Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Breaking Up is Hard To Do

When I was a little kid, one of my favorite things to do was steal my parent’s issue of Newsweek and read it from cover to cover – at least the parts I could understand. It’s no Babysitter’s Club, but I used to wait each week for the newest issue to arrive and then sit on the floor of our living room next to the magazine basket and read. I know it’s a strange thing for a kid to do, but I was a strange kid (more on that in the future).

My relationship with Newsweek has continued into adulthood. Over the last couple of years, however, I have become increasingly dissatisfied with the representation of “news” with unabashedly biased undertones (and I don’t mean just liberally-biased. Conservatively-biased under the guise of objectivity is just as bad in my book). The most recent issue included an article called The Case Against Marriage which essentially asserted that no self-respecting, educated and independent person (woman in particular) would, or should, enter into the worthless and outdated tradition of life-long marriage. Being a self-respecting, educated and independent woman who holds the value of, and my commitment to, marriage at the highest levels of sanctity, I naturally took a bit of offense. The lack of debate included in the article and pessimistic insinuations were a proper illustration of my frustration and disappointment with my former childhood companion.

Maybe Newsweek has changed or maybe I have, but it just doesn’t make me feel a part of the international and intellectual stage anymore. It just makes me mad, confused and maybe a little hurt. So, I’ve decided to break up.

I was going to do it by text but I figured an email might be klassier – something along the lines of “No really, it’s you. Not me.” If Newsweek taught me anything, it’s that the pen (or keyboard) can be a mighty tool, or just plain cathartic. I thought I would post my break up letter here, since I’m sure it will only be read and tossed aside (like my heart!) by a summer intern checking email in between coffee runs for Fareed Zakaria.

My childhood self is heartbroken. My adult self doesn't care so much.

So, farewell Newsweek. It was fun while it lasted. But, let’s honest. We’re different people now. And it’s time to move on.

My Dearest News Magazine,

I opened my recent issue of Newsweek to “The Case Against Marriage” and read Jessica Bennett and Jesse Ellison’s article with much interest. I must admit that they spurred me to action. After a five-year relationship of ups and downs (more downs), my husband and I have decided to divorce. It’s been a tough decision but it’s become quite apparent that we are not a good match for one another. I’m not talking about my marriage – we are still very happily married (with a son, in – gasp! - wedlock) even though we both come from the “choice-loving” generation. No, no, our marriage is going strong. We have, however, decided to divorce you.

I thought we could make things work, really. It started out as such a promising relationship – you with your candid take on world events and promise of informative political commentary, me with my love for international politics and Anna Quindlen. But things slowly unraveled and I woke up one day to find that I didn’t even know you anymore. I tried for awhile to overlook your complete lack of objectivity, ignore your sensationalism, even look for redeeming qualities in your “belittle those who don’t hold my opinions” attitude. But Bennett and Ellison’s article was the toilet seat left up for the last time.

Its false characterizations, over-generalizations and, frankly, catty pessimism completely alienated an entire segment of the population that happily engages in the apparently inane tradition of marriage. Gone is the sense of commitment, compassion, companionship and charity that belie a successful marriage. Gone is the joy - and yes, hardship – brought on by raising children in a stable home that provides a refuge from the chaos of the world. What a sad view of the world to only see marriage as housework, sex (or lack thereof) and a loss of individuality. Interestingly enough, I have heard many people comment, myself included, that they did not truly know who they were until they were married.

So, I’m sorry. I just can’t seem to make this work anymore. I received my subscription renewal papers in the mail the other day and I did what I had to do – I threw them away. I wish you all the best for the future and maybe we can still be friends.

But probably not.




  1. Debbie,

    Well said. I, too, broke up with Newsweek 2 years ago, partly because of my similar increasing frustrations, and partly because I just wasn't reading it anymore. But I have to think that part of my not reading it any more wasn't just from being too busy. If it had been satisfying me, I would have found time to read it.

    There was a time that I loved Newsweek, but it has since disappointed me.

    Sorry to hear about your breakup, I hope you find something better to help you move on.


  2. WOW!! Break ups are really hard I am so sorry for your loss. But he sounded like a loser and you are way to good for him. Im not just saying that because I am your cousin I really mean it.

    Call if you need to talk or need a shoulder to cry on, or if you find yourself lonely and wanting him back. I am always here for you! If you would like a non "Klassy" thing to add tell Newsweek to "Suck It"!

  3. I found you...:) Love this Klassy site! I, too, can be a shoulder to cry on during this difficult break-up.:) HA HA. Also, that cat picture had me rolling on the ground.

    But really, we'll just break it down and do a few hip hop moves. I am 100% sure your moves will put mine to shame; but we MUST have a dance party!

    P.S. Your mother-in-law is so adorable. So glad we can get "schooled" together.:) I hope Landon is feeling better!

  4. I'd been meaning to check out your blog for a while. I come here, and, wow! What I've been missing! I love blogs where you find out what's been going on in people's minds. And yours is funny and articulate to boot (should've known it would be)! Yay! I'll be back!

  5. What a fantastic letter!!! I hope you sent it to the editor because it is well written, creative, and TRUE! I hope they publish it (but they probably won't, because that would be "unbiased") or at the very least take it to heart.

    Hope all is well!!!!

  6. Deb,
    Your post had me rolling. So funny. I used to read those Newsweek magazines from cover to cover (really only understanding about 20%) and I thought I had been missing my subscription. Thankfully, you have shown me that it really is no loss. I'll join you in the divorce :)

  7. I am still reading Newsweek, but dismayed to find out that Fareed Zakariah has left Newsweek for TIME. Seriously? TIME?!