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April 10, 2010

The Talking-Equals-Drama Fallacy distilled

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 4:23 pm

OR How Application of the Talking-Equals-Drama Fallacy Impedes Poly Relationships


What on Earth are you going to do with a degree in Philosophy?

[Ed. I’m laying this out in the form of a philosophical argument because it gives me a way to think through it clearly. If I’m a good girl, I’ll rewrite it later as a bit of snappy prose and maybe publish it in the poly ‘zine. I came up with most of this while I was lying half asleep on the fold-out couch in my Dad’s freezing study and/or out this morning wandering around town looking for a toothbrush, since I left mine at home (absentminded, what?)…so no part of it is complete. But you get to see my notes. ‘Cause that’s what we do here on the Internet!]

– Definition of Terms –

TALKING in this context means having meta-conversation about a given relationship within the context of that relationship. (Not necessarily just emotional processing, also strategizing, defining, decision-making, boundary-setting, information-sharing, etc.)

DRAMA is an incredibly sticky, nebulous, fraught term that is more often used as an epithet than a descriptor…but in this very narrow context, I’m using it to mean displaying a disproportionate emotional response to a given situation or “Making something out to be a bigger deal than it is.”

[Ed. I’m wary about using the word ’emotional’ here, because I’m not sure that drama is always emotional (and because ’emotion’ – much like ‘drama’ – is loaded with so many gender connotations)…but I need some kind of limiting factor because displaying a disproportionate, say, military response to a situation isn’t ‘drama’, that’s ‘tyranny’. This definition obviously also problematic because who determines what kind of emotional response is ‘proportionate’? The fact that we even think such a thing might be possible points to a whole rat’s nest of issues in contemporary patriarchy…that would be interesting to explore, but that fall totally outside the scope of this argument. In any case, I don’t think ’emotional’ is the right word here, but I’m leaving it as a placeholder until I come up with something that works better.]

Heteronormativity is fairly well defined by people who aren’t me. (I think it’s interesting that polyamory is mentioned – albeit briefly – in that article as being non-heteronormative. I mean, of course it is. I’m just not used to seeing it picked up on.)

I want to say something a little more specific, though, about heteronormative monogamous dating scripts. Which means I also need to define ‘script’. And probably ‘dating’.

ROMANTIC COMEDY CULTURE – [Mostly, I just want to use this term because I coined it and I think it’s clever. (P.S. Current Google hits for “romantic comedy culture” used as a single phrase: 1 – and it’s a total throwaway.) I think defining it is also outside the scope of the argument, however. I’ll see if I can make it work, though, and maybe try to do a good, solid, definition piece at some point later.]



– Premises –

[Ed. Oh dear. I just realized this acronyms out as the TED Fallacy. Which is painfully appropriate on levels that I probably shouldn’t go into in public. (“TED! TED! TED!”)]

1) From previous post.



Application of TED Fallacy leading to instability in poly relationships – Two strands:
1) Applied to a relationship by people external to it – People take the relationship/people in the relationship less seriously because they appear to be engaging in ‘drama’…lack of community support…self-fulfilling prophecy.

2) Applied to a relationship by people internal to it – People experience a speeded-up intensifying of the relationship based on unconscious beliefs about where their feelings fall along the heteronormative dating timeline. Sometimes before the relationship is ‘ready’…unsustainable. Study where people self-report increased happiness because they see that they are smiling.

– – –

I really want to keep thinking about this, but I need to go shower and do my real job…


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