Last week, the editors of the Weddings/Celebrations section of the New York Times demonstrated (probably unintentionally) the rise of media careers in the lives of the young socially elect.
David Brooks--before he was anointed as global pundit by the New York Times--wrote Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There. In a talk about the book a decade ago, Brooks apotheosized the Weddings section, recalling that "one of the best places to see the new upper class in all its glory is the New York Times wedding page. On any given Sunday, the paper lists the weddings it thinks are important ... Devotees call it the mergers and acquisitions page: Harvard marries Yale, Fulbright marries Rhodes, Salomon Brothers marries Skadden Arps, magna cum laude marries magna cum laude."
The Sunday section remains a somewhat distorted, strangely crafted set of weekly insights into the nooks and crannies of American social development. I speak almost every Sunday with my longtime friend, the American Studies scholar Daniel Horowitz, and we try to figure out what mirror of society the Times is trying to produce.
The twenty or so weddings featured May 2, for instance, underscored the impact of entertainment and information on the lives of those in the Times' marriage cohort. This is especially true of new-media related occupational titles (of course with only a little prejudice to a concurrent emphasis on law, medicine and investment banking).
What comes gushing from that week's announcements is a spurt of new descriptions of coping with a changing world. Take, for example, the wedding of Christine Chen and Daniel Rogart. He is a "database administrator in San Francisco for Zynga, an online company that creates games like Farmville." She is a "manager for global communications and public affairs at Google."
In the wedding of Melisa Renzi to Robert Gustafson, he is "the ITunes producer for 'American Idol.'" And as if that is not enough information, the Times informs us that "he oversees the uploading of performances on the show...He is a founder of Space Shank Media, a production company that creates online and television entertainment like 'Flipper Nation' and 'My Roommate the Cylon."
Or take the marriage of Aubry Nivens and Colin Parks-Fried (an announcement accompanied by an unusually casual and intimate photograph), where he is listed as manager of partnerships with video content providers at Dailymotion, a video-sharing Web site with headquarters in Paris.
An inspiring example of the phenomenon (the Times often means to inspire), is the marriage of R. Douglas Arnold and Alexander Michael Quinn. Arnold represents the older emphasis ("He is the author of three books on Congress") while Quinn is an emblem of the information society. He directs Games for Change, an organization that "promotes through the creation of digital games like PeaceMaker, which focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
Young David Rosenblatt, who married Emily Doelger at her family home, Turkey Plantation in Ridgeland, South Carolina (the bride depicted, quite exceptionally, in blustery veil and traditional wedding dress), is described as "the search-engine marketing manger at FTD, the flower delivery network, in Chicago." Emily is a resident in emergency medicine--marking a combination of old and new professional forms.
Something similar is true of the wedding of Gabrielle Borden Finley and Joshua David Abramson (the Times is big on middle names). He is founder and president of CollegeHumor Media, an online entertainment company that "runs Web sites like CollegeHumor and BustedTees.com."
I'm not even touching the old media practitioners, like Francesca DeLaurentis and Peter Calloway. The online version is headlined "For a couple who traffic in screenplays and scripts, the next act is marriage." She works at Radar Pictures in Los Angeles where she helps develop screenplays. He writes comic books and scripts for television (one book, for DC Comics, is about Batman, the other about Robin).
And I would be remiss if I omitted what I and my friend Daniel think is the first inter-NPR marriage carried in the Weddings columns: Jesse Baker is a freelance journalist and former assistant producer on "All Things Considered"; the bridegroom, David Folkenflik, is a media correspondent whose work appears on "Morning Edition," "Media Circus" and other offerings.
What does this say about American society and the future of the republic? I would be chary to read too much into these outcroppings of occupational change. We're fond of comparing the careers of bridal couples to those of their parents, to see signs of mobility (up and down), to understand styles of officiating and other phenomena. But that's for future cerebrations.
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