Tag Archives: rant

Are People Interchangeable? Musing on the Border Situation

Imagine you go to sleep one night with your beloved in the spot next to you. You’re comforted by your beloved’s familiarity — everything about this person feels known and predictable.

When you awaken the next morning, that person has been replaced by another. Different scent, different voice, different everything.

Would you notice?

are parents interchangeable

It’s absurd to think you wouldn’t.

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50% of X ends in Y

Do 50% of Marriages End in Divorce?

You might see this proclamation on the flap of a book about divorce. Or in a Facebook discussion about the fragility of marriage. Or on a flier for an infidelity support group.

That statement is one of the most pervasive statistics of our time. It is bandied about casually without thought or substantiation because, DUH, everybody knows it’s true.

But it’s the type of statement that is true only because everyone says it is.

A Process vs an Event

One problem with the statement is that it treats a 1-day and a 65-year marriage are as if they were the same. Kim Kardashian + Husband #2 are no different than Joanne Woodward + Paul Newman. Such a comparison equates 72 days to 18,072 days, which gives the former the heft to bring down the latter. If n = 2, and the two are Mr & Mrs Kardashian and Mr and & Mrs Newman, then yes, 50% of marriages end in divorce, even though there are eighteen thousand married days difference between them.

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Out of the Mouths of Experts; Out of the Mouths of Babes

Watching The Today Show with Grade Schoolers

We often have The Today Show on in the morning as my children and I get ready for our day. During the school year we get news stories during the 7 am hour, and during the summer we get features during the 8 or 9 am hours. Often, we are simply served interesting things to talk about — pop culture (“Mommy, why isn’t Miley Cyrus wearing pants?”), history (“The Queen was once the mother-in-law to the fairest princess in the land, but the prince preferred the lady he’s married to now”) and issues (“Yes, Big Gulp-sized sodas are not healthy for people. Do you think we should pass laws banning them? Or not?”).

Yesterday, The Today Show had its panel of experts taking questions from the audience. The panel consists of Star Jones, an attorney, Donny Deutsch, an advertising executive, and Nancy Snyderman, a physician. Al Roker plucked people behind the barriers on Rockefeller Plaza to ask questions like: why do men earn more than women, what is an appropriate age difference in dating, what is the best method for long-term birth control, and — double-take, did I hear that right?? — which is better, open or closed adoption?

Out-of-Their-Lane Experts

Let’s pause for a moment to ask ourselves why we would ask experts in law and medicine and advertising about income inequality, relationship advice and our sexual health (granted, Dr Snyderman gets a pass on the last one, but the other two panelists don’t). Are we so divorced from our own inner guidance that we must ask strangers with no better information than we have how to best conduct our lives? Melissa addressed this recently (and brilliantly) in the realm of parenting.

adoption by today show "experts"

Donny Deutsch, a 54 year-old advertising executive who has a 5 year-old daughter by a former girlfriend, was asked to tell us about the proper dating spread. Star Jones, who came in 5th place on Celebrity Apprentice, was asked to weigh in on socio-politicial issues. And Nancy Snyderman, a head and neck surgeon, was asked how The Pill compares to an IUD. Only the last pairing could claim any matchability between the topic and a panelist’s area of expertise.

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