Author Topic: Cultural difference- or tacky?  (Read 6063 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

whiterose

  • From the good old US of A!
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4447
Cultural difference- or tacky?
« on: May 19, 2013, 07:57:53 PM »
Background info: I live in the Southeastern United States. I visited NYC this weekend.

I was reading the New York Times Weekend Edition. One of the sections involved the marriage announcements. Regarding some couples, the announcement stated "His/Her first marriage ended in divorce".
None of the couples in the announcements were celebrities that the average person would know (not sure if this would make a difference).

It made me raise an eyebrow. Stating something like this in a marriage announcement is something that I have never seen in 18 years of living in the South. But things are very different in the Northeast- especially in NYC.

Is this the norm nowadays? A simple cultural difference? Or is it tacky of the couple to state it? Or tacky of the newspaper? Should a newspaper with such a large readership know better? Or conversely- would such a large newspaper result in a larger proportion of readers not having a clue who the couple is, and thus less gossip?

It simply strikes me as odd because why mention a not so happy past event in what is supposed to be a happy announcement? And frankly- not many people care about whether there was a first marriage, or the circumstances of how it ended. Or is it just culture shock?
I have pet mice!

Betelnut

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3700
Re: Cultural difference- or tacky?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2013, 08:04:27 PM »
I don't think it is tacky and I really doubt the people in the announcements do either since usually those are paid announcements.
"And thus the whirligig of time brings in his
revenges." -- Feste, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.

Native Texan, Marylander currently

Possum

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 262
Re: Cultural difference- or tacky?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2013, 08:06:48 PM »
I find it very odd, even puzzling.  You're celebrating your new life, your new marriage--why even mention the old one at all?

SamiHami

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3174
  • No! Iz mai catnip! You no can haz! YOU NO CAN HAZ!
Re: Cultural difference- or tacky?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2013, 08:15:22 PM »
Yeah, that is definitely tacky. A marriage announcement is just that-a marriage announcement. It's not like an obituary where a summary of the persons life is usually printed. And even in that case failed early marriages are often omitted. I cannot imagine a possible reason for someone to mention their earlier failed relationships in the announcement of their current marriage.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

m2kbug

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1411
Re: Cultural difference- or tacky?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2013, 08:16:35 PM »
Why in the world is a past divorce even relevant?  Why mention it at all? 

East coasters, please do tell.  I really don't think this is normal anywhere, but I'm curious just the same.  Divorce and past spouses may be included in an obituary, but not a wedding/engagement announcement.  I do find it tacky.

The newspaper would have nothing to do with it.  People present their announcements and pay for it.  The newspaper prints it.  Unless there's something vulgar, they probably just print as-is, maybe correct a typo or spelling. 

Different thought:  Parents who are completely opposed to divorce presented the announcement and got their 2 cents in.  ??


HorseFreak

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2764
Re: Cultural difference- or tacky?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2013, 08:42:38 PM »
I'm originally from MA and I find this completely bizarre. NYC has its own culture, though, particularly among those in society who make the wedding pages in the Times.

Thipu1

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6692
Re: Cultural difference- or tacky?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2013, 09:39:02 PM »
I think that the couples whose engagements are announced in the Times write the entries themselves. 

These aren't celebrities. They're people who look good in pictures and have enough money or enough pull to have their engagements announced in the paper.  I pay them no mind whatsoever. 

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28380
Re: Cultural difference- or tacky?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2013, 12:27:55 AM »
I presume these announcements are written by the engaged parties. In which case, it may be that they are trying to reassure people who recognize their names, but haven't spoken to them for years, that they are not committing bigamy.

Otherwise, yes, it sounds like a very strange custom. Sort of like putting in a graduation announcement, "We are pleased to announce that Stephen Smith has graduated with a B.A. in English. He originally planned to be a doctor."
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

sammycat

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6054
Re: Cultural difference- or tacky?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2013, 12:30:24 AM »
Very weird. 

Why tarnish the announcement of a  happy event (ie. the new engagement/wedding) with bad memories of the prior marriage?

m2kbug

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1411
Re: Cultural difference- or tacky?
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2013, 01:33:34 AM »
I presume these announcements are written by the engaged parties. In which case, it may be that they are trying to reassure people who recognize their names, but haven't spoken to them for years, that they are not committing bigamy.

Otherwise, yes, it sounds like a very strange custom. Sort of like putting in a graduation announcement, "We are pleased to announce that Stephen Smith has graduated with a B.A. in English. He originally planned to be a doctor."

Would the act of bigamy really be on the table?  Maybe distant relatives don't know about the divorce, but would the assumption of bigamy be an automatic assumption?  I can't imagine anyone announcing that in the paper, but stranger things have happened.  I hope I don't sound argumentative, I'm wondering where this thought came from.   

For the graduation, I would equivocate the announcement to be, Stephen Smith graduated with a B.A. in English even though he had to repeat 6th grade.   

StuffedGrapeLeaves

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 861
Re: Cultural difference- or tacky?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2013, 11:16:31 AM »
Actually, for the New York Times wedding announcements, the New York Times have their own writers who write the announcements.  The engaged couple don't do it themselves - they just provide the information.  The Times have always done the whole "first marriage ended in divorce" thing, although I don't know why. 

siamesecat2965

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8662
Re: Cultural difference- or tacky?
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2013, 11:22:22 AM »
Actually, for the New York Times wedding announcements, the New York Times have their own writers who write the announcements.  The engaged couple don't do it themselves - they just provide the information.  The Times have always done the whole "first marriage ended in divorce" thing, although I don't know why.

Yes, they have. I live in the area, and the wedding announcements in the NYT, as best I can recall, are the only ones that do this. My local paper doenst. I wonder if it is something from way back, to show that the couple was free to marry again?


artk2002

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12828
    • The Delian's Commonwealth
Re: Cultural difference- or tacky?
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2013, 12:55:11 PM »
Here's why I think the announcement of why the previous marriage ended is appropriate. I'm reading the notices in the newspaper and read that my old HS friend Fred is getting married. Fred and I have lost touch, but last I heard, Fred was already married. I'd like to contact him -- should I send a condolence card for the death of his first wife or not? As others have noted, it's a public notification that Fred is free to marry again.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

The Wild One, Forever

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1757
Re: Cultural difference- or tacky?
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2013, 01:16:42 PM »
It's different, and I have never seen that type of thing in any other paper,anywhere.  That said, it strikes me as just part of the NYC culture, with its refreshing candor.  Certainly such information would not e included if it made either of the engaged couple uncomfortable.
Soft silly music is meaningful, magical

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28380
Re: Cultural difference- or tacky?
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2013, 01:31:46 PM »
I presume these announcements are written by the engaged parties. In which case, it may be that they are trying to reassure people who recognize their names, but haven't spoken to them for years, that they are not committing bigamy.

Otherwise, yes, it sounds like a very strange custom. Sort of like putting in a graduation announcement, "We are pleased to announce that Stephen Smith has graduated with a B.A. in English. He originally planned to be a doctor."

Would the act of bigamy really be on the table?  Maybe distant relatives don't know about the divorce, but would the assumption of bigamy be an automatic assumption?  I can't imagine anyone announcing that in the paper, but stranger things have happened.  I hope I don't sound argumentative, I'm wondering where this thought came from.   


It came from trying to think of a good reason to put it in. All I could come up with was that some people might be afraid that readers would go, "Stephen Smith is marrying Greta Jones? But ... but he's already married to Angela Ames! The creep!"

This is, of course, silly. Nowadays, people know that divorces occur, and if one HADN'T occurred, it's unlikely that people would be putting their illegal marriages into the paper. However, there are always some people who feel they have to spell everything out.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."