Building Hysteria

Once there was a late-night talk show host who claimed that daytime people were stupider than nighttime people. One night, together with his listeners, he fabricated a book, a plot, an author, and the author’s biography. Then he commanded his listeners to go forth and request the book from daytimers at their local bookstore.

They did.

And they did.

And they did some more.

Soon, everyone was talking about this wildly popular book. It was sold out around the country. Nobody could get a copy. Yet everyone wanted it. Book stores were making frantic calls to distributors who made frantic calls to publishers. The fabricated book climbed onto the New York Times bestseller list and kept rising.

The talk show host rested his case. If daytime people could list a non-book as a bestseller, they were astoundingly stupid.

If that’s what it takes to be stupid, then our community is astoundingly so. We’re like the little kids who come home from school whining, “But everyone has one,” when in fact, only three show-offs did. Repeated exposure to propaganda distorts our perception of reality. We don’t even need a malicious third party to brainwash us. We do it ourselves. We whip ourselves up into a lather of panic which feeds itself until it grows into a mass hysteria.

I dare you to find a Jewish periodical that isn’t tainted on a regular basis with some mention of shidduch issues. It can make a person sick. The only way to go a weekend without hearing about a new facet of shidduch problems is to avoid all Jewish publications.

Not to say there isn’t something to airing dirty laundry in public. If people hear about something often enough, they get to agree that it’s an issue. That leads to activism and potentially change. Which could be good. But with shidduchim, I think we’ve reached the point of diminishing returns. Everyone knows there’s something up with shidduchim, but the very problem with it prevents people from doing anything about it (people might talk, and that would be bad for shidduchim…) so now everyone just worries and murmurs and talks more and more, blowing the issue out of proportion and getting hysterical.

Calm down everyone, will you? You’re not accomplishing anything except making people more nervous and irritated.


19 thoughts on “Building Hysteria

  1. “The only way to go a weekend without hearing about a new facet of shidduch problems is to avoid all Jewish publications.”

    I disagree. It is not sufficient to avoid all Jewish publications; it is also necessary to avoid all Jewish people. (Okay, maybe that’s going a bit too far…just avoid the religious ones.) Because trust me, even if you don’t have to read about it, someone will bring it up in conversation.

  2. … or live out of town! 🙂 (as in really out of town… chicago is in town, even though the ney yorkers don’t want to accept it, just because they’re different than the new yorkers.)

  3. Touche, M00ks. 😀

    Because I don’t think it’s a tragic problem, for starters. I’m not fretting or bemoaning or chewing my nails. Unlike almost every shidduch article on the planet.

  4. methinks the problem is that we require news 24/7 and updates ad nausem that lends itself to hysteria over every single situation
    so we have now a crisis for every step of growth in one life cradle to grave in a vicious cycle.
    Birth defect crisis, playgroup crisis, school crisis, early intervention, high school, sem, shidduch, infertility, divorce, etc etc.
    it sells the hamodia, sells this blog, binah mag, etc. etc.
    Who all profit from make US miserable…….

    m00kie this blog isn;t contributing to the problem, it IS the problem

  5. But this blog gives some hope that others are in the same problem as well- so it’s also a cure! (or it’s just making us all miserable- one of the above)

  6. Seriously… I am ALWAYS reading those articles, and they really are everyhwere. But that is what people like. Because there are SO many people in shidduchim, people want to read about them. People want to hear about it, and bemoan about their misery, and whatnot.

    I was just saying that I always see kvetches about a crisis, and how it is terrible, yet there is no action. Nothing is being done about it, (well, some are trying, but on a whole). There is a whole lot of kvetch and no action.

    How about instead of reading in the Hamodia all the shidduch problems, someone should write a collumn of hashgacha pratis with shidduchim, and stories of how people met, dated, etc? I think that might sell as well.

  7. in general, people love to complain about things without trying to find a solution. in face, if you offered them a solution, they would bemoan the fact that you solved their problems. so people are happy when shidduchim are everywhere, in your face (provided of course, that they are married. then they can bemoan a problem that doesn’t apply to them anyway. unlike badfor, my single friends aren’t sitting around waiting for their lives to start. they, like me, are busy with lots of things, like work and school, to name a few, and (gasp!) even enjoy being single)

  8. Yep – I’m sitting around doing nothing, waiting for my life to start. I’m not working, not going to college, and not enjoying being single.

    I know many people working and attending college who are waiting for their lives to start. I don’t know about enjoying being single, though. It’s harder to gauge.

  9. A lot of smart comments thus far!
    I agree; avoid Jewish publications for the weekend. Not to say it won’t be on my mind anyway.
    This sucks. Our society is deranged. Since when is marriage the be-all and end-all of life?!
    Aidel Knaidel- as far your idea for “Hashgacha Pratis” stories about shidduchim–those are all trite. We get it: G-d makes the Shidduch. Neeeext.
    Stories that warm my heart more are the ones of young women who get married at the age of 25, or even 35. It shows there’s hope. The ones who get married at 23-25 prove that you’re not over the hill once you reach 22.

  10. Oh, and yeah, don’t diss this blog.
    Bad4 (not like she needs my defense) is an extremely talented writer who expresses what many many people are feeling.
    Some idiots probably read this just to feel better about themselves that they’re not in our position, but I think Bad4 is a great place for people to feel understood. Keep up the great work.
    This is not contributing to the problem. This is a result of the problem. I thought that was obvious.

  11. sorry, i guess i wasn’t clear. i meant that i don’t have friends who are sitting around, unlike badfor who has friends like that (you’ve written about them in your blog)sorry if it came across as a diss, why would i read this blog if i didn’t like it?

  12. Don’t you people understand the Shidduch Crisis is BS- its a fabricated crisis to make everyone think all hell is breaking loose. When did this start? I can pinpoint it to a point when the last crisis whatever that may be ended. First it was the kids at risk crisis, then the bugs in water, then Indian shietles, then bugs in Strawberries and then Shidduch crisis.

    Funny that the periodicals mentioning it most are read by people who do not populate singles communities. People from the Upper West Side the largest singles community do not read mishpocha magazine.

    This crisis of course has 2 pages in the Jewish Press, none in the Jewish Week, np ages in the Forward, Advocate, world Jewish digest and so on. It seems that it is being perpetuated by folks in the Charedi community who have nothing better to do then complain about their dear 20 year olds not getting a big list of guys to go out with.

    I would prefer to call it the Parents Crisis- girls/guys do not ask the stupid questions. Its a bunch for retarded controlling parents. Then of course you have a whole segment of the population that wont work and wants to learn- so rather then marry for computability its all money.

    If there was really a crisis, don’t you think there would be more events for these so called refugees. The shidduch crisis does not exist and never has.

  13. You are a smart cookie! O.K., let’s not call it a crisis. I think it’s more of a lifestyle change for the times we live in. Those who get ‘pumped’ reading about a crisis may in fact double their efforts to alleviate it. Those who merely say ‘Tsk Tsk” weren’t going to do much anyway. If you don’t want to read about it, don’t. For others it is entertainment, like watching a 10 car pile up is also entertainment; feel really bad about it “oy Vey”,but happy it aint me.The newspapers are giving the people what they want to read.
    I disagree with Frum Hiker. All the crisis mentioned really were. If you choose not to believe in it, O.K., but don’t mock those who do.
    There is a show on cable called”the Millionaire Matchmaker”,about a dating service run by a third generation shaddchan. She is Jewish but most of her clients are not. My point is to tell you that because of the times we live in, fast paced, busy busy busy, a little scary, the general population is also turning dating into a crisis. That is why there is a plethora of personals in the newspapers and in magazines, and why dating services proliferate on the web.
    To those in the dating game , no matter what age you are , don’t give up, the right one may just be the next one. Like the lottery, you gotta be in it to win it. To those of you who don’t mind the hassles of being a shaddchan, don’t give up. Don’t look for perfection when you fix people up. What attracts you may not be what the two people you want to fix up are looking for. Just go for it and try. On the other hand, ‘She’s over 30 and he’s still single, she’ll make him frum, height is a silly thing to worry about, so what if he has four kids, his ex-wife has custody, etc.,’ those are things that really insult and actually hurt the people you want to fix up unless you discuss it thoroughly first. Two people who have being single as the only thing in common is not a good enough criteria to fix people up.
    Crisis is just a word. How you feel about it is your own truth.

  14. I don’t read the publications that you mention, but I can tell you that one of the reasons I am really happy I no longer live in Jerusalem is that I am no longer bombarded with invitations to attend this or that: lecture by a prominent rabbi on how to find one’s zivug, seminar to work on myself so I will be worthy of a zivug (because clearly I do not now), Singles Shabbaton (read “Shabbat from hell”), event with a psychobabble-spouting spiritual healer or shrink or whatever who will help us to discover why I am holding myself back.

    We Tel Avivim don’t get into that stuff….

    And I love your blog! Definitely part of the solution!!!!!

  15. Pingback: Friday Repost: Let’s Get Hysterical, Yeah Yeah Yeah | Bad for Shidduchim

  16. Hi everybody, I liked your post and for a long time I was adamant that everyone was being ridiculous about the so called ‘shidduch crisis’, but I have to say, if people truly believe there is a crisis how could we just go on talking about it, lets do something about it! If someone saw their neighbor’s house burning down would they stand around nodding their heads saying, ‘this is a real tragedy, this is a crisis’? I’m determined to make a change but am, like so many others, at a loss at how to go about it. What does everyone think? The dating system is not working for everybody. First, I wonder, what issues have you personally found with the dating system? Secondofly(…arrested development anybody?), what can we do to make a change in the dating scene?

  17. Pingback: Repost: Let’s Work Ourselves Up into Hysterics | Bad for Shidduchim

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