February 27, 2013

What Ben Affleck said about marriage at the Oscars and why people are criticizing him.

Accepting the award for Best Picture, he said (addressing his wife):
"I want to thank you for working on our marriage for 10 Christmases. It’s good, it is work, but it’s the best kind of work, and there’s no one I’d rather work with."
What's wrong with that?
The criticism centers around this statement as lacking in cuteness, and focusing on the negative. It wasn’t the “right forum” for this type of declaration, it was a possible indicator that “something is wrong” in the marriage, he should have just stuck to “I love you and adore you and you’re perfect” -- basically whining that a major Hollywood star was uncomfortably honest about his relationship and said overly blunt things about marriage in one of the most public forums on the planet.
Obviously, that's a summary from someone who doesn't agree with the criticism.

The critics are imagining themselves in the position of the wife and thinking they'd want to hear a nice compliment. But I bet Affleck planned his speech, with the help of his wife Jennifer Garner, and that the 2 of them decided they had an excellent opportunity to speak to everyone about marriage and this was the message they wanted to give: Work on it everyone. We — the pretty people, who seem so ideal — we have to work on it and we do work on it.

The line is crafted. 10 years was edited into 10 Christmases. It's been years and it's included family traditions and deep values that take a lot of attention. The first sentence creates some tension. Is he saying that the wife took care of the home front, making his life stable and pleasurable, while he went out in the world and furthered his career? The second sentence prolongs the tension — It’s good, it is work, but it’s the best kind of work — and we finally get to the resolution: there’s no one I’d rather work with. That means he is also doing this work. And that's subtly stated. He didn't praise himself as he said those last few words which reveal that he is a partner in the work. It's all carefully about her.

Well, there's also the "no one" — the nonexistent person he would prefer to "work with," that is, to have a marriage with, because it's marriage that equals work. The temptation of adultery is that it looks like a vacation from a marriage that seems like work. Imagine the opportunities strewn in front of Ben Affleck. There's a twist on that last line that creates anxiety for the sensitive listener: There's no one other than Jennifer that he'd like to work with (be in a marriage with), but does he ever play?

68 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Red Flag Alert : Afflect spoke honestly in public. Everyone knows that the last remaining sexual sin which the morality police will go after is speaking the truth in public.



Afflect will never recover from this shameful slip up.

J2 said...

But why the awkward segue with Iran?
I think this was anything but spontaneous. It seemed almost like a comedy routine ending with the 'there's no one else I'd rather work with'. Not a bad line but better for open house anniversary party.

Not knowing Affleck except by his grandiose slobby performance, I would say he would make a great politician.

edutcher said...

He was talking about heterosexual marriage.

How dare he!

The only cool marriage is same sex.

Or polyamory.

Or bestiality.

Or incest.

Or pederasty.

Or...

Craig said...

Maybe he should have thanked JLo?

Quayle said...

He nailed it.

It is work to be absolutely devoted to another human soul.

And the return from that work is the character - the developed ability - to be absolutely devoted to others around you in your families and in your neighborhood.

And I don't know of any other way to develop that character and ability.

But I am absolutely certain that what passes for close relationship in Hollywood and much of the U.S. these days - that kind of flimsy overly-sexual attachment to your 'partner' with a change-and-reject option open at all times - that those kinds of partnering relationships will never produce a soul capable of selfless devotion and lasting commitment to other humans, no matter how many trips one makes to Haiti or how much one talks about the need to help solve the devistations in Africa.

EDH said...

But I bet Affleck planned his speech, with the help of his wife Jennifer Garner, and that the 2 of them decided they had an excellent opportunity to speak to everyone about marriage and this was the message they wanted to give: Work on it everyone.

My take was that it reflected something he said to her in a private, confessional moment at one point along the course of their marriage. Either his proposal, or after fight or a screw-up along the way.

So, in that sense it was rehearsed, and she knew already from whence it came when he started saying it.

AprilApple said...

Oh good Lord.

Colonel Angus said...

I'm still trying to figure out how this guy became an actor.

Otherwise, yawn is my response to the topic.

Glen Filthie said...

Hmpffff.

I tend to tune out hollyweird meat heads. Ben isn't as bad as howler monkeys like Sean Penn (with an IQ in the double digits...!) or Matt Damon.

In any event, I am still on the same wife 28 years later (met her in high school) - and it isn't any 'work' at all. I wouldn't attach any significance to anything hollyweirdos have to say about marriage.

Glen Filthie said...

Hmpffff.

I tend to tune out hollyweird meat heads. Ben isn't as bad as howler monkeys like Sean Penn (with an IQ in the double digits...!) or Matt Damon.

In any event, I am still on the same wife 28 years later (met her in high school) - and it isn't any 'work' at all. I wouldn't attach any significance to anything hollyweirdos have to say about marriage.

AprilApple said...

Perhaps Americans should stop the endless celebrity study hall.
For crying out loud - Watch Jeopardy -- It's no longer a show that quizzes interesting facts and trivia - no. Half the damn questions are about hollywood and pop culture. (and democrats)

ugh.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Marriage might be work but it's indoor work with no heavy lifting.

Tibore said...

Who cares if Affleck's reference was planned or not? What was wrong with it to begin with?

It may be legit comedy to snark about the very slight awkwardness of calling marriage to a Hollywood actress "work", but that should be nothing more than a quick, casual, superficial laugh. It sure as hell shouldn't be taken as having some sort of deeper, negative meaning, nor should it be taken as being a slip-up to begin with.

So he said his marriage was work. So what? He also said it in the context of celebrating it as an achievement worthy of mention while accepting a top prize in his profession. If anyone thinks that means there's a negative connotation to his pronouncement, they're projecting far too much.

This is all much ado about nothing. The real substance is that here's a Hollywood personality who didn't use superficial banalities to describe his marriage but instead chose to underline the reality of it in a very positive and celebratory way. Why the non-story about people's reaction to it is gaining any traction is beyond me, but it's somehow achieved the effect of actually being more inane and superficial than most things out of Hollywood. Now that's an accomplishment!

DADvocate said...

(In my best lecherous voice) Heh, heh, I wouldn't mind doing some work with Jennifer Garner.

sonicfrog said...

Why don't people cringe at the phrase "soul mate"!

What a ridiculous concept! If you say it to your mate to be cute.... OK. But to accept this notion that you and someone else were destined to be together??? Forever??? By some sort of magical preordained thing???? You meet one day or night, and voila!!!! No work!!!!

It's silly. And what happens when things don't magically work out? Was it that you both goofed and mistook each other as soul-mates?

I understand the sentiment, especially when you first meet and fall in love. But that mad rush of juvenile love - that cocaine rush you get that makes you do stupid things like trying to jump over the counter at work to get to the phone because you think it's the "soul mate" only to fall flat on your face because the counter is higher than you can jump - can't last forever. It gets tempered by the years, and, with work on the relationship, is reformed into something else.... Something better. But it does take real work and real commitment for that transformation to occur. And it's very easy to get distracted by the bobbles and allure of feeling that original rush and finding someone else, a new "soul mate".

And that is why people are pissed at him. He's publicly rejecting the excuse at so many, especially in his industry, use to got from one forever mate to the other.

Though I'm not fond of some of his political views... Who cares. What he said is honest and real - I'm thinking he learned from the Ben-Lo thing. My stock in Affleck has gone up a bit.

David said...

Does he ever play?

One might ask "Is he a player?"

He could be of course. Looks, money, power.

So congrats to him and Jennifer on 10 years of marriage.

And everybody else just shut up.

m stone said...

Affleck can use the moment to speak on anything he chooses, as do so many celebrities, however annoying. Better marriage than global warming.

As with both topics, time will tell.

bpm4532 said...

For most Hollywood types hard work is remembering a few lines for the day and following directions.

Rusty said...

There's a reason he's a lousy actor.

Colonel Angus said...

I'm sure if Ben was a homosexual and talking about his husband in such a way, this would be cause for celebration rather than criticism.

Quayle said...

Marriage might be work but it's indoor work with no heavy lifting.

So obviously you don't have anything heavy at your house that ever needed or was desired to be moved.

Darrell said...

He should have hired Gilbert Gottfried to overdub his voice.

sonicfrog said...

Ooops.... Should have been "And it's very easy to get distracted by the baubles and allure of feeling that original rush and finding someone else, a new "soul mate".

St. George said...

There are three people in the universe criticizing Ben Affleck.

One person, Jessica Ferri, a writer at Shine.com, reproduced Tweets from three people, one of which was an anonymous item from an entertainment magazine.

Ms. Ferri is also the author of the following articles:

"Who is Prince Harry Kissing? 10 Things to Know about Cresside Bonas"

and

"Who Was the Topless Teenage Model at Fashion Week?"

All you are doing, Professor, is driving traffic to the junk market.

AprilApple said...

It wasn't gushing performance Tom Hanks enough. waaaa.

Ann Althouse said...

"Who cares if Affleck's reference was planned or not? What was wrong with it to begin with?"

My point relates to whether the wife was involved in crafting it. My guess is yes. She wanted him to use the conventional thank-you to the wife to be taken as an opportunity to give advice to everyone.

Astro said...

My wife and I were together for 37 years, and we went through some very tough times when it might have been easy to walk away. But the work was worth it in the long run. As sad and as tough as the ending was, I look back happily and with no regrets.

Actors like to pretend, but marriage is real and they need to look at it honestly once in a while. Good for him.

Marriage might be work but it's indoor work with no heavy lifting.
Say that again after you and your spouse have packed up the stuff in a 5-bedroom house and moved it 40 miles to your new home. Then unpacked and rearranged it all again.

William said...

His wife is young and pretty and competitive with the other pretty girls. His kids are, undoubtedly, cute and appealing and fun to be around. His career is going well and rewards him with recognition, status, and tons of money. Ben, these are not the most laborious years of your life......I'd give him a teeny bit of credit if Jennifer had packed on twenty pounds or one of his kids was autistic or if his live wasn't so damn perfect. He doesn't look like the kind of guy who celebrates his fiftieth birthday with an age appropriate wife.

ricpic said...

Is Christmas crisis time for most marriages?

I Callahan said...

The criticism centers around this statement as lacking in cuteness, and focusing on the negative. It wasn’t the “right forum” for this type of declaration

This from the same bunch of people who thought it was appropriate that the FLOTUS should give away the best picture award. Irony.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Sonicfrog said....and it bears repeating....I understand the sentiment, especially when you first meet and fall in love. But that mad rush of juvenile love - that cocaine rush you get that makes you do stupid things like trying to jump over the counter at work to get to the phone because you think it's the "soul mate" only to fall flat on your face because the counter is higher than you can jump - can't last forever. It gets tempered by the years, and, with work on the relationship, is reformed into something else.... Something better. But it does take real work and real commitment for that transformation to occur. And it's very easy to get distracted by the bobbles and allure of feeling that original rush and finding someone else, a new "soul mate".

And that is why people are pissed at him. He's publicly rejecting the excuse at so many, especially in his industry, use to got from one forever mate to the other.


I agree this entirely. Marriage IS work. Not in the sense that shoveling a ditch is work, but in the sense that you need to keep the relationship up by daily maintenance and awareness. You need to always be aware of the 'other' in your relationship and always accept that the relationship IS going to change over time. You cannot maintain that mad endorphin/cocaine rush.

Christmas must have some special significance for Affleck and that semi-religious reference is probably another reason that people are ticked off at him.

Maybe for some people it isn't as much 'work' but I assume that those people don't have the opportunities for distraction that Affleck and other celebrities have shoved at them on an almost daily basis.

Kit said...

He sounds like a man with humility and a lot of gratitude.

n.n said...

This is a positive statement.

There is good reason to form a clear association between responsibility and reward. There is also good reason to recognize that marriage, or any partnership really, but especially marriage, by virtue of the children it conceives and raises, is a union of two interests which need to be reconciled.

The experiment with irreconcilable differences needs to end for the good of society, family, and individuals. It is past time to recognize the behavior which engenders increased risk of failed relationships, from dating to marriage.

sonicfrog said...

DBQ.

It's what so many don't understand. We live in a world where either everything is supposed to be easy, like it's shown in the movies, always exciting, like it's shown in the movies, or a great tragic struggle where the heroine fights the titanic struggle to get away from the creep (who she chose in the first place), just like in the movies.

The number one enemy of a lasting relationship, outside of wanton disregard by one or the other partner, is boredom. After eight year or whatever, it just isn't as exciting as it was when you first met or during the first couple of years.

Part of the work is making sure you are considerate of the other in your life. But a part of the work is keeping yourself in check against doing stupid things because you're simply "bored" at the moment with the relationship.

PS. Me and the Sonic-Mate have been together for 17 plus years. We're not legally married... not legal in my state at the moment. But we are married as far as we're concerned.

PPS. I hate the term "life partner'. Sounds so business-like and mechanical, which is why I call the Sonic-Mate my mate. Don't call him husband, because, legally, he's not.

Seeing Red said...

I'm not an Affleck fan, but 10 Christmases?

He deserves an award in Hollywood for 10 years.

A committed, married monogamous relationship in Hollyweird.

Not an easy feat for someone who is high profile like he is.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Me and the Sonic-Mate have been together for 17 plus years. We're not legally married... not legal in my state at the moment. But we are married as far as we're concerned.

Good for you. Congratulations in your happiness. At some point you will be able to be legal. But what really matters is what is in your hearts and how you feel about each other. It will show to all those around you.

I look at marriage, or a committed relationship, as a partnership [not in the business sense though] as well as an emotionally charged joining. A relationship with love as well as occasional annoyance. It can't always be roses :-D and when it isn't recognize that as normal too. Here is where the work comes in.

Each person brings different skills, strengths, weaknesses and abilities to the relationship. You are a team. A unit. And you should always feel that you have each others back. Standing together against the world and broadcasting your love.

I think that first comes LOVE with the capital "L": the sexual heady rush and overwhelming endorphins fueling the fire. This will eventually pass and if there isn't a core of mutual respect, friendship and a deeper love than just sex, as well as shared goals then the relationship is not going to work.....unless both people work at it.

Ah well. too much philosophy for so early in the morning.

Chip S. said...

I don't understand WTF Affleck was talking about. It's well known that attractive women shit gold nuggets and never get cranky.

Also, isn't it awfully Religionist to use Christmas as some sort of important marker in a family's year?

Nomennovum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nomennovum said...

Marriage is a scam. No man should ever consider it these days. And I have my doubts about romantic love too (if there were ever a social construct, "romantic love" is the biggest one.)

Nomennovum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nomennovum said...

To expand on the notion of "romantic love." There is love and there is sexual attraction (i.e., lust). The two should never be confused or conflated into "romantic love."

Baron Zemo said...

Ben Affleck is a big time Red Sox fan so he is a douchenozzle of the first water.

Baron Zemo said...

Ben Affleck is a big time Red Sox fan so he is a douchenozzle of the first water.

Chip S. said...

He used to be a Yankees fan, but attractive, disease-free women won't sleep w/ Yankees fans. Or Yankees players.

The WAG section of Yanker Stadium doubles as an STD outpatient clinic.

Baron Zemo said...

Actually his longest relationship was with a duck that works for an insurance company that was so broken up by their affair that all he does is wander around shouting his name.

Baron Zemo said...

With a lispe of course as it is a gay duck.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Chip S. said...

I thought it was Yogi Berra who fucked that duck.

Baron Zemo said...

No he did Boo Boo.

That was the whole basis of the cartoon back in the 1950's.

Chip S. said...

I just hope they keep ARod away from Honey Boo Boo.

Baron Zemo said...

Well do they do get steriods from the same doctor so I don't know if we can keep them apart. Just sayn'

Methadras said...

Hollywood abhors the normal. Jennifer Garner married Affleck. They had children, she set her career primarily aside so she could raise them while he went out and did the glamorous work and brought home the money. FOR SHAME!!!

Lydia said...

Wikipedia says that Garner comes from a conservative Christian family and that she grew up in Texas and West Virginia. Affleck comes from a Berkeley/Cambridge-type family.

So, I suspect their Christmases may actually be pretty tough -- just imagine what it's like if both families get together that day.

hombre said...

It seems to me like a tribute to her and his feelings about her particularly if the marriage is a rough one.

I think of Affleck as a Hollywood jerk, but maybe he's not just a Hollywood jerk.

Baron Zemo said...

I am just ashamed that I live in bigoted country where a famous hollywood actor could not marry the one duck that was his true love and had to settle for a heterosexual union with an actress.

I just hope that someday the love that dare not quack it's name can be part of the mainstream of American life.

Baron Zemo said...

Remember christianists....The Lord loves a Duck!

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EnigmatiCore said...

Of course he plays. With Jimmy Kimmel.

Nini said...

As if Affleck and Ang Lee had a conference.

Lee also acknowledged his wife in his speech mentioning that they've been together for 30 years.

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

Sorry. The typos got me down.

I dislike and disagree with Affleck's and best friend Matt Damon's politics. (Side note: Do like Matt's water projects in Africa)

But I recently mentioned to a relative who is related by marriage to Matt Damon, and hence privy to a little more about his personal life, that I admire both these guys for the way they are living their private family lives. I.E. I don't know much about their private lives -- because I don't see the paparazzi pix and flames (!!11!!1!) of them on the front page of the tabloids at every check out counter. (I do wish they would leave Jennifer G alone when she takes one of her kids somewhere. Not many people even knows what Lucy Damon looks like.)

They have an understanding of what kids and a healthy family requires.

Hollywood and the Brangelina Kardeshian crowd are clueless.

And sad.

Cedarford said...

Affleck will never totally shake Beniffer and Gigli....nor will he ever be a stellar actor.
But he has proven, on a smaller scale than Eastwood, there is a place for an actor that typically makes money on movies as a box office draw and an actor that turns out to be a far better director and producer..

(Eastwood had his own Gigli - a colossal disaster in a singing cowboy flick called "Paint Your Wagon")

"Going, Gone", "The Town", and "Argo" are all superb Affleck efforts.
And he makes money for investors being an actor in productions..before Gigli and more importantly, after Gigli.

tiger said...

Colonel Angus said...
I'm sure if Ben was a homosexual and talking about his husband in such a way, this would be cause for celebration rather than criticism.

This.

Personally I think Hollywood is made up of a bunch of light-weights including Affleck and his wife and the only people left with *any* depth Soderberg and Cloony and even them not very much.

Having said that good for Ben for his comments and fark anyone complaining about them.

rcommal said...

"Sticking to it" is an undervalued value.

Methadras said...

Lydia said...

Wikipedia says that Garner comes from a conservative Christian family and that she grew up in Texas and West Virginia. Affleck comes from a Berkeley/Cambridge-type family.

So, I suspect their Christmases may actually be pretty tough -- just imagine what it's like if both families get together that day.

2/27/13, 1:37 PM
Blogger hombre said...

It seems to me like a tribute to her and his feelings about her particularly if the marriage is a rough one.

I think of Affleck as a Hollywood jerk, but maybe he's not just a Hollywood jerk.


I strongly suspect that Jennifer Garners christian upbringing may have had a huge influence on Affleck now that they have children. They seem solid and strong and I wish them all the luck in the world as they travel through the shit storm that is the entertainment world. I think affleck might be more conservative than he is leading on.

Methadras said...

Nini said...

As if Affleck and Ang Lee had a conference.

Lee also acknowledged his wife in his speech mentioning that they've been together for 30 years.


Notwithstanding the rumors that he is a homosexual. Which were base and stupid.

rcommal said...

I think that the most foundational thing that is required for a marriage to be lasting is a shared belief that the permanent nature of the relationship is fundamental.

rcommal said...

I also think that the most fundamental thing that is required for a marriage to be lasting is a shared belief that the permanent nature of the relationship is foundational.

rcommal said...

I don't think that people should have to marry. Etc.

I do object, strongly, to those who have as an objective to undermine marriage, as an institution, at any and every chance available. (And I sometimes wonder: How can it be possible to be both against traditional marriage and also for nontraditional marriage at the very same time; also how can it possible to be for nontraditional marriage while being against traditional marriage, at the very same time.)

*shrug*