I keep reading today about the “failure” of the Gores’ marriage. A little pressed for time today, I’m not going to look up all the links, but surely you’ve read the same thing, in so many words. Having just celebrated their 40th anniversary, normally an occasion for letting your kids pick up the check and dandling grandchildren on arthritic (or artificial) knees, the Gores are throwing in the towel on their marriage, separating amicably. Which must mean their marriage has failed.
Hmm. They stayed together four decades, raised four children, each as glossy and gorgeous as their parents. They have grandchildren. They’ve seen one another through military service, government service, soaring success, bitter defeat, all in the pitiless stare of the public eye. They’ve come out the other side into a sort of monied, luxurious final act that most of us would give a kidney for.
Here’s how fortunate Al Gore Jr. is: David Chase gave him a top-secret advance DVD of the final episode of “The Sopranos,” because Gore was going to be on a transatlantic flight when it aired.
If that isn’t a successful marriage, I don’t know what is. Why pull the plug on it now? Have you all learned nothing along the way to 10:07 a.m. EDT, June 2, 2010? Here’s why:
1) Because no one knows what goes on in a marriage except for the people in it, and;
2) Because there is no mystery in the world as deep and unfathomable as the human heart.
Sometimes I think the problem is, we live too long. In just a generation or two, we’ve gone from the gold watch at your retirement party followed by a fatal myocardial infarction five years later to lengthy final acts marked by entrepreneurship, world travel and lots of golf. The idea of marriage as a lifelong commitment was born in a time when it was understood that men would have mistresses from time to time, when women could have an occasional non-procreative fling themselves, and besides, nobody lived all that long to begin with. The Gores could each easily see another silver anniversary with new marital partners. Kind of strange to think about, but still true.
But they got through the hard part! I can hear you saying. They are the among the lucky few whose golden years can really be golden — with plenty of money, the best medical care in the world and salon-quality hair coloring. They married young, they had their children young and now it’s time to sit in that new house in Montecito and enjoy the ocean views, picking and choosing whatever important, worthwhile work they feel like doing. (In that great office! With all those monitors!)
To which I would say, see No. 1, above. Also, No. 2.
As believers in both, I really have nothing more to say about it, except this: The marriage and partnership of Albert and Mary Elizabeth Gore was no failure. It just ran out of gas short of the finish line. Along the way, it delivered the marital goods, i.e., a family.
So, some bloggage? Sure:
We had a tragedy here a couple of weeks ago, in which a 7-year-old girl was accidentally shot to death during a police raid. The stories say she was shot in the neck. Local attorney Geoffrey Feiger paid for a second autopsy, which showed, no, she was shot in the head. The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office has now changed its report. To which I can only add: Sheesh. Gunshot wounds to the head — the new thing it’s easy to miss, evidently.
But hey — being wrong, and admitting it, is the latest thing. A friend keeps raving about Diane Ravitch’s new book, in which one of the architects of No Child Left Behind now says, in essence, oops. I give her lots of credit — it takes guts to admit that a social policy you advocated turned out to be a colossal failure — but I wonder who else will climb on the Strange New Respect bandwagon.
Anthony Bourdain is today’s passenger, and while he’s talking about food and culture and not social policy, it’s still not a bad lesson:
I’ve experienced that kind of wrongness a lot in the Muslim world. The idea of otherness kind of evaporated for me there. You know, sitting down in a Saudi home, observing Saudi Arabians, seeing that they, too, watch Friends, that they’re funny—you know, sense of humor often surprises me most. That, and random acts of kindness. I used to believe, deeply, that people were basically bad—that given a slight change in the our situation, we would all revert to packs of wild dogs who would devour each other and sell each other out. I took a very dim view of human nature. Travel has made me more optimistic. I believe now that for the most part, the world is filled with people doing the best they can under the circumstances.
Finally, while I despise the sort of back-and-forth ass-kissing that goes on between too many bloggers, I direct you to Roy, this morning, who by way of noting last week’s banking rant here, makes some good further points about how it applies to BP and current events in the Gulf of Mexico. I guarantee you it will be the only blog you’ll read today that will use the word pikestaff.
And now I’m outta here, but not: An epic thunderstorm is about to unfold outside my window, and I want to watch it for a while.