Ross's Best Column Yet?

The highlight of the latest Douthat column is definitely the creative matchmaking at the end.

Maybe this reversal could start with some creative matchmaking across lines of class and politics. The dutiful, somewhat-boring husbands from Sandra Tsing Loh’s Los Angeles, for instance, sound like ideal soulmates for Kate Gosselin, the soon-to-be-single mother of eight.

And as for Cristina Nehring, who can’t live without being “derailed by love, hospitalized by love, flung around five continents, shaken, overjoyed, inspired and unsettled by love” — well, maybe someone should introduce her to Mark Sanford.

One small wrinkle: I wouldn’t wish Kate Gosselin on my worst enemy. After watching Jon and Kate for the first time in a hotel room about a year ago, I was totally absorbed. Though not a regular viewing, I’ve caught a marathon or two and, like millions of Americans, was taken in by the charming spectacle of the Gosselin Quapas, who seemed very sweet and well-behaved. I also delved into the Wikipedia entry and voluminous web commentary on the family, which was particularly preoccupied, long before rumors of marital infidelity, with the decidedly problematic relationship between Jon and Kate.

I was not inclined to see Kate as the villain, not least because Jon comes across as passive and, well, mildly punkish. But Kate … Kate is a character. She’s a little difficult. To be sure, raising an army of children is taxing, and my sense is that she bore more of the burden. Under those circumstances, I sense that I’d be a little quick to anger. Much of the anti- commentary focused on the ethics of capitalizing on the children — Jon and Kate have become quite rich by virtue of the television program and speaking fees on the evangelical circuit, fees that I have to assume will dry up in light of marital distress.

But yes, not sure how the dutiful dads of Santa Monica would take to Kate.

One neat thing about the column, which I liked very much, is that it weaves together quite a few separate strands. I hope this column will prompt a robust discussion on Journolist concerning the dark Phalangist plot to overthrow liberal democracy.

My fear, incidentally, is that the Gosselin children will evolve into a miniature militia that will roam America’s rural roads in search of plunder.

Another thought, slightly serious: Ross suggests, in a spirit of fun, that Kate find another husband. Yet as Andrew Cherlin argues in his excellent book The Marriage-Go-Round, one wonders if a quick remarriage is wise.

He writes that Americans have come to embrace two contradictory models of personal and family life: marriage, a formal commitment to share one’s life with another; and individualism, which emphasizes personal growth and development. The former promotes a lasting relationship; the latter encourages one to move on.

To some extent, the important thing is relationship stability rather than having, say, a male presence in the household. A quick remarriage might, alas, result in a quick divorce, thus introducing the children to a rotating series of adults who play an ambiguous role. The same applies, by the way, to Jon.

Deep thoughts.