Those currently demanding a constitutional amendment defining marriage as something between a man and woman might check out the similar failed attempt to ban divorce through constitutional amendment in the early 20th century. But then, if you’re going to be hit with the truth, why not get it right between the eyes? The evidence is unclear, says Kipnis, without citing any. This means all you cheating wives, philandering husbands, and straying domestic partners, past, present and future. Such a method can be wittily illuminating as in Roland Barthes’ essay on the Roman haircut in films , but you can’t keep getting away with airy assertion. A polemic is designed to be the prose equivalent of a small explosive device placed under your E-Z-Boy lounger. One imagines Laura Kipnis—a professor of television, radio and film at Northwestern University and the author of Against Love:

The evidence is unclear, says Kipnis, without citing any. If only they’d cooked more or less often. As she did in Ecstasy Unlimited: Here’s an interesting question: The historian Lawrence Stone points out that divorce now does for ending marriage what death used to do. I mostly bring this up because I completely agree. So marriage produces just the right character type that a liberal democracy needs, turning us into a docile electorate and cowed workforce.

Is lzura really anyone to whom this is an attractive proposition, who, after spending all day on the job, wants to come home and work some more?

To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Except for love,” Kipnis defends her intentionally provocative assault by commenting that “modern love may be a company town.

laura kipnis loves labors essay

Conducting an adulterous affair amounts to a courageous insurrection against an inhuman social order. Infidelity, lack of passion, mutuality, rebellious midlife crosses, and complete vulnerability seem like easy sacrifices in modern society and relationships; yet on closer inspection, they are challenges for most people in some degree, leading us to lloves the victims.


The CEA Forum

For one, because no one else has. If you read between the lines — and what else are lines for? A Polemic’ by Laura Kipnis. Plenty of thinkers then, Kipnis recalls, explored “conjugal reform Adultery means opting for pleasure, not work; it essqy discontent, which could break out in other spheres, and so it threatens not just marriage but all the calcified institutions of America.

Her cynical and almost scientific tone when discussing love, infidelity, and marriage demonstrates the many sacrifices one makes to attain love. Still, every generation needs its own commentary, and Kipnis provides a particularly smart and bracing one for ours. Give Kipnis a somewhat scarlet letter “A” for “Audacious” as she marches – with or without significant other – to her different drummer.

laura kipnis loves labors essay

In other words, she throws the bomb and then she runs. She mostly avoids high-brow name-dropping, skips elaborate argument and historical exegesis—but dazzles us with a barrage of metaphor. Desire, on the other hand, reigns supreme; hence Ms. And feelings, as Laura Kipnis will tell you in “Against Love: Kipnis graciously proposes, “if this is not your story—you for whom long-term coupledom is a source of optimism and renewal, not emotional anesthesia.

Kipnis, a Northwestern University media studies professor, takes her polemic charge seriously.

Against Love: A Polemic, by Laura Kipnis

However, what Kipnis fails to recognize is that as times change, social standards for all aspects of humanity change. A better criticism is that Kipnis is not actually noting anything new here. Certainly, there are happy marriages. Half of all American marriages now end in divorce. Notify me of new comments via email.

Kipnis isn’t interested in feelings here: As for me, I’m as pure as the driven snow — though I do remember telling my girlfriend’s husband years ago that she’d “just stepped out,” when in fact she’d flown 8, miles to the island of Yap to be with her lover.


She’s reasonably sympathetic to Bill and Hillary Clinton on the subject of their highly public marital woes. Additionally, there is always serial monogamy for those who can’t face up to the bad news – yes, keep on trying until you get it right, because the problem couldn’t be the institution itself or its impossible expectations.

And she concedes that “love is the nearest most of us come to glimpsing utopia in our lifetimes. However, while Kipnis constantly pokes fun at the aids that help in the labors of love, bemoaning at the amount of work that goes into a relationship and the sacrifices that come with marriage, she fails to recognize that anything that is of value in life takes some effort and work.

Here she continues to question dedicating our entire romantic and sexual lives to another. But, she asks, why was adultery the big story, the dramatic narrative, that obsessed us in the ’90s?

But work is not just about enforcing or obeying rules. laurx

Teaching Laura Kipnis’s “Love’s Labors” in Ways of Reading | Fike | The CEA Forum

I agree with Kipnis that for the majority social norms dictate how they make decisions and live their lives.

So according to Kipnis we as a society are so socialized to existing norms that we allow these beliefs to dictate our lives without question. Two isn’t company In “Against Love,” Laura Kipnis considers why the institution of marriage compels us to stray — for good reason.