CNN’s painful piece on polyamory in San Francisco

by Joey deVilla on January 27, 2015

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Miju Han: “I have a fiancé, a girlfriend and two boyfriends.”
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I just watched CNN Money’s filler-disguised-as-human-interest piece on polyamory, a.k.a. “four minutes of my life I’m not getting back.” By the end of the segment, I became convinced that polys are just furries who dress up in hipster clothes instead of animal costumes.

Instead of painting a sympathetic picture of people who prefer (or at least profess) to be able to spread romantic or sexual love with more than one partner — I myself like to limit it to disappointing one woman at a time — the story presents caricatures from The Social Network trying to fit the square peg of love into the round hole of technology and tech marketing with talk of “optimizing” and “disrupting” love (with the requisite Uber reference — not necessarily a good thing), “Cinderella 2.0” and looking at long-term relationships as a product that fails 50% of its user base. Microsoft should take comfort; marriage has been making its customers unhappy for far longer than Windows has, and it’s still going strong.

To people who prefer a monogamous approach and are still single and looking, especially those in the Silicon Valley sausage party, these good-looking multitaskers must look like the greedy suits, who already are the “haves” and just want to have more for the sake of having more. Working class San Franciscans who saw the piece must be asking themselves “These are the entitled, privileged douchebags who made me move out of my home?”

the hipster is strong in this one

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I know that at least one of the people in the piece is a decent person: Chris Messina, whom I know personally. The way he presented himself, or perhaps the way he got presented through the framing and editing process, doesn’t show this, and that’s a shame.

The bright spot (or at least non-annoyingly smug and hipster-y one) in the piece is Dr. Helen Fisher, the anthropologist and human behavior researcher. She says that “eventually, [polyamorous relationships] will probably almost all fail, because the human brain is just simply not built to share. We are not good at sharing.”

In case you were curious about her research, here’s her 2008 TED talk, The Brain in Love:

I now find myself agreeing with The Onion’s take on polyamory:

onion - open relationship

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