The sacrament of marriage is under attack like never before. Our popular culture is reducing marriage from eternal love to a temporary business merger, an elongated slumber party, with adults playacting at junior-high style "going steady." When the going gets tough, no one hangs tough. Marriage is no longer a commitment. It is merely the legalization of infatuation, which, when followed almost immediately by irreconcilable differences, can be voided.
The pinup for play-marriage this week is pop tart Britney Spears, who simply will not go away until we buy her lame CD "In The Zone" (now available at all fine music stores). In the last few months, she has conducted a make-out session with Madonna on national TV, kicked off the NFL season with slinky dances in leather, and performed a song about masturbation, which she told Diane Sawyer is "something sacred." Now she's pulled something even lamer, a cheesy Las Vegas chapel wedding that lasted 55 hours before her lawyers had it annulled. It was a stunt that screamed "career move," a tacky tabloid come-hither dance that made headlines everywhere: a P.R. bonanza.
Jason Allen Alexander, the hometown Louisiana male patsy in this publicity ploy, described the quickie romance. They were sitting around watching "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" -- now there's a light romantic comedy -- when at 3:30 in the morning they decided they needed to "do something," like get married. (How about playing the slot machines? Couldn't they just go out for an early omelet? Didn't they know 7-Eleven now has thousands of potential coffee combinations?) No, it was time to get the scandal show on the road.
The network morning shows, the celebrity-worship shows and magazines, and the tabloids all converged on the phony love story like P.T. Barnum's suckers born every minute. MSNBC reported the jilted groom has hired an agent and is lining up the business offers swirling out of this charade. The buzz suggested Alexander could score up to a million dollars for a video of the numbskull nuptials, as well as other potentially lucrative TV and book options. A book out of this pseudo-event? It's reminiscent of the old "Saturday Night Live" spoof about the Time-Life 20-volume series on the Grenada invasion: "The war. The peace. What they did the rest of the week."