In “Lets Call the Whole Thing Off”, author Sandra Tsing Loh ultimately fails to make any strong arguments within her article. She irrationally jumps to conclusions and spends most of her argument defending herself as if she is a victim in her self-inflicted failed marriage. Loh contradicts herself and searches for pity amongst the readers as she takes them through a very redundant and repetitive banter on how all marriages should be reconsidered. The author goes as far as stating that humans are not a monogamous group and we should have one homemaker and one affair for every family.
As the author starts out her article she takes us through the uncomfortable details of her failed marriage, stating that her monogamy ultimately came unglued at the end. She explains how she and her husband attended therapy to try and work through their marriage and ultimately prevail. At the end of the day, however, Loh needed to replace the image of her affair with her husband; she needed to re-fall in love with her marriage. The author explains that she did not have the strength to do so. Up until this point did Loh’s article seem to be headed in a reasonable direction. She then takes a drastic turn for the worst in which her argument starts to slowly fall apart in this train-wreck of irrational hasty conclusions and ideas she drags her readers through.
She makes a point stating that our life expectancy has practically doubled since agrarian times, in which marriage was essential for survival- it was a business deal more so than a love affair. She explains how Americans have the highest ideals of marriage and yet is a country with one of the highest divorce rates, if not the highest. Can the two be connected? Is it necessary to be married for such a long period of time? Loh explains how this isn’t natural; that humans aren’t monogamous to begin with. She irrationally starts to blame her failed marriage on the human species! Her ludicrous remarks jab at homosapien’s inability or rarity to remain in a committed monogamous relationship.
Loh’s hasty conclusions drastically weaken her argument by making her seem inadequate in holding structure to her thoughts. The author can be compared to a child who has a copious amount of thoughts and emotions to express so she just expresses them all at once in one big jumbled mess. Loh has no buildup to her statements, no organized thought process- it almost lacks a sense of credibility which one craves mid-way through her argument. Eventually the readers get sick of hearing her friends talk and the author complain and are eager for real evidential proof to any and all of her data.
Loh contradicts herself leaving her readers frustrated when she sits down to chat with her girlfriends. At one particular girls night out, Loh’s friend Rachael has exclaimed that she has been thinking about divorce too because her husband won’t have sex with her; he calls her sloppy and inattentive with the children. When she confronts her husband about divorce he explains they have to work on their marriage to show discipline to their children. Loh scoffs at the idea that more work must be put into the marriage in order for it to be successful. This is the beginning to Loh’s ‘elephant in the room’ contradiction. She constantly scoffs the thought of ‘working to save a marriage’ but yet later takes pity on herself for not having a successful partnership. In the beginning, Loh admits to understanding the work that needs to be put in to make her marriage work, but when confronted by her friend, she brushes off the idea as if it is ridiculous. Loh makes it difficult for her readers to understand whether or not she has a rational point of view, and if she does, she ends up failing to deliver through with a clear meaning of it.
Just when you think that the article is drawing to a close, Loh makes yet another hasty remark regarding typical mutual relationships. She mentions in order to really have a successful marriage in today’s day and age you must have one homemaker who’s job is to stay home with the kids, help out around the house and to provide stability and comfort to the children. You also need to have one stable romantic affair on the side, this way you get your fix of pleasure and love juxtaposed with a successful stable home for your children. Irrational? I think so. It is almost as if the author is attempting to justify her affair with the fact that in order to have the best of both worlds, you must have an affair.
Loh wraps up the article with an overwhelming sum of self pity explaining that her failed marriage is the natural rhythm of today’s new age outcome on committed monogamous partnership. She warns her readers to avoid marriage at all costs or prepare to suffer in the long run as did she (even though she could have worked to fix her marriage). The answer? She concludes her article by telling the [women] readers to rethink ‘forever and always’ because it will be a free ride for the husband and a slave-life for the wife.
Loh’s argument is a disaster to begin with. Her ideas are scattered, her sources are not ones that hold any credibility and her bitterness overshadows rational logic. Just because something doesn’t work for one person due to a mistake (an affair), doesn’t mean America as a whole should rethink getting married to the one they are committed to ’til death do us part’.
(View Loh’s article here: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/07/let-8217-s-call-the-whole-thing-off/7488/)