Before the advent of modernism at the turn of the 20th Century, narratives usually ended with an engagement, a wedding, or a death. The protagonists of the relatively new novel form would find themselves paired off at the altar, or suffering their own demise. This narrative move demonstrates the power of marriage as a kind of full stop, a solution, a smoothing-over, the point that a relationship should be headed, even if it may fail on the way. It’s significant that although writers have since cast aside marriage as the standard form of plot resolution, marriage itself still remains a potent cultural force in the 21st century.
I want to make it clear that I’m talking about a Western cultural understanding of marriage, which over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries has become a predominantly secular affair, where subjects are able to freely choose their own spouses, and virginity and chastity are no longer prerequisites. This is based on current marriage trends, although there will always be specificities and areas of difference. It’s also important to recognise that the concept of marriage has an array of different meanings and traditions in other cultures, both secular and religious, which are far too vast for me to even attempt to discuss here.
December 7th, 2012 / 4:42 am
Dateline: New York City
I forwarded this piece from the NYT Cityroom blog, “M.T.A. Plans Steep Service Cuts and Fare Increases,” to my friend and co-editor (of The Agriculture Reader) Jeremy Schmall. It’s a short article, but if you want to know why I sent it to him in an email with the subject-line “like being fucked with a laser beam that is somehow also a rusty old knife,” this paragraph pretty much explains it:
>>For New York City Transit, the biggest component of the authority, the deficit-closing plan would eliminate the W and Z subway lines; eliminate service on the M line to Bay Parkway in Brooklyn; shorten the route of the G line, which will permanently stop at Court Square in Long Island City, Queens, instead of 71st and Continental Avenues in Forest Hills, Queens; lower the frequency of most letter-line trains to every 10 minutes from every 8 minutes on weekends; lower the frequency of all trains to every 30 minutes from every 20 minutes from 2 to 5 a.m.; eliminate overnight bus service on 25 routes; and eliminate the X27 and X28 express-bus lines.<<
Anywho, Schmall wrote back the following cryptic musings, and I thought I would share them with all of you:
>>zizek writes that the atrocities of communism are easily identifiable, quantifiable, and well known; of capitalism, however, little is said.
nathanael West told his teacher he wanted to be a writer, and she advised that he would need to get used to being poor. the ensuing great depression made that easy: everyone was poor.<<
HAPPY BRAVE NEW WORLD, EVERYBODY!