Wednesday, August 2
Last season there was a CSI episode in which some Hollywood chic proclaimed that she and another actress were "frenemies." I don't know whether the CSI writers made up that term, but I thought it was BRILLIANT. For the actresses it meant that they pretended to have a bitter rivalry that they didn't really have.

I was reminded of this when my dean wanted me to help publicize a book that I hate. I have no regrets about skipping that, but one could do it on purpose. Two friends could conspire to release somewhat opposing books (you would agree on all sorts of basic assumptions that really matter and that you never discuss on television, of course), and then you just go 'round with your dog and pony show rackin' up the sales.

There are even more benefits, though, and you don't need to go on the air to reap them. For example, it's easier to make a big splash in academe if you have a scholarly foe, but making enemies in the academy is a very bad idea. Having frenemies solves both problems. Of course, this means you really have to collaborate to coordinate everything and set up the points of contention so that they're sustainable, etc. I don't mean to say it would be easy, but it's intriguing, at least.

5 comments:

Nels said...

I think I first heard it on a Sex and the City episode, but you're right about how right on a term it is.

thistle said...

When I first read the title of your post, I figured "frenemies" meant enemies who pretended to be friends. Maybe those "enemfries"?

Clear said...

I thought this was going to be about enemies who pretend to be friends as well, but that's the glass-half-empty interpretation. I would think it would be hard to pretend to be rivals with a friend for very long without having it start to turn rivalrous.

kodachrome said...

Thanks Nels, Nice blog (I peeked). Hope we'll see more of you in the future.

kodachrome said...

Thistle, Clear, I see how it is. Just criticism for old Kodachrome. Well I can take you. Bring it on, baby!
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Kidding! Cut. Close the curtain. Hugs all around.
--
Clear, that's interesting. I figured the structural/material incentive would be to maintain the whole package of cooperation and competitive display and that would preserve the friendship, but maybe you're right. The costs are too high to try this with a treasured friend.

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