I just finished the season opener of Jon & Kate Plus 8. It was painful to watch, especially for anyone who has gone through the breakup of a marriage. Clearly they are each putting on the Brave Face that I remember so well from my own life, and that, perhaps, makes it harder for me at least to see. I get the sense that they are both doing the best they can in a crummy situation.
Meanwhile, the citizens are milling about yelling, Jump! Jump! Or maybe, to make the metaphor I'm reaching for clearer, Off With Their Heads!
I am astonished at the hysteria that this family has generated in the tabloid press, and thus on line, and therefore in Twitters and Facebooks etc. etc. etc. For a while public sentiment was against Jon, the doubledealing, cheating, oh-my-god-he-got-hair-plugs, what-does-he-do-for-a-living-anyway husband. But now, now Kate is on the rack because...because--
...because she's a woman and she isn't meek. I have a couple of book shelves full of most worthy historical assessments of the role of women, with titles like Disorderly Conduct, The Female Grotesque, and (one of my person favorites) The Madwoman in the Attic. They are all a testimony to the fact that in our culture, we have not wanted our women bold and beautiful and we have certainly not wanted them smart and articulate. Kate Gosselin fails on all four points, and thus she must be chastened, scourged, and maybe even burned at the stake.
As always, it amazes, saddens and disgusts me that it is mostly women who are casting the stones. Lord, how we love to hate each other. And we're so good at it, aren't we? While little boys bash each other over the head to establish dominance in the sandbox, we girls do it with sly innuendo and backbiting. We're the master (if I can use that word) of the verbal assault because really, that's the only ammunition our culture has allowed us.
I don't know what will happen to the Gosselins. I wish them well. I wish their period of time being scapegoats for the American shadow psyche is brief. I wish we weren't all so fucking eager to raise the flag and then, just when it's flying high, pull it down to trample it in the muck. I don't know--I guess I wish we weren't so human.