Wednesday, February 15, 2006

iPods vs. Arranged Marriages

If you're looking for a post-Valentine's Day hand-wringing that reads like a defense of arranged marriages, check out this op-ed in USA Today by Laura Vanderkam, who somehow manages to link young adults' love affair with the iPod as what's keeping us from having long-term love affairs with human beings (i.e. delaying getting married until later in life, compared to previous generations). She even closes the piece with this gem: "There's great joy in listening to what the DJ chooses for you". Well, maybe, but I don't know about having the DJ choice my life partner.

It seems that we're suffering from too much choice (where have we heard this theme before?), which causes us to (gasp!) avoid settling for someone who's not good for us. I'd spend some time dissecting this tripe, but Radley Balko has very nicely taken care of the task already:

Near as I can tell, it's some kind of complaint about how iPods, Internet dating, and too much choice (evil choice!) are causing twenty-somethings to put off marriage for a bit. And apparently, this is something we're supposed to lament (never mind that divorce rates are down dramatically, which might lead a clever observer to conclude that perhaps people are holding off for the right person, a development I'd imagine most people would find positive, but that Vanderkam also seems to find lamentable).

I'm still trying to figure out how iPods fit into the picture, except that they're becoming enormously popular. Which means that like all things popular (see McDonalds, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola), they must be to blame for everything from broken hearts to bone cancer to ring-around-the-collar. And if you can work them into your article, someone might think you're hip (she also casually drops in that she listens to both the Indigo Girls and Renaissance motets. Wow! Hip and cultured!).

As for Internet dating, Vanderkam's chief complaint seem to me to be the very characteristic that make the service popular. Vanderkam thinks the abundance of potential mates available via online dating services makes us more picky, and less likely to settle. Um. So what? If technology enables us to better sift through a series of awful first dates in order to get to someone with whom we're more compatible, where's the rub?


Post a Comment

<< Home