I have smart friends.

Many of them, in fact. Here’s some recent words from two of them.

My friend Dean writes about polyamory in “For Lovers and Fighters” on Make. This article really resonated with me, as a currently poly person, in so many ways. In it, he touches on many things: “how interrogating the limits of monogamy fits into [his] queer, trans, feminist, anti-capitalist, anti-oppression politics,” how we treat people we’re dating or in a romantic relationship with vs. how we treat our friends (and how we might do well to treat our friends more like our dates and our dates more like our friends, sometimes), and how polyamory is emergent in communities that question and break gender rules and norm. He also talks about the negative aspects of the relative popularity of polyamory in some communities – how sometimes polyamory is seen as more “radical” and right on, while monogamy is seen as a throwback; how poly people can hold themselves up to stringent and unrealistic standards of behavior, with any jealousy or insecurity yielding feelins of shame and inadequacy. Dean writes:

It seems like the best answer to all of this is to move forward as we do in the rest of our activism, carefully and slowly, based on our clearest principles, with trust and a willingness to make mistakes. The difficulty of having open relationships should not be a reason not to try it, but it should be a reason not to create new punishing norms in our communities or in our own minds. We’ve done difficult things before. We struggle with internalized oppressions, we chose to live our lives in ways that our families often tell us are impossible, idealistic or dangerous, and we get joy from creatively resisting the limits of our culture and political system that are both external and part of our own minds.

In a post entitled “The internet ate my subculture,” Anne writes about whether something has happened in recent years to “completely destroy american public culture,” and whether that something might be the internet. She writes:

Is it totally trite to blame MySpace? Or Friendster? Or hell, livejournal? The timing is right. They keep everyone “connected” without having to, y’know, do anything together except catechise our daily living and fuck. Memoirs are now the best-selling genre of new book. Coincidence? We can get all the kudos and sexiness we need without ever leaving the house, without ever extending ourselves beyond our individual choices of which job, which identity, which sound card, which sex act we prefer. Narrativize it, publish it, let the appreciative comments pour in…

1 Response to “I have smart friends.”

  1. 1 belledame222

    Interesting questions.

    While I def. agree that public culture has been disappearing over the last x years/decades, i wouldn’t frame it as the Internet being *responsible.* I think if anything it’s a kind of counter to the general lack of “meatspace” public space.

    Do you know a book by Samuel R. Delany, “Times Square Red, Times Square Blue,” btw? he talks a lot about the demise of the commons, and particularly wrt what happened to Times Square with gentrification, and the democratic possibilities of public sex in the old porn theatres. i thought i had it but maybe not. anyway it could be that he did specifically mention the internet, but i don’t remember it. i sort of had the impression that his observations, if not the book itself, long predated the ‘Net.

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