Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » May 2005 » I'd been religiously avoiding the whole Jennifer Wilbanks non-story....

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05/02/2005: I'd been religiously avoiding the whole Jennifer Wilbanks non-story....

but then BSTommy had to go and bring a fact to my attention that I'd managed to avoid hearing about (of course, since I wasn't reading much about the incident, it wasn't that difficult a fact to avoid):

I didn't pay all that much attention to the whole Jennifer Wilbanks/Missing Bride story this past weekend. I generally stay about 20 minutes behind the times. Usually on purpose.

But there was something that caught in my ear, and had me thinking about it a good part of the weekend.

The crazy woman's wedding, right? 14 Groomsmen and Bridesmaids?

What the crap?

Steven and I talked about this a little, last fall, when he was part of a wedding party that was four or five strong on each side. I'd have a hard time filling that bill of four or five other guys to be a groomsman.

But FourFrickingTeen?
I empathize with BST; if it weren't for my best buddy Dave (an occasional commenter around these parts) I'd have trouble coming up with a best man in the event I lose my mind and decide to commit Yet Another Marital Mistake [my current thinking about Holy Wedlock is that the next time I'm tempted to get married I'm just going to take a short cut; I'm just going to find a woman I hate and buy her a house]. So I have a little trouble even comprehending how someone can even stand to think about having a basic Last Days of Pompeii wedding in this day and age.

Thanks to Jo Fish I stumbled across this rant by Doug Gillett, which is the best thing I've read about the whole incident in the last several days:
OK, when she "disappeared" on Tuesday, I guess that was kind of a news story, though I don't know what made her more important than any of the hundreds (if not thousands) of other people who go missing every year, other than the fact that she was cute and white and engaged. But now that we know she had not been kidnapped after all but merely got cold feet and ditched her fiancee, why is this story still getting covered out the wazoo? The situation has been downgraded from "innocent woman kidnapped, possibly dead" to "some dipshit decided she didn't want to get married" and it's still getting deeper media coverage than people getting blown up all over Iraq or reports of torture and abuse at Guantanamo Bay?

Furthermore, it really chafes me that so many people are trying to give Jennifer Wilbanks an out by saying,
Ohhh, the stress of the wedding was getting to her, poor bayyyy-bee! I would imagine that an impending marriage is stressful for approximately 100 percent of the people who have ever gotten married, yet a majority of those people -- a substantial majority, I might add -- have managed not to disappear to the other side of the country and make a bogus 911 call about being kidnapped. Then there's this bit of buffoonery:
Jennifer Wilbanks, the 32-year-old Duluth woman who vanished only days before her expensive and elaborate wedding was to occur, resurfaced Saturday. First, she concocted an excuse for disappearing. Then she admitted she had fled to rethink the wedding.

Experts say she likely couldn't handle the stress of feeling out of control and caught up in something that had grown unexpectedly enormous and couldn't be stopped, Baumgardner and other mental health experts said Saturday.
Something that had grown
unexpectedly enormous? Look, darling Jennifer did not wake up one morning to find that 600 people had somehow invited themselves to her wedding. Couldn't be stopped? Only if someone put a gun to her head and demanded that she keep all two dozen freaking attendants for the wedding ceremony. It seems that what we have here is yet another case of someone seeking "affluence sympathy" -- meaning our society has grown so wealthy and extravagant that people now expect sympathy for the kinds of problems that are spawned by living too well. Your wedding's too big? Awww, somebody needs a hug! Gasoline is too expensive? Awww, nobody told you your 5800-pound, forty-thousand-dollar Ford Expedition would get shitty gas mileage, did they, you poor thing!

Yeah, yeah, I know, bang bang, court is in session, the Honorable Judgey McJudge presiding. But as much as I (usually) hate to be one of those humorless, scoldy liberals whose favorite phrase is "children are starving in Darfur" . . . well, children are starving in Darfur, and yet they're not even on the American public's radar screen because so much of the space is being taken up by some suburban twit who bitched out on her wedding. The Constitution only guarantees you the right to "life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness," it does not guarantee you the right to happiness itself, and that means that if you're not happy with how big your wedding has grown and you're not sure you want to get married, you man the fuck up and talk to your fiancee/family about it, you have not suddenly earned the right to go Greyhounding off to Albuquerque and spinning fanciful yarns about how someone supposedly kidnapped your ass. And if for whatever reason you do choose Plan B, you certainly shouldn't get turned into some kind of media darling.

Len on 05.02.05 @ 01:16 PM CST

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