Remember their names, for the next fifteen minutes, at least: Jonathan Mann and Ivory King.
What did they do to gain fame?
They broke off their five year relationship because they could not agree on procreating: he wanted children; she did not.
End of relationship.
Then, Jonathan and Ivory made a Youtube video to announce the bad news to their friends, family and the world at large. It is clever and touching, a defining moment for the dumped generation.
To put it in perspective, Taylor Swift has cornered the market in dumped music. Swift has turned her many failed relationships into material for her music. Considering how much money she has made, one must conclude that she has captured a cultural moment.
Unfortunately, the often sensible Camille Paglia has just denounced Taylor Swift as a throwback to the big, bad 1950s.
Actually, Paglia is wrong on this one. I know, it happens so rarely. Swift has dealt with her anguish by metamorphosing into the world’s youngest cougar. She has been preying on eighteen year old boys, one of them a high school junior.
It makes sense. If older men dump you, you can date younger men so that you can feel like you are in control. You will be the dumper, not the dumped.
Good luck with that.
If Swift believes that her new strategy will bring her closer to a good relationship, she is fooling herself. At least, she will be able to get richer trying.
Taylor Swift is much more modern and much more liberated than Paglia imagines.
Now the internet is cheering Jonathan Mann and Ivory King. They broke up in such a mature, intelligent way. Among the dumped generation this is apparently noteworthy.
Better yet, they made it all into art… or into something that resembles art.
Many feminist commentators are thrilled to their lady bits that Ivory did not cave in to societal pressure and grace their love with a child.
When a woman sacrifices a good and loving relationship for the cause, feminists stand up and cheer.
Allow me to point out that a failed relationship is a failed relationship, no matter how well you can sing and dance to it. A failed relationship is a trauma, a little like dying. It’s nothing to cheer about. Traumas affect the way you conduct your relationships in the future. Witness Taylor Swift.
As it happens both Ivory and Jonathan had taken their stands on procreation five years ago, when they first started dating. Each believed that the other would cave. Neither did. Their relationship died and they made it into a catchy tune.
One might say that the fault was mutual. Neither believed what the other was saying, so each pretended that the other was neither saying what he or she meant, nor meaning what he or she said.
They were acting as though their words were poetry.
For their pains they have inflicted unnecessary psychological damage on each other. They ought not to be proud and ought not to be applauded.
If they had had sufficient respect for each other or themselves they would not have pursued the relationship for five years, building a life together, having many mutual friends.
They are not just hurting themselves; they are also hurting family and friends.
I agree that the song is charming; the performance is moving.
And yet, if you look closely, Ivory King’s face looks numb. At 31 she is too young for Botox, but she looks like she had it anyway.
Jonathan King’s face is expressive. Ivory King’s is not.
It's not a sign of confidence or even a sign that she has fully grasped the consequences of what she is doing.
When a generation of young women chooses to delay marriage many young people get dumped more than they should.
One understands that they would want to see how to do it in a mature fashion, without drama and without any excessive pain.
Yet, publicizing it identifies you both as stubborn failures. It does not make the pain go away.
For my part I would counsel discretion. As Falstaff put it: "The better part of valor is discretion." Turning your trauma into art might make you an internet celebrity, but it does not bode well for your future romance. Unless of course you are Taylor Swift and delude yourself into thinking that being older and richer puts you in control.