Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Jesse James and Sandra Bullock after her Oscar win.
Jesse James and Sandra Bullock after her Oscar win. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
The Sandra Bullock/Jesse James infidelity scandal is tawdry, to be sure, and disappointing for longtime fans of the actress, who hoped she had it all. Revitalized career, Oscar, bad-boy love of her life, check! As more disturbing photos and scantily-clad alleged mistresses come to light, it's a story that's hard to miss, but also hard to care about, journalistically. Another philandering celebrity, another scorned woman, another boatload (bikeload?) of details that aren't really anyone's business but Bullock's (and James', and whoever else is directly affected or involved). But David Brooks has distilled the drama thusly:
It isn't revolutionary, but when asked about money or happiness, go happiness, every time. If only we actually got to make that choice.
So the philosophic question of the day is: Would you take that as a deal? Would you exchange a tremendous professional triumph for a severe personal blow?
Not on your life, says I, and Brooks too. I'd like to hope most people wouldn't take the deal, and Brooks catalogs several studies to support the no-dealers in the crowd:
If the relationship between money and well-being is complicated, the correspondence between personal relationships and happiness is not. The daily activities most associated with happiness are sex, socializing after work and having dinner with others. The daily activity most injurious to happiness is commuting. According to one study, joining a group that meets even just once a month produces the same happiness gain as doubling your income. According to another, being married produces a psychic gain equivalent to more than $100,000 a year.