Actually Some People DO Die Wishing They’d Spent More Time at Work

Fuck you, David:

Two things happened to Sandra Bullock this month. First, she won an
Academy Award for best actress. Then came the news reports claiming
that her husband is an adulterous jerk. So the philosophic question of
the day is:Would you take that as a deal? Would you exchange a
tremendous professional triumph for a severe personal blow?

On the one hand, an Academy Award is nothing to sneeze at. Bullock
has earned the admiration of her peers in a way very few experience.
She’ll make more money for years to come. She may even live longer.
Research by Donald A. Redelmeier and Sheldon M. Singh has found that,
on average, Oscar winners live nearly four years longer than nominees
that don’t win.

Nonetheless, if you had to take more than three
seconds to think about this question, you are absolutely crazy.Marital
happiness is far more important than anything else in determining
personal well-being.
If you have a successful marriage, it doesn’t
matter how many professional setbacks you endure, you will be
reasonably happy.If you have an unsuccessful marriage, it doesn’t
matter how many career triumphs you record, you will remain
significantly unfulfilled.

Amanda has covered this ground in terms ofwhy David needs to eat a bowl of dicks, so I won’t go there. Let’s talk about this, though:

THERE IS NO DEAL. No genie appeared to Sandra Bullock in a dream and said, “Your career or your husband: Choose.” Nobody said she could only have the Oscar if she was married to a skeeze, and nobody said her husband wouldn’t be a skeeze if she’d lost. Life doesn’t work like that. It’s not a seesaw. I know we like to think it is, especially when we’re on the down end of it, and I’m as vulnerable as anybody to the fear that any good fortune I might have will be snatched from my fingers, but it’s just such total bullshit. Jesse James didn’t cheat because the Goddess of Justice decided it was time to fuck with Sandra some. Jesse James cheated because it seemed a good idea, to him, to stick his dick in another lady. Cosmic balance has very little to do with it.

If that’s Brooks’ opener, he can only go downhill, and downhill he goes, into the usual self-helpy horseshit only ever spouted by people who DON’T stay home while their spouses work. And I think what always bothers me about it is that I know plenty of people who wished they’d accomplished more in their careers, or made different employment choices, or taken opportunities when they had them. In case David is unaware, our economy is melting down, and so as much as it might be nice to cross-stitch a motto about love being all you need, right now lots of people need professional success to be happy. And, you know, FED.

It just always sounds to me like a dodge, a way to cover up for work that doesn’t mean anything or matter that much, this crapola:

The overall impression from this research is that economic and
professional success exists on the surface of life, and that they
emerge out of interpersonal relationships, which are much deeper and
more important.

Yes. Fucking someone who doesn’t like you very much is so much more meaningful than, say, teaching schoolchildren how to read or curing cancer, or even acting in movies. Has it occurred to David that not everyone who works works in some demoralizing job they hate? Has he ever met anyone who gets paid by the hour or does he just learn about them from the TV beamed to his planet?

All this emphasis on how much more meaningful family relationships are never does seem to force men like Brooks or anyone in the industry of churning out this advice about how we’re all shallow and unfocused to ditch their self-helpy jobs andgo fucking spend some more time with their families, does it? No, it’s the rest of us losers out here earning insulting paychecks who should be inspired to not view those paychecks as anythingbad, exactly, and not work hard or fight for more. Instead, we should be content with our marital happiness, and certainly not try too hard to win any awards, lest our husbands find themselves dick-deep in some waitress.


22 thoughts on “Actually Some People DO Die Wishing They’d Spent More Time at Work

  1. Speaking of cross-stitching (he obviously needs a hobby), why is David Brooks writing about Sandra Bullock anyway?

  2. Plus, I am a single person which means that other than the low-rent satisfaction I can squeeze out of my job, I am doomed to a life of unhappiness because I’m not married. Or something. Oh, if only I could enjoy the full and meaningful life of Mr. Brooks. Thank heavens for his column that teaches me what to long for and how to view my own sad pathetic, little life. Maybe I could meet a nice man to make me worthwhile at the Applebee’s salad bar?

  3. This is so ridiculous. Why does cheating have to be Sandra’s fault? I’m sure they have enough money that he could have come and visited her on set any time. Of course he cheated while she was away. Does one generally cheat when their spouse is home in the living room? Of course he told his mistress he was going to leave his wife. What cheating bastard doesn’t?
    As with anything that happens to a woman in this culture, everyone finds a new way to blame it on her. That man is a cheating bastard. If he wanted out of their marriage, he should have been an adult and said so. End of story.

  4. David Brooks: Singlehandedly killing the respectability of sociology.
    And I just used three five-or-more syllable words in a single sentence. Go me.

  5. Uh, did Brooks get a gander at the lady James was stepping out with? She doesn’t strike me as the sandwich-making type. Can’t judge a book by its cover obviously, but perhaps Jesse was not on the prowl for someone who wanted to spend all her time at home.
    Gah, even engaging Brooks’ logic at a speculative level makes me feel a little more stupid.

  6. Gah! David Brooks.
    I once had a letter to the editor published in the New York Times, and it was in response to that asshat and his asshattery.

  7. Look, gang, the cure for Brooks (which, unlike the cure for the GOP politicians he idolizes) is to *ignore* him. If he doesn’t sell papers the Times will can him. If he doesn’t draw viewers even the NewsHour won’t keep him around.
    But this outrage at Brooks, whose complete refusal to hold Jesse James up to anything resembling the GOP’s sacred standard of personal responsibility, also dodges the question re: Bullock / James.
    James cheated.
    John Edwards, Tiger Woods, Jesse James … does Brooks blame all the wives equally? If so, then Brooks is, truly, just a jerk with a bassackwards outlook on life. Or else … all three of those husbands are worthless selfish immature jerks, and Brooks is their primary apologist.
    Either way, reading / listening to Brooks is a waste of time and energy.

  8. If he doesn’t sell papers the Times will can him.
    I doubt this. They’ve made a point of courting conservative voices like Brooks and dreadful Douthat. They’re convinced it shields them from called “the liberal New York Times” or something.
    “Look – how liberal can we be? We publish idiots!”
    Although, seconding Virgotex, if I were Brooks’ editor I’d definitely call him into the office and say, “SANDRA FUCKING BULLOCK?!?”

  9. Okay, so I went and destroyed some brain cells by reading the full article. And, seriously, why on EARTH did he bring up Sandra Bullock? The point of his column seems to be that government should think about crafting their policies in a different way–rather than focusing on how to help people make more money, it should focus on helping people have more time to be with families. What does that have to do with Jesse James screwing a blabbermouth stripper?
    Never mind that Brooks’s mind would explode if government actually did, you know, fund programs that would help people have more free time to spend with families or engage in social activities.

  10. Let’s also keep in mind that Brooksie is lying his ass off when he says that “[m]arital happiness is far more important than anything else in determining personal well-being.” That’s true:for men. Single women generally do better on quality-of-life versus longevity scores every time. God, it’s almost like we live in a patriarchy, where women get the short and dirty end of a long and filthy stick almost every time.
    I know I’d be happier and healthier if I had someone managing my household, taking care of most of the chores, doing all the emotional heavy lifting in my relationship, and sacrificing their career so that I could get (further) ahead.

  11. I know I’d be happier and healthier if I had someone managing my household, taking care of most of the chores, doing all the emotional heavy lifting in my relationship, and sacrificing their career so that I could get (further) ahead.
    Damn, I really suck at wife. I don’t do any of that shit.

  12. I’d say we all just butt-out. We don’t know what really went down here. Sandra Bullock could have been an awesome wife, and this Jesse James guy can just be an over-privileged prick. Or it’s possible that they barely spoke two words together, this jesse james guy was just profoundly unhappy and chose the typical, passive-aggressive way to end a relationship. Either of these are completely possible, as is a full array of circumstances we can’t begin to imagine.
    We have enough people trying to score political points on other peoples problems. We have enough people without any psychological training trying to tell other people why people behave the way we do.

  13. fame is a bitch. um, if you marry a guy named jesse james, i think you gotta expect shit. and the slut was tattooed like the putz.

  14. In Brooks childish world men are never ever responsible for their own decisions and actions. They require never ending babysitting and coddling because they were not raised to be responsible adults.
    If Brooks was hoping to show marriage in a respectable light he failed. Playing nanny to an adult sized child is not marriage. It is adult day care, plain and simple.

  15. Pansypoo, wow – you’re blaming Sandra b/c she chose a guy w/the wrong name?
    Believe me – PLENTY OF GUYS w/”normal” names and not-so-avg names are Class A A-HOLES that present themselves in the BEST light as you are dating and only once it’s really serious and you have either signed a home lease w/them or married them…that they show their true colors. And this after they have put on their best behavior to your friends/family…
    Believe me, the a-hole I once dated and his brood of teen brats that I ended up having to play babysitter for (or risk them stealing my booze that even I was too tired to consume after commuting and working all day) b/c their ‘mother’ is Grade F FCUKUP herself all while holding my job together and trying to figure out just why the then-b/f couldn’t manage to call when he got done at the restaurant…
    So, gonna blame me b/c I believed the scheister and all of his wooing and good treatment of me and his ardent “I love you”/”…marry me…” talk – until I helped get him into a nicer home? If so, BITE ME! Had I known he was gonna go rogue on me – I wouldn’t have let him call me for a second date. And, funny enough – early on, I told him – if you are gonna screw around – don’t bother me now. And he said he wouldn’t – but he so did.
    Trust me, Sandra did NOT sign on for this.

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