Katy Guest: Rant & Rave (27/11/11)


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The Independent Online


When future historians chart the implosion of the Facebook generation, I wonder if they will date our disillusionment with social networking to last week, when it was revealed that thanks to an average number of 190 Facebook friends per user, everyone in the known universe is fewer than five friends-of-friends away from everyone else.

The "six degrees of separation" theory held that everyone is distanced from everyone else by only six potential introductions. Now, the number of degrees is only 4.47. To me, that's just too many people who feel entitled to contact me and, usually, try to sell me things. Don't tell my 190 friends, but I'm going to hide in a Hebridean croft.


By the time this column appears in print my gorgeous friends, Chris and Nick, will be married, which is why a short video that is going viral on social media is making me blub like Ed Balls at an Antiques Roadshow marathon.

The movie is a précis of a love affair from first meeting to marriage proposal, as if filmed by one of the lovers. There are beach holidays, friends, grocery shopping, kisses, and rollercoasters both real and metaphorical: moving in; meeting the parents; a parent dying....

Once a ring is on a finger and the father of the groom steps forward to hug the fiancés, there is not a dry eye in the house and the camera can pan back to reveal that the couple are both men.

"It's time," says the caption. The film has been in support of a petition at getup.org.au, which will be taken to the Australian Labor Party National Conference next weekend to lobby for an end to "marriage discrimination". The campaign is asking Australian legislators to "amend the Commonwealth Marriage Act so that same-sex partners can be wed".

Same-sex partnerships are not recognised in most of Australia, but perhaps they will now leapfrog Britain to make not just civil partnerships but marriage between gay couples part of the constitution. Maybe then Britain will stop dragging its heels and move to make "marriage" an option for everyone. Now that would be an occasion for happy tears.