Following Newsnight's coverage of our blog about middle-class marriages being in trouble, we thought it might be useful for us to expand the point about why staying up to watch Paxman indicates – or causes – problems for middle class marriages. As we see it, there are three main problem areas:
- Paxman provides a sort of carthasis for middle-class frustration and angst. His attacks on mendacity and pretence are attacks to which middle class viewers would like to subject their bosses, colleages and even family members. Watching him offers a sort of release, a kind of vicarious triumph or even debate-pornography; middle-class sado-masochism. It is like a cerebral version of the therapy that involves stripping off and running around a forest. This is all very well, but it indicates that the viewer is finding release and succour from daily stress via a 3rd party, and a dry, violently rational one at that; he or she should surely be taking that succour from loving physical contact with their partner.
- Newsnight is not a programme that deals heavily in emotion. (The MCH handbook is of the opinion that Paxo was not at his best conducting the vajazzling debate, for example, even though we hugely enjoyed it). Indeed its very appeal is in its crisp, clever determination to establish truth and facts. The middle-class life tends to drain its subjects of feeling, and this can have a knock on effect on relationships, as the blog explains. Newsnight can compound that.
- Having said all that, watching it together can be even worse, since for tired, frustrated couples with suppressed anger (and diverging political views), it can be a catalyst for arguments; the kind of argument that is ostensibly about tax rates, but is really about the washing left in the machine that morning.
Our advice is, watch Newsnight by all means, but remember BALANCE. A brisk walk earlier in the evening and, yes, cuddles afterwards, will make all the difference. Welcome Paxman INTO your marriage, do not use him as an escape FROM it.
Flickr: Unicorn Theatre