No Happy Day

If it was up to me, I probably wouldn’t pick graduation day as the best time to ask my beloved to marry me. There are plenty of other days, and this one was already taken with happiness. More to the point, the happiness of the day is about the recognition of study, years of work, and the graduate. What it’s not about is me, so let her have the day without my stepping on her achievement.

Then again, that’s me, and I’m not Edgaras Averbuchas.

When Edgaras Averbuchas successfully proposed to Agne Banuskeviciute at her graduation ceremony, both were delighted. The romantic moment at Essex University, where Ms Banuskeviciute received her Master’s degree in English, was filmed and posted on the university’s website to celebrate their engagement.

Perhaps this was exactly what the two desired, or to nail it down, what made the day the best day possible for Agne Banuskeviciute. If she was delighted, then that’s great. I’m going to indulge in two assumptions here, the first being that Edgaras had a better sense of what would bring joy to Agne than I do, and that her delight was sincere. Joy, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. So what could possibly spoil this young couple’s happiness?

Then something weird happened. A couple of feminists called down fire and brimstone on Edgaras for “hijacking” Agne’s graduation and making it about the engagement, because he felt “threatened by her intellect.”

Aisha Ali-Khan, a core organiser of the Women’s March on London, said it “smacked of egotism” and did not bode well for the relationship. “[W]hen someone craves such public attention and adulation all the time, there can only be space for one person and their ego in that relationship,” she declared.

Was Aisha Ali-Khan the bride-to-be’s mother? Her best friend since childhood? Her spokesperson? No, no. She was just some random scold who had the hubris to stick her nose into the joy of a couple of people she didn’t know to turn their day into something bad and wrong. It wasn’t just that she disagreed with Edgaras’ decision to seek Agne’s hand in marriage that day, but that she was so omniscient as to know his true, evil motive: to hijack the graduation because he felt threatened by her intellect.

In most times in history, someone like Ali-Khan would have been at best, ignored, and at worst, castigated for sticking her unwelcome hubris-filled nose into other people’s business. But not at this time in history, where the scolds cannot be told to shove it or you’re a misogyinist.

As others stoked the inevitable Twitter storm, Dr Jana Bacevic, a research associate in sociology at Cambridge University, wrote: “Imagine being a man and feeling so threatened by a woman’s intellectual success that you have to force her to frame her identity/agency in relation to you on the very day she is being celebrated for her intellect. Oh wait, that’s, like, 99.9 per cent men.” (“An F for man who proposed at his fiancee’s graduation,” Telegraph, July 24, 2019).

None of that would matter, of course, except that Essex University, in the craven style we have come to expect from seats of learning, removed the romantic video clip from its website, succumbing to bullying by feminist warriors. Apparently, no allowance was made for ethnic diversity – the possibility that the couple’s Lithuanian backgrounds might account for their approach to romance.

Hooray for the forces of social justice, ruining two people’s happy day for the cause! And Essex University removed the video of the proposal from its website. Where once it stood as a lovely example of its student’s happiness, it now disappeared as an example of sexism, reframing its students intellectual achievement for the sake of her fragile fiance’s ego.

Except nobody seems to care what Agne thought about it. So much for her intellectual achievement, if she wasn’t smart enough to recognize that she was the victim of a misogynist’s attack and was “delighted” when she should have refused this miscreant’s proposal and probably inflicted harm by kicking him in the nuts if she was unarmed under her gown.

And indeed, voices then parsed imaginary reasons why this graduate’s engagement didn’t result in the only reasonable outcome by neo-feminist standards.

Until the day before yesterday the same approach was considered perfectly normal here too. Now, according to Rebecca Reid, writing in Grazia magazine, it is an imposition on the woman. If Ms Bauskeviciute had wanted to turn him down, she would have had to “break his heart in front of an entire auditorium of strangers,” she fretted. “Hijacking a big moment with something sweet or well intentioned doesn’t make it OK. Just because something is sweet or well intended doesn’t mean that it is appropriate.”

Could it be that Agne Banuskeviciute was just happy to be asked to marry the man she loved? Could it be that Agne Banuskeviciute would have been thrilled to accept the proposal had it been done in private any other day as well as in public on the day of her graduation? Was she now a double victim, her graduation day hijacked plus her agency compromised by being asked “in front of an entire auditorium of strangers” such that her free will to reject him was overwhelmed by her societal grooming to accept rather than humiliate this horrible sexist man who felt threatened by her intellect?

It could be any or all of these things. It also could not be. But whatever it was, it was for Agne Banuskeviciute to decide, not the vicious scolds of proper womanhood, pushing their way into other people’s lives to press their agendas of outrage and turn a happy day into misery.

But the kicker here, that these scolds managed to scare Essex University enough to pull the video rather than risk the feminist shrieks of fury, is the incentive to persist in pushing and punishing the heretics of happiness by making everyone equal in misery. I wish the loving couple every happiness, but doubt the scolds will allow it.

30 thoughts on “No Happy Day

      1. Casual Lurker

        “Isn’t she like 127 years old now?”

        That would be her twin-sister, Pauline Phillips, a/k/a Abigail Van Buren. 😉

        I always found it amusing that the twin Friedman sisters were both in the advice racket. Nothing like a little Sibling Rivalry to get the competitive juices flowing.

          1. Casual Lurker

            “So today is that day, I see.”

            Indeed, it is! (or was…) And no, I haven’t been reaching into the samples drawer!

            Did you know we have a theme song around this place?…

    1. John J

      DEAR AISHY: I intend to ask my beloved for her hand in marriage at her graduation ceremony. What do you think? — EAGER ED.

      DEAR EAGER ED: You dirty misogynist, swine, chauvinist, fragile, male, egotist, fascist, rapist, wife-beater, brute, no, I don’t think it’s a good idea. Marriage is a patriarchal construct that only benefits men. Why don’t you castrate yourself and leave her alone? Hope this helps. Good luck.

  1. wilbur

    I imagine she agreed to marry him just so she could change her name to Agne Banuskeviciute-Averbuchas. That name alone’s gotta be worth something on the victim scale.

    1. ShootingHipster

      She’s great, but notice how Kenny Vaughn steps up with his fancy guitar licks, followed by the guy on slide guitar, both trying to upstage her. They should really tone it down.

  2. MLA

    I have a PhD.

    The day my husband proposed to me (on a frozen lake, while our friends watched giddily from the lake house) was more important than the day of my graduation. Finding and nurturing my relationship with him has been a bigger achievement than my degree.

    The rules of the Internet dictate that I should have put “unpopular opinion” before these assertions, but I’d wager that it’s not actually an unpopular opinion among happily married people with fancy degrees.

    1. SHG Post author

      I’m kinda neutral on whether one event is, or should be, more important than another. But then, I’m pretty strongly in favor of it being your decision when it comes to your life and no one else’s.

      1. MLA

        That’s because you’re an agent of The Patriarchy oppressing women with your outdated and sexist notions of “[her] decision.”

      2. Ross

        In our brave new world, it is the job of the woke, and only the woke, to tell you how you feel. You are not allowed any input into the matter, since it is impossible for you to know how you feel, as you continually mislead yourself.

  3. losingtrader

    I’m still stuck trying to pronounce their last names. Was there some point being made in this post, other than you need to get the hell off Twatter?

  4. Dan

    The thing is, I generally agree with the criticisms of this–it does upstage the graduation (not only for her, but also for everyone else), and it does put pressure on her to say yes (though the “threatened by her intellect” is patently idiotic). My wife wouldn’t have appreciated it, and I wouldn’t have been inclined to do it anyway–and were someone to ask my advice, that’s what I’d tell them. But that’s the critical distinction–I don’t know these people, and they didn’t ask me. Best of luck to them, and the woke can just go whizz upwind.

    1. LocoYokel

      At the same time I know a couple who got married on graduation week (they both graduated at the same time) because everybody was already there and some of them would not have been able to make two trips from out of state. So much for upstaging graduation. It’s worked for them for more than 20 years.

      1. Dan

        I’m reading this (perhaps incorrectly) as though the proposal were during the actual ceremony in a fairly public manner (which interpretation is supported by the fact that the school had video of the event), and if this is the case, I believe the criticisms I mention remain valid. I also know a couple (my parents) who got married on graduation week (indeed, within a day of her graduation), and they’re close to 50 years now–but they didn’t bring in a minister and tie the knot during the ceremony either.

        I see two significant distinctions between what I understand happened here, and the example you gave:

        1. By proposing publicly during the graduation ceremony, the graduation is upstaged, at least to a degree, for everyone involved, and she’s put under some not-insignificant pressure to say yes. A private proposal earlier or later in the day does neither of these things.
        2. It’s generally expected that many of your friends and family will be present for your wedding, not so much for your proposal/engagement–though perhaps this is different in Lithuanian culture.

        1. delurking

          Yeah, and maybe “who had no idea her boyfriend was planning a proposal” is actually bullshit, because people do lie about that sort of thing (especially when they are co-opting some major event to put on a show of their own). Maybe, like many highly-educated couples, they are timing their marriage to the point when they can start their lives and careers together.

  5. Casual Lurker

    “She was just some random scold who had the hubris to stick her nose into the joy of a couple of people she didn’t know…”

    It’s more than sticking their nose into other peoples business. It’s more than just projecting whatever childhood/adolescent issues they have onto others or virtue signaling.

    When people believe they know what others are thinking and feeling, with absolute certainty, especially when they have no connection to the party in question, and minus any first-hand evidence (objective or otherwise), then it begins to fall into the realm of delusional thinking typically associated with “Schizophrenia, Undifferentiated Type” (DSM 295.90).

    For fairly obvious reasons, I find the presumptive attribution of various behaviors, traits, and motivations particularly troubling. But, in isolation, are not necessarily indicative of any particular pathology.

    However, assuming some percentage of the mob are not just dancing to the tune of McNamara’s band,* one must consider the possibility that those shouting the loudest for Mr. Averbuchas’s head may be suffering from any of several possible personality and/or thinking disorders.

    In any case, the unusually warm weather tends to bring out the nutjobs latent pathologies of the unduly passionate. Send ’em over! At the moment we have plenty of room here at the ‘rest spa’, a freshly restocked pharmacy, and a new crop of R1s needing to hone their skills.

    It just so happens that some our Residents fancy themselves as fashion consultants. They can’t wait to recommend some of our new pastel colored jackets that fasten in the rear! I must say, compared to the traditional plain white, they do look quite trendy!

    *The reference to “McNamara’s band” has less to do with the Irish folk song, and more to do with former Secretary of Defense for the Kennedy administration, Robert McNamara.

    In preparation for the “Bay of Pigs” invasion, Kennedy called a final meeting of his “war cabinet” in which he asked all present for the pros and cons of going forward. Those who offered good reasons for the likely failure of the operation were shouted down, primarily by McNamara.

    Decades later, when details of that meeting began to emerge, they were extensively examined by behavioral psychologists looking into the dynamics of “Group Situational Forces”. (Note that this is far more complex than calling it mere “peer pressure”).

    Resulting meta-studies are said to show how a dominant Alpha in a group can usurp the deliberative process, in effect pre-determining the outcome. I’m told studies parsing the available details of that Kennedy-era cabinet meeting tend to be heavily mined for guidance by jury consultants. It appears there’s a strong indication that, should there be a sole Alpha, and that person becomes jury foreman, you’re playing to an audience of one.

      1. Casual Lurker

        “I can’t wait for your detailed explanation of the ‘risky shift’ analysis.”

        Then I wont make you wait! (From one Kibitzer to another, be careful what you wish for).

        In truth, I can’t say I have one, as I haven’t done a deep-dive into the available literature on the topic. Besides, social psychology is largely outside the purview of psychiatry. Although, I’m familiar with the general idea. Frankly, my sense of most recent studies/experiments involving social psychology is the majority of them lack adequate scientific rigor.

        That said, a quick check of the available lit’ shows that from 1970 onward there is nothing noteworthy on the “Risky Shift” phenomenon. Since all significant research on the topic was conducted pre-Internet, it likely has extremely limited applicability to “virtual” mobs, and therefore fails to properly account for groups of subjects having no physical proximity, let alone realtime visual contact. Other important factors include whether the participants know each other IRL, and just how anonymous they believe themselves to be.

        However, while the mechanism governing the behavior of virtual mobs may be different, the net effect appears to be largely the same. That being the case, unless you’re truly interested, I’ll skip the full, detailed explanation of a psych experiment conducted at MIT’s engineering department, circa 1968, when the department was run by Dr. Jerrold R. Zacharias, an alumnus of the Manhattan Project and father of Atomic Time.

        But briefly, Dr. Zach’ was interested in getting effective cooperation between members of an analytical workgroup. Long story short, each member of the group was put in a room by them self, having only copies of the project’s technical documents and a few reference materials available to them, and had to communicate with the other members by phone or intercom. (They know each other IRL, but cannot see each other when collaborating on the assigned project).

        In this way the students must focus on the task at hand to get anything done, and thus manage to find a solution to a given problem in a fraction of the time it would otherwise take if they were in the same room.

        This was largely attributed to an effect known as “dilution of egos”.

        Mind you, this is completely at odds to what business management consultants preach. Go figure???

  6. F. Lee Billy

    Don’t do it, especially on graduation day!?! However, with surnames like that, perhaps they can be excused. Don’t exactly roll off the tongue like, say, Greenspan, Greenfield,… Or Totenberg. If you catch my drift?

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