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
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
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.