I’m constantly baffled by the exclusion of bisexuals. I blame bad science, or rather bad scientists. Every year it seems there’s a new study on “what makes people gay”. Oddly, this is expected to be an on-off switch, and the researchers look in the genes, or the brain or the length of fingers for a sign that one set of people will be queer, now and for always, and another proving the rest will remain 100% straight. It takes a special kind of rigidity of outlook to construct a survey on finger length and decide beforehand there’s no middle ground.

Tomorrow, Reader and Other Reader, if you are together, if you lie down in the same bed like a settled couple, each will turn on the lamp at the side of the bed and sink into his or her book; two parallel readings will accompany the approach of sleep; first you, then you will turn out the light; returning from separated universes, you will find each other fleetingly in the darkness, where all separations are erased, before divergent dreams draw you again, one to one side, and one to the other. But do not wax ironic on this prospect of conjugal harmony: what happier image of a couple could you set against it?

It is important to realize that this Playboy Ideal is a sign of low, rather than high, sexual energy. It suggests that the sexual flame is so faint and wavering that a whole person would overwhelm and extinguish it. Only a vapid, compliant ninny-fantasy can keep it alive. It’s designed for men who don’t really like sex but need it desperately for tension-release – men whose libido is mainly wrapped up in achievement or dreams of glory.

Philip Slater. The Pursuit of Loneliness. Boston: Beacon 1976. 71.

If you belong to the academy, it is all you can do to “keep up” with your ever-narrower specialty. An obsession with method, mirroring the culture’s obsession with “information,” buries ideas. If you resist specialization, you are drawn toward the hall of mirrors called “theory” – it becomes a full-time occupation to find your way down the shimmering corridors. Odds are that you do not take pleasure from what you read, for social criticism today is professionalized, self-enclosed, and segregated, like the rest of our intellectual discourse. To write accessibly, on the other hand, is to take seriously the democratic faith.

Todd Gitlin, in his 1990 introduction to Philip Slater’s The Pursuit of Loneliness.