Poly on TV where a world was reborn
I don't believe in New Age ideas of synchronicity. But when a subject gets your attention, it attunes you to notice all sorts of related things that you otherwise wouldn't, and these flower into an emergent network of associations and connections richer than the sum of the parts. So much so, that credulous people can think something paranormal is going on.
And so, as I was nearing the end of the Spanish novel The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, which my daughter gave me for Christmas — a lush, spook-ridden tragedy of sexual repression, Catholic conservatism, and fascist horrors in Barcelona from 1919 to 1955 — up pops this in my inbox, from people right near the novel's very setting:
"Here's the best video so far on our family," wrote Juliette Siegfried, "shot last spring but not aired until December. It was on Catalan TV. The first half is in Spanish, but the images are great to watch. Then Laurel starts speaking in English (and they put Catalan subtitles) for most of the rest. I think people will enjoy it."
Watch it here (10 minutes). It's from a happy, family-oriented TV show called "Each home is a world."
As I watched this when nearing the climax of the frightful novel — fallen women imprisoned, lives ruined by jealous obsession, a haunted mansion on the Avenida del Tibidabo, massive sexual ignorance among ruling family dons with no clue where to turn — I was almost as fascinated by the background shots of today's free and modern Barcelona suburbs as by Juliette and her family, a happy, tightly bonded triad of three adults and their toddler.
Yes, the world improves.
From the show:
Laurel: It was great with Roland because I got both a partner and a best friend in Juliette—
Juliette: And her too—
Laurel: —She's always been supportive of my relationship with Roland and just a great person to pal around with. We went out the other night in Barcelona and had a lovely evening, while Roland was home with the baby. It was great.
Laurel: She's getting "Mama" down pretty well.
Juliette: I think she's starting to distinguish.
Laurel: I think we're both going to be "Mama" for a while.
Juliette: I think so.
More coincidence: Christopher Ryan, the author of Sex at Dawn whom I met at Loving More's Poly Living West conference, also lives in Barcelona. He just posted that next month, the city will unveil a monument to the gay, lesbian, and transgendered martyrs of its repressive past, a fictional example of whom lives in the book. The location for the monument has not been finalized, but a proposed site is by Gaudi's Sagrada Familia basilica, Barcelona's surreal Catholic icon known the world over.
And another: After I watched that wonderful piece of television, I came upon, at Seattle's alternative newspaper The Stranger, Mistress Matisse with her "what's in and what's out" column for the new year:
Polyamorous people: What's out? Exposing yourself (and polyamorists in general) to public examination and ridicule on TV. Most people have figured this out, but producers still try to woo the unwary. Don't do it. Unless you have significant experience with public speaking, talk-show hosts will gut you and feed you to the shark-pool studio audience. Reality-TV editors will arrange footage of you into sequences that would embarrass Danny Bonaduce. The 15 minutes of fame/infamy isn't worth it, so engage in education and activism in settings where you have some control.
Read the whole article (Dec. 28, 2010).
In reality, as readers here know, the past few years of polyamory TV reports have mostly been been positive, accurate, and respectful. TV is still the toughest medium to do. To prevent bad outcomes you have to research the TV show's agenda, be ready to say no, and get your basic training in how to present yourself and your message well on camera and control how your contributions will be used. This kind of research and training are available to you for free from the volunteer Polyamory Media Association (a project of the Polyamory Leadership Network), from Loving More's media-experienced director Robyn Trask (phoning is best), and/or from Susan Wright at the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.
If something about a TV-show offer seems iffy to you, poly sex educator Reid Mihalko says he's ready to field the hardest cases. He's a TV-industry professional, a first-rate presenter, and can handle anything he chooses to get into.
My own suggested New Year's resolution for the poly community? "Out and proud... with care."