Jenna's Wedding: An Excuse for Cheap Media Shots at Her, and Her Father

May 9th, 2008 9:35 AM

I noted a few weeks ago (at BizzyBlog; at NewsBusters) that Mike Celizic at MSNBC couldn't get though his article about Jenna Bush's upcoming wedding without bringing up her misdemeanor arrests from seven years ago.

Julie Mason of the Houston Chronicle also went there in a late Thursday report. She also threw in a number of shots at Jenna's father, his administration, and his hometown:

Saturday, in an Oscar de la Renta gown with twin sister Barbara at her side, Jenna Bush, 26, will marry 29-year-old business school student Henry Hager at her parents' Central Texas ranch.

It's probably as close as Oscar de la Renta will ever get to Crawford.

..... The wedding also is a last hurrah of sorts for Crawford. The town saw its fortunes and profile rise when Bush built his 1,600-acre ranch there. More recently, like the president's approval ratings, Crawford has fallen on hard times.

..... The White House is being secretive about the ceremony, secretive even by the opaque Bush administration standards.

..... It's all a far cry from "Jenna and Tonic," the tabloid sobriquet she earned after two college-era busts for underage drinking. (Ohio University historian Katherine) Jellison said it's clear Jenna has put some work into improving her public image.

Leanne Italie of the Associated Press (HT Captain Ed at Hot Air) also went to apparent go-to "expert" Jellison, who managed to tie a daughter's wedding into the Iraq War:

"This is going to be such a different kind of situation," said Katherine Jellison, an associate professor of history at Ohio University who chronicles the American obsession with marital pomp in her recent book, It's Our Day.

"Jenna's father is not running for re-election," she said. "The frivolity of a big White House wedding in the middle of an unpopular war would have used up what little political capital he has."

Since all sense of decorum has been abandoned, I hope it's not too rude to point out that Ms. Jellison has a, uh, unique perspective on weddings, as this Editorial Review of her book, the full title of which is "It's Our Day: America's Love Affair With the White Wedding, 1945-2005," explains (original had no paragraph breaks; bolds are mine):

Love may be the catalyst for the American white wedding, but hosting an elaborate celebration also demonstrates a family's prosperity and material success, argues Jellison in her compelling economic and social history of how this ritual survived despite the major cultural and political changes of the 1960s and beyond.

Jellison, an associate professor of history at Ohio University, argues that while the white wedding of the 1940s may have celebrated youth, virginity and a patriarchal family structure, Americans have reinterpreted the symbolism of satin and lace: the 21st-century bride evokes the tradition of female-focused celebration and uses the elaborate and costly event as a display of her professional and social success as she marks a life transition.

With chapters on celebrity nuptials, silver-screen I-dos and the latest batch of reality TV brides, Jellison demonstrates how advertisers, media and brides themselves slowly reshaped the white wedding into an act of organized feminism.

Who knew that weddings, of all events, are now celebrations of the sisterhood?

Cross-posted at