Skip

Matrimonial Moneyball
September 7, 2011 11:52 PM   Subscribe

"Every Sunday, the New York Times publishes the wedding announcements of the most promising, wealthy, talented — and only very occasionally inbred — couples in the whole wide world. (Oddly enough, two-thirds of them hail from within a 30-mile radius of Manhattan.) If life is a contest, these people are already winning. But by how much, and in what order?"
posted by SkylitDrawl (67 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sadly on ice since 2006, Veiled Conceit was a deliciously snarky glimpse into that haven of superficial, pretentious, pseudo-aristocratic vanity: The NY Times' Wedding & Celebration Announcements.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:06 AM on September 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


- Someone's "previous marriage ended in divorce": -1 for each marriage
- The couple met while one or both were seeing other people: zero, or else way too many couples would be getting points.
- The couple met while one or both were married to other people: +1
- The article basically just comes right out and says that they were totally cheating on their spouses and then casually slips in a line like "three months later they again found themselves having dinner at Pastis, except this time they were both newly single" or something equally WTF: +3 (this is textbook Times, just wait.)
- The article has some sort of veiled but completely gratuitous BURN about an innocent ex: +5

posted by infini at 12:14 AM on September 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


A "van der": +2

Haha, I once had to come up with a fake name for work, they had me pretend to be an important client to show potential clients that we were most certainly not going bankrupt. My fake name was Cornelius Van Der Snoot. Do I get a +2?
posted by Ad hominem at 12:14 AM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


"After the wedding, they plan to move to Brattleboro, VT where they hope to start a goat farm. Their wedding registry includes goats and farming equipment. They said that they have received a 10-gallon milk can and three pledges of goats so far. They're also working on starting a tractor fund." +5

ok, gotta cut out finding the +5s and get back to work
posted by infini at 12:23 AM on September 8, 2011


By the way, the August leaderboard is here. The winners reaped a massive 24 points in the "Universities" category, thanks to undergraduate degrees from Harvard (bride) and Duke (groom), master's degrees from Oxford (both bride and groom), a PhD candidacy at Harvard (bride), a PhD from Oxford (groom), a Marshall scholarship (bride), and a Rhodes scholarship (groom). Damn do I feel uneducated.
posted by dersins at 12:44 AM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Damn do I feel uneducated.

On the flip side, I'd wager that you're a hell of a lot more fun to drink around.
posted by cmonkey at 12:55 AM on September 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dunno, the groom "is the author of The Heart and the Fist (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), a book about his Navy Seal experience" and all I can do is spill beer on people's pants.
posted by dersins at 1:08 AM on September 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


love these, thanks
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:15 AM on September 8, 2011


Yeah that is nuts, "He is also a Navy Seal lieutenant commander reserve officer stationed in Tampa" So he is a Navy Seal and a Rhodes Scholar. Being a Navy Seal has got to be worth a couple points.

Oh well I read The Lord of The Rings 37 times. beat that Navy Seal Rhodes Scholar guy. You can't can you. You were too busy being awesome.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:17 AM on September 8, 2011 [15 favorites]


The legal blog Above the law has a similar NYT wedding ranking column called Legal Eagle Wedding Watch that's pretty fun. It does the same basic make fun of the wedding section and rank who's more "prestigious" but only with the couples that have at least one lawyer.
posted by Arbac at 1:18 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Guy ruined it for me, Can't even read them and think lolrichpeople.

From the Amazon reviews of The Heart and the Fist:

"It is a riveting true life tale of a modern day renaissance man"

"While going to college then grad school, Greitens spends his summers helping others in China, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Bolivia. His eyes are opened by the great need of others around the world, and how by helping those in need, he could not prevent people from being victime of ethnic cleansing and other violence. Therefore he becomes a warrior by joining the Navy Seals. "

"This is the story of someone who accomplished more by the time he was 28 than most people do in a lifetime"

From the NYT Review

"Over the years Mr. Greitens would work in refugee camps in Croatia, visit aid projects in Rwanda and meet Mother Teresa in India."
posted by Ad hominem at 1:33 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Daaang, my husband and I get a 27 in my hypothetical announcement, and that's only fudging the weest bit! But, see, now I'm getting competitive... Why does he have to be related to Rochambeau and not, like, Louis XIV? Getting your head cut off totally trumps helping the US break away from England.
posted by Mooseli at 1:35 AM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


"This is the story of someone who accomplished more by the time he was 28 than most people do in a lifetime"

"Over the years Mr. Greitens would work in refugee camps in Croatia, visit aid projects in Rwanda and meet Mother Teresa in India."


If indeed Mr. Greitens is 28 in 2011 he would have been 14 in 1997, the year Mother Teresa passed from this earthly realm.

Amazing fellow this!

+25
posted by infini at 1:46 AM on September 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


According to the wedding announcement he is 37 now. Definitely +25 if mother Teresa was your BFF.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:59 AM on September 8, 2011


I got married a couple of weeks ago and we didn't bother with any public announcements. However, our designer has now moved on to his next job – taking pix of Lee Scratch Perry's current recording sessions – and one of Aphex Twin's lamp guys did our lights so +MonkeyFish points to us.

Suck it poshoes...
posted by i_cola at 2:11 AM on September 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


If indeed Mr. Greitens is 28 in 2011 ...

He isn't. He's 37 now.
posted by memebake at 3:18 AM on September 8, 2011


My wife (Morgan Fairchild) and I were married by Queen Elizabeth and Julius Caesar in Atlantis. My best man was Jehovah.
posted by maxwelton at 3:22 AM on September 8, 2011 [14 favorites]


There is nothing tackier on earth than the NYT wedding announcements. Nothing. Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman in blackface at a sorority "Relive Reconstruction!" party could not possibly be tackier.
posted by mediareport at 4:21 AM on September 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was totally going to send in an announcement for our (Toronto nobodies) wedding. I thought the homemade dress and cake and trip to the honeymoon via the subway would be a nice contrast. But I forgot.

Is it too late 6 years later?
posted by jb at 4:58 AM on September 8, 2011


An ex of mine got married recently, as did I. She had an NYT wedding announcement. Mine was in the Valley News, the local paper for the Upper Valley region of NH/VT.

I am glad we both found people we're more compatible with.
posted by SpiffyRob at 4:59 AM on September 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


This is so wonderful - i never knew about this secret world of hilarity!
posted by ukdanae at 5:18 AM on September 8, 2011


LOLhate. I know someone who had an NYT wedding announcement a few years back. They rate a 46 or so.
posted by wierdo at 5:24 AM on September 8, 2011


Oh, and only one of them ever lived in New York, and she left in the 70s.
posted by wierdo at 5:25 AM on September 8, 2011


Yeah, a good friend had one of those.

I still like my friend. I really thought nothing of it.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:29 AM on September 8, 2011


someone should invent a new word, ala santorum, to express the deep-gratification-in-the-feelling-of-contempt you get from reading the NYTimes Style section... it's my favorite section.
posted by ennui.bz at 5:32 AM on September 8, 2011


If life is a contest, these people are already winning.

Winning? They're not even playing the right game.
posted by straight at 5:40 AM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, someone's found the last conceivable reason why anyone would read the NYT, then?

(P.S. Krugman doesn't count--as far as I'm concerned, he's just hosted by them, probably by accident.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:43 AM on September 8, 2011


Ever since I was told that one of the requirements for submitting photos was that the couple's eyebrows line up across the photo, I can't look at the page without noticing the eyebrow effect. And the occasional photo in which the eyebrows *don't* line up.
posted by gingerbeer at 6:32 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the flip side, I'd wager that you're a hell of a lot more fun to drink around.

I don't know the groom in question, but dersins is pretty fun to drink with, or at least was in the late 90s.
posted by snofoam at 6:44 AM on September 8, 2011


Damn do I feel uneducated.

On the flip side, I'd wager that you're a hell of a lot more fun to drink around.


Eggheads are downers, maaaaaan.
posted by DU at 6:48 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


He who dies with the most toys wins.
I didn't know men read that stuff...I am not being snotty when I say this but I had thought women are the ones who go to this section since it is in a part of the paper labelled "Style."
posted by Postroad at 7:01 AM on September 8, 2011


I really don't get this.

Is the game supposed to be looking for ways people are exaggerating? Or how these people have defined their lives by a set of (previously) unwritten rules about where to go to school, where to work, and who to be descended from? How does one "win" while scoring these announcements?

Is this confusion how women feel when guys talk about Fantasy Football?
posted by I am the Walrus at 7:10 AM on September 8, 2011


Is the game supposed to be looking for ways people are exaggerating? Or how these people have defined their lives by a set of (previously) unwritten rules about where to go to school, where to work, and who to be descended from? How does one "win" while scoring these announcements?

I found this description in the last link in the FPP to be a fascinating take on the scoring and evaluation process:

Which couple best exemplifies both the unique spirit and impossible standards of everything the New York Times "Weddings/ Celebration" section stands for?

Back in the day I used a scoring-system metric originally devised by Alexis Swerdloff but I felt it needed a more modern update. This new and improved NUPTIALS (Names, Universities, Parents, Tropes, Identifiers, Avocations, Locales, and Special Situations) algorithm can be found below. (Further suggestions are always welcome.) By establishing in advance a robust quantifiable rubric I hope to remove the more easily triggered human elements — jealousy, rage, lack of productivity as I try to figure out if I went to field hockey camp with that girl — from this important analysis.


Apparently then the winners are those that match sets of criteria full laid out in the link and assigns points based on the continuum of how close it matches or not.

tl;dr Fantasy Fluffball
posted by infini at 7:15 AM on September 8, 2011


My best man was Jehovah.

Who were you witnesses?
posted by timsteil at 7:20 AM on September 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


So the NYTimes published my wedding announcement. Not only that, but Phyllis Nefler wrote about it and declared it that week's winner. I still have conflicted feelings about the whole thing.

We were unsure about submitting in the first place. I knew both Gawker and Above the Law were likely to write snarky comments and that the whole enterprise seems unbearably tasteless and self-promoting. What I didn't know was that they would fact-check the entire piece to the point of hilarity. When they decided to publish our announcement, they requested photographs of each diploma and confirmation from each religious officiant. It was far more scrutiny than anything related to weapons of mass destruction - and to show they meant it, they left off a degree because I didn't have a photo of the diploma, as it was somewhere at my parents house. Not that I care, but seriously NYTimes, wtf.

My wife thought it would be nice to change things up from the lily white marriages of Groom the IV and Bride von Olden Money. Not only are we an interracial couple, but we had a combined Jewish, Islamic, and Indian wedding. We figured it was not they type of marriage that is commonly represented in the mainstream and this was seen as a related effort to "queer" the institution. Which is a huge reason why we got married anyway. Which we were also both conflicted about. So we just threw ourselves into the endeavor, figuring that if we could mesh our feminism with an institution as regressive as marriage, we could do the same with the Times.

It's unclear we were right about that or anything, really. It turns out having religious ceremonies, despite not being believers, is taxing in ways I couldn't have imagined. In the end though, much like our marriage, getting in the Times made our parents happy. My roommate got a photo of his published in the Times. People from all over the country got back in contact with us after years of not talking. When we went to buy a house, the seller Googled our names, read the announcement, and thought we were a nice young couple and decided to work with us, despite the fact we were awful buyers and were generally not that nice. And we "beat" out John Kerry's daughter Vanessa, according to Nefler. She's a descendent not only of a US Senator and the Forbes family but of dead presidents and Boston Brahmins. My inlaws are immigrants from Mumbai, my father's ancestors fled Ukrainian shetls to become delicatessens. +1 for the new kids.
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:36 AM on September 8, 2011 [35 favorites]


Hmm, so we did not have a wedding announcement, but if we had we would have gotten 16 points. I'm being a little charitable there and assuming that my wife would make them mention that she's descended from inventorAlexander Lyman Holley Even though no one other than my wife really cares about that. To compensate my wife cares a lot, in the "demanding the family portrait of him when the grandparents die" kind of way.

Oh god, what am I go to do with an 19th century oil portrait of a dead inventor?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:38 AM on September 8, 2011


Ooo! I actually went out to Bessemer, PA to look at the (now heritage) first real Bessemer plant. I'll take the portrait, Bulgaroktonos!
posted by infini at 7:47 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, someone's found the last conceivable reason why anyone would read the NYT, then?

Since it's Thursday, you might take a look at the Fashion and Style section. It's not too good today -- it's "Fashion Week", whatever that means -- but in most weeks there are articles that either make you think "dude, this isn't news, I know people who have been doing this forever!" or "what the hell? people actually live like this?". Or both.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:08 AM on September 8, 2011


How Exotic! (+2): . . . Prince Edward Island . . .

Hear that? That's the sound of 10,000 potato farmers and 100,000 Japanese tourists clutching Anne of Green Gables souvenir tote bags all tilting their head at once in a gesture they're all too polite to describe as a WTF? nod.
posted by gompa at 8:18 AM on September 8, 2011 [2 favorites]




Or how these people have defined their lives by a set of (previously) unwritten rules about where to go to school, where to work, and who to be descended from?

Prosperity, my friend. The folks in the NYT Wedding Section are the Republican version of "the middle class". (That's the wealthy 1% to you and me.)

My half-brother, from my father's other family (long story), got a NYT wedding announcement.

It's funny how it's a tangible reminder of how very different my life might have been if my father had just remained in contact with our family. Note: I am truthfully not bitter. But sometimes stuff happens and you glance around and go "huh. So that's how that might have worked if only ...."
posted by anastasiav at 8:24 AM on September 8, 2011


So he is a Navy Seal and a Rhodes Scholar.

I, uh, once won an Andy Kaufman coloring contest at our local cinema.

* returns to crevice from which he emerged *


posted by everichon at 8:24 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


"This is the story of someone who accomplished more by the time he was 28 than most people do in a lifetime."

The boss battle of your 20s, someone once said, is learning how unimportant you really are.
posted by ellF at 8:30 AM on September 8, 2011 [14 favorites]


My Jewish wife wants to take my unusual but WASP last name.

I told her she was crazy.

But she's doing it anyway.
posted by Talez at 8:31 AM on September 8, 2011


Came to laugh at rich people, left with a Navy SEAL's book on my Amazon wishlist.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:18 AM on September 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


my father's ancestors fled Ukrainian shetls to become delicatessens.

Man - I knew Jews were versatile and into capitalism, but becoming a WHOLE STORE. Such naches!

Meh, boychick, that's nothing. He became a retail store. My uncle moishe became a wholesale warehouse.

Although, bubby, no-one in my family talks about the Kaporrah when my uncle zev heard "pisseria" instead of "pizzeria".

posted by lalochezia at 9:19 AM on September 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


MrMippy is the second man in his family to have his name, but being Scottish they don't go in for that Jr or Mippy Boyfriend II convention. Also, I went to a university in the UK equivalent of the Ivy League, but I've never even BEEN to New York. So alas, we cannot play. Even if we were getting married.

I think the UK equivalent are the birth announcements in the broadsheet papers. When I see 'Kayleigh-Jade, born in Rotherham General to her proud 16yr old mother Emma-Leigh', then I will know that we truly are in a classless society.
posted by mippy at 9:36 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the UK equivalent are the birth announcements in the broadsheet papers.

What about the obituaries? That's the local equivalent here in Singapore. Full page ads with the listing of every great great grand child and all the companies owned/chairmanned/or even better, vendors taking them out in honour of big boss's great grandmother's passing.
posted by infini at 9:42 AM on September 8, 2011


Suggested additions:

Under "the bride or groom is the descendant of someone noted",

Bride and groom are descendants of the same noted person: +2 (New England inbreeding bonus)
... same noted person, fewer than six generations back: +10 (British Royal Family bonus)
posted by zippy at 9:48 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


For my first marriage, we really wanted to be included in this (hey, we were young). We submitted, held our breaths... and succeeded (21 points). Except that at the time, if you were married on a Sunday evening, the Times wouldn't print your announcement in the big Sunday section. They put it in on Monday, near the crossword puzzle and the pets for sale classifieds or something, because they wouldn't risk time shifting the "news." So it was a bit of a disappointment.

Now we're divorced and remarried (sans NYT announcements), and because the clout of the Times is so big, that marriage announcement still shows up on the first page when you google me, no matter how many other things I do online. I simply can not make it go away. In retrospect, obviously we should have seen that Monday rule as a sign that we were doomed for failure.

tl/dr: Damn you, NYT Wedding Section!
posted by Mchelly at 10:19 AM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have to admit that I read them every week, obsessively, and I give credit for a few things they left out. These are some that come to mind:

Someone has appeared in another Times wedding announcement in the past

There is an obviously substantial disparity in education or social background, especially if the groom is blue collar and the bride is highly educated and/or rich

Wedding takes place at the Pierre or the equivalent

Any mention of Aspen, Colo., or Palm Beach, Fla., especially if wedding takes place there

The mother's occupation is not mentioned at all

A rabbi or cantor from Temple Emanu-el, Central Synagogue, Fifth Avenue Synagogue, Park Avenue Synagogue, Shearith Israel, etc., officiates

Obvious Jewish origins based on names etc. but a judge or mayor officiates
posted by knoyers at 11:39 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Since it's Thursday, you might take a look at the Fashion and Style section.

If you get a chance, watch Bill Cunningham New York, a hagiographic documentary about the NYT's oldest fashion photographer. The man's an ascetic saint of fashion - the documentary puts On The Street and After Hours in a whole new light.
posted by zamboni at 12:08 PM on September 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


The man's an ascetic saint of fashion...

i.e. he abstains from cocaine on the Sabbath and won't touch anyone under the age of 16.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:36 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sadly on ice since 2006, Veiled Conceit was a deliciously snarky glimpse into that haven of superficial, pretentious, pseudo-aristocratic vanity: The NY Times' Wedding & Celebration Announcements.

Oh man, this is hysterical. I am really sad that it seems locked past the first page. Any ideas, UbuRoivas?
posted by threeants at 3:39 PM on September 8, 2011


I have friends, at least one of whom is also a MeFite, whose wedding was announced in the Times. I just reread their announcement, and honestly? It just makes me smile. Their entire wedding weekend was lovely, our road trip there and back was great, and I'm pretty sure that was where my husband got the idea to propose to me. I also just last week bought a pillow from the hotel where we stayed that weekend, and it's pretty much cured my nighttime neck pain—I'm actually about to buy another for my husband. Long story short, my friends are awesome, and I have no complaints about their being in the Times wedding section.

The really funny thing: The people who met in class the first week of college and hated each other because they disagreed over something? That would be me and my friend. Heh.
posted by limeonaire at 5:47 PM on September 8, 2011


I enjoyed reading this . . . and it made me nostalgic for Spy Magazine.
posted by Toecutter at 5:59 PM on September 8, 2011


She lists Berkeley twice in the scoring for Universities. Hooray for being Demi-Elite (+2) and a Power-Hippie (+1)!
posted by hampanda at 6:10 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nicknames that abide by the Chip/Skip/Trip rule — "Chip" if he's named after his dad ("chip off the old block"), "Skip" if named for his grandfather ("skipped a generation"), or "Trip" if he's the third (also "Trey") — earn +3.

I had absolutely no idea of the meaning behind "Chip", "Skip" and "Trip", but then again, I'm a hick from Québec.
posted by maudlin at 7:01 PM on September 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Berkeley doesn't have hippies any more, though.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:22 PM on September 8, 2011


it's "Fashion Week", whatever that means

Fashion week seems to happen just about every other week. It means that it is impossible to go anywhere within a 5 block radius of Bryant Park unless you are fabulous. Here is how stupid it is: When I used to work near there, I had to elbow my way through the crowds to get to work. One time since I was smoking, carrying a coffee and sneering at everyone, paparazzi decided to start taking my picture. I still expect to find a picture of my angrily trying to get to work on the web.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:38 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Google your professors. Half of them will have NYT wedding announcements.
posted by ms.codex at 3:43 PM on September 9, 2011


Google your professors. Half of them will have NYT wedding announcements.

Really? I am a professor1 and somehow I can't imagine this as something most of my colleagues would do.

1. blah blah blah actually an adjunct but my students call me "professor" and I'm not going to stop them
posted by madcaptenor at 4:09 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Google your professors. Half of them will have NYT wedding announcements.

Might this not have more to do with where you went to school, rather than some inherent scholarly quality?
posted by zamboni at 3:24 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


My wedding was featured in Greenwich Magazine, but not without considerable embellishment from the editors. While my wife and I actually did a civil ceremony which we then registered at the US Embassy in Seoul (later celebrated with family and friends at a modest wedding hall), the article made it sound like we held the wedding ceremony at some gala fete at the Embassy, as guests of the Ambassador.
posted by holterbarbour at 1:53 AM on September 14, 2011


Nice to see Katie Baker, the author of the linked-to article, checked in on this thread. She referenced it in her new article: "Advice for Dads"

She quotes a heavily favorited comment above, saying:

"One MetaFilter commenter recalls that before his own announcement made its way into the pages, he received 'far more scrutiny than anything related to weapons of mass destruction — and to show they meant it, they left off a degree because I didn't have a photo of the diploma, as it was somewhere at my parents’ house. Not that I care, but seriously NYTimes, wtf.'"
posted by Jagz-Mario at 2:26 PM on September 21, 2011


Oh man, this is hysterical. I am really sad that it seems locked past the first page. Any ideas, UbuRoivas?

There are "Recent Posts" and "Archives" links on the LH side, although it seems you need to log in with either a Google or Blogger account to see them.

With a bit of googling you can get to a cached version but you get the sign-in page if you try to follow the links there, as well. WIth a bit more googling you might be able to find cached versions of other pages, but it's probably simplest just to sign up for a throwaway Google account...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:16 PM on September 21, 2011


Katie Baker performs a sabermetric analysis of the September announcements.
posted by grouse at 1:08 PM on October 3, 2011


« Older Buddy Holly, rock'n'roll specialist, turns 75   |   The Golden Laws of Prosperity Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post