Thursday, September 13, 2007

The new column is out. But first, a small rant...

I get a lot of emails about my Stranger columns, and most of them are very sweet and thoughtful, and I love getting those. Some of them also have really good insights to offer, and I like that, too.

Occasionally, however, I get email from people taking me to task about this column or that, and most of the time, it's about poly issues. What people actually say varies, but the underlying theme is: you talked about how you do poly, but that's not how I do poly, so your column is bad. I have been accused of "doing more harm than good" by presenting only my own views and experiences and not other people's.

Let me just point out a few facts. First of all, I have a very short column. As much as I try to narrow down each particular topic, there are always going to be aspects of whatever it is that I simply cannot include because it would exceed my word count. Expecting me to touch on every possible permutation of every poly situation is unrealistic. The way poly people whine at me about this reminds me of the column I wrote about the gotcha games that queer people sometimes play with each other. I have, in fact, interviewed other poly people for the column, and I'm sure I'll do so again. And if you read all of my poly columns instead of just one, you may find that the things you think I'm dismissing are topics I have had to split off and address separately.

Second: The Stranger is a free weekly tabloid. It's a great little paper, but it ain't the New York Times. The first law of writing this column is that I must entertain and amuse the readers - most of whom aren't dedicated poly people. Each column must be written so that a casual page-flipper who's never even heard of polyamory (or whatever I'm talking about) could pick up the paper, read the piece, comprehend it, and find it interesting. Thus, the columns need to be fast and fun. Anything that isn't fast and fun doesn't make it to the page.

Third: Perhaps you've noticed that I do not call myself Dr. Matisse. That's because I don't have a Ph.D, and my column is not a scholarly work. I'm a damn professional dominatrix writing about my personal opinions. Demanding that I cite sources or quote studies is ridiculous.

I have been writing this column every week for almost six years. It has been a great thing for me, but it has not been easy. There are weeks when I stress myself into a knot trying to come up with something witty, pithy and sexy to say. (And I can look back at certain of the columns and see clearly that I did not succeed. Ouch.)

So I am fine with suggestions, but if you write to me just to tell me how wrong, wrong, wrong I am doing this, then my answer to you is: If you can do better, please tell me the name of the paper where your column is published and I will read it and learn from it.

Or you can just bugger off. Your choice.

Okay, that's the end of the ranting. Here's the new column, about (you guessed it) polyamory.

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