Video: Betting against marriage, fidelity

posted at 2:58 pm on September 14, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

I confess that I have never heard of the website AshleyMadison before reading Kathryn Jean Lopez’ column at National Review Online today. The online dating service has targeted what it must see as an underserved niche in Internet matchmaking — married people. Lopez wrote her column after seeing this execrable ad on television:

While watching the president of the United States declare that we can legislate away hardship during his health-care address to a joint session of Congress, I was lured away from my hyper-blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking analysis by a commercial for AshleyMadison.com.

To the soundtrack of a snoring woman in bed with a man, the announcer says: “Most of us can recover from a one-night stand with the wrong woman.”

The narrator continues: “But not when it’s every night. For the rest of our lives.”

The husband gets out of bed and heads, presumably, to the computer. We see a cartoonish wedding picture. We are made aware of what this restless spouse must be craving: an online-dating site for those who are married but itching for something carnally more, with someone else.

“Life is short. Have an affair” goes the motto for this no-frills facilitator. There’s no need for confession or guilt. It’s all straightforward and out in the open, at least to those in the know. (Maybe not to the parties who didn’t realize “in sickness and in health” does not cover sleep disorders.)

Be sure to read all of it, but that’s pretty much the set-up for this service, which has been debated on CNN, the View, and other media outlets — all of which delights AM, of course. After all, the entire site is based on flaunting infidelity rather than hiding it through dishonest web-dating ads. In that sense, and perhaps only in that sense, does AM do any kind of public good, in that it gives creeps of both genders a place to afflict each other rather than the unknowing.

That’s about the extent of the social and ethical good that this service provides.  Otherwise, its service promotes sexual promiscuity, which hastens the spread of sexually transmitted diseases — and in this case, victimizes unsuspecting spouses.  It undermines families, which creates greater social costs.  The entire enterprise feeds off of misery and unhappiness, not by helping to alleviate it, but by taking an active role in making it worse.

There’s nothing illegal about it, and I’m not arguing that there should be.  However, it deserves ridicule and scorn, and we can openly wonder at the values of the people who enable infidelity for profit.  They should be ashamed of themselves, but unfortunately, shame is getting passé.

Of course, I’m biased.  My wife and I have been volunteering the past ten years to help keep marriages together at Twin Cities Marriage Encounter.  I’m sure the people responsible for the Ashley Madison service will get rich from it, but if you have a few dollars to help support marriage rather than seeing other people undermine it, TCME could certainly use the help.

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What a great world we’ve created.

KyMouse on September 14, 2009 at 4:39 PM

See this article that AllahPundit linked to last week.

My collie says:

The atheists should LOVE that article. It’s all about EVOLUTION.

CyberCipher on September 14, 2009 at 4:44 PM

ernesto on September 14, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Ernesto, everything you do these days seems to be a reductio ad absurdum. I find it irritating, personally.

I’m not sure how -this- thread is a GOP issue at all. Yes, the GOP is indefensible. So why defend it? Yes the democrats are worse (far worse, IMHO). But your thought process leads you, immediately, to defend (or play devil’s advocate) for democrats in an effort to put down the GOP. You’re the male Meghan McCain.

lorien1973 on September 14, 2009 at 4:48 PM

I’d drop a safe on this Ashley Madison if I could. Not because I’m a good boy – I’m not married, but I do think ones vows should mean something – but because they spammed me.

I R A Darth Aggie on September 14, 2009 at 4:48 PM

lorien1973 on September 14, 2009 at 4:48 PM

Its not a GOP issue, i was just fooling around. And im sorry it irritates you, but i dont remember asking your permission one way or the other. As for playing devils advocate, if anything thats my game, and Meggie Mac stole it. I was playing devils advocate here before she was someone you could namedrop here, and you know it ;-)

ernesto on September 14, 2009 at 4:51 PM

I feel for the spouses being cheated on though. To get an STD that way would be very painful.

Esthier on September 14, 2009 at 3:40 PM

One of my favorite lines from HBO’s “The Wire”

Det. McNulty (Talking with another detective about the challenges of a particular aspect of a case): “Hard? That’s not hard. Hard is convincing your wife that she has to take antibiotics to treat your bladder infection!”

Pretty dark humor, I know.

Dukeboy01 on September 14, 2009 at 4:59 PM

Instead, how about some push back against celebrating infidelity?

Loxodonta on September 14, 2009 at 3:53 PM

How does one go about doing that?

ernesto on September 14, 2009 at 4:42 PM

By being serious and actually discussing these issues from time to time, which I know you are capable of doing.

I was playing devils advocate here before she was someone you could namedrop here, and you know it ;-)

ernesto on September 14, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Please don’t lose yourself in the role. Even though we disagree on many things, I still enjoy talking with the real ernesto. So, I wish you would let him speak more frequently. OK?

Loxodonta on September 14, 2009 at 5:01 PM

It’s just something I see all too often, not usually ending in divorce but with men almost bragging about how they’re no longer attracted to their wives, which might be enlightening were it not for their own extra weight and unkempt looks.

Esthier on September 14, 2009 at 4:32 PM

I am so glad to have a husband that loves me even though I’ve put on about 60lbs since we’ve met – and he’ll love me even if I never lose those pounds (or the 40 more after that!).

My husband and I have literally spent half of our marriage apart – at one time, he was stationed over 3000 miles away. Sure, we have arguements, and the man snores horribly – but we’ve managed to make things work. It takes a bit of creativity, patience, and a desire to no fail, but it can be done. This site is just one of many that panders to the instant gratification crowd – and a happy marriage very rarely provides instant gratification. More long-term than anything else.

Anna on September 14, 2009 at 5:03 PM

Loxodonta on September 14, 2009 at 5:01 PM

So what does cultural pushback entail? Is it, as Lorien posits, not a GOP issue whatsoever (though gays would disagree)? Is it something that should become a boycott style grassroots movement? Im sure social cons could bully tv networks the way colorofchange did. Is it best left alone? Lamented on blogs and at the dinnertable and at church but treated as a fact of life? What say you?

I know I agree with Lorien in that the website will undoubtably be full of men, and so its not as if this website or its ad matter much at all…but even if it were something more substantial…im not sure i see a political angle to this at all. aside of course from the easy snark about legislating morality a la gay marriage…but lord knows we’ve rationalized and internalized that curious contradiction here at HA, no need to get too far into that.

ernesto on September 14, 2009 at 5:13 PM

Other’s people advice on marriage is a lot like reading parenting advice isn’t it?

It can be way annoying.

Live and let live, I say. Keeps me happy, anyway. We’re all adults. And we get to live out the consequences of our own nutty mistakes or lucky choices.

AnninCA on September 14, 2009 at 5:15 PM

ernesto on September 14, 2009 at 5:13 PM

Thanks for responding. You are correct that this is not a political issue. I don’t see this as requiring laws. Instead, it’s a personal and cultural issue. But Hot Air is not simply a political site, and I didn’t read anything political in Ed’s post, nor Kathryn Jean Lopez’ column. Instead, I read personal statements about personal experience and personal and cultural values.

Far more than me, you are a participant in culture. By what you do and don’t do, say and don’t say, you help create culture. To the extent you celebrate sexual promiscuity, especially by married people, you are helping create a culture that celebrates marital infidelity and all the physical and psychological health problems, as well as the economic problems, that result.

So, what kind of culture do you want to promote? I assume you will get married someday and have children. Do you want to be in an open marriage? Or, as a man, do you want a marriage that’s just open for you? And what in kind of culture will you want for your children to grow up? How do we promote the culture we want, and push back the culture we don’t want except through our own words and deeds?

Loxodonta on September 14, 2009 at 5:35 PM

Other’s people advice on health care is a lot like reading parenting advice isn’t it?

It can be way annoying.

More abortions and death panels, I say. Keeps me happy, anyway. Americans should be treated like children. And they shouldn’t get to live out the consequences of their own nutty mistakes or lucky choices without government approving every choice and consequence.

Except when it comes to morality and ethics, of course. Those things should be nobody’s business.

— AnnintheCan

Loxodonta on September 14, 2009 at 5:41 PM

Loxodonta on September 14, 2009 at 5:41 PM

I think everyone here knows you don’t like me, my posts, or any of my ideas.

They get it. :)

You can rest now.

AnninCA on September 14, 2009 at 5:49 PM

Well, I saw the TV ad, along with my husband sitting next to me on the couch. OMG, I thought. Am I that old (or old fashioned) that this made my eyebrows rise? I looked over at my husband of 17 years, asked: “Did you see that?” “Yeah – what is it? A dating site?”

Sometimes I love clueless oblivious men.

“No, not quite. Its a service for you to find someone to cheat with.”
*******************
I forgot about it until this article showcased it again and I decided to go to the website. Besides the obligatory woman on her knees in front of a man (all done in soft focus – everyone still in clothes but not much) I noticed one of the tabs said something in the lines of Guarantee or your money back. That intrigued me. What constituted giving money back?

************
Clicking on it I found the usual disclaimer that you have to abide by the TOS and that the money back guarantee is “limited” and can be stopped at any time. That doesn’t inspire confidence so I scroll down and see there are 9 rules that you must abide by to even qualify for that guarantee that can be yanked at anytime by AM.
****************
Tell me would you have time to do the following in order to cheat? I mean, going to a bar on a weekend when the spouse is out of town, giving a fake name and going to a hotel paying by cash is a lot easier than:

1) Send a “Qualifying” priority mail message to at least 20 different AshleyMadison.com members each month. A “Qualifying Mail Message” must be a priority mail message you send to a unique AshleyMadison.com member who has not yet messaged you or a priority mail message response you send to a unique AshleyMadison.com member who has messaged you. A “Qualifying Mail Message” must be a priority mail message sent through the AshleyMadison.com service and does not include any other method of communicating (such as AshleyMadison.com winks or emails sent outside of the AshleyMadison.com system).

OR

2) Send at least 5 AshleyGifts per month. (Question: WHAT IS AN ASHLEYGIFT?)

AND LASTLY:

3) Instant message with members for at least 60 minutes per month through the AshleyMadison.com service.

Call me lazy but I’ll stick with what I’ve got and role play if needing something different.

athenadelphi on September 14, 2009 at 5:55 PM

I have found, personally, that I just am not responsible for people’s personal choices. That framework of thinking made me too nervous.

I can’t make anyone think a certain way. I can only live my own life, share the good and the bad of it. Let others decide.

I’m often amused to see that my mistakes in life really have more influence than my successes. I suppose that’s how it should be.

But marriage is one of those very odd institutions. Nobody seems to really stay married, but the fight over protecting is is vociferous. I guess it’s our romantic idealism coming out. In the ideal world, everyone would stay married for 65 years. In real life, divorce is not unusual.

It’s one thing to talk about “suffering through hard times.” It’s quite another to actually suffer through those periods.

I don’t judge those who divorce. I can’t quite understand anyone whose into affairs while married. Seems to me that’s a bit silly. Just be single. Be a player, so to speak.

I personally have a moral code that is simple. Do no harm.

I can have my own life, my own beliefs, my own opinions. But I can’t see justifying insisting that others be subject to that.

Now, I draw lines. I can post my opinions, and those who “take offense,” can go stuff it. That’s not imposing. You’re always welcome to skip my posts, and I’m not going to change my opinions because it might offend some anonymous person who could be posting, for all I know, from the community room in a mental ward.

But, in personal life, holding firm to boundaries has been key to my own life. When I was married, I was married. No funny business.

And when I didn’t want to be in that relationship, then I divorced.

But the two states are separate, to me. Those are MY values.

AnninCA on September 14, 2009 at 5:58 PM

AnninCA on September 14, 2009 at 5:49 PM

You’re wrong. I do like you and do like talking with you WHEN you’re not concern trolling. I’ve attempted to do so several times. I enjoy discussions with people with whom I disagree. But I do need honesty and genuineness at least. And so far, I’m having difficulty with those issues when it comes to you. And for the most part, I do leave you alone. But from time to time, I hammer you to insure new readers know that you do indeed concern troll this site.

Loxodonta on September 14, 2009 at 6:06 PM

You’re wrong. I do like you and do like talking with you WHEN you’re not concern trolling. I’ve attempted to do so several times. I enjoy discussions with people with whom I disagree. But I do need honesty and genuineness at least. And so far, I’m having difficulty with those issues when it comes to you. And for the most part, I do leave you alone. But from time to time, I hammer you to insure new readers know that you do indeed concern troll this site.

Loxodonta on September 14, 2009 at 6:06 PM

I have no agenda. If I post “concern” toll posts, according to you, it’s just my opinion, on a particular issue, at a particular time.

I certainly am not here posting inauthentic opinions.

I’ve actually changed my mind, in large part, not entirely, about public option. It’s not due to anyone’s posts, but I’ve watched the entire debate unfold. I’m now more concerned that this administration isn’t prepared to really usher in such a plan.

That doesn’t undo my agreement with the plan. It does suggest, this isn’t the right administration.

I don’t care if you like or dislike me. I have personal friends for personal validation in life. :)

On-line debate isn’t about that. That’s strictly manipulative crud, and I see it going on all the time.

Frankly, I’ve been only for over 15 years now. You just can’t con me.

Just post your opinion. I’ll post mine. We’ll co-exist.

AnninCA on September 14, 2009 at 6:20 PM

My wife and I have been volunteering the past ten years to help keep marriages together at Twin Cities Marriage Encounter. I’m sure the people responsible for the Ashley Madison service will get rich from it, but if you have a few dollars to help support marriage rather than seeing other people undermine it, TCME could certainly use the help.

TCME is a very worthwhile endeavor and I was happy to make a donation today. Ashley Madison may encourage someone to cheat who might otherwise not, but it also gives them an outlet to hook up with a similar soul rather than hit on a neighbor or someone at work.

You probably know more than I do based on working with couples but my guess is that by the time someone would start using Ashley Madison to meet people their marriage is already in a state of disrepair.

dedalus on September 14, 2009 at 6:46 PM

I work with couples meeting one another and trying to get relationships going.

Nevermind, long-term problems. Heck, most can’t get through the honeymoon period.

AnninCA on September 14, 2009 at 6:51 PM

There’s nothing illegal about it

There’s nothing criminal about it, but in eight states, it is tortuous.

The Monster on September 14, 2009 at 7:00 PM

Self confidence is a aphrodisiac.

jbh45 on September 14, 2009 at 4:24 PM

So is self-deprecatory humor. Well, sometimes. I guess. [/irony]

I’m confident everywhere but there. Put me in front of a class, on a stage, in a discussion and I’m plenty confident. I just suck at small talk and the casual tactics thing. I tend to charge when I should flank and wait when I should engage.

Meh, doesn’t matter much anyway. The world’s gonna end in 2012 when the Mayan calendar runs out.

spmat on September 14, 2009 at 7:10 PM

anninca may have an opposing view, but she is well-spoken and certainly not a troll on this site.

jbh45 on September 14, 2009 at 7:15 PM

Other’s people advice on marriage is a lot like reading parenting advice isn’t it?

AnninCA on September 14, 2009 at 5:15 PM

yep, agreed. Some of my thoughts are a reflection upon my upbringing and sound antiquated. Too bad we aren’t more about looking back with reflection and less moving forward at break neck speed.

jbh45 on September 14, 2009 at 7:19 PM

So… what happens if you hook up with your real wife on AshleyMadison by accident?

…If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain…

Mojave Mark on September 14, 2009 at 7:34 PM

As the family goes, so goes the nation – Confucius

atheling on September 14, 2009 at 7:38 PM

People who get upset over commercials are a little too high strung…
They could use a way a relax, and do something fun for a change…
Maybe they should consider taking advantage of a fun-providing service, like, say, AshleyMadison!

e-pirate on September 14, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Well it’s obviously that you’re either (a) not married or (b) cheating on your spouse.

DethMetalCookieMonst on September 14, 2009 at 7:43 PM

It is perfectly acceptable to divorse your spouse because they think the ring on their finger means permission to become a slob in body and soul or that it means you are their slave.

Holger on September 14, 2009 at 4:06 PM

FYI to all of you that make fat jokes about Meghan McCain, you sound just like this douche.

DethMetalCookieMonst on September 14, 2009 at 8:29 PM

But saying your wife got fat after having kids and never got her weight back down even though she’s not obese or overall unhealthy doesn’t work as an excuse for me personally. I’ve seen it happen far too often the other way, with the man getting fat (even without the excuse of having children) but is otherwise a decent man his wife still loves.

Esthier on September 14, 2009 at 4:15 PM

You say that as if you think it’s okay to cheat if your wife does become obese. *shakes head*

DethMetalCookieMonst on September 14, 2009 at 8:38 PM

Um, that’s ugly and awful. I hope you don’t mean that HAPPENED to you. Oh my.

Diane on September 14, 2009 at 4:16 PM

You think that it’s “ugly and awful” if a man gets fat after he gets married? How shallow.

DethMetalCookieMonst on September 14, 2009 at 8:41 PM

Sorry, Diane, read what you were responding to wrong.

DethMetalCookieMonst on September 14, 2009 at 8:42 PM

I just always say I did live until “death do you part.” The problem was, that rule was established back when lifespans were shorter.

AnninCA on September 14, 2009 at 4:41 PM

Actually, they were longer. You gotta read the Bible a bit more.

unclesmrgol on September 14, 2009 at 8:59 PM

And related to the topic of this thread, there’s this from headlines:

The Spoilt Generation: Parents who fail to exert authority breeding youngsters with no respect for anyone

A growing lack of adult authority has bred a ‘spoilt generation’ of children who believe grown-ups must earn their respect, a leading psychologist has warned.

The rise of the ‘little emperor’ spans the class divide and is fuelling ills from childhood obesity to teenage pregnancy, Aric Sigman’s research shows.

Attempts to ‘empower’ children and a lack of discipline in the classroom have also fostered rising levels of violence, at home, at school and in the street.

Loxodonta on September 14, 2009 at 9:01 PM

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