This was a jam-packed week (local travel, semester buildup, starts), so I neglected to celebrate properly the Barthes of September. Barthes of September is my own semi-forgettable holiday, Sept. 7, a day when in years past I have posted something or other from Roland Barthes. Pure negligence on my part to miss such an event.
I did, nevertheless and a few days late, leaf around yet again in RB by RB, and I smiled–a smile of understanding, a smile of ‘yes, this one’–when I read “The privileged relationship.” The singular-multiple dynamic he describes matches up well enough with my own radical social reorientation in recent weeks.
He did not seek out an exclusive relationship (possession, jealousy, scenes); nor did he seek out a generalized, communal relationship; what he wanted was, each time, a privileged relationship, marked by a perceptible difference, brought to the condition of a kind of absolutely singular affective inflection, like that of a voice with an incomparable timbre; and paradoxically, he saw no obstacle to multiplying this privileged relationship: nothing but privileges, in short, the sphere of friendship was thus populated by dual relations (whence a great wasting of time: he had to see his friends one at a time: resistance to the group, to the circle, to the crowd). What was wanted was a plural equality, without in-difference. (65)