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Author Topic: Married Students  (Read 4152 times)

LitDoc

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Married Students
« on: July 25, 2006, 10:58:56 AM »
Hey, if you're class of 09 and married, and you're not yet a part of the email list we've got going, let me know. We're in the process of scheduling a couple BBQs for the married bunch. Should be fun. The first one is August 23rd.
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Felsen

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Re: Married Students
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2006, 02:55:35 PM »
married people are all elitist, exclusionary snobs.   ;)



But we're elitist, exclusionary snobs who have paid dearly for the benefit of being elitist, exclusionary snobs.

Texas

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Re: Married Students
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2006, 03:02:04 PM »
very dearly

Nixlimited

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Re: Married Students
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2006, 05:15:01 PM »
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LitDoc

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Re: Married Students
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2006, 02:44:21 PM »
I know it's the cultural norm to bag on married life, to complain about spouses, and to portray the whole thing as a sort of surrender into a state of prolonged suffering -- particularly from the male perspective. There is no end to the string of second-rate sitcoms that exploit this avenue. It's all part of the general, pervasive American culture of complaint. (The same thing occurs in the workplace, where complaints about one's job and workload, and possibly one's coworkers, are commonplace and even expected as standard. We also complain about consumer goods, about politics, about the school system -- about almost everything, really.)

Seriously, (warning: rant coming on) give it a rest. If you don't like something, don't do it. If you have to do it, and thus cannot help it or control it, then just accept it and make the best of it and quit complaining. (What a waste of energy, and what a tax on others' time and attentions, to complain about something you cannot control!) If we complain, then it ought to be assumed that we can change things -- and our complaints ought, then, to be merely the precursors to, or descriptions of, the changes we will (or will try to) enact. But if we complain and don't DO anything about it...well, then we're just complainers.

Blech.

As for married life -- if you're married and you're complaining, then change things. Do something about it. Either make your marriage better, so there's no cause for that complaint, or get the heck outta dodge. Just complaining, though, only makes it all worse. (And I'm also of the mind that genuine marital complaints ought to be kept within the marriage -- other people generally shouldn't hear about it -- otherwise it just becomes fodder for gossip.) If your complaints about marriage are not genuine, but only product of the cultural norm, then perhaps you should stop and think about what you're disparaging in the name of "fitting in."

And if you're not married and you're bagging on married life -- well, I can only suppose it is because (a) you're ignorant and don't really know what marriage is like, and it is your habit to deride what you don't understand; (b) you wish you were married yourself, and it is your habit to deride what you long for but don't have, perhaps so as to appear as though you do not long for it; (c) as in the case above, you're simply caught up in the cultural derision of marriage and haven't actually put any real thought into it, in which case you may want to reconsider your habit of deriding others simply because it is culturally permissable to do so; or (d) you are intending only to partake in some harmless ribbing, not meant to seriously deride anyone or anything.

Let me be clear: I fully believe that the remarks on this thread (and elsewhere on this board) generally fit into category (d). I don't think anyone has intended serious derision. But I think this culture of complaint and put-downs ought to be pointed out and scrutinized. And I think that everyone who thinks they only make fun of marriage under category (d) ought to think hard about how, exactly, a distinction can be drawn between that and category (c). Is there a difference?

Sorry for the rant -- oh, and lest anyone think that I have no sense of humor, let me assure you that the exact opposite is the case: my scholarly expertise is in the study of humor, particularly in the study of the relationship between humor and identity, and of the ethics of humor as it relates to identity-making (for ourselves and for others). It is my "sense" of humor, and my attention to how humor works and what humor does, that causes me -- every now and then -- to stop and scrutinize our uses of it.

Why deride marriage via humor? What does this accomplish? What does it say about marriage, or about us?

Anyway...had some time to go off on this, so I did. No offense intended toward anyone....

And for the record: I LOVE being married. I would take it over single life any day. It's not perfect -- but what is? And plus, I get to go to these sweet BBQs....
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University of Texas, Class of '09

LitDoc

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Re: Married Students
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2006, 03:06:34 PM »
Sorry for the rant -- oh, and lest anyone think that I have no sense of humor, let me assure you that the exact opposite is the case: my scholarly expertise is in the study of humor, particularly in the study of the relationship between humor and identity, and of the ethics of humor as it relates to identity-making (for ourselves and for others). It is my "sense" of humor, and my attention to how humor works and what humor does, that causes me -- every now and then -- to stop and scrutinize our uses of it.

Why deride marriage via humor? What does this accomplish? What does it say about marriage, or about us?

Anyway...had some time to go off on this, so I did. No offense intended toward anyone....

And for the record: I LOVE being married. I would take it over single life any day. It's not perfect -- but what is? And plus, I get to go to these sweet BBQs....

LitDoc, I dunno if the bolded part is really particularly reassuring.  :D

(I also like being married.)

 :D Too true, too true. The running joke among humor scholars is that we take all the humor out of humor. But it's my love for all things humorous that got me interested in studying humor to begin with. And it's folly to think that jokes are ever "just jokes," or that playing around is ever "just playing around." Much of what is really important and lasting to our identities and to any given culture occurs when we are "just joking" and/or "just playing around."
"There is no was." -- William Faulkner

University of Texas, Class of '09

pocho

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Re: Married Students
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2006, 03:13:34 PM »
Sorry for the rant -- oh, and lest anyone think that I have no sense of humor, let me assure you that the exact opposite is the case: my scholarly expertise is in the study of humor, particularly in the study of the relationship between humor and identity, and of the ethics of humor as it relates to identity-making (for ourselves and for others). It is my "sense" of humor, and my attention to how humor works and what humor does, that causes me -- every now and then -- to stop and scrutinize our uses of it.


LitDoc, I dunno if the bolded part is really particularly reassuring.  :D



I would agree, having actually studied humor almost insuniates someone doesn't have a sense of humor, and they are trying to figure out why people think things are so funny.   :D

As far as us being exclusionary, I think it mostly has to do with the fact that we don't think single people care about such interesting things such as your baby taking its first steps.  That, and it gives law school widows/widowers a support group. 

LitDoc

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Re: Married Students
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2006, 03:23:15 PM »
Yeah, single people conversations and interests are a lot different from married people conversations and interests.

My single friends usually aren't talking about their latest home-improvement project, or what Junior did that was so funny, or who the best 2nd-grade teacher is, etc.
"There is no was." -- William Faulkner

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Nixlimited

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Re: Married Students
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2006, 03:43:25 PM »
And if you're not married and you're bagging on married life -- well, I can only suppose it is because (a) you're ignorant and don't really know what marriage is like, and it is your habit to deride what you don't understand; (b) you wish you were married yourself, and it is your habit to deride what you long for but don't have, perhaps so as to appear as though you do not long for it; (c) as in the case above, you're simply caught up in the cultural derision of marriage and haven't actually put any real thought into it, in which case you may want to reconsider your habit of deriding others simply because it is culturally permissable to do so; or (d) you are intending only to partake in some harmless ribbing, not meant to seriously deride anyone or anything.

You forgot e)*

e) you wish to sleep with a married person, and it is your habit to deride what you long for but don't get to sleep with, perhaps so as to appear as though you do not want to sleep with it;


I am clearly only trying to make LitDoc's head explode  ;)
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LitDoc

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Re: Married Students
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2006, 04:14:32 PM »
And if you're not married and you're bagging on married life -- well, I can only suppose it is because (a) you're ignorant and don't really know what marriage is like, and it is your habit to deride what you don't understand; (b) you wish you were married yourself, and it is your habit to deride what you long for but don't have, perhaps so as to appear as though you do not long for it; (c) as in the case above, you're simply caught up in the cultural derision of marriage and haven't actually put any real thought into it, in which case you may want to reconsider your habit of deriding others simply because it is culturally permissable to do so; or (d) you are intending only to partake in some harmless ribbing, not meant to seriously deride anyone or anything.

<puts on propeller beanie and adopts scholarly mien>

Hmmm.  All your choices reflect a bias in favor of marriage, insofar as one who's "bagging on it" is ignorant, compensating, or unconsciously or carelessly participating in some broader cultural norm.

I certainly may have left out other possible reasons for bagging on marriage, but I don't think I've given off a bias in favor of marriage. If I offer the possible reasons for why someone would deride Black people, this does not reflect a bias in favor of being Black. Questioning why something is derided, or even asking others not to deride it, is not indicative of a bias in favor of it. I could offer reasons (none of them flattering) for why we deride terrorists, but this does not indicate a bias in favor of terrorism. It indicates only a bias against derision.

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What about the possibility that (e) upon reflection and/or experience, you honestly don't care to be married, or have some criticism of the institution itself?

But why deride it? Nothing I've said has eliminated the possibility of having genuine complaints about marriage, or reasons to avoid or abandon it -- indeed, I explicitly allowed room for such positions. But derision of that which others value seems to be, in itself, an act without value. You might have as a goal the changing of others' values, so as to persuade them to devalue marriage as you do (I'm using "you" in the general sense, without specific reference to the person called "tonyp") -- but if so, jocular derision is hardly a wise rhetorical strategy, so even for this goal it seems to be an act without value.

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Reflecting on your other comments, isn't the most effective humor grounded in a kernel of truth?  Humor as social criticism and all that?  I'll grant that hackneyed old chestnuts about marriage are more about perpetuating stereotypes than any sort of incisive social commentary.  However, your reaction seems to suggest that you think marriage needs defending against criticism, not just stereotyping, and I've got all kinds of proto-questions about humor and sacred cows running around in the back of my distracted little mind.


Yes, humor is often quite effective as social criticism. But the "hackneyed old chestnuts" are what I've referred to -- the casual derision of marriage that is the cultural norm, and which is, as you mention, often a means of perpetuating cultural stereotypes. I'm all gung ho for any good, incisive satirical treatment of marriage -- there's plenty about human relationships that is worthy of biting criticism, particularly if that criticism is aimed at breaking down or undermining cultural stereotypes. But mindlessly perpetuating stereotypes, and deriding marriage in the process -- so as to reinforce the stereotype of marriage as "prolonged suffering" -- that's no good.

In other words, I'm with you on humor being put to good use, for social criticism -- including the criticism of marriage and human relations. But that's not what I was seeing, and that's not the cultural norm when it comes to humorous treatments of marriage, which are typically stereotypical rather than critical. (And here I mean "critical" in the strong "critical thinking" sense, not in the common "don't be so critical" sense.)
"There is no was." -- William Faulkner

University of Texas, Class of '09