"A mutually supportive decision" - Macleans.ca

“A mutually supportive decision”


Anne Kingston’s context-setting piece about Al and Tipper Gore’s separation is legitimately amazing; I couldn’t, on my best day, come up with anything so well-informed and strongly written so quickly. But I find myself wondering if the Gore split is really best understood as an example of a general cultural phenomenon. Isn’t this commentary about peaceable, respectable, mutually satisfying late-life divorces going to look a little silly ten weeks from now when Al turns up at an awards show with a lingerie model and every middle-aged woman in the universe turns against him?

Let’s be honest here: Gore’s Oscar-Nobel double play catapulted him into a stratosphere of alpha-male erotic leverage far beyond the realms one can reach by being vice-president—a constitutional office that, for 230 years, has been synonymous with emasculation. It doesn’t really matter that, personality-wise, the man happens to be a lobotomized prep-school headmaster. Gore is an elite player now, a man who can smuggle you onto any yacht, into any chalet, behind the scenes at any conference. He’s one of a couple dozen people on the planet who could get almost literally anybody on the phone within 15 minutes, though he’d probably need more like six hours for the Pope or the Queen. If he felt like it, he could probably arrange to test-drive a Formula One car or clear out Matsuhisa Beverly Hills for a private tête-à-tête. Factor in the gauzy halation that descends upon one when one is the face of a beleaguered environmental cause (oui, Laetitia, sometimes the criticism wears me down, but I have to stay strong) and you’re talking about the sexual market-power equivalent of a nuclear carrier group.

It seems impossibly naïve to imagine that Tipper suddenly woke up last week and made the Claude Rains-esque discovery that Al is a bit of a bore and that he’s probably only getting in the way of her brilliant career as a photographer. Which career, to Colleague Kingston’s credit, comes as news to me and no doubt most everybody else. (If you’re a bored celebrity wife who wants to claim a vocation that doesn’t require a lot of difficult instruction or practice, I guess you couldn’t find a better spirit guide than Linda McCartney.) One wonders: couldn’t Tipper, that artiste manqué, have found time to perfect this craft during that decade or so she spent waging war on the popular music of various American underclasses?

Nobody wants to state the unkind “assumption” that the militantly anti-fun Mrs. Gore has been chased to the curb because Al finally came to the belated realization that his last years will be spent as a shaman of the Bono-Mandela-Dalai Lama class, rather than as a politician, and that such men are licensed to void their holy essence upon suitably nubile representatives of womanhood. But certainly no one can be foolish enough to believe that the vice-president’s next publicly visible gal pal will be within two decades of his own age. Any good feminist would be expected to say that mutuality and consent were beside the point if they saw a business executive winking at a cute junior associate; but, mysteriously, the difference in advantages accruing to the parties in the Gore separation doesn’t seem to bother anybody, any more than Bill Clinton’s creative use of the White House payroll did. All I ask is that we have no sham outrage, hear no wounded shrieks of psychologically projected betrayal, when Al is eventually photographed with Ginger Spice’s décolletage mashed affectionately against his tuxedo jacket.

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“A mutually supportive decision”

  1. You will eat this column when you see Betty White on his arm.

    • What happens if we see Betty White on Tipper's arm?

      • Touché

      • very well done!

  2. Well, the column is interesting, but it really REALLY has to take a back seat to the comments.

    Just WOW.

  3. Rondi Adamson is claiming on her blog that Tipper can do better. Really? A sixtysomething granny can do better than a billionaire Nobel Prize winning former VP and Senator who is the darling of hundreds of millions of leftists? At best she gets a David Gest type.

    Kingston's piece might as well have been titled "You Go Girl!!!!"; she appears to celebrate the end of a 40 year marriage, which is kind of gross, and in her last paragraph suggests that divorce is the best thing you can do to save relationship, which is doublethink that would make Big Brother blush.

    The whole thing seems odd and sad to me. Notwithstanding Kingston's bit about how grey divorce is the new hawtness, it seems odd and sad to spend 40 years with someone only to go die alone in old age.

    • Hahaha, your first paragraph sound Like an Amy Pohlen-Seth Myers news sketch on SNL…

      • Also, the last paragraph was actually quite insightful.

        • I'm not sure how insightful it is.

          I find this neither odd, nor sad, because, frankly, I have no insight whatsoever into the relationship between Al and Tipper Gore. I think that for all of the knowledge that Boogard or I have into the inner workings of this couple's marriage, one would have to argue that my conclusion that the whole thing is "unsurprising and happy" is every bit as insightful as Boogard's characterization that it's "odd and sad".

          • Generally speaking, for the average couple, it's "odd and sad". While some elderly divorcées may feel liberated, I'm sure many others wind up sinking into the loneliness and desperation that accompanies awareness of one's own imminent mortality. Sorry to get all "Debbie Downer" on you.

    • Everyone dies alone.

  4. Colby, your projection of your sexual power fantasies fails to conceal your raging jealousy. And it occurs to me that, when it comes to claiming "a vocation that doesn't require a lot of difficult instruction or practice", an even better choice would be professional blogger.

    Not all men are controlled by their libido; there's a chance that Al is one of the few exceptions.

    And, Boogard, (as Jon Voight said in Runaway Train), we all die alone, kid.

    • Apparently all you need is to have everyone else figured out and a consequence free venue in which to talk about it.

    • I'm going to assume the comic effect created by the Spock avatar was 100% intentional here.

      • It also helps to imagine the comment spoken in Spock's voice.

        • It does!

    • there's a chance that Al is one of the few exceptions

      Knowing Al, that chance is zero. He's not an honest nor honorable guy.

      In fact, I believe that he's not divorcing so that he can pursue his wild oats afterwards, I'd say he's the John Edwards/Bill Clinton type and he's already got at least one fling on the side.

    • Soneone I know who endured an long empty marriage described it as loneliness without privacy. Just having someone in the next room at all times, doesn't guarantee love and.or companionship.

  5. I'm not sure how important these supposed sexual potency factors are when you have to wake up next to them for four decades. I have no idea what happened or what will, but I don't pretend to.

  6. Bold prediction: Gore will lose at least 50 pounds in the next six months to keep up with his new arm candy

  7. Or, they were two people who found their marriage had run its course for a variety of reasons. But I guess that's poor fodder..

  8. Gore must have finally got around to reading Pachauir's book, Return to Almora, and realized he was missing out on some great opportunities.

    "The chair of the UN's panel on climate change Dr Rajendra Pachauri has taken a break from writing academic papers on global warming to pen a racy romantic novel…he details sexual encounter after sexual encounter" (Telegraph, Jan 30, 2010)

    Maybe the good doctor can give Gore some quick Kama Sutra lessons to start him off right on his new "spiritual journey". I am sure that Gore will charge each lady a significant fee for his time and insist on a strict no debate policy about his performance.

  9. Tipper's not been seen much in public because she's got a problem that's fairly common to the wives of politicians. Think of Ted Kennedy's ex, or Betty Ford, Kitty Dukakis,, etc. Family knows, the people in TN know.

  10. There is no controlling legal authority that says this was in violation of law.

  11. Pish, likely he's just another aging boomer grasping frantically for a sop for his failing masculinity.

    Or, on the other hand maybe she's just another cougar-on-the-make looking for a younger version of the man she had.

  12. Colby Cosh, you're going to look very foolish when Al Gore escorts David Suzuki to the Oscars.

  13. I'll give you Bono and Mandela, but I'd like to see a link to some evidence suggesting that the Dalai Lama has ever "voided his holy essence upon a suitably nubile representative of womanhood".

    If it's video evidence, all the better.

  14. The best way to ensure a relationship lasts is to see other people.