Frivolous Banter in Chatter!

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Thursday 12 February 2004 1.05am
I've been mulling over the inevitable tensions in any community interaction. SE1 Chatter is "for serious political discussion or frivolous banter"

A QC could argue that maybe 5 or 6 in the "Simon the Tanner" thread (out of 10,000 posts on the Board) are flirty rather than "frivolous banter" If so; that is a small percentage.

To my eye, dozens of threads have flirty or suggestive banter. Albeit heterosexual.

Ivanhoe, are all your 200+ posts beyond reproach? If so, that is some achievement. I am less confident of my communication skills. I find I say things to those I love that are inappropriate. And offend them. Unintentionally.

I suggest we look at the big picture and go easy on each other. And have more humanity on the Board....that's not to say that 100 po-faced David Blaine posts cannot be rivetting !

If any of my 41 posts have offended, rather than amused, I apologise. To those who seek retribution; feel free to spank me on Feb 26th.

Thursday 12 February 2004 10.16am

I was happy to let this lie, but you've resurrected it and drawn my name into it....(and because of that, I'm taking the liberty of posting responses to all the people who so kindly showed their broad-mindedness by jumping to conclusions and callling names on the other thread. It's unfair, I know, but I know you won't mind)...

1) I'm a bit p*ssed off at being called homophobic, from someone who doesn't know me (or my sexuality), but I can put that to one side. Sticks and stones.

2) I don't care who's gay or who's straight. Let me make it clear: THAT'S NOT THE POINT I'M TRYING TO MAKE. I've got no opinion on peoples sexuality, because IMO being straight or gay (or black or white) is something you are born, not anything you can change or be held responsible for (even if changing it was desirable, or if there was anything to be responsible for)

3) the first point I was trying to make (in my usual, reproachable, sideways fashion) was that I was a bit bored by the general hijacking of threads for teen-style "flirting". I think it spoils the forum. Fine. That's just me. I've got a right to say it, and you've got a right to ignore it or disagree or whatever your position is. This board is James' if it's anyone's, so it's up to him what goes on it (and a good job he does, IMO)

4) the second (and, to me, more worthy of discussion) point which genuinely baffles me is the attitude to being gay that appears on this site quite often. (Remember, you don't know if I'm straight or gay, and this attitude would confuse me just as much if applied to either straightness or gayness, so please turn off the automatic response of crying homophobia that either you or others seemed to quickly fall victim to on the other thread.)

It confuses me that so many people make an effort to define themselves by their sexuality. To me, this either implies that they are trying to use the site to meet sexual contacts (in which case, surely there are better places to do that, and it could be offensive as well as boring to a lot of users), or it implies an attitude to sexuality which makes ones sexuality akin to a hobby or profession.

I'd not be surprised to see people who like, say, sailing, or drinking cider, or going to the ballet, posting to see if there was anyone else similar out there so they could indulge in their hobby together. Likewise, I could imagine someone who did a certain kind of job posting and looking for other similarly employed people.

I am genuinely confused when people use this attitude to sexuality (or race, even, for that matter). To me, my sexuality is (firstly, a private matter, but secondly) not a thing I would consider using to define myself by.

If the boot was on the other foot and the forum was full of people posting threads with titles like "Any straight people want to meet up", or "White South Bank", then I can't imagine this would not be interpreted by a lot of gay and non-white people as oppressive, discriminatory, etc. Even if the posters were able to convince you that they had non-discriminatory reasons for putting such threads up, then I wouldn't be surprised if you came away wondering why those people wanted to group themselves according to colour or sexuality. This is what I am talking about.

I just think it's odd. Simple as that. Now I won't insist on an apology. I'll leave it up to your conscience. And I must stress again that I really don't care about your (or anyone else's) sexuality. I just don't want to know about it and don't understand why it is such a defining thing to some people. I am genuinely interested to find out, so if we can discuss this without name calling then I'd welcome a chance to be made to understand your point of view. And that's the kind of debate that I think these threads are really good for.

Good morning, and my best regards.

...there's plenty more c**** in the cup.
Thursday 12 February 2004 10.41am
Well, I'm not surprised that there is a need to define things to a degree. I have a few lesbian couples as friends, and they have explained to me that if they go into a straight pub, they can't show their affection for each other at all without stares, glares and jeers. If they go into a gay pub, or a gay-friendly pub, they have no such problems.

So you see Ivanhoe - it crops up in every day speak too. If I'm planning on going out with these friends, our choice of drinking establishment sometimes has to be defined by tolerance of sexuality. It's a sad indictment on society, but there you go.

I'm not saying for a minute that every gay/lesbian couple makes choices in this way, but over in Berkshire where I come from, there's a lot of conservatism and differences in sexuality aren't tolerated brilliantly. In SE1 it may be a little more open, and you may feel it's so open there's no need for definition, but I would be surprised if everyone shared that view.

And I knew you didn't mean anything by it, but because of the above opinion, I had the feeling it had potential to upset someone. But I imagine everyone realises what was meant and yes, we can let it lie now.

Kevin - liked your post...the dryness followed by your finishing comment reminded me of a Stephen Fry stand-up monologue. Made me chuckle...

Post edited (12 Feb 04 10:44)
Thursday 12 February 2004 3.26pm the words of Mrs Merton "lets have a heated debate!"

Ivanhoe, happy for you to address other issues in your response to my posting.

This is a good thread, IMO, because there are differences of opinion outlined with brevity and goodwill. And I was a bit tentative about starting this thread in respose to the "not defined by my sexuality" thread. I was concerned in case a few thread titles became a matter of importance.

Ivanhoe, in point (2) you say you are bored with the "teen style flirting". As the Yanks say" Thank you for sharing " . Doubtless others were bored too. But I laughed out loud, to use the Web cliche. Better than "what is this bar/ restaurant/ cafe/ play/ movie etc"...repeat 100 times. That can bore me senseless. As for the Blaine thread! But I am slow to complain, cos it's personal taste, surely. I just ignore. Although I was wrong to ignore your thread "Is there a place to fish in SE1?" . The answer "The Thames" was wonderful.

Point (3). If there is an "attitude to being gay that appears on this site quite often" I have not discerned it. I had been looking at the site for around a year before seeing a thread with "Gay" in the title. I was so Stunned I dropped my Judy Garland CD, and fell off my Habitat sofa onto my poodle, Serge.

Lately there has been a 4-fold increase in gay threads to errrmmm, 4. Out of 100's! Not going to shake the founadtions of the site. Anyway, our badly organised get-togethers were explicitly open to all. Hardly exclusive.

If I saw a womans group, or a mens group or a Jewish coffee morning mentioned I would not feel oppressed or discriminated against. Especially if I was explicitly invited!

My concern is that newer members will feel awkward starting threads ( or going off-topic) in case they are deemed boring.

Lets allow a bit of space to all, and use the option to ignore more readily.

Love and peace, Kevin

Post edited (12 Feb 04 15:34)

Thursday 12 February 2004 3.38pm
Ivanhoe, that's a load of tosh! You keep referring to Mrs I...

Sorry, not all a load of tosh, I'm with you on this one - from an entirely homo-friendly approach. But the bit that's tosh is stating 'Remember, you don't know if I'm straight or gay' unless Mrs I is male. Which he may be.

So far as I recall, the chatter forum was invented by James inter alia to allow a regular contributor to flirt with a formerly regular contributor. And judging by the regular cries of 'get on with it you two', that got pretty boring for third parties as well.

[I'll delete this if this causes too many blushes for anybody, just ask! - edited to remove link and details of the guilty following blushes!]

Post edited (13 Feb 04 12:47)

Cider maker, cidermaker or cider-maker?
Thursday 12 February 2004 4.19pm
And I think it was also invented for Adele's serious political views as well!
Thursday 12 February 2004 4.29pm
I am with you Kevin.

Am new here and well, i just thought i will ask for gay people in my area, so i can make some friends and go out for drinks locally or a gym-buddie... nothing wrong with that... equally, they don't have to be gay.. it is a bit daunting moving to a new area and not knowing anybody, so this forum helps a bit to get to know people and local places mentioned here...

This is a forum where (if i am not wrong) i can talk about whatever i want, but i guess there is always someone that likes to moan about things.

Ivanhoe... by reading your messages over the last few days, i always thought you were gay too.... and i am usually good at guessing... lol!

well.. live and let live.

...don't pay me money .. lol!

Thursday 12 February 2004 4.32pm
Blimey! That link - TLMJJ was so close to having him brush her chimney...
Thursday 12 February 2004 4.50pm
MM - that has made my day !

Although, laughing out loud in office whilst staring at screen never a good thing...people are crossing the corridor to avoid me as a result.

Suspect TLMJJ had tongue firmly in cheek [insert innuendo of choice here] for at least part of that exchange.

Whatever became of the Sweep afterwards ? Am hoping that the board ceased to acknowledge his posts in united defence of the Honorable LMJJ ? (for the avoidance of doubt, am tfic here too) Or did he just change his user ID ?

Thursday 12 February 2004 4.54pm


Your sense of humour is superb - you have me chucking away into my Snack'o'Jacks all day.
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