A Chicago area divorce lawyer has put up this billboard, promoting - not herself for those who face divorce - but the concept of divorce in general. The point seems to be: why stick with the same old, same old when there is hot new stuff out there? The flanking figures add some poignancy to the question, although, of course, the one on the left is just a dead ringer for the Reddess. (Ed: Spousal sucking up needs to be more subtle than that.) (Reddess: I'd never mistake you for the guy on the right.)
The ad is tongue-in-cheek, but there are culture war implications. (You knew there would be.) The decline in marriage is rooted, in part, in an increased willingness on the part of people to buy into the notion that there is little or no value in remaining committed to someone who is not thrilling you lately. The human tendency to regard distant grass as greener makes us susceptible to that. The offending lawyer signs on when she suggests that the billboard is about "happiness and personal integrity" both of which apparently require being led by your whatever.
She says, and she's right, that no one is going to get a divorce because they see a billboard. But that's too reductionist. No one is going to do anything because of a single cultural message. But they are going to be affected by the overall gestalt. This adds to a chorus that says, mostly implicitly but often explicitly, that when the thrill seems to be gone, you should be too. Don't we have the right to be happy - and have hot sex - all of the time?
This has caused a great deal of pain over the past 40 years. If that's cold water, I can't help it.
I can light up enough to joke about this, but I can't ignore its lousy side.