Finding mate for life on TV a tough sell

Back in the ’60s when I first started teaching, I asked my students to write a “reaction paper” for each class. It meant a lot of reading and a lot of grading, since my classes were often large, but it really was a great way of getting students to tune in. They became engaged, and 40 years later, they still remember those papers.

Here, then, are some of my reactions to contemporary events.

First there is the beautiful Williamstown woman, Ali Fedotowsky, who chose her husband on a television program I have never seen called “The Bachelorette.” When I read the story, my first impression was that this is crazy.

How or why would anyone choose their mate on a television show?

Then I began to think about it. We do know that so-called “arranged marriages,” where the parents choose mates for their sons and daughters, have as good or better a batting average than our version of American romantic marriages.

That’s because in our system, the participants’ choices are often based on fleeting concepts, such as lust, immediate gratification, and superfluous attractiveness.

Parents, on the other hand, can look at a proposed spouse’s family tree or speculate whether the intended can provide a decent standard of living. More and more, we are finding spouses on the Internet and much of that operation is public relations, pure and simple. Of course, right before wars people often find themselves marrying on a whim. Sometimes

it works, sometimes it does not.

But there is something really crass and commercial about doing it on TV. On the other hand, congratulations to the bride and groom and may they find happiness in their marriage. Love, no matter how you get there, is a splendid thing.

Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill that would help assure that whoever wins the popular vote in this country will be the president. The Electoral College makes it possible for someone to win the popular vote but lose the election. If you don’t believe that, Google “Al Gore.”

This country takes pride in exporting democracy, yet we make it possible for someone to win an election with fewer votes than her (see what I did there?) opponent. Under this plan, Massachusetts electoral votes would go to the presidential candidate who received the most popular votes. I like it. Of course, there is always the “law of unintended consequences” with some fatal flaw that will make us wish we had never done it. Look, if we want to do away with the consequences of elections in which losers become winners, we have to figure this out. On the other hand, can you imagine blue state Massachusetts awarding its votes to Sarah Palin because she won enough popular votes to be president? We’d be kicking ourselves around the block every time she made a fool out herself and all of us.

For example, when she signs a fascist immigration law and says, “I do this with the full approval of the voters of Massachusetts,” won’t we look stupid?

It would appear that the opponents of wind power have won a major battle by defeating a bill that would have made it easier to site wind towers in the Commonwealth.

Look, you can’t have it both ways.

There are people I know, love and respect as true environmentalists who have devoted vast sums of money and energy to protecting our earth. Yet when it comes to wind power they are concerned about the lack of local control.

Even though they always deny it, this could be seen as NIMBY-ism (Not In My Backyard).

State Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli says that he was concerned about the lack of community control and opposed the bill. He does point out that lots of western Massachusetts communities have allowed some turbine generators. Right now he is a hero of those who are opposed, under one guise or another, to wind power. Yet he is calling many of those who are opposed to a meeting, telling them that the bill that just failed in the legislature is “not going away.”

The question he asks is, “How can we make this better?”

Look, wind is part of the solution, as is solar, as is conservation. Deval Patrick is right to support wind power. Local control is needed to some degree, but not to the degree that it totally rules out turbines in certain communities. For instance, do you really think that the duchy of Mount Washington will ever allow wind power? Not in your life. Hey, you can walk it or you can talk it.

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One Comment on “Finding mate for life on TV a tough sell”

  1. Jack Jefferson Says:

    Re: National Popular Vote

    You said it yourself (in regards to something else), “you can’t have it both ways”. You can’t have a national popular vote AND have the current state-by-state system. It’s one or the other. Either the candidate with the most popular votes wins the election or we maintain the current state-by-state system that renders 2/3rds of the country, including Massachusetts, to be fly over during the Presidential general election.

    As for this doom day scenario that everyone talks about, Massachusetts’s electoral votes going to Sarah Palin. So what?! I want my candidate to win the White House. If he/she doesn’t, then the fact that they won my home state is of little consolation. Other than feeling morally superior, what difference did it make that Massachusetts voted for McGovern, Gore, or Kerry? We still ended up with Nixon and Bush. I wasn’t doing cartwheels the day after the election in 2004 . . . my candidate lost.

    For my money, make my vote count for my candidate. If my individual vote counts for Obama in 2012 but Palin wins the election so be it. Let’s look back on 2004. I would have been one happy camper if Kerry won the White House, but lost Massachusetts. What that tells me is that the success of the candidate I support is the most important thing.


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