Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Dumped Generation

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.


vanderleun said...

My thought on expressions as well as voice tone was that she is mannish where he is girlish. Except for the fact that of the two he's pretty unattractive on every level. At least the titular female has a future as an infertile sex toy.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

She is certainly carrying the largest toy in the video.

Dennis said...

I was thinking of calling the ASPCMI (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Musical Instruments" to send over one of their EMTs (Emergency Musical Techs) to conduct an intervention. That poor Bass Clarinet is surely moaning and the Harmonica is so withdrawn and tentative one wants to have compassion for their pain.
Maybe the best thing that can happen for the human race is that these two don't breed.

Dennis said...

Forgot to add: Think of the damage to future musical instruments. Though "Diana Moon Glampers" would thoroughly approve. Some how one wonders if these people are paving the way?

Sam L. said...

Life is hard. It's harder when you're stupid. Or obtuse. Or just not paying attention.

JPL17 said...

Ouch, that was painful to watch. Both of them were too old to have made such a foolish mistake. When you and your steady are both in your mid-twenties, and your significant other declares, "I want a big family," or "I'm never having kids" (or any other life-defining position), you need to take that person at his/her word. And if you can't live with that, you need to cut your losses ASAP. Otherwise the eventual breakup will only be exponentially more painful and damaging.

I certainly hope Jonathan and Ivory learn from their mistake. From the fact that they made that video, however, I'm pretty sure they haven't learned it yet.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I agree with you. When you recognize that you have made a mistake you try to put it behind you. You do not want the world to see you as the dolts who refused to respect each other's word.

DeNihilist said...

Well I think this explains pretty well everything.