I’m out

Today, this happened.

Basically, “studies” have shown that children who grow up in a married environment are more socially and mentally developed than those who are raised by single parents or raised by separated parents.

They go on to list factors, like the fact that single moms are statistically more likely to not have graduated university – which is an intellectual factor in the upbringing of their children. Or, that being around an environment of love and stability is more nurturing for the children.

As you can imagine, so many single moms and dads out there cried foul. But I’m going to cry foul on a different topic.

The most obvious one that I will rampage on about, is the fact that the news article boasted a more-or-less nuclear family as its head image. Oh look, a mommy and a daddy would be the ideal environment for socially and mentally “developed” children! But what if there are two mommys or two daddys? What if they loved each other intensely, not married, of course, because they can’t, but they’re together…would the children still be as socially and mentally “developed”? Now, the study has said nothing regarding a homosexual parent pairing, but you can’t help but get the feeling from this article (so published in ohoho The Herald Sun) that homosexual parents aren’t even going to be considered, cos we all know they’re going to raise socially delinquent and destroyed children anyway – much less socially and mentally “developed” children.

Secondly, what is with the statistic about college educated married mothers? The implication here, at least how I read it, seemed to be that a single mother became so because op, she got knocked up early on, deadbeat dad is never around to help, so she’s had to forsake education to care for her children. But are all single mothers like that? What if a woman wants a kid but just can’t find the right father? What if she’s got a freaking PhD but no ring on her finger? Would she be less likely to raise a socially and mentally “developed” child?

And what is “developed”? Why does it conjure the idea that children in a separated and non-nuclear family will be out in the Big World wondering, “gee, how do I love? I have never been around real lasting love before…how do I know if I am doing it right?”

I don’t know who did this “study”, but this is one of the most conservative and narrow-minded stories I have read in a long time that passes itself as social science.

Alex.

Advertisements

Keep it in the family

Today Mela and I went to see Crazy, Stupid Love together. It was the first time we went to see a movie together in the cinemas.

The movie was fantastic – and what else would you expect from Steve Carell? In an interview, he said that Ryan Gosling stole the show, but I think Carell still kept it his own. His comedic timing and facial expressions were still as on point as always. Julianne Moore kept up her end of the deal, portraying the infidel but regretting wife opposite Carell, mirroring his amazing skills. I have to say, though, spouse-wise, the chemistry between Fey and Carell in Date Night was much better.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s storyline was brought in almost as an afterthought – or so it appears at the start. But a twist in the plot – nothing Sixth Sense, don’t worry – saw that it was still brought together in a neat little bundle. Still, I feel that the structure could have inserted Stone and Gosling’s storyline a lot sooner, but as it were, it wouldn’t have made sense to do so.

It was a sweet movie, with the obligatory heartstring tugging declaration of love. The difference to the usual rom-com is that the main declaration was done indirectly over the phone in a manner more fitting for a couple who’s been married for 25 years. Nonetheless, the second declaration was done in front of a huge crowd with the cheesy “I should have fought for you” idea – I suppose there has to be a cliche moment somewhere.

In all, it was a very enjoyable film where the subplots were all brought together in one big climax. I would highly recommend seeing it, although perhaps not on the Xtremescreen – it costs too much.

Alex.

Sniffing bottled you again

[Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown On A Bad Bet (Does Your Husband Know?) – Fall Out Boy]

So here’s an unpopular opinion that I only recently came to start mulling over: why bother fighting for gay marriage?

Aaaaand elaboration.

Most of my arguments here will be based on reading of Michael Warner’s The Trouble With Normal (The Free Press, 1999), especially Chapter 3: ‘Beyond Gay Marriage’. Yes, it came as a result of my paper for Sex and the Screen, and I might be reiterating many of my arguments from the paper, but at least here I’m not restricted from rambling.

To very much summarize Warner’s points, the crux of the argument is that marriage itself is an exclusive and discriminatory institution – that it exists purely because it needs something to be compared against. By having a “married” status, there is automatically a “not married” status, because otherwise what separates a married couple from an unmarried? So, right now there is much campaigning for equal rights, such as the right to marry for gays, but Warner points out that if these campaigns were ever met, another group of “unmarried” would appear to contrast the new “gay and married”.

And then we’d go through it all over again. Equal rights for the “new gay”! Maybe they’re sexual dissidents; standing outside of whatever the new sexual norm is – maybe they like tying each other up. And why does that make them illegible for marriage? They can tie each other up in the privacy of their own home, they’re consenting, right? It’s not like they’re tying you up or teaching your kids how to tie each other up. Every year they’ll have a pride march where all these people who are tied up roll down the street, and they’ll pass by the front lawn of this lovely and upstanding lesbian couple, who would subtly try to cover their sperm-donor kid’s eyes because they’re secretly ashamed of what society has become these days. Ugh, can you believe that my child’s teacher was caught with bondage equipment in the trunk of his car? Parked in the very carpark that Jimmy walks through! The nerve!

So right now we’re all fighting for equality – to be equal, or the same, as all these lucky heterosexual people. We’re trying so freaking hard to clamber onto that same step so that we can see the same view and have the same tax breaks, but boy is that step small; boy is that step a fragile and, well, intangible ideal. The very institution of that little step will be destroyed if we let too many people step on it, so we can’t possibly let everyone step on it – someone has to be left on a lower landing so that we can look down at them and say, hey, you should probably try to reach where we are because up here it’s so much better.

Is it really better up there? You look down at your feet and realize that you’re not actually standing on a step, you’re standing on the expense of someone else.

Wow, you’re wearing a ring on your left ring-finger, when did you get married?
Oh, no, I just like wearing a ring on this finger.
Hmm, maybe you should change fingers, after all, we don’t want someone to think you’ve achieved a right when really you haven’t.
But I just like wearing this ring on this finger, my girlfriend gave it to me and I like it.
Oh, so you’re gay? You really shouldn’t wear the ring there, then, lest someone mistakes you for being straight and married. Only they get to wear the ring like that, you know.

So what is my ultimate point? That gays should stop wanting to get married and get equal rights? Kind of, but not really. Call me crazy, and I’m sure I won’t be able to stand my ground should floods of critical comments pour in, but I feel like the whole idea of marriage should just be demolished with a jackhammer and chalked up as a really bad phase that humanity went through. Lots of people say that the reason they choose to get married is because they love each other – and that’s perfectly fine and romantic, but do you really need a piece of paper to remind you that it’s true? You love each other so love each other together, ceremony or not. Oh, right, but you need it to be official and permanent, because if it’s not, the law doesn’t see you as one entity. That’s why I say scrap the whole marriage thing – if two people actually love each other enough to not want anyone else, they should just start loving each other together whenever they feel like it, and banks and courts and schools and hospitals should just say “oh, cool, good for you”.

Oh my, look how I’ve simplified this argument. But where is the religion in all this mix? Marriage is an institution based on the fundamental beliefs of…that’s great, I’m slightly envious that you can have so much faith in something you cannot perceive. If you believe so firmly that a ceremony is the way to officiate your love for each other, then by all means get a bunch of your family and friends together, dress up, say a few words, and have a mad party afterwards where everyone makes speeches. But let’s not make that ceremony the necessity for two people to be recognized as a legitimate couple, okay?

I think I’ve been sufficiently sarcastic and condescending. I’ll stop now.

Alex.

These Words Are My Heart And Soul

[With Me – Sum 41]

Congratulations Ula! Beautiful beautiful girl.

Some readers may remember that around this time last year I posted “A Beautiful Dream Come True“. Well, on Sunday the 24th of January, 2010, my awesome friend Ula wedded her husband (wow) Vlad.

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Protassow, may your lives together be as blessed and beautiful as your story of meeting and proposal!

Alex.

P.S. Thank you Whitty for the photo.

A Wonderful Dream Come True

Aw shucks, why not? I can have dreamy moments (stolen off Bee) every now and then.

I was actually wondering what I should title this awesome blog when I remembered talking to Carmaine about it last night, and her saying “I could always dreeeeeam”. And so I suppose this is a dream come true for my friend. Apologies in advance to Bee for nicking that title, and to Ula, in case you didn’t want me to spread it around. But seriously. It’s awesome!

To catch my readers up, Ula is a friend of mine from my previous school, Brentwood. I know I should censor her name but meh. Anyway, last year (2008 – oh ha if I close the bracket straight after 8 it becomes a smiley face) she came to MacRob, and as I was taking her around on her orientation day, seeing as I know her, she told me that she’s dating a guy so awesome that they’re going to get married. I was really stunned, and for about an hour afterwards I kept on asking her questions and planning out small details of her wedding (girly moments are totally allowed) and generally shaking my head and saying “oh my god wow”.

Ula left our school at the end of 2008, and is going to another that offers VCE 3/4 subjects that she wants (I think music centric). It was a pity she left our school. I’m back to being the only Brentwoodese. Another reason I’m annoyed her is the following:

After finding out she left, I called her to warn her to tell me when Vlad proposes, which he will before January is over, Ula had said. They’d wanted their wedding to be right after she turns 18, in early 2009. Ula in turn promised to tell me when it happens.

Last night, I was online with Julia and Carmaine, and out of the blue Ula pops up and says, “Hey I know you told me to tell you when it happens. Well it’s a day late…but Vlad and I are now officially engaged.”

My classy reply was, “OMG OMG OMG AHHHHHHHHHHH OMG OMG TELL ME EVERYTHING!”

I was actually physically scream-whispering “AHHHHH” and laughing and everything. I told Carmaine immediately, and in my haste to read what Ula was writing, I made a huge typo. Carmaine asked me what I’d written. I re-wrote it, apologizing for my excitement. She said, “I can usually understand your typos; you must be REALLY excited.”

I don’t know if Ula would want me to post how he did it? Actually, I don’t even know if I should post the fact at all. But I’m sure she must be so over the moon right now that she’d want EVERYONE to know. Well, I made a small dedication to her on my display name, and in turn 3 or 4 people immediately asked me, “Oh my gosh, is Ula getting married?” So I suppose the word is going to spread anyway.

It’s rather the awesome to be thinking that one of my friends is ENGAGED, to be MARRIED, and I can refer to him as her FIANCE. Julia remarked that I was so excited when one friend got engaged, what would happen if all my friends got engaged at once?

Okay, so maybe there is such a thing as “true love” and some of us are just lucky, to be able to find it so early on in our lives (considering Ula’s previous boyfriend was a douche…oh wait…I wonder if his girlfriend reads this?) and to be so happy and to be living that dream that I’m sure all normal girls have had (note: normal – and April don’t you dare correct me by saying “note: girl”).

The point is, the second reason I’m annoyed at her for leaving was because I’d envisioned him proposing at the Yr 12 formal for MacRob. Or at least I’d get to see her flaunt her engagement ring. But noooo.

Congratulations, Ula and Vladimir (did I spell his name right?). Or should I say Soon-To-Be-Mr-And-Mrs-Protassow?

Keep Cool (and believing in love)

D.F.