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October 27, 2013 3:52 AM   Subscribe


 
if natural birth didn't exist: "...and after 9 months of puking and being on an emotional roller coaster, you will cut me up if I don't force it out of my vagina?!"
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:22 AM on October 27, 2013


[One comment deleted; this thread isn't an invitation to start linking to sexist stuff.]
posted by taz at 4:25 AM on October 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


On the one hand, marriage has always struck me as a weird institution that society tries to brainwash you into, and that has weird religious undertones no matter how secular you make it...and that has lost much of its significance now that people basically get married and divorced at the drop of a hat...

OTOH, health insurance.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 4:27 AM on October 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Debating whether to send this to my daughter, who is getting married next year...
posted by sfts2 at 4:57 AM on October 27, 2013


Debating whether to send this to my daughter, who is getting married next year...

DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!!!!
posted by spoobnooble II: electric bugaboo at 5:06 AM on October 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the rituals we go through are admittedly weird. I had a professor, though, who said that we sort of need ritual to help us with the big major transitions sometimes. She said that she actually felt palpably different after going through the ritual of a wedding - and argued that it was because we've all societally and psychologically attached "if you go through this you are now a married person" import to those specific actions. And that actually reminded me of a line from the play Our Town - where The Stage Manager comments of all the guests at a wedding that all the town's women were "standing shoulder to shoulder and making sure that knot's tied in a mighty public way." The bride and groom aren't the only ones who have to go through the ritual necessarily.

This isn't to say that every wedding has to be the huge affair and you have to have a hundred people there or whatever. But a lot of people do often feel like doing something helps them wrap their brain around the fact that "holy hell, I'm a married person now".

It strikes me that this act is a bit different from whether marriage should exist as an institution, and is instead an observation on how those rituals are awfully weird.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:27 AM on October 27, 2013 [15 favorites]


lol'd mightily, although, i wish one of the punchlines wasn't in the title of this post...
posted by nadawi at 6:43 AM on October 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you think this ritual is odd, trying being the guy asking his future father in law for permission to schtupp his daughter for the rest of her life.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:04 AM on October 27, 2013


Meanwhile, this is an actual conversation I had yesterday with a friend that I don't see much since he had a kid. We were both hanging out at the same place yesterday--he was teaching a class, I was working on stuff for mine. He came up to me with a Mobius ring he had just made* to show it off. Followed up by, "I got married."

I was all, "Congratulations! I bet you eloped and then went off to make the rings."

"Correct!" Because I know the dude and that would be the priority here.

* I told him he needs to make more and sell them, but he wasn't interested! Darn it.

I somehow doubt ritual makes a big whoop for that dude, especially since he's already done everything else but make it legal first.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:05 AM on October 27, 2013


people basically get married and divorced at the drop of a hat

People say this a lot. I would like to see someone who says this get married for no reason at all since it's not a big deal at all.

Similarly, I would like to be standing behind protective glass watching while someone says to my brother (who is mid-divorce right now) that marriage is merely a societal contract that has lost most of its significance and divorce is something you can do "at the drop of a hat."

It's a bit like adorable people who insist that the breakup of the their live-in relationship was "pretty much exactly like a divorce, 'cause that was basically a marriage." Uh huh, and yet, you didn't get married. Because somehow it was not the same thing to you.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:06 AM on October 27, 2013 [25 favorites]


I'm not saying there aren't some reasonable philosophical cases to be made against marriage as an institution, mind you. But to spill over from that into treating marriage/divorce as something people can enter into/exit out of casually is sort of ignoring fundamental things about how people and society work right now in this day and age.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:11 AM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]




> "It's a bit like adorable people who insist that the breakup of the their live-in relationship was 'pretty much exactly like a divorce, 'cause that was basically a marriage.'"

While I don't disagree with much of your larger point, I know people who have been together for decades and have kids, but who aren't married. (And I got married after many years of living with someone, pretty much just because I needed health insurance.)

The commitment implied by marriage is still a big deal in modern society, but there are definitely people who have that commitment and don't much care about the ceremony one way or the other.

It is still fairly rare for marriage to happen without the implied commitment -- marriages of convenience are not all that common -- which also means divorce is generally a big deal, too. But that commitment can certainly happen without the marriage.
posted by kyrademon at 8:17 AM on October 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Love it. I sent it to my husband as a late anniversary gift. I'm kind of cheap.
Also, EmpressCallipygos has inspired me to include it in the rituals part of my myth class. I wonder if this is the first time Aziz Ansari has been grouped with Persephone, Orpheus, and Osiris.
posted by bibliowench at 8:21 AM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]




You're entirely correct of course, kyrademon. I wasn't saying common law marriage (or analogous states) aren't a thing. But there is also definitely a subset of people who believe the insanely flawed syllogism that: marriage is an artificial construct; lasting commitment is possible for people who live together even without marriage; thus marriages are pretty much the same thing as the time I shacked up with my bf/gf for ten months.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:31 AM on October 27, 2013


Thanks, Imperfect.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:32 AM on October 27, 2013


I love watching tv shows like Say Yes to the Dress where you see people commenting on 3 versions of the exact same garment over and over and over again. Four Weddings makes it even more fun by turning what's supposed to be a sacred commitment to love into a contest for a prize, and hearing things like, "I really wanted to see more of her culture represented in the mashed potato bar."
posted by xingcat at 8:32 AM on October 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, that was pretty funny (and I really like Aziz Ansari) and I see the point, but on the other hand I really like both marriage and weddings. Weddings are awesome! Two people love each other! They love each other so much, they want to be together for the rest of their lives! They have friends and family who love them, too, and want to celebrate how in love they are! Awesome! Let's have a party! The service is solemn and satisfying and makes me cry and then at the reception everyone is loud and happy and celebratory because everyone just loves each other so much. Yay! Weddings are the best!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:34 AM on October 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


The commitment implied by marriage is still a big deal in modern society, but there are definitely people who have that commitment and don't much care about the ceremony one way or the other.

But marriage doesn't just imply a commitment; it creates one too. Hell, here in SC, if you decide you want out, you have to sit and think about it for a year.
posted by ftm at 8:53 AM on October 27, 2013


1: What Mrs P said.

2: "I love weddings--they're so optimistic!"--my friend Kitte, at my wedding.
posted by tspae at 8:57 AM on October 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


> "It's a bit like adorable people who insist that the breakup of the their live-in relationship was 'pretty much exactly like a divorce, 'cause that was basically a marriage.'"

When my brother and his "live-in" girlfriend decided to expand their family beyond their seven year old "live-in" son, they found that adoption went much easier if they filled out a form and said a couple of words in front of a judge. As a side effect it legitimized the existence of their "live-in" son so they no longer had to bear the shame of having a bastard under their roof.

Needless to say signing that piece of paper was a terrible risk. The day before if they had split up it would have been easy. After that day it would have been a divorce.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:53 AM on October 27, 2013


This is a cute bit. I feel like the post framing is odd though, that you didn't mention it's a clip from a famous comic.
posted by sweetkid at 10:09 AM on October 27, 2013


I don't think he's making fun of weddings themselves as he is the rituals involved in them, as well as how the institution of marriage looks when we de-naturalize it. Any time we see rituals from an outside perspective, they look strange. Rituals from our culture, however, often don't look like rituals; they look like the things we do to celebrate something because that's what we do to celebrate something. And when we don't question the symbols, like white=purity, ring=commitment, relationship=death (and it's kind of creepy how many marriage rituals mention death or how many death myths contain marriages), it's harder to see how often these symbols are created to suit the needs of the ritual itself instead of the occasion that ritual represents.

Vicki Howard's Brides, Inc is a great analysis of the commercial influence on modern wedding rituals. I can't find any excerpts online, but this summary is from the UPenn Press page:
Claiming ties with "ancient customs" and various historical periods, the wedding industry promoted new goods and services as timeless and unchanging. It introduced new ring customs and wedding apparel fashions, and "modern" services, such as gift registries that rationalized gift customs, bridal salons that saved time and made wedding planning more efficient, and wedding packages that standardized ceremonies and reception celebrations.

During World War II, the traditional white wedding grew even more prevalent as jewelers and bridal gown manufacturers successfully sought exemptions from wartime restrictions, linking the diamond engagement ring, the double-ring ceremony, and the formal white wedding gown with democracy and American prosperity. By the 1950s, the wedding industry had made the formal white wedding tradition a part of a new cult of marriage and the modern American Dream.
So weddings and marriage can be kind of creepy if we don't have a cultural context that naturalizes them. But so can interrupting a story about a man's willing and gruesome crucifixion with snacktime. It doesn't mean the emotions and the communal ties these rituals generate are any less valid.

I suppose if you use secondary sources to explain a joke, you're doing it wrong, aren't you.
posted by bibliowench at 10:14 AM on October 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Similarly, I would like to be standing behind protective glass watching while someone says to my brother (who is mid-divorce right now) that marriage is merely a societal contract that has lost most of its significance and divorce is something you can do "at the drop of a hat."

It's a bit like adorable people who insist that the breakup of the their live-in relationship was "pretty much exactly like a divorce, 'cause that was basically a marriage." Uh huh, and yet, you didn't get married. Because somehow it was not the same thing to you.


Well, of course I neither wrote nor suggested that every divorce was easy or casual, nor that marriage might not have significance for some people...

But my wife and I did it just for the health insurance. We didn't have any need nor desire for society's imprimatur, we were absurdly happy before, and are absurdly happy now...absolutely nothing changed. If we broke up now, we'd be devastated, but if we'd broken up before we'd be devastated.

Isn't it clear that you're presupposing the very point at issue by suggesting/saying that a relationship must not be that important if the participants don't get married? If you presuppose that marriage is the natural state for people in love, then...etc. But it isn't...or not to many of us, anyway.

And the ritual doesn't matter to many people (me, for instance...)

This isn't intended to be some universal indictment of the institution...but surely it should be easy to see why not everyone reveres it...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 10:43 AM on October 27, 2013


I was just impressed Aziz found hilarious new material from a subject so ingrained in our society. I honestly never thought about how weird/creepy aspects of marriage are and it was both funny and surprising.

You really can find humor in everything, even the most mundane pillars of our world.
posted by mathowie at 11:18 AM on October 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't disagree with what you were saying, necessarily, Fists O' Fury, and I didn't mean to put words in your mouth or pick on you. I just wanted to make the point that folks can get a bit cavalier jumping from philosophical objections to marriage to minimizing what it really means to many folks.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:41 AM on October 27, 2013


Not bad. Now reverse the bit, with the lady aggressing the reluctant guy, possibly with a posse of harpies.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:12 PM on October 27, 2013


Aziz is great. Nice suit too. Marriage is awesome tho.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:21 PM on October 27, 2013


I don't think he's saying it's not awesome. Just poking fun at some of our traditions surriounding it. Without the formalization, it IS kind of like saying, "I want to keep hanging out with you until one of us is dead."
posted by sweetkid at 1:37 PM on October 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a bit like adorable people who insist that the breakup of the their live-in relationship was "pretty much exactly like a divorce, 'cause that was basically a marriage." Uh huh, and yet, you didn't get married. Because somehow it was not the same thing to you.

Well, over here, legally it was except or one less step of paperwork... And my separation this January from a six year stint was a Big Deal.
posted by Phalene at 1:38 PM on October 27, 2013


Virtually any ritual looks crazy if you take off cultural or societal glasses and look at it as an alien from another planet. That's why if you look at any random religion's rituals without the historical context, it looks equally "insane."

That's what makes them rituals. Deconstructing a ritual for a comic bit is amusing, but it doesn't really add much to our understanding or appreciation (or lack thereof) of them.

But yeah, ha ha.
posted by docjohn at 3:05 PM on October 27, 2013


DirtyOldTown has already explained twice that s/he was referring to relationships lasting less than a year. I think this can be eased off now.
posted by kyrademon at 4:04 PM on October 27, 2013


Seriously, huge props to Aziz Ansari for taking "marriage, amirite?" and making it so unexpected and funny and fresh that I was practically in pain from laughing so hard.

He gets better and better.
posted by lunasol at 10:34 PM on October 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, one of my greatest stand-up pleasures has been seeing Aziz go from "incredibly entertaining and likable" to "incredibly entertaining, likable, and perceptive". There are few standup comics that I enjoy watching more than I like watching him—I mean, I love Louis CK, but sometimes I'm not in the mood to feel existential angst while laughing at his self-flagellation, you know? Aziz is just a funny guy, period. And it's great that he's constantly getting better, too.
posted by Rory Marinich at 12:33 AM on October 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


To be fair, marriage is a bizarre practice, but weddings are where things truly surreal.

Cynically, marriage involves two people deliberately entangling themselves, socially and legally, to increase the costs of both leaving and cheating. That at least makes sense for a lot of people, as a strategy for keeping couples together.

But weddings? That's when the resulting two-brained organism use their newfound hypnotic powers to place a crowd under their thrall, so that the crowd may praise them ritualistically.
posted by belarius at 6:15 AM on October 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Related re: Christmas.
posted by Gordafarin at 11:31 AM on October 28, 2013


It's not all that funny, but Ansari did an interview with the A.V. Club about writing this special. It's a Valentine's Day-themed piece, so there's a lot about his view of love and relationships that ended up as "Buried Alive."
posted by gladly at 12:08 PM on October 28, 2013


That's a really great article. It's interesting that he's doing all this psychology and sociology research to inform his comedy work. I also want to recommend he read "A General Theory of Love" which is one of my favorite books on the topic, and ventures outside romantic love to all kinds of bonding.
posted by sweetkid at 12:58 PM on October 28, 2013


One other small thing: I really appreciated that he used the man in this story as the one who was proposing the scary-sounding monogamy and the woman was the one who was scared. It's such a hoary old comedy trope that women always want to get married and men are the ones afraid of commitment - it's nice to see that subverted.
posted by lunasol at 4:23 PM on October 28, 2013


Well, in a stalkery sort of way....
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:31 PM on October 28, 2013




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