Marriage villains at the blog party

I have three friends that I affectionately refer to as "my geek friends."
When I call them that, I can feel like I have friends who are geeks, but that
doesn’t necessarily make me a geek. Of course, in our group of four each of
us refers to the other three as "my geek friends," so they may all be thinking
the same way. In all honesty, though, I’m the least geeky of the four. I don’t
say that to brag—it’s just a fact.
They all three have vast stores of knowledge about obscure topics
that I’ve never heard of. I know a little about comic books, fantasy, and sci-fi,
so sometimes I can converse with them intelligently, but I’m pretty much a
geek by default. As a teenager, I looked like a geek (small, bespectacled,
with little
fashion sense and lots of books) so my peers treated me with a sort of indifference
that effectively became a mild
form
of
ostracism.
The only social group that welcomed me
was the D&D-playing, Star Wars-quoting,
advanced physics-studying, Hitchhiker’s Guide-carrying, spazzy-down-to-the-bone
geeks. So I became a geek by default.

All three geek friends are bloggers now. They are Rey (The
Bible Archive
),
MCF (MCF’s Nexus of
Improbability
), and Jerry (TheWriteJerry).
Their geek credentials are impeccable. As if to prove the point, MCF decided
to host a party…in cyberspace…for bloggers. The point of the party is to describe
"Your Top Five Villains of All Time, from Comics to Cartoons to Television
to Film." Even though I’m a geek only by default, I’m still a geek and I must
respond. In keeping with the focus of this blog, however, I’ve figured out
what may be the five worst villains in the world of matrimony.

  1. California Assemblyman James A. Hayes
    Until 1970, only one U.S. state (Oklahoma) had a law allowing no-fault divorce.
    In all other states, any person who wanted a divorce had to go to court and
    provide a good reason for dissolving the marriage contract. The legislature
    defined "good reason," and judges decided whether a divorce should be granted.
    Divorce did exist prior to 1970, but it was relatively uncommon. In 1969,
    California State
    Senator Donald Grunsky and Assemblyman James A. Hayes introduced a bill to
    allow couples to divorce for any or no reason. The bill was signed into law
    by Governor Ronald Reagan. Subsequently, a national group of lawyers calling
    themselves the Uniform Law Commission composed the Uniform
    Marriage
    and Divorce
    Act—a model no-fault law based on California’s bill. By 1985, every state
    in the union instituted no-fault divorce.

    Hayes was certainly not the only one involved in passing the no-fault law.
    Grunsky sponsored the bill in the state senate, though his stated intent
    was to eliminate the "spectacle of private detectives sneaking around
    gathering salacious evidence against one of the spouses for presentation
    in
    a courtroom expose." Reagan signed the bill into law, but he later regretted
    it as one of the worst mistakes he made while in office. In his book Twice Adopted,
    Michael Reagan says, "Notice that Dad signed the no-fault divorce law some twenty
    years
    after going through his own divorce. His wife, Jane Wyman, had divorced him on
    grounds of ‘mental cruelty.’
    Even though listing grounds for divorce was largely a formality, those words
    were probably a bitter pill for him to swallow. He wanted to do something to
    make the divorce process less acrimonious, less contentious, and less expensive."

    Hayes, on the other hand, was going through an acrimonious divorce at the time
    and didn’t like the rules in place. I
    choose him as
    the
    no-fault villain because his motives in drafting the bill in the first place
    were utterly
    selfish,
    and
    the
    effect
    of
    his actions
    has
    been
    ruinous to the institution of marriage in modern America.

    (References: No-Fault Divorce Faulty Indeed, California
    Divorce
    Reform After 25 Years
    , Twice
    Adopted
    excerpt.)

  2. John F. Kennedy and William Jefferson Clinton
    There’s a story—I don’t know how true it is—about JFK, one of the United
    States’ most beloved presidents ever. The story says that before Kennedy’s
    election in 1960, American men wore hats everywhere they went. The president
    did not like wearing a hat, and when the country saw him on TV eschewing
    headgear, men just stopped buying general-use hats because women everywhere
    wanted him and men everywhere wanted to be him. His life of sexual promiscuity
    and extramarital affairs is well-known though little reported. He seemed
    to have little respect for his wife or his marriage, treating both as
    a social and political expediency. A lot of men have followed his lead.

    Clinton’s damage to marriage was similar, but his influence was more among
    teens than adults. He told a group of high-school students what type of
    underwear he wore, he allegedly harassed several women sexually, and he
    self-admittedly received oral sex from an intern while at his desk in the
    Oval Office. His initial public dismissal of his actions as harmless told
    an entire generation of youth that oral sex isn’t sex. His actions demonstrated
    a lack of respect for the public that elected him and for the women who
    worked for him. Kennedy at least has a legacy of keeping the country safe
    from foreign nuclear threats. Clinton’s legacy is one of scandal, lack
    of self-restraint, and making it nearly impossible for Generation Y to
    have a healthy attitude about sex and marriage.

  3. Elizabeth Taylor and Larry King
    Americans do not always emulate their political leaders, but they have always
    imitated their favorite stars of the big and small screen. Elizabeth Taylor-Rosemond-Hilton-Wilding-Todd-Fisher-Burton-Burton-Warner-Fortensky
    has been married eight times to seven different men, was rumored to have
    had many more love
    affairs, and once said, "What do you expect me to do? Sleep alone?" Whether
    she influenced or merely personified a cultural indifference for the sanctity
    of wedding vows, I count her as a marriage villain. Ditto for Larry King,
    who said of his seven
    marriages
    , "I just like diversity. The girl I
    liked at 20 was not the girl I liked at 30. And in the culture I grew up
    in, if
    you fell in love, you got married. I fell in
    love when I was 20 and 30, and I got married. It didn’t work out, and I paid
    what I had to pay."
  4. Reality Television
    Has there ever been a more insidious erosion of realistic and healthy attitudes
    toward relationships and marriage? Some of the worst, just off the top of
    my head, are: Temptation
    Island
    , Blind Date, Shipmates, The Bachelor, The
    Bachelorette
    , Who Wants
    to Marry a Millionaire?
    , and Joe Millionaire.
  5. Pornography
    Pornography has destroyed more lives and marriages than anyone will ever
    know.

So those are my top five marriage villains. Check out my geek
friends’ responses on their own blogs:

MCF
Rey
Jerry

One thought on “Marriage villains at the blog party

  1. Sir,

    Would you be able to tell me the name of the person who was responsible for introducing No-Fault Divorce Law in the State of Maryland (circa 1970)? FYI, I am a recent victim of a No-Fault Divorce in that state, as my wife abandoned me and then secured a divorce on grounds of “irreconcilable differences.” This ended 31+ years of marriage. A marriage was murdered, a family was destroyed, just so the unhappy spouse could go find themselves. As a citizen of the state of Maryland, I vow to push for a change in the law. It’s time to end No-Fault Divorce. Respectfully, Dave Dietrich