I cannot tell a lie. I set aside a little chunk of time to blog today, and things went awry. Not in the usual sense of awry, but rather, because I started reading this amazing Los Angeles Times story about the very strange marriage of Donald and Shelly Sterling. I haven’t said much of anything about Sterling, because what’s the point? It’s just a sideshow made for social media and the paint-by-numbers columnists who come in their wake. Racism, it turns out, is bad. Duh.
But, while it’s perfectly obvious that Sterling is a horrible person, and we should expect nothing less from him, it’s less perfectly obvious just how weird his personal life is. Really, I couldn’t tear my eyes away:
Donald Sterling openly kept a string of mistresses and in at least one case, had a woman sign a contract acknowledging that he would never leave his wife and giving up the right to sue for palimony, according to court filings and testimony.
Sterling “is happily married, has a family and has no intention of engaging in any activity inconsistent with his domestic relationship,” read a “friendship agreement” signed by Alexandra Castro in 1999.
Shelly Sterling was well aware of her husband’s affairs, Castro wrote in court papers. On one of their first dates, she and Sterling dined with Shelly in the couple’s Malibu mansion and then went as a trio to a movie where Donald held his mistress’ hand, according to Castro.
…Castro signed five separate agreements saying that she understood Sterling was happily married and that any disputes between them would be resolved in private arbitration, court filings show.
In 2002, Castro ended the relationship, in part, she wrote in court filings, because he reneged on a promise to have a child with her. Sterling asked her to come back, according to court papers, and when she refused, he sued, demanding the return of a four-bedroom million-dollar home in Beverly Hills.
And so on. None of this matters a whit in the grand scheme of things, but it’s always interesting to see how billionaires live their lives. (Any way they want, but to a degree most of us wouldn’t even begin to recognize.)
Anyway, you should read it. If you don’t have time, read the Slate summation.
And if you’re not into that, just swing by Tom & Lorenzo and see what they have to say about the Met Gala dresses. Lure: It’s the first break in their infatuation with Lupita Nyong’o.
And we can all come back after hump day.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 7, 2014 at 1:03 am
As the boss here often says, every marriage is a mystery to those not in it, and I’d only add “and often to those in it, too.”
There’s plenty of room for reasonable concern about “the state of marriage” in general today in the West, but the reality for those in pastoral roles of all sorts, there’s an awareness that marriage is a very complicated, multi-dimensional thing from my east-central Ohio to Coozledad’s Carolinas. And many clergy even more conservative than I have complicated views on how to approach marriage, simply because of the lived experience of the relationships and marriages and cohabitations we have known. There are few simple responses that you can just deploy without consideration of the lived reality of the couple/cluster/residence involved.
People want to love, be loved, and find both comfort and security. What is acceptable to some in finding those ends is an intolerable affront to morality or human values to one, a reasonable compromise with reality and necessity for another. Triads and arranged marriages and marriages of convenience and unmarried complex households all are present in communities of all sorts — we’re just well-trained into our not-noticing.
And sometimes, we just should keep not-noticing some arrangements. But where can you get media time for preaching that message? Heh.
beb said on May 7, 2014 at 8:08 am
I was always an outlier when it comes to taste and public sentiment, ’cause I liked Lupita Nyong’o dress. It wasn’t an overwhelming mass of cloth that looked impossible to walk in without tripping over your own train, or being stepped on by others. The green compliments her color wonderfully and it was different. The other dress at the gala that I really liked was worn by a nobody in the background of Lea Michaels photo. It was a mature lady with black pants and a high-necked white blouse and over it was a red and black cape. It seemed very elegant.
Supposely Madonna wanted to show up wearing something that exposed her nipples but the affair organizers nixed that.
Snarkworth said on May 7, 2014 at 8:14 am
Marriages like the Sterlings’ have long been the rule for the very wealthy, royal, aristocratic and otherwise dynastic. Strictly a business merger, with other pleasures to be contracted out. Only us ordinary folk had the luxury of marrying our sweeties.
basset said on May 7, 2014 at 8:18 am
“contracted out,” well put… while a rich and ugly man lives out a high school boy’s prom-night fantasy in the back of a limo. The one percent are indeed very different from the rest of us.
coozledad said on May 7, 2014 at 8:27 am
That’s one of them biblical marriages. I hope he dresses appropriately when he’s shagging that strange. You got to wear a caftan and one of those snake rings on your bald ass head to make it right.
Folks, the queers are going to ruin Donald Sterling’s marriage. And then they’ll be coming for YOUR snake ring.
alex said on May 7, 2014 at 8:38 am
Donald Sterling’s marriage wouldn’t be out of place at all in the world of nineteenth century antebellum planters, except that he’d maintain control of his harem with brute force instead of bribery. His marriage is about as “traditional” as marriage gets.
Though there may be “plenty of room for reasonable concern about ‘the state of marriage’ in general today in the West,” none of the concern that is purported by anyone in the trenches of the culture wars is reasonable or for that matter sincere.
Dorothy said on May 7, 2014 at 8:48 am
Beb that was no “nobody” or “mature lady” behind Lea Michelle in the picture at TLo. That was the fabulous Janelle Monae; she is 28 years old. She tore it up at the Women of Soul performance at the White House not too long ago. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzJKYrvxPrQ
Dorothy said on May 7, 2014 at 8:52 am
*make that Lea Michele*
Ann said on May 7, 2014 at 8:57 am
Changing the subject to point out Neil Steinberg’s latest bitter rant about the Supreme Court. “The ceremony is one of dominance. The prayer is like a dog peeing its territory, a quick marking of the spot: ours.” He includes some of the choice comments from yesterday’s column on the same subject. http://www.everygoddamnday.com/2014/05/they-burned-witches-once.html
coozledad said on May 7, 2014 at 9:03 am
Alex: Add the image of a bunch of nursing home residents climbing over their IV setups to swap fluids with a pig pile of their hall-mates and it gives you a more complete image of traditional marriage.
Like everything else the Republicans and their brethren in the Christian right start shrieking about, you can find some loose change to be picked up without the downside of having to work for it. I still think one of the driving forces behind Amendment One in NC, besides electioneering through craven homobigotry, was all those intestacies to be scarfed up by the leeches with access to the records.
Bob (not Greene) said on May 7, 2014 at 10:59 am
Off topic, but I wanted to throw this out there to Brian Stouder, because I knew his blood needed boiling today.
Connie said on May 7, 2014 at 11:39 am
A better picture of the red cape dress to which Brian referred yesterday. http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/05/showbiz/gallery/met-gala-2014/index.html?hpt=hp_bn9
Connie said on May 7, 2014 at 11:41 am
My mistake, that link sends you to the beginning of the entire slide show. And Anna Wintour’s dress wins my award for ugly.
Charlotte said on May 7, 2014 at 11:51 am
Ah. Old-fashioned marriages. As my grandmother’s friends said to my mother when my dad was leaving in 1972 — “If he wants to keep a woman in the city, what’s the problem? You don’t break up the family and the farm for that.”
Speaking of which, if anyone’s looking for a good, long, English family saga — I just finished the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard (obit here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jan/02/elizabeth-jane-howard-dies-90). Terrific. One of those great reads where I wish it hadn’t ended.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 7, 2014 at 12:03 pm
I liked Neil Steinberg’s idea to say, if there’s a prayer in a public meeting, it goes at the end. You’ll see who really wants it. I chair a monthly panel in our village, and usually by the last public comment period, even the village solicitor is gone, and it’s just the transcription secretary and the panel, and not all of us.
Rotary, when I’ve spoken as their program person, does grace at the end of the meal (and before the program). Someone asked me once what I thought of that, and I replied “If prayer is what we claim it is, why is time a barrier? Retroactive prayer may be more effective than we realize.”
alex said on May 7, 2014 at 12:03 pm
Bob (nG), our local newspapers aren’t particularly renowned for their investigative reporting but a few years back there was an expose on one group of local charter schools that was so damning that the charters ended up being revoked by the state. They’re now operating as Christian schools instead — and receiving public funds under our absurd new voucher laws.
beb said on May 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm
Dorothy and Connie: thanks to both for the added information about the Woman in the Red Cape (sounds so like a movie title I had to capitalize it. Janelle Monae. I’ll have to remember that name. Sorry to have called her mature, the picture on the T&L page had her in the background, out of focus and underlit.
Bob (not Greene) – well, there goes my blood pressure for the day. As they say, “Birds gotta fly, grifters gotta grift.”
Jeff Borden said on May 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm
The Chicago mayor is a big fan of charter schools and magnet schools. More cash than ever from our strapped system is funneled to these freaking charters while he doles out hordes of cash for a new college prep high school on the North Side3 to be named for President Obama. The same guy closed 50 schools in black and Hispanic neighborhoods.
I’m not about to defend the quality of many of Chicago Public Schools –though the college prep magnet schools get the highest ratings in the state, even over the sainted New Trier system– but this sucks. I’m troubled that our default position these days is to closed troubled schools instead of fixing them.
I won’t say I hate charter schools, but I am hugely suspicious.
Deborah said on May 7, 2014 at 2:32 pm
What is the future of school. It will be interesting to see what happens when the millinials start having kids. Will it change?
Hattie said on May 7, 2014 at 3:06 pm
The people I see falling for charters schools are the ones who have not understood that they belong to a permanent underclass and still have fantasies of special deals for their kids.
Jeff Borden said on May 7, 2014 at 3:43 pm
Millennials, I suspect, are going to be a pretty tough generation. They don’t deserve to be compared with the generation that lived through the Great Depression –when unemployment was at 25%– but for most of their lives they have been watching a weak economy, a dysfunctional government and a terrifyingly bleak employment outlook so their expectations have been dialed way back.
Think about the scene in “Risky Business,” one of the quintessential `80s movies, where the teens at a North Shore high school are sitting in a burger joint talking about their plans for the future. Each repeats the mantra, “Make money. Make lots of money.” When one jokingly suggests they do something more, he is laughingly shouted down.
My students have lowered expectations. . .even the ones at Loyola, who are mostly from upper-middle-class homes. . .and more than a few decide to enter grad school rather than leap into the job market. The community college kids already know the score. They’re working and going to school and trying to make it all fit.
Jolene said on May 7, 2014 at 3:56 pm
Just this morning, I heard that, among kids who graduated from college in 2010 or later, 17% are either unemployed or employed part-time but wanting full-time jobs. Apparently, though, that same number was about 40% in 2012 so things are improving. Still, first jobs are important, as they set the stage for later opportunities and later salary negotiations.
Sue said on May 7, 2014 at 5:39 pm
Keep an eye on this one, folks. Depending on how high appeals etc. go, it might have an impact outside Wisconsin.
LAMary said on May 7, 2014 at 5:58 pm
Back when I had to act nice around Italian executives at fancy parties a few times a year, I noticed a charming social thing the high level guys had. A boss would have an affair with an underling’s wife. No attempt to hide it from the underling or from his own wife. Lucky you if you had an attractive wife. You might get a promotion if she was also cooperative.
brian stouder said on May 7, 2014 at 6:52 pm
Bob(NG) – excellent article. It may be wishful thinking on my part, but I think the tide may be turning on these genuinely terrible public education policy initiatives.
Note to Danny: On this issue, I am absolutely no fan of President Obama, at all. It is not enough to say that he’s been a flat-failure on public policy initiatives with regard to education; he has been an active opponent of public education, and a corporate cheer-leader and shill for the money-grabbers.
Truly – I ain’t THAT old yet – and in my lifetime the conservative line that used to be sold wholesale was that liberals just threw money at problems, in the hope that that act alone would somehow solve them…..and really – I cannot think of a better way to describe American public education “policy” – wherein they literally throw public money up for grabs – and any damned charlatan with a “school” and a charter can rake it up and stuff it in their pockets, and with much, much less oversight from the government (let alone from the public that gets to pay for it).
I’ve read two of Ms Ravitch’s books, and I skim her blog each day, and she has it nailed….and she too sounds a little bit hopeful about the tide turning on this unfolding national fiasco
Suzanne said on May 7, 2014 at 9:21 pm
I didn’t read the charter school article, but that charter schools are full of fraud, mismanagement, and other sordid things does not surprise me having spent a bit of time working at a for-profit “college”. It’s the same mentality. Why waste too much money on things like paper and printer ink and instruction? The money that comes in all goes to the top, and everybody else gets crumbs. Do some students learn? Sure, but some students would learn if you put them in a closet with a couple of old encyclopedias.
When, oh when, will we come out of this mentality that anything can be made better by putting a profit incentive with it?