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Mathieson must go #1

Peter Vogel | Thursday, January 19, 2012

“Gone are the days of the traditional American families, if they were ever here to begin with. The visages of Rockwell’s wholesome Americanism that we find on postcards and calendars are nothing but illusive shadows.”

I’m glad that Mr. Mathieson, in his piece for the Observer’s “Scene” segment, finds Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” a redeeming and forgiving film about familial love. Unfortunately, I wish his rich description of contemporary American family life, quoted above, held similar optimism. Instead, Mr. Mathieson condemns the coveted pillar of our society, the family, to an irredeemable state of destitution and unattainable happiness.

I must adamantly disagree with Mr. Mathieson’s assessment of family life. The family should be viewed as a God-given opportunity to forge the strongest of bonds with fellow human beings, not some hopeless abyss of parental shortcomings or shattered souls.

In addition, Mr. Mathieson projects Payne’s analysis of marriage as an inexact and illogical science, as if it were reality. However, this is far from the truth. In fact, popular adult dating websites, such as eHarmony, Match.com, Ashley Madison, Zoosk and even Craigslist have made the process of marriage and family-building as concretely sound as the walls of Fort Knox, boasting user success rates as high as 40 percent.

If it’s true that the family in America is a lost cause, then how can it be that thousands of Americans are finding love and creating meaningful relationships?

In sum, I wish to call upon our community to set Mr. Mathieson’s damnation of the family aside, and to never give up on the wonderful relationships of compassion and trust we can share with the ones we love. Shame on you, Neil. You may think America’s families are dead, but they are alive and well in our hearts. Your resignation would be more than appropriate.


Peter Vogel


St. Edward’s Hall

Jan. 19