“Hello, Darkness, my old friend. Time to talk to you again.”
So goes that compelling song by Simon and Garfunkel that pulled the movie fans into the incredible plot of “The Graduate” with Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Ross.
I watched it again the other night on Turner Classic Movies. It was just as good the other night as it was in 1967. Poor old Benjamin, poor old Elaine and poor old Mrs. Robinson.
I’ve seen it at least a dozen times, and each time I am reminded of a conversation with my Mom back in the 1940s during the radio days when we had just listened to a romantic comedy on the Lux Theatre. I was about 12 or so.
At the end, Mom spoke in her serious voice:
“Marriage is never like the end of a movie.”
My understanding of that observation over the years: Don’t take movies and radio programs too seriously.
But of course you should take marriage seriously.
Sometimes children listen to their parents, and sometimes they don’t.
According to an article by John Michelson of TNNS, posted recently on line:
“The divorce rate in America peaked at around 50 percent in the 1980s. and slowly has been trending downward. It is slightly more than 40 percent.” (TNNS, often referred to as Tennis is an Amazon publication.)
In reference to the romantic comedy, “The Graduate,” I have often wondered if Mike Nichols, the director, has ever considered a follow-up.
Imagine a gathering at Mrs. Robinson’s with Benjamin, Elaine, Mr. Robinson, Ben’s parents and all those friends who attended at the pool party to welcome home the graduate.
Of course it was a fairy tale, as most movies are. That’s why it is good for us to see a real movie now and then such as “Lincoln.”
Come to think of it. The story of the marriage of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd would not necessarily be a romantic comedy, and I doubt that it would be a box office smash.
As for marriage today, here’s a quote from The Huffington Post, posted on the Internet:
“In light of the current divorce rate, why do you think young people expect their marriage to last?
“Well, I think because we still have a very romantic view of marriage as a society. Surveys show that close to 90 percent of emerging adults say they expect to find their soul mate as a marriage partner.
“That’s a very romantic ideal. It’s a sort of ideal person that is just right for you. And so I think that even though many young people have seen their parents (divorce), and they are always aware of the 50 percent divorce rate, they still go into it determined to have a successful marriage, and very hopeful of reaching that soul mate ideal.”
My observation is that so many young people today are so burdened by the college loan fiasco and the easy access to the credit card mindset that they are simply too deep in debt to be able to recognize their soul mates.
Debts never go away unless somebody pays them. And you can’t pay them without a really good job with a really good salary … and a lot of discipline.
“Hello darkness, my old friend, time to talk to you again.”
Gillis Morgan is an associate professor emeritus of journalism at Auburn University and an award-winning columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org