Doug Hutchison, a character actor best known for roles in The Green Mile, Lost and The X-Files, married aspiring country singer Courtney Alexis Stodden on May 20 in Las Vegas.
He is 51. She is 16.
Editorial note: I may have added a little bit of emphasis there.
Once upon a time, this sort of thing was probably commonplace. In some cultures, it still is. In most of these, women are seen as little more than chattel, property to be bartered for profit or status. The women generally don’t have much say in the matter.
There’s a reason why modern westerners are so frequently skeeved out by the idea of such a vast age difference, and it has little or nothing to do with whatever latent moral gag reflex might still exist from our puritanical past. There’s simply a perceived imbalance of power in such a relationship; when there’s a vastly larger amount of experience on one side, the sense that the other side is (or will be) taken advantage of becomes overwhelming. This is why we’re reflexively disgusted by pedophiles: no matter their protestations of “true love”, a child simply cannot be said to give informed consent, because they don’t have any proper understanding of consequences.
Now, I grant you that for better or worse, the average 16-year-old is probably better informed about the ins and outs (ahem) of adult relations in this day and age than the average 25-year-old in mine, but that’s not the end of the story; there’s also reason. The ability to make a decision based on logic as well as emotion. Did anyone here NOT reflexively make shitty choices when they were a hyper-hormonal teenager? Did every decision, big or small, not seem earth-shatteringly immediate?
And let’s put aside for a minute that a 16-year-old child’s decision making skills are still underdeveloped, a fact acknowledged by both law and common fucking sense, and look at the parents who presumably had to consent to this. We can assume they’re more than happy to hitch their beauty queen/country singer/meal wagon to some b-list actor’s horse, but speaking as a father of a daughter roughly the same age, I can’t help but wonder at their thought process: as the legal guardians responsible for helping this kid make the right choices, are they actually thinking long-term? They’ve clearly been grooming her for fame from a young age, which isn’t necessarily evil if handled well, but how can they possibly think this will end well? How can a father – probably the same age as his newly-minted son-in-law, possibly even younger – NOT question the motives of a guy who could potentially be cruising the parking lot at high school proms for dating material?
I’d normally wrap this up by asking some rhetorical question like “am I the bad guy here? Am I wrong?” But in this case, I don’t give a damn. Odds are heavy that is doomed to failure, and that kid’s going to be screwed up as a result of the dumb decisions made for her by people who look at her and see nothing but dollar signs or a perky ass.