Attendance: The Deity, Leora Jasper, Dash Owens
Location: The steps of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza
Note-Taker: Dash Owens
[It was a chilly February afternoon, but the kind of beautiful winter scene where the sun illuminated the sleek ice and crusty snow lining pedestrian walkways. TD, LJ, and DO rested their feet on the library pavilion after a full loop around Prospect Park.]
TD: We have to do that more often.
LJ: What, exercise? I think you’re the only one who needs to do that more often.
[Here the note-taker must interject. The perceptive reader may have already realized that these meeting minutes are the same date as the previous meeting minutes, which ended with my request to take on the meeting minutes note-taker role. I did this because I think the readers of The Gadfly Symposium have been led to misunderstand the dynamics among the three of us. We are friends. I swear it. LJ and TD used to be romantically entangled, which is also to say they are no longer intimate in that specific way. But all three of us are intimates. We have known one another for a long time, and, much like siblings who tire of the others but who remain committed in their affections, we are bonded together. It is my dearest hope for the TGS project to knit back together the fragments of LJ and TD’s friendship. They are, and will always be, my greatest friends. Though I render their words here as they say them, please read and know them as I do. Inspect the spaces behind their words and see the love. If you look, you will find it. I promise.]
TD: You know, I could count on one hand the civil words that have come out of your mouth today.
LJ: Is that because you’re using the other hand to scratch your butt?
TD: So gross.
[Again, the note-taker begs the reader to look behind the words.]
DO: Have you guys seen the newest season of The Crown?
LJ: OH MY GOD! Yes!
TD: It does have to be said… [gives LJ a knowing glance] Gillian Anderson is too good for that show.
LJ: Well, she’s a character actress. She would be bored if she couldn’t sink her teeth into so many varied roles. I don’t even care if she lies about being British.
TD: Have you seen her tweets about her dog?
[One more thing: Some comment that the TD and LJ relationship never quite made sense beyond a shared appreciation for science fiction and shows with Gillian Anderson. In most other aspects, but temperament above all, they are soda and vinegar.]
LJ: So let’s say I got a dog and tweeted out pictures of it all day, then you would be okay with my Twitter?
TD: I never said you should get rid of your Twitter. I never said that. Dash?
DO: To be honest, I don’t use Twitter, and I don’t understand what this argument is even about.
TD: That is literally what every Twitter interaction could be described as. No one even knows what they are arguing about, but they are just…just saying things, outrageous things.
LJ: Neither of us have done that. We just haven’t.
[Heavy silence. TD’s expression implies that LJ has done just that.]
LJ: What are you even thinking of? Are you thinking about how I shit on you? Because we agreed…I get to shit on you ALL the time. It’s the only reason I’m even doing this after YOU STOLE MY IDEA!
[Capitals here are intended to communicate yelling.]
TD: What about the Christianity white supremacist thing?
TD: You know – Christians are white supremacists because they worship the written word.
LJ: Seriously? I said that because it’s FUNNY!
[The note-taker agrees. Very funny.]
TD: I don’t know if we want TGS in that kind of space…
DO: Space? What does that mean?
TD: You know…that anti-woke space. I mean, people are crazy on Twitter. We’re not really read by anybody, but what if someone does read us…what if they get mad because Leora thinks something is funny but someone else thinks it’s offensive and we have to like…apologize…or take down the site. I mean, I don’t want to get cancelled.
LJ: NO ONE READS US! NO ONE IS GOING TO CANCEL US!
TD: I’m really worried about you. What if you can’t write for us anymore because of all that negativity?
LJ: So you’re telling me you are going to fire me from the website I came up with because I made a joke? Fuck, dude. That is fucked up.
DO: I don’t think that’s what they mean…
TD: No, no. Of course not! I believe in free speech and all, but we should really think…like…doesn’t the arc of history, the arc of the moral universe…it bends towards justice, as it goes. And maybe, we should ride that arc towards positive attention for the site rather than…not positive attention.
[LJ’s head is buried in her hands. She is silent.]
DO: I don’t know…I don’t think any of this is too important. We never set out to maximize likes. I think we should be proud of our 31 followers. They seem like decent enough folk.
TD: That reminds me…I’ve been thinking, as we create more content, we should do what other publications do. We should choose a style guide. Or, maybe we can create one?
DO: That would be sweet. What are you thinking?
TD: Well, for one…that word you used just now. Should we standardize for the site how we want to spell certain words…like folks.
LJ: No. You are not saying what I think you’re saying.
DO: What’s he saying?
LJ: Something so stupendously stupid…the x. You want us to start using the x.
DO: The x?
TD: I’m seeing it everywhere these days. You know, spell folks as f-o-l-x. It’s more inclusive people are saying.
DO: Really? Isn’t that already a neutral word?
TD: Yeah, but it’s the idea of it. It’s the power of language. X is a very significant letter. It’s a powerful symbol.
[At this point LJ is done. DO understands.]
LJ: I’m going home. You can declare or decree any style preference you please, but know this…I will never, ever spell folks with an x.
[LJ leaves after giving DO and TD a quick, pandemic appropriate wave.]
DO: I should head out, too. It’ll be dark soon.
TD: Well, before you go…Might I…float an idea?
DO: Of course.
TD: As you know, I have recently made an amorous connection…
DO: Yes, how is it going?
TD: Well! She’s…she’s so great, and she’s really got me thinking about our platform, and what we’re using our platform for. And I don’t know if you know this, but she’s a very good writer…
[DO starts to suspect where this might be going.]
DO: Stop right there. I don’t know if what you’re thinking is a good idea.
TD: Shouldn’t we be a place for viewpoint diversity? Won’t the content become boring if it’s just the three of us always writing?
DO: Maybe, eventually, there will be a right time. But you’re not talking about bringing on anyone. You’re talking about bringing your new girlfriend on board. Is she going to be attending meetings?
TD: I don’t know. I didn’t really think about that.
DO: You should. You gotta think this through. This could be way more trouble than it’s worth.
[The note-taker wants to make it clear to the reader (and Leora, who is definitely reading this) that I told TD not to do this. TD, who is also reading this right now, should know that this is a very bad idea. If you start thinking it’s a good idea again, remember what I told you before I walked home: I love you and this is the worst idea ever.]