear of intimacy may just be repulsion.

Youngblood said...

Joan wrote:

"Lord, have mercy -- is this an accepted line of psychological analysis? Does anyone really believe it?"

I wouldn't say that I believe it, but I am open to the possibility that the way that we navigate our feelings about our mothers' relationships with our fathers (and siblings!) could very well have an impact on how we navigate intimacy in other contexts later in life.

Yeah, it does sound screwy in one way, to suggest that we view our mothers in our formative years as "lovers", because in this day and age we sort of exaggerate the sexual and romantic aspects of a romantic partnership to the exclusion of all else. However, even in such relationships, we do rely on our partners for more than sexual gratification and romantic love. So there probably is some degree of overlap there.

What gets confusing in this case is that Weil employs such a theory to build an excuse to let Dan off the hook for being such a monumental asshole, which is what she does in a bunch of different ways throughout the piece, downplaying his flaws in such a way to make herself look like she's in the wrong at every turn. So she takes a potentially valid theory of the formative effects of the mother/child relationship and applies it to her adult relationship with her mother, which is a horse of a completely different color.

What infuriates me about that particularly situation is that Dan attempted to force Weil to make a choice between him and her mother in an attempt to cut her off from her family.

That kind of thing should always raise a red flag in relationship, because it's a signal that the partner delivering the ultimatum is either insecure to the point of pathology, abusive, or both. There really is no other explanation.

And yeah, we are getting only one side of the story, but we're getting that side of the story from a partner who is doing her best to minimize the flaws of her partner and either rationalize away or take the blame for them. So the account is more trustworthy than it would be if she were going off on how horrible Dan is.

epstanzer said...

whoever wrote "I smell a book deal" has it right, but I find the commodification of private life astounding. I'm an old lady now (62). My own first book (as well as many others by journalistic colleagues) grew out of a Times magazine piece in 1977 BUT I am taken aback by Weil's broadcasting the most intimate details of her marriage to 2 million readers for no apparent reason beyond personal ambition. Do you all learn something from this piece? What is its value for you? Is this where feminism has taken us? Is my squeamishness about it an age thing? Do all of you out there under 40 find it normal?

David said...

Ms. Weil sounds like a bored, neurotic, supremely self-centered and over-privileged asshole. Worst article ever.

Ed said...

It seems Ms. Weil, upon seeing that her marriage wasn't broken, threw herself into a manic attempt to fix it. That's a bad habit, one that eventually induces people to duck into alleyways at ones approach.

People with such tendencies are quite lucky to find someone willing to sit with them in the same room for 15 minutes at a time, let alone to marry them.

I see this as vindication of something an old friend once told me: you can always find someone who wants whatever grotesquery you have, if you can just find a big enough city to move to.

chuck b. said...

I just caught ~30 seconds of this couple on our local pubic radio. She was saying her husband's cooking was "unassailable". Her high voice made that sound like a complaint.

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maglars said...

i guess they deserve each other...