The above quote is from a scene in Mike Leigh's Naked, where David Thewlis looks upon Ewen Bremner with dumbfounded curiosity over why this 20th century homosapien is grappling with a predicament so inane.
Last month, the NY Times published a guest column by Ann Hood where she came out of the closet, so to speak, and revealed that she was... (gulp) married to a Republican. GASP!!!:
IT was happening again. I was at a cocktail party where the hosts were people I had just met, people I wanted to become friends with, and was sipping chardonnay and nibbling papadum chips when a woman said, “Oh, the people next door! They’re ...,” she paused and lowered her voice, “ ... Republican.”
Everyone grimaced. The conversation quickly turned to complaints about the current administration. Before long it wasn’t just the administration being bashed but Republicans in general.
I stood there nodding, my dirty secret lodged in my throat like a golf ball.
The woman I wanted to befriend looked at me conspiratorially and shook her head. “Can you imagine?” she said. “Right next door!”
“No,” I lied.
Not only could I imagine a Republican in my neighborhood, I could imagine one in my bed. Every night. I’m a Democrat married to a Republican.
That passage is one of my favorites of the year b/c it perfectly exhibits - unbeknownst to the author - the high-minded bigotry of pseudo-intellectuals. "I was at a cocktail party where the hosts were people I had just met, people I wanted to become friends with, and was sipping chardonnay and nibbling papadum chips"... Hilarious, and an all-time classic!
Well, yesterday, the Times published another goody... a piece on people that break up with their lovers over their taste in books.
“I know there were occasions when I just wrote people off completely because of what they were reading long before it ever got near the point of falling in or out of love: Baudrillard (way too pretentious), John Irving (way too middlebrow), Virginia Woolf (way too Virginia Woolf).” Come to think of it, Collins added, “I do know people who almost broke up” over “The Corrections” by Jonathan Franzen: “‘Overrated!’ ‘Brilliant!’ ‘Overrated!’ ‘Brilliant!’”
“I did have to break up with one guy because he was very keen on Ayn Rand,” said Laura Miller, a book critic for Salon. “He was sweet and incredibly decent despite all the grandiosely heartless ‘philosophy’ he espoused, but it wasn’t even the ideology that did it. I just thought Rand was a hilariously bad writer, and past a certain point I couldn’t hide my amusement.”
Judy Heiblum, a literary agent at Sterling Lord Literistic, shudders at the memory of some attempted date-talk about Robert Pirsig’s 1974 cult classic “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” beloved of searching young men. “When a guy tells me it changed his life, I wish he’d saved us both the embarrassment,” Heiblum said, adding that “life-changing experiences” are a “tedious conversational topic at best.” (NY Times)
Hmm... and you wonder why so many white, privileged, educated thirtysomethings whine and complain that they can't find steady love. Well, YOU might wonder, but I don't : It's them, stupid!
MEMO to people that break up b/c their partner reads a book they find objectionable: Focus on the positives that initially attracted you to that person, and learn to live with your disagreements.... IT'S CALLED RE-LA-TION-SHIPS!
Maybe it's a bit of the "opposites attract" thingy, but the couples I know that have the healthiest relationships - including my wife & I - are those that have differing opinions on a variety of things. It's the confidence to stand-by your convictions that is attractive, not mirror-image agreeability.