I feel like a lot of my recent rambles have been inspired by a conversation with my older sister. I should try and throw more variety into my rambles, but today isn’t going to be that day.
Ramble of the Day
My older sister shared an article with me the other day and told me to read it in case it might be worthy of a ramble. It happened to be one of my favorite types of articles (of course I have favorite types of articles) that basically takes the question of “Why?” regarding a specific phenomenon and provides a brief history of sorts that is enlightening.
Anyway, this particular article from The Atlantic, called “The Rise of the Engagement Photo Shoot,” was perfectly suited to my interests for that reason. This one didn’t surprise me much, and I doubt it was supposed to, as engagement photo shoots and the like are predictably part of social media culture and the simultaneous feelings of narcissistic and self-doubt it forces. I ended up stumbling upon another article on the site, “How ‘I Do’ Became Performance Art,” that basically shows that modern weddings at large are similar and also the result of an embrace of consumerism.
I also don’t really plan on criticizing the practices in general in this ramble. Do what you want with your engagement and wedding, I say, because it’s not like you’re asking much of me. In fact, the two articles reminded me of something else: How I once did a presenation about women who start making payments for a wedding without having found a spouse.
It was for a public speaking class in my senior year of high school, and it was a presentation that my teacher found very amusing. These women mostly had just purchased wedding dresses, and though I’m not sure why exactly they were looking at them, I suppose there’s an argument to be made about how if you find one and like it enough, it’s probably a decent investment. (There’s also an argument to be made that this is still a bad idea.) There were a few, though, who actually ended up doing a lot of the other wedding planning bits, from finding venues to picking out cakes and whatnot.
Megan Garber, who wrote “How ‘I Do’ Became Performance Art,” partly summed up the phenomenon as something that exposes modern society’s acceptance of materialism. She wrote that weddings are “after all, a once-in-a-lifetime event. While you can’t put a price on love, in another way, the modern wedding whispers, you very definitely can.” More importantly, though, weddings are about dreams: “It insists, in an age of uncertainty and anxiety, that Dreams themselves—no matter how whimsical, no matter how unusual, no matter how idiosyncratic—can be, with the proper investment, realized,” she wrote.
She puts it more eloquently than I ever could, considering I was going to say that one of my takeaways from observing weddings from close and from afar as a teenager and adult is that weddings make people a little bizarre. I’m not talking “bridezillas” or “groomzillas,” but it is related to Garber’s concept of dreams. It’s rational that people would spend quite a bit of time thinking about a very important day in their lives, but it does become excessive and, of course, a bit obsessive.
In the engagement photo shoot piece, founder of wedding registry platform Thankful Registry Kathy Cheng is quoted as saying, “It’s about branding your wedding as an event.” I understand wanting a wedding that people enjoy so, at the very least, they won’t go around bad mouthing your party planning efforts, but it seems like far too much for a wedding. People are going to show up anyway, and it’s not like this is an event that you’re selling tickets for.
Yet, this is the wedding culture both Garber and Natalie Escobar, author of the engagement photo shoot article, are describing. Perhaps the largest conclusion is that weddings are a great marker for how people think about themselves and major life events.
tl;dr: Just read the articles I linked to, because they’re very good articles.
Links of the Day
José Mourinho has been charged by the FA for comments he made in the direction of the cameras during Manchester United’s 3-2 victory over Newcastle United.
West Ham has suspended a youth coach after he attended a march organized by a group that has been condemned by anti-racist organizations.
D.C. United defender Chris Odoi-Atsem has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and will undergo four months of chemotherapy.
David Squires addresses England and the Nations League in his latest cartoon.
Today’s longer read: Elian Peltier on the racism that persists in French amateur leagues for The New York Times