Misunderstandings of the Institution of Marriage Throughout History

Image courtesy of fox10phoenix.com (Disclosure: I’ve met the couple, and they’re awesome.)

With Friday’s overturning of Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage by U.S. District Judge John Sedwick, reactions were mixed. Progressives hoping to celebrate love between those of the same gender embraced their right to marry their partners; others, not so much.

The Arizona Catholic Bishops fall into the latter camp. Along with grim reaper Governor Jan Brewer, they expressed their disappointment through hate-based rhetoric:

“A recent court ruling has overturned Arizona’s law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Today’s action overturns the will of Arizona voters and reflects a misunderstanding of the institution of marriage.”

This got me to thinking: what IS the misunderstanding of the institution of marriage? What IS the institution of marriage? Let’s take a trip through history!

According to The Week, some of the first instances of marriage “began in the Stone Age as a way of organizing and controlling sexual conduct and providing a stable structure for child-rearing and the tasks of daily life.” Sounds similar to current marriage–control of sexual conduct included (AMIRITE LADIES SHAMED INTO UNCOMFORTABLE STUFF?). The Mesopotamians 4,000 years ago practiced marriage as a way to “primarily as a means of preserving power, with kings and other members of the ruling class marrying off daughters to forge alliances, acquire land, and produce legitimate heirs.” How romantic!

So women had little power over their romantic destinies even back then, treated as property to be bartered in exchange for land and family power. And I bet feminist critics were subjected to the their modern equivalent of #gamergate.

Other cultures found ways to put their spin on the sacred act. “The ancient Hebrews, for instance, engaged in polygamy — according to the Bible, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines — and men have taken multiple wives in cultures throughout the world, including China, Africa, and among American Mormons in the 19th century. Polygamy is still common across much of the Muslim world.”

And then the church got involved to fun things up! The Week notes that Roman “church courts took over and elevated marriage to a holy union. As the church’s power grew through the Middle Ages, so did its influence over marriage. In 1215, marriage was declared one of the church’s seven sacraments, alongside rites like baptism and penance.” So there’s that marriage guilt sorted.

BUT! Same-sex unions were happening while the church was all “it’s holy, dammit!” Again, from The Week:

Same-sex unions aren’t a recent invention. Until the 13th century, male-bonding ceremonies were common in churches across the Mediterranean. Apart from the couples’ gender, these events were almost indistinguishable from other marriages of the era. Twelfth-century liturgies for same-sex unions — also known as “spiritual brotherhoods” — included the recital of marriage prayers, the joining of hands at the altar, and a ceremonial kiss. Some historians believe these unions were merely a way to seal alliances and business deals. But Eric Berkowitz, author of Sex and Punishment, says it is “difficult to believe that these rituals did not contemplate erotic contact. In fact, it was the sex between the men involved that later caused same-sex unions to be banned.” That happened in 1306, when the Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II declared such ceremonies, along with sorcery and incest, to be unchristian.

The idea of monogamy is a recent one, and love and romance even more recent. And the combination of religion, love and romance were likely to keep the kibosh on same-sex marriage until the 20th century. Once again, from The Week:

For thousands of years, law and custom enforced the subordination of wives to husbands. But as the women’s-rights movement gained strength in the late 19th and 20th centuries, wives slowly began to insist on being regarded as their husbands’ equals, rather than their property. “By 1970,” said Marilyn Yalom, author of A History of the Wife, “marriage law had become gender-neutral in Western democracy.” At the same time, the rise of effective contraception fundamentally transformed marriage: Couples could choose how many children to have, and even to have no children at all. If they were unhappy with each other, they could divorce — and nearly half of all couples did. Marriage had become primarily a personal contract between two equals seeking love, stability, and happiness. This new definition opened the door to gays and lesbians claiming a right to be married, too. “We now fit under the Western philosophy of marriage,” said E.J. Graff, a lesbian and the author of What Is Marriage For? In one very real sense, (author Stephanie) Coontz says, opponents of gay marriage are correct when they say traditional marriage has been undermined. “But, for better and for worse, traditional marriage has already been destroyed,” she says, “and the process began long before anyone even dreamed of legalizing same-sex marriage.”

So marriage, an ever-changing institution that was shaped to fit the whims of those in power, is now considered misunderstood because of the ban of a 1996 state law and 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment. Makes sense if you enjoy being on the wrong side of history. For all the hand-wringing from those that long for traditional values regarding marriage, their desire is like rolling back things to the days where they would likely hate being subjected to the same things they’re currently longing for. Sounds like they’re misunderstanding the concept of marriage as well. And I think its evolving form is just fine, as it now (slowly) including those of the same gender.

TAKEN Sequels!

tak3n

Image courtesy of techmymoney.com

  • T4KEN ON ISIS – Liam Neeson singlehandedly beheads the Islamic State. Special appearances from President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron.
  • TAK5N IT 2 TH3 STR33TS – Liam Neeson singlehandedly helps a dance crew save a rec center from a murderous billionaire. Costarring Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones and Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers as the wizened street dancers, and Mitt Romney as the murderous billionaire.
  • TAKEN PART 6 – Liam Neeson reenacts the movie Leonard Part 6–but with more death. A sitting Bill Cosby costars.
  • LUCKY NUMBER 7AKEN – Liam Neeson takes on crime bosses The Rabbi and The Boss, but with more antisemitism and murder. A comatose Josh Hartnett and paycheck-counting Sir Ben Kingsley costar.
  • T8KEN A BREAK – Liam Neeson goes undercover as a black female housekeeper in police chief Carl Kanisky’s home while investigating his daughter’s murder. Joey Lawrence costars, with a special appearance from the ghost of Nell Carter.

Mario Lopez is Shockingly Truthful

Seen in a BART station in San Francisco:

mario-lopez-worst

Sometimes the best acting is stripping away the veneer of falsity.

What Friendship Means to Me

Imaage courtesy of jumbledstuff.wordpress.com

I’m finding that as I approach the midpoint of my 30s, I am feeling more isolated. Peers are getting married, having kids, venturing deep into romantic relationships and/or consuming free time with hobbies. As a single, childless vagabond, this means that former BFFs, friends and associates are falling by the wayside–efforts to connect be damned, attempts to message ignored, and pushes to be on their minds brushed aside.

Naturally, this hurts. While I am an introvert, that need for quiet and solitude does not mean that I don’t crave social interactions with friends, that I don’t feel slighted when I’m not included in others’ plans. And I’m finding myself increasingly on the sidelines as I age–a footnote in friends’ lives as they fill their time with other people and activities. In turn, this leads to an ever-increasing effort to shield myself from rejection, holing myself inside so that I don’t feel the sting of putting myself out there.

That surplus of alone time has led me to contemplate a lot of things in my life, and one of those things is how I see friendship. As I take myself (sometimes too) seriously, my standards for friendship may be unattainable. Here are my insane requirements:

  1. Humor me if I make an effort to make plans to get together
  2. If spending time with me is not appealing, let me know via awkward exchange(s)
  3. Keep me in mind for things that can be shared experiences–especially based upon past outings

That’s it. And that’s expecting too much if my experiences and continued frustration lead me to believe.

I’ve seen too many friends fall by the wayside, too many supposed close compatriots permanently bail over slights (not dogsitting for a weekend despite living 45 minutes away, admitting that the brother of a friend was rude, mysterious reasons), and too many people rip my heart out and toss it carelessly in the trash. It’s no secret that dating is that much more daunting if not answering a simple Facebook message feels like the end of the world–let alone learning that I missed out on a get-together with mutual friends.

Maybe this is all on me. Maybe I deserve to be friendless at this point.  I’m certainly laying the groundwork–or rather, demolishing the roadways–to my isolated island. Maybe I’m too far gone. I know that my sensitivity is a culprit in always feeling heartbroken when I see my supposed friends having fun without me. Maybe there’s no winning with me.  But it would be nice to have someone supporting me in the trenches, even if I’m digging an impenetrable one around myself.

Blake Shelton’s Pizza Hut Ads Are Creepy

One of the positives of having email is occasionally getting bizarre targeted ads spammed in your inbox. As sexually suggestive as that may sound, most of the messages are for daily deal sites, department stores and electronics–nary a sexy store in the bunch.

But Pizza Hut saw that as a challenge, and boy did they deliver the creepy, sexually explicit goods. BOY, DID THEY.

Their collaboration with country music star Blake Shelton was innocent at first, with genial shots and mentions of the musician spliced with pics of Pizza Hut’s signature greasy pies. Delivered from Blake’s supposed email address (Blake.Shelton@pizzahut.com) (!), we learned of his exclusive videos and the backwoods BBQ-inspired pizza flavors.

blake-pizza2 blake-pizza

But the public’s attention span is fleeting, and so Pizza Hut upped the attention-seeking ante with their latest in Blake-ness. This static image is innocuous enough:

blake-shelton-pizza-hut

 

But if you got it in your email inbox, boy, did Blake want to GET it–GIF STYLE:

blake-shelton-fingering

Basically, Blake Shelton wants to finger your pizza. AND HE’S A MARRIED MAN.

I passed this around to a few friends, and Jason Statham sociologist/Jon Hamm biographer “Arran” pointed out a creepy similarity to a famous, creepy landmark: the Whitcoulls Santa Claus statue in Auckland, New Zealand:

whitcoulls-santa

“But that’s Santa! Santa’s not creepy!” you cry out. But THIS Santa’s gonna MAKE you cry:

So take heed, Pizza Hut, as your hillbilly spokesman is now synonymous with a sexually deviant Santa, as both want to touch your naughty bits. Think about that, pizza eater, when you’re toweling off the grease from your Smokehouse BBQ pizza. The same pizza that Blake Shelton probably fingered.

Spotify Wants You to NEVER FORGET

September 11: a day that will live in infamy in American history. It is also (one of) the (many) day(s) where corporations break out their somber platitudes and Photoshop art and post them on their social media accounts.

So while your eyes are mourning the events of 9/11, what about your ears? Well don’t worry: Spotify’s got you covered with their “In Remembrance” playlist!

spotify-911

WOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Be the hit DJ at YOUR 9/11 party with this bangin’ playlist! Groove to “Empire State of Mind” while reminiscing about the two towers crumbling! Trade stories with friends about where YOU were when you learned about the Pentagon strike while coincidentally listening to “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).” And stimulate your earholes with the brooding sounds of Bruce Springsteen via “The Rising” AND “Lonesome Day”!

Never forget… to have the best 9/11 playlist ever!

WOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

WOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

How Are YOU Celebrating Labor Day?

how are you celebrating labor day

Julia Roberts Wants Money, You Guys.

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BOLD FLAVOR Country

Ferguson. The beheading of James Foley. The shocking death of Robin Williams. The inexplicable popularity of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The news has been filled with depressing stories the last few weeks. And while the media has saturated everyone’s sad receptors, they can’t affect the people’s need for BOLD flavors.

Say WHAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTT???????????????????????

Unlike those corporate media shills behind most of what you read, watch and listen to, the corporate shills at Chili’s know that you want BIG, BOLD FLAVOR. And DAMMIT, they’re gonna shove it down your gullets–whether you like it or not. (Probably not.)

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Promising “BIG, BOLD FLAVOR INSIDE,” the monstrosity in your visage is the result of several bad decisions–from the licensing of your mediocre uncle’s favorite restaurant name and logo, to the third-party manufacturing assassin (Bellisio Foods) contracted to combine several unholy chemicals and bits of plastic in the BOLD box, to the food’s name and unwitting customers that purchase the grotesqueness that will detonate in their stomachs. (In my defense, I had a coupon for a free one.)

And everyone lost. EVERYONE. Would you consider THIS to be a victory for anyone involved?

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At this point, the only BOLD thing visible from my jaded point of view was the dupe job done on consumers (me). I knew that I was not going to experience fine cuisine, but the extent to which Chili’s sucked up to those actually expecting their taste buds to be tickled by the flavors they love (?) in a convenient, frozen option was as disgusting as the hard bits of chicken contained within.

I won’t bore you with the laborious details of the cooking process, the mediocre, questionable flavors hyped as BOLD, or the strange spiciness that could not be traced to any specific seasoning(s). The takeaway from this ill-advised excursion into BOLD FLAVOR country can be seen on the back of the box.

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It’s like Chili’s is DARING you to either give the product the Mystery Science Theater 3000 snark treatment or saddle up to the worst pandering since the XTREME!!!!!!!!!!!! marketing panic of the ’90s. “LIVE BOLD” by ingesting the “most outrageous taste sensations” to be dreamed up by a multi-million dollar corporation eager to take your money in the most absurd way possible. Satiate those “adventurous taste buds” by sending them “on a flavor mission” to the toilet in the blandest, yet most excruciating journey since the newest Taylor Swift video assaulted your senses. Lament the “BOLDEST” of “Bold Flavor” that you even pretended to crave as its aftertaste lingers long after you wondered whether the life mistakes that led to the intermingling of tongue and mimicry of “cajun-style” were just. For “more LIFE” might have happened, but the build-up to that BOLD nature might be the biggest letdown of all if it was anticipated to meet any of those objectives.

Oh marketing. May you always be the pathological liar friend of the corporate dickbag.

 

“Writer Needed For Support Community for Affluent Individuals”

money fight

Image courtesy of keithrlaskey.com

Being wealthy and being oblivious may not be one and the same, but the wealthy can be oblivious, and being oblivious can come from having class advantages.  Anyway, these glimpses into the aloofness into the human psyche came from two sources in the past 12 hours, and in a time where foreign war zones were mirrored in Ferguson, MO, and the US economy is still struggling to climb back to pre-recession numbers, it’s still shocking to see such moronicness.

The first, an “UNPOPULAR OPINION” column from XOJane.com writer Jessica Slizewski, chided college-goers about being fiscally irresponsible for not attending school near their homes and living at home. She takes learners to task for wanting to study liberal subjects and rack up student loans, and she pats herself on the back for not taking out student loans. Here’s an example of her crass chicanery:

I distinctly remember asking my friend how he would pay off the roughly $70,000 debt he would incur to obtain a major in Ancient Greek and Latin at a liberal arts college in the Midwest. His answer? A simple shrug and flippant “It’s not something I have to worry about right now — hopefully they’ll be forgiven by the government.” Now that he’s still waiting tables four years after graduation, I’d say it’s well past time to start worrying.
I can’t pretend I completely understand how these people feel after the fun is over and the repayments begin, but I can say that I really don’t feel bad for them.
Why not? Because I worked hard to avoid taking out loans. My wonderful parents and grandmother helped me pay for my education, but in the end, it was a few decisions I made that saved me the burden of borrowing money I would never have been able to pay back. Unlike the majority of my friends who went to schools less than an hour from their parents’ homes and chose to live on campus rather than commute, my college roommates were named Mom and Dad. I chose state schools that were half, sometimes one-quarter, of the cost of the schools my friends were attending and worked a part-time on-campus scholarship job in addition to full-time hours at my retail job.

*slow clap*

The second reminder of the high horse mentality that affects the naive came in the form of a Craigslist ad seeking a writer to ghostwrite blogs for wealthy Portland community members hoping to document the plights of being rich. ESSENTIALLY, they want someone to scribe “WAAAAHHHH, I’M RICH!” 

A sample:

The focus of the community is providing psychological support for the problems money brings — family tensions, unfulfillable expectations, boredom, etc. To do this you must be intimately familiar with the problems faced by wealthy people.

I wanted to punch my computer to make the ad stop.

But then I got a better idea: humor. Why not make fun of this insipid shit?

So I responded to the Craigslist ad with a serious inquiry–mixed with quotes lifted from the XOJane.com article.

TADAH!

I am interested in the ghostwriting position for the affluent community. I have a writing background from years of professional experience, and I have a moneyed ancestry.

My father is…a Wall Street banker. I’m…a member of the so-called “1 percent.” Because I was lucky to have been born into wealth, my wonderful parents and grandmother helped me pay for my education. I attended a private university in the middle of a cornfield with a tuition price of about $36,000 a year, and I shouldn’t have to feel ashamed of that. Like many in the community I imagine,  I graduated college without student loans.

You might be asking why I would want to take a low-paying Craigslist job. It’s not for the money; I have more than I need. I also have plenty of time on my hands.  For too long, we have been made to feel ashamed of our advantages. And you shouldn’t feel that you’d done anything differently. I can bring pride to these newsletters, as I do not have qualms about my advantages. Neither should the similarly wealthy.

I’ve had the traditional leisure activities like drawing, but a few were rather unusual — beekeeping, winemaking, beer brewing, and pretending to make merkins out of the hair the dog was shedding. I guess that’s what happens when you opt for the cheap route.

ut this writing opportunity is a challenge: to channel my knowledge of my peers into something relatable. While I’m not even going to pretend to feel sorry for my friends who moan about the financial crunch, it doesn’t mean that we can’t feel that you get what you pay for.

I’d say it’s well past time to start worrying about offending the 99 percent because I can’t pretend I completely understand how these people feel, but I can say that I really don’t feel bad for them. We need to talk about how WE feel, and I can do that for you–

I can provide references and samples upon request.

 I can only hope that the wealthy and the unpopular were equally represented in their repugnantness.

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