I am writing this so that you will respect my privacy.

I like to think I am a very private person.

I don’t want people to know much about me. For the very simple reason that I think this will make me far more interesting when people actually meet me.

(It doesn’t necessarily work. Ask Ashley Judd when I met her for thirty-two seconds.)

When we meet people we talk about all those things that we don’t know about them. But if you know so many things before you meet someone, it begins to destroy the social convention of asking them their name, what they do for a living and whether they alter the width of their stance at the stand-up latrine as opposed to the sit-down one.

When people discover more about you, it puts the pressure on them to find more interesting questions. (“Do you think Kierkegaard got really pissed off when people spelt his name wrong?” ” What WOULD it be like to sleep with newly-befemaled Wachowski?”)

And people generally don’t work so well under extreme pressure. They sweat, they say stupid things. Which is not what we want at parties at all.

I am therefore somewhat stunned by the decision of Jenna Fischer and James Gunn to announce their separation today.

Mr. Gunn is the director of something called Slither, which I think was the one where Sharon Stone appeared naked. One of the ones. Or perhaps it’s some other mutant monster movie.

Ms. Fischer is the slightly mousy receptionist at Dunder Miflin, the paper company which forms the wrapping for the Office.

They have been married for six years. Which I suppose many would regard as a good run. I am grateful that the Fischgunners let me know personally.

As I have never met either of them before in my life.


Well, when I say personally, they announced their separation on Ms. Fischer’s MySpace page:

” We (James and Jenna) need to announce that we have chosen to separate. We are sorry for any pain this causes family and friends. The enthusiasm we have expressed for each other’s lives, spirits, and careers is real – we have been each other’s cheerleader and friend during the past six years and continue to be so now and in the future.

And a special note for our MySpace fans – We appreciate your support over the years, and would be overjoyed to have you continue supporting us both. You might be tempted to make one of us “feel better” by putting the other one down in a post. Please don’t – we still have the utmost respect for one another, and we’d have to delete you. We aren’t taking questions or doing interviews about this particular aspect of our lives. We’re also avoiding reading any press on the subject, so don’t send us any clippings or links about the split. Thank you in advance for respecting our privacy.

3:22 PM – 0 Comments – 0 Kudos”

As I understand it, MySpace is supposed to be the place for sharing more of yourself than you would with some faceless, or perhaps Facebookless, human being. And I suppose Ms. Fischer and Mr. Gunn feel that they owe it to their fans to share with them this special and uplifting news. (Although the lack of kudos for their annoucement might leave them a little concerned.)

But if I was getting divorced (this has, of course, never happened, as I have insufficient imagination for such an event), I would let it out in something more of a word-of mouth manner.

I might slip a word to the mouth of my accountant. Just after I slip one to my lawyer. A couple of weeks later, I might tell my mouther.

Yet famous receptionists and slitherdirectors are not like you and I.

They need everyone to know. Because everyone needs to know.

We live in needy times.


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