Daily Archives: May 24, 2007

A stroll around the square

My partner and I are unplugging ourselves from the grid for 10 days!

Well, perhaps we’ll check email now and then, but probably we wont, and if we do, we probably won’t answer. We’ve spent altogether too much time at our desks in the same room studiously ignoring each other while we’ve been working feverishly on assorted projects, and now we need to spend some time being more than “co-present.”

We’ll be in a pine grove in New Hampshire, in a cabin without a telephone, on bit of land that separates a lake from the river that it feeds. It is a beautiful spot, and after the electronic withdrawal wears off I intend to enjoy the chirping of crickets and the calls of the red wing blackbirds, instead of the chirping of my email and the calls of my IM (though I very much love the conversations that those beckoning sounds elicit).

You, in the meantime, should feel free to wander the public square looking at the artifacts left here over the past 11 months. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since I started this blog, but indeed it has.
In that time, we’ve talked about sex workers, sexually oriented businesses, abortion and contraception, the pink ghetto, the complications of sexual orientation and gender categories, age of consent, sex offender legislation, and, of course, we’ve talked about the way people talk about all of these things.

If this were a public square in real physical space, I imagine it would be populated with interesting coffee shops and book stores and lamp posts where flyers for parties and discussions and workshops and demonstrations would flutter, ragged bottoms where all the “call for more information” tabs have been torn off. There would be groups of people standing around, hanging out, chatting, gossiping or engrossed in serious conversations about local or national or international issues. There would be kids playing and arguing and sorting things out for themselves. There would be music and their would be art.

If this were a public square in physical space I would take you on a tour and point out all the spots where groups of people gathered to discuss this issue or that bit of news. So imagine for a moment that it is. Stroll for a little while through the less well-lit, less popular but very interesting spots in our public square.

There are, of course, the spots that everybody stops by: the place where we talked about the perils of posting naked pictures on the Internet, or the place where we argued about whether teen girls had gone wild differently from teen boys, or the place where a Tom Joaquin informed us that vibrators were more dangerous than guns if you lived in Alabama.

But there are other spots that people forget and I want to take you for a walk past some of my favorites.

Here, back in July, I stood on my soapbox and argued that we really must reconceptualize sexual orientation categories, and that “heterosexual” people need to come out about all their orientations to sex. I was on this particular soapbox in part because of a ridiculous policy decision about condoms for prisoners (namely, not to distribute condoms because the prisoners weren’t “gay”.) Frank discussion of sexual practices is going to be a big focus of the forums in the expanded Public Square.

And here, back in August, just a few months before the Mark Foley scandal broke, I raised questions about an article in the New York Times that profiled teenage interns of 30-something employers who seemed to blur the lines between employer and friend.

Earlier, near the opening of the Public Square, we argued about whether conservative Christian kink-friendly web sites and stores were a positive development or an exploitive maneuver.

And more recently do you remember when we stood around and talked about whether or not sex offender residency restrictions made sense and about the absurd outcomes of certain sex-offense prosecutions? Remember Genarlow Wilson and Jule Amero?

There’s been a lot going on around here, and there’s a lot more to come. When I return in 10 days we should be just about ready to cut the ribbon on the new space.

I think we need to plan a block party!


Filed under culture, Genarlow Wilson, public discourse, sex