The War on Friendship

Recently I watched a television show where we, the audience, were introduced to the mother of one of the main characters as well as to the mother’s friend and roommate, another woman. I was somewhat annoyed at myself for knowing that “friend” and “roommate” were code words for a sexual relationship, but sure enough, as the episode progressed, I was proven correct.

As I later reflected on this admittedly small part of the episode, I realized why it bothered me so much. It wasn’t mer…

  1. DocJay

    KC Mulville, well struck.

  2. Zafar

    About what?

    Joan of Ark La Tex:

    I wouldn’t say there is a war on friendship but rather, a Paranoia.  · 49 minutes ago

  3. Zafar

    Joseph, if they’re flirting with each other, why on earth does it bug you?

    Joseph Eagar: This topic is one of my pet peeves.  I really, really hate the modern phenomenon of straight guys playing homosexual flirting games with each other.  As a bisexual, I like non-heterosexual men and women.  I don’t like heterosexual men, and I find it creepy when they plays games like that. · 1 hour ago

  4. kylez
    Israel P.: I have certainly seen written pieces based on the notion that King David was homosexual, based on his relationship with Jonathan – which is completely [CoC].

    This is exactly what you describe above – they cannot see it any other way anymore. · 8 hours ago

    particularly stupid considering the whole point of recording all that ancient Israelite history: Israel’s struggle to maintain a Godly nation based on previously given law, of which homosexual acts were forbidden. If David and Jonathan were gay lovers he would be way down the list of worst kings.

  5. kylez
    EJHill

    Whiskey Sam:   I think of The Odd Couple or The Andy Griffith Show….

    What would they do withSome Like It Hot? Today, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon would end up together in some transgender, cross-dressing relationship. · 1 hour ago

    and the great last line of that movie now has a whole new level of irony to it.

  6. Israel P.

    I have certainly seen written pieces based on the notion that King David was homosexual, based on his relationship with Jonathan – which is completely [CoC].

    This is exactly what you describe above – they cannot see it any other way anymore.

  7. Guy Incognito

    I’m not old enough to say when this started to happen, but I have also noticed it.

    I remember a story a few years ago where a married women, with children, divorced her husband to marry another guy.  She didn’t dislike her old husband, she just liked the new guy more.  The way she talked about it implied she thought having a male friend was impossible: if you like someone, you have to marry them.

    This sentiment is quite pervasive, and I think one would be hard pressed to find a story where a man and women were simply friends and never got together (if only temporarily).

  8. Zafar

    Whereas David setting it up so that Uriah was killed in order for David to get his hands on Uriah’s wife Bathsheba was….absolutely fine?

    kylez

    If David and Jonathan were gay lovers he would be way down the list of worst kings. · 3 hours ago

  9. Z in MT
    This sentiment is quite pervasive, and I think one would be hard pressed to find a story where a man and women were simply friends and never got together (if only temporarily). · 0 minutes ago

    I am trying to think of TV shows or Movies in the last 10 years with a Man-Woman friendship and I can’t think of one. 

  10. Mama Toad

    When I speak of my friends, I often use the word “girlfriend,” even though I am aware that many people will take the wrong meaning from it. I want to hold onto that word, though, and not let it disappear into meaning a woman with whom I have a sexual relationship. 

  11. Southern Pessimist

    My longest Best Friendship and best long friendship ended when my friend Jim died 12 years ago. Just last night my wife told me that Jim’s ex wife and her sister were coming to visit next weekend. That news brought me surprising joy. You don’t have to be old to appreciate connections to the past but it helps.

    As to the topic, I can’t really add much. As a mamber of the perpetually clueless club, I am oblivious to the most obvious sexual connotations or undertones. I have embarrassed myself many times by not having a functioning Gaydar.

  12. EJHill

    You’re probably speaking of “Rizzoli and Isles.” TNT has ruined more than a few of their shows this season with heavy handed politics. “Leverage” became unwatchable this year and I didn’t mourn its passing. Two percent of the world is homosexual. It’s probably 50% among tv characters.

  13. smp16

    Yep, EJ, that was the show.

  14. Aaron Miller
    EJHill

    Whiskey Sam:   I think of The Odd Couple or The Andy Griffith Show….

    What would they do withSome Like It Hot? Today, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon would end up together in some transgender, cross-dressing relationship.

    I can only rarely appreciate cross-dressing comedy for just that reason, even when watching older films. It’s only funny if the writers/comedians seem to agree that it is inherently ridiculous behavior. Otherwise, it’s like being told a dirty joke by someone who thinks you’re sexist to laugh at dirty jokes.

    It’s hard to enjoy being entertained while being simultaneously loathed.

  15. tabula rasa

    I agree completely.

    Some great friendships (and the modern analysis of them):

    Frodo and Sam (it couldn’t be a true friendship given that Sam worked for Frodo).

    Jane and Lizzy (Pride and Prejudice) (it was infused with imperialist guilt, and they really hated Bingley and Darcy because of their masculine oppression).

    John Ames and Reverend Boughton (Gilead) (the only way Congregationalist and Presbyterian ministers could like each other was through their mutual hatred of Catholics).

    Bishop Latour and Father Vaillant (Death Comes for the Archbishop) (Vaillant secretly hated the bishop because of that old hierarchical thing–but they did enjoy oppressing Indians and Hispanics).

  16. Aaron Miller
    KC Mulville: …. A society that can’t teach how to express love in any way other than physical sex is a failed society.  ….

    Well said. I bet the same scriptwriters who respect male-female friendships also tend to write romantic relationships which do not involve the couple having sex every episode.

    Tim Allen’s shows come to mind.

  17. Misthiocracy

    I dunno if this is applicable, but…

    While visiting my parents over Christmas, I snuggled up to my dad on the couch while watching tv, just like when I was a kid.  It was dang comforting, and a great temporary reliever of stress from work, life, etc…

    However, since I’m 37 and he’s in his late 70s, I’m sure this would have looked mighty “odd” to most casual observers (sorta like this bit from The Simpsons).

    Would the world think it’s “ok” for a grown man to snuggle with his pa?

    (I gotta say though, he ain’t nearly as snuggly as he used to be. What with all the exercise he does to stay fit, he’s gettin’ mighty bony! ;-)

  18. jetstream

    Wolf Larson and Hump.  Yeah, I know it’s Jack London, but, as a sixth grader, Jack London’s life, as a 16 year old oyster pirate, living on his own sloop in San Francisco harbor seemed just about perfect.

  19. Mike Poliquin

    I first encountered this in criticism of Tolkien: apparently it is a deficiency that his stories lack “sexual tension” and it says something about Tolkien’s character that he does indeed write of love as more than just sex or as independent of it.Luckily I have a family of people around me who explained to me that most critics are far less worthy of attention than their targets. Honestly, is there a war on friendship or anything else in the culture if we choose not to be part of it? Every time we get flustered or ask “am I the only one who feels this way?” aren’t we telling them “you have divided us once again, right here, come and finish it off?”I’m canceling my cable this week for financial reasons but I doubt my daughters’ or my wife’s cultural literacy will suffer. We just lost an election because we’ve been trying to wriggle ourselves into this culture. Perhaps we should define our own culture by CONserving what has always been worthwhile. TV ain’t gonna do that. Sex sells.We shouldn’t play games in which the rules declare that we shall always lose. This is such a game.

  20. Mama Toad

    Israel P., and others — have you read Joseph Heller’s book God Knows?

    It is written from the point of view of King David in old age. It is irreverent, funny, and very poignant. It is not orthodox — I once had a (small) disagreement over King Saul with an orthodox mohel — I was thinking of his depiction in the book, and he was thinking of the biblical Saul — but in the book David talks about his friendship with Jonathan at length.

    I recommend the book, unless a person is easily offended or a bit prudish.

    Peace!

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