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Published: Tuesday, 1/6/2004

Pop icons are poor models for marriage

At the risk of upstaging next month s greeting-card holiday to celebrate both true love and the sale of flowers and candy, let us turn our attention today to the subject of holy wedlock.

Personally, I m all in favor of it - for me, anyway. Well, OK, for my husband too, if that does not seem too presumptuous.

We ve been married so long there are now many ways to mark the passage of time.

We were married the same year Prince Andrew and Fergie wed. We were married the year “New Coke” fizzled, and Michael Jackson was unweird enough to snare a record-breaking $15 million sponsorship deal from Pepsi.

Why, when we wed, Britney Spears was just 5 years old!

And now, it seems, America s favorite set of pop-star abs (or one of em, anyway) has gone and added another navel piercing. Wedding ring? Whatever.

Depending on the source, it was all a joke - or not. As The Scotsman quoted the clerk who issued the marriage license: “They were deadly serious. They weren t laughing and joking like you would expect if the whole thing was a prank. Britney was wearing jeans, a hooded jumper and one of these trendy Von Dutch hats. I don t think she said a word the whole time.”

Meanwhile, The Jerusalem Post offered this explanation: “Britney Spears s study of the Kabbala, a Jewish mystical practice, may explain her surprise wedding to Jason Alexander in Las Vegas Saturday, claim sources close to the star.”

A new tape from Osama? Yeah, OK, mildly interesting.

But it doesn t seem to fire up as much international intrigue as Britney s nuptials.

Or, for that matter, Carrie Bradshaw s fate.

Even the e er-solemn New York Times weighs in on the importance of hitting just the right end note for HBO s Sex and the City. From the Sunday edition, this observation:

“From the beginning, the show has revolved around the question of whether it s possible to be content without a steady romantic partner. ... To marry Carrie Bradshaw off - to give her an end-of-the-season connubial blowout - might seem to violate the show s central premise. But to leave her without a partner might also feel disappointing, or present a falsely bravura notion of autonomy at odds with the character.”

My household is HBO-free, which is to say, I ve never seen Sex and the City. But that hasn t inoculated me from knowing a lot about the show, such is the extent to which it seeped into the popular culture.

Indeed, a pop culture take on contemporary American marriage doesn t look too good. If the proverbial Martians land and, taking their cues from the media, try to discern our attitude toward holy matrimony?

Well, yesterday s New York Times told them about a new Fox reality show, where “viewers will be enticed to laugh at the misery endured by a female reality contestant and her family over the antics of her lout of a fianc , whom she tells her family she met on a different reality show.”

Jeepers. Kind of makes me wonder about politicians hell-bent on constitutionally ensuring the “sanctity of marriage” not be turned into a mockery by gays and lesbians, but remain instead an exclusive heterosexual option.


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