Persona non grata

So it’s finally happened. I’ve been officially declared a “persona non grata” by the elected leadership of the Platypus Affiliated Society — the Organizational Committee or OrgComm, if you prefer (in a delightfully Soviet portmanteau). An e-mail was sent out earlier today specifying that I’m no longer to be invited to any of its functions or events, and even actively discouraged from attending. Of course, this proclamation was circulated “internally,” on the Platypus listserve, but as everyone knows these things are never that secret anyway.

For many of you, this will come as quite a surprise, considering my outspoken support for the group in the past and repeated arguments against calls to boycott or shun it. Now, it would appear, I myself am to be shunned by the very group I’ve publicly defended on numerous occasions. Let it be known that I do not rescind any of these arguments, as I still consider most of the motions that counsel disengagement with the organization either pointless or unprincipled. In fact, despite the advice of the many who’ve told me I’m “better off without them” or assured me that “Platypus is just holding [me] back,” I continue to find the stated goals of the organization honorable and most of its methods unobjectionable, whatever complaints may be made regarding its needlessly vituperative internal rhetoric. Also, though some others treat the entire outfit as some kind of sad joke — and find its various panels, fora, and publications overwrought, if not simply boring — I stand my past statements that I often find them illuminating and insightful.

To be clear, I wasn’t expelled from the group. I resigned of my own volition after being ordered to take over and delete the Aesthetics, Theory, and Philosophy group on Facebook using the admin privileges I’d been entrusted with. After I refused to comply, and proceeded to object to the embarrassing and ridiculous “internal” mottos of “WWCD?” (“What Would Chris [Cutrone] Do?”) and self-conscious “guruism,” I was arbitrarily removed from the listserve and scolded as supposedly just a wounded narcissist projecting my own discontents onto others. Needless to say, I was nonplused by this treatment and decide to part ways.

However, as soon as I did, it turns out that my ex-girlfriend, who I’d just dumped, shared a private conversation from months ago (when we’d been dating) in which I was blowing off steam about my frustrations with the leadership. She’d begun dating my friend who I’d brought into the organization, and was apparently upset to find out I was completely unbothered by their relationship — and was even happy for them! — so she decided to undermine me organizationally instead. Her new boyfriend told me himself that she’d found my total indifference to them hooking up “just callous,” as if I was supposed to feel any other way about the matter. To be quite honest, I was relieved to find out she’d moved on, as I’d worried for a long time that she was obsessed with me. Oh well, it turns out Maya Gonzalez’s first impressions of her over at that Open University in Germany a couple years back probably weren’t that far off after all. Must be that “feminine intuition” stuff they used to talk about in the 1950s. Could’ve fooled me.

At the end of the day, though, it’s rather unfortunate that matters like these would extend to personal distaste, or that people would be unfriendly or uncomfortable as the result of such a trifling affair. Still more disappointing is the fact that so much of this animosity would seem to stem from fallout from a messy breakup with one of its senior members, who though recently deposed from the OrgComm for reasons of gross administrative incompetence is nevertheless highly influential. From this relationship I emerged emotionally, though not organizationally, unscathed. Even if her replacement on the OrgComm says I’ve “deeply hurt the feelings of [her] best friend” in ending it, or by the schoolyard insults exchanged (and punches thrown, in her case) thereafter, there’s not much sense in cutting ties of acquaintance or friendship on her behalf. There are no hard feelings in this, at least not on my part; I’m not too upset at anyone.

Whatever, though. I’ve got better things to do, and no further energy to waste on this nonsense other than to jot down these notes for this update.


6 thoughts on “Persona non grata

  1. I must say, I find this whole story unfortunate and emblematic of the kind of internal bickering on the left that has weakened its effectiveness as a political force for a very long time. I hope Platypus will come recognize you for the political asset that you are, and invite you back into their fold. If they do, I hope you will accept their invitation. What this story reveals is that all politics is personal.

  2. It seems rather childish that you would be banned from an organization you have long backed on the basis of high-school-esque drama (nonetheless drama which stems merely from a past relationship and a conversation that took place over the internet). This is an unfortunate and unlucky situation, but you’re clearly the one acting maturely here; Platypus will be missing out! I’ve seen the exponential rate at which you’ve advanced over the past few years and–despite this setback–I know you’re headed towards greatness.

    Wishing you the best of luck in your further endeavors,

  3. (A bit off-topic I’m afraid) Regarding these images: is there another book on the subject of Stalinism’s “defacing” and erasing the identities of its personae non gratae apart from David King’s THE COMMISSAR VANISHES that you’d recommend (assuming you also recommend King’s book)? It seems to be very difficult to find and at high prices when one does find a copy.

  4. Well at least you got rid of your crazy gf, Ross. So you should count yourself lucky, even if things didn’t work out with your group the way you wanted. Like I said to you at the time, when a girl starts off a sentence to you with ‘When we have kids, what will their names be?’, run for the hills! Embarrassing.

    Be well. :)

    • haha, yes, at least there’s that. you should see my phone bill from the time I was dating her…it’s really scary. the ratio of calls from her to calls to her was over 5:1. ugh….glad that’s over

      things with Platypus seem to be improving. I’m still friends with most of the people I was close to during my membership, and I’m still supportive of its aims. from what I can tell, the New York chapter’s pretty dead, though I still recommend people check it out. oh well

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