Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Newsweek Article on Polyamory

UPDATE: Regarding my discussion below about comments to the following article, as my friend Alan points out in his comment to this post, please know that there are also many positive comments with a "live and let live" tone to them, and many other civil, rational ones made by poly people who explain and clarify. It's not easy for me to shrug off the negative ones, they bring out the determined advocate in me, but balance is still very important. Thanks to Alan for reminding me to focus on the positive, too. I guess that's what happens when I write up such a post late at night after 12 hours on the road on a trip that should have taken eight!

Here's my original post - read on.


Newsweek has just published an excellent poly article on its website entitled "Only You. And You. And You." Publication in the magazine to follow. "Family" web series writer and director Terisa Greenan and her partners are featured.

I'm quoted at the end of the first page - interesting how Glenn Stanton (Focus on the Family) and Andrew Sullivan (same sex marriage proponent and critic) prove my point. Sullivan arrogantly makes it clear that poly interests aren't nearly as important as his and reduces us to irrelevancy. Stanton warns the faithful that we need close watching. We polyamorists didn't ask to be dragged into the same sex marriage debate, and polyamorists are overwhelmingly supportive of same-sex marriage, but both sides are still taking their issue frustrations out on us and show no signs of stopping until the same-sex marriage question is finally settled. Wouldn't it be refreshing to see Sullivan, Freedom to Marry Executive Director Evan Wolfson, etc., figure out a way to stop being so hypocritical? But alas, being so isn't politically expedient.

There's a lot more to the article than the polyamory-as-political-football issue, so enjoy!

Comments that follow the article are all over the place. I encourage you to leave your own poly-supportive comments but ask that you do so in a voice of calm reason - that's what will be more likely to win over the undecideds than something more combative in tone.

There are many hateful comments, which is par for the course as these articles go. I haven't read them all, but this one really stands out to me, I think because it is a perfect example of religious extremists being so sure that they're way is the only way:

Now I know for certain we are definitely in the last day's. All like sheep have gone astray, each after his own way. This is not judging people, it's a warning. Because of what you're doing, nothing but a bunch of fornicator's like rabbit's, you will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. But then, why would you want any part of heaven? That's not where your heart is. But you will get what's coming to you.

I've been working with the media on articles like these for many years now. I'd think I'd be used to the comments by now, but it's still surprising to me at times just how it is that people honestly and openly loving more than one person at a time (instead of the status quo of cheating) is so disturbing to so many people. We polyamorists just want to go about living our lives and to be treated fairly.

We advocates still have a lot of work to do to correct outrageously mistaken assumptions if article comments are any indication of how widespread knee-jerk reactions about us are, i.e.:

"It may be exciting for them but it's not love. They can't have the intimacy you get from a relationship with one person. If they do get something close to that with one of their partners then the others are not having it."

"... this just sounds like people too afraid to really love someone, trying to pretend they don't care."

"... this lifestyle choice is for a dominant personality and a bunch of passive clingers. Strange."

"...this behaviour is not masculine. Men are dominant and possesive by nature. Any man who is ok with his girlfriend/wife sleeping with another guy on a regular basis is not a man."

Some are incredibly convoluted in their attempt to explain us away, i.e.:

"There are people who are reverting back to prehistoric times. Some social classes of homo sapiens seem to be de-evolving into homo-erectus. These social classes are beginning to exhibit many of the social characteristics of lower animal life forms, i.e. getting closer to the origin ancestors instead of continuing to evolve into higher intelligence."


"I see polyamory, polygamy, and gay marriage as socially destabilizing. Polyamory in particular reminds me of a radioactive element -- constantly forming and reforming into new elements, always decaying."

And some are just plain mean-spirited:

"It's even lamer than swinging. They talk about each other's feelings after humping each other. By the way, the lady in the picture is no prize. I think she got the better end of the deal with the two sorry dudes fawning over her. I am guessing one or both of them suffers from Asberger's syndrome and are socially awkward. It's also wimpy that they all moved to Seattle because one guy got a job with Microsoft and the others glommed on, as he was to be their primary meal

"These type of freaks make me ashamed to be a Liberal."

"Usually, older (35+) or uglier women have more boyfriends. Guys will do a lot of little things for easy sexual pleasure."

Here are two videos included in the article:


Alan said...

Those comments you quoted, it should be noted, are pretty much the worst out of 400+ as of this moment, and many people have written supportively too -- from a simple "I don't get it but live and let live" viewpoint to detailed, thoughtful defenses of the philosophy, or of poly people the writers know personally.

The contrast in tone and character between the antis and the pros is very striking. We're winning this one, as far as the impression will be on average readers. Join in, and "Be a credit to your kink."

Alan said...

P.S. I went googling and found out why there's such nasty stuff in the Newsweek comments. The right wing nut-o-sphere is having conniptions about the article, and they're linking to it and sending their readers to it. I guess they got tired of getting no traction on Obama's African birth certificate or his health-care plan to gas the elderly.

Bitsy said...

It has gotten easier for me to move past the kind of comments you point to.

It clearly shows poly hits a nerve with some people, and until people care, you can't engage them.

I've also come to the place where I realized not everyone has to like me or what I do, and the hate isn't push back I really care about (unless someone I love is hurt by it).

I wish everyone could be respectful, but, as it is clearly not true... I'll take the good with the bad.

Anita Wagner said...

I have trouble letting the negative comments slide on by because I have this sense that somewhere some poly person may well have to deal with or be at the mercy of these people. We never seem to know who will react negatively - I've seen even the most open-minded people have a strong negative reaction.

Since I'm all about doing what I can to help people live happy poly lives, voluminous vitriol says to me that that kind of hatred poses a potential danger to people in our community. I realize we can't convince them all, never will. I have trouble letting the injustice of it all lie there unchallenged.

PotGrrl said...

I've come to believe in my life and pursuits that if there aren't people around me clamoring "YOU CAN'T DO THAT!! IT WON'T WORK!" then I'm on the wrong path.

Something about making my own path through the fields of life, and still finding joy in their ridiculous assumptinos about someone they don't know, will never meet, and will never be threatened by.

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