The ethics of discussing your friends…

A quick query on the nature of weblogging. One of my friends works in a pretty high-powered capacity in the British film industry. She tells me a fair number of really cool stories, which I generally wouldn’t repeat (and certainly not in a public place like this). In addition to these stories, she has expressed to me a couple of times her feeling that some people try to use her and her friends to get ‘kudos’ – valuing her job and the people she knows more than they do her. For these reasons I made a conscious decision not to talk about her on this weblog.

But then it came to me this afternoon that many webloggers discuss their friends to some extent – and that there really isn’t that much difference between mentioning the exploits of a friend who works in a supermarket and one who is responsible for famous people’s corsetry. What gives me the right to talk about Toby, Nick, Kerry or even Max without their consent, or even (on occasion) their knowledge. I am perturbed.

It’s the final episode of Queer as Folk 2 tonight. It’s difficult to assess quite how much impact this TV series had on gay culture in the UK. The first episode showed all kinds of things that you would never be able to see on an American TV station – a well plotted drama which depicted casual shagging and ‘true love’ in the gay scene, underage sex handled realistically, gay people working in supermarkets and (of course) a whole bundle of pretty people having relatively explicit sexual relations with each other. The trailers for this week’s episode include the immortal Stuart saying “You’re not queer, you’re a straight guy who shags men”. If you want to see more, there are one or two really good screencap archives.