February 25, 2008

Tilda Swinton can be the squiggly mark over my "n" anytime

So you may have noticed that Tilda Swinton won Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars, but you may not have noticed that before that she was getting a fair amount of press for her polyamorous relationship. (She has an older partner with whom she has two children, and a younger boyfriend who sometimes stays at their house.) Unsurprisingly, most of the coverage aims for the sensationalistic. For instance, comparing an open relationship with cheating on one's partner:

If Swinton is in an open relationship, she wouldn't be the only nonsingle star to break the bonds of monogamy and share her bed with someone other than her partner.

Jerry Hall put up with Mick Jagger's reportedly rampant infidelity throughout their nine-year marriage, until it was revealed that he had fathered a secret love child with Brazilian model Luciana Morad.

Vanessa Bryant stood by her NBA baller husband, Kobe, while he fought sexual assault charges, even after he admitted to having sexual relations with a young fan. (Of course, the $4 million, eight-carat, purple diamond ring he bought her might have helped.)

Just so we're clear, secretly fathering a child is not cool whether one is monogamous or polyamorous. Yeesh. And then this is ridiculous:

But in a town where back-stabbing is sometimes a business necessity and image is everything, [E! online columnist Ted] Casablanca predicts a thorny ending to Swinton's alleged three-pronged love story.

"It's like a threesome. Someone's not getting what they want," he said. "The person who is getting what they want is Tilda. And now that she's got her Oscar nomination, she's probably thinking about getting into foursomes."

That's...so offensive, I don't know where to start, exactly. Does Ted Casablanca also feel that Scott Rudin (gay award-winning producer of No Country for Old Man, who thanked his partner in his acceptance speech) will be automatically wanting new men to sleep with after winning Best Picture? Sigh. Maybe in a couple decades reporters will not behave like giggling schoolchildren when writing about people in nontraditional relationships.

Posted by Francis at 12:49 AM

But ... but ... Ted Casablanca is a dork who writes blind items for a living. Of course he's going to snigger about nontraditional relationships. Ignore him.

Posted by: Debby at February 25, 2008 09:37 AM

I have until now given him nary a thought and will henceforward do the same, but a respectable news outlet shouldn't be running his juvenile musings. I guess it's because the media currently have a crazy concept of what it means to give equal time to opposing viewpoints. (Like when they get all "Well, we let the Democrats talk about how they're critical of this Republican position, so we should quote a Republican saying something that's balls-out untrue without calling them on their shit.")

Posted by: Francis at February 25, 2008 09:50 AM

I'm sorry, did you just call E! a respectable news outlet? Time is a respectable news outlet. CNN, for all their faults, is a respectable news outlet. E! is the Us magazine of the cable world.

Posted by: Debby at February 25, 2008 10:57 AM

Yes, but he's being quoted in an ABC News story.

Posted by: Francis at February 25, 2008 11:15 AM

Oy. Now that's some lazy reporting.

Posted by: Debby at February 25, 2008 11:22 AM

You're missing the important facts here:

(1) "The person who is getting what they want" is a truly stunning case of "they"-as-singular; it's being used within a clause whose entire point is that there's only one x such that x gets what x wants, and yet "they" is used.

(2) Tilda Swinton is hot.

Posted by: Lance at February 25, 2008 02:52 PM

Without wishing to get all terminological or semantic, I wouldn't call her relationship "polyamorous" or a "threesome" anyway, based on these articles. It doesn't sound as if Tilda still has sex with her 68-year-old former partner. They only "technically" (her word) share a mailing address, while in practice she is usually elsewhere.

It sounds to me as if they would be amicably divorced, if they had ever been married in the first place.

Cf. Bruce + Demi + Ashton going on vacation together.

Posted by: Richard at February 25, 2008 09:01 PM

Well, of course, I don't know what they call it (and I can't find the "technically" you refer to), but it's not necessarily "not polyamorous" even if Tilda and her partner of 18 years happen to not currently be having sex. They live together and are co-raising children and are reportedly happy with whatever their current arrangement is. I think for a monogamous couple, even one that wasn't sleeping together anymore, if one partner started seeing someone else, it would cause a relationship crisis. Here, it hasn't; that's kind of a hallmark of polyamory.

"Threesome" is definitely a stupid thing to call the relationship, however.

Posted by: Francis at February 25, 2008 10:57 PM

Gah. She did not say "technically." I am shamed.

She said "ostensibly."

"We ostensibly live in the same house." (first article)

Posted by: Richard at February 26, 2008 12:32 PM

I've always been meaning to ask you this, Francis.

Last year, on Studio 60, first we had one episode where Matt remembers an old writer that is actually an anagram of his name (i.e. him). Then, the next episode, we had Matt making a donation to some polyamorous society as a sort of karma offset for attending a function at one of Harriet's Christian groups.

At that point, did you think that Sorkin had been poaching your blog? I did.

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