Friendship as a Way of Life

As this is the second time I’ve read Angels of America I am less fascinated by Cohn’s character and more engaged with Louis’s relationship with Joe. Particularly because I recently read Foucault’s Interview “Friendship as a Way of Life” and plan to soon read the book by Tom Roach which is based on the interview. You can read the interview here. In the interview, Foucault suggests that at a certain point, friendship became the main way of facilitating homosexuality (which might seem obvious), but when there is no institutional support for homosexual relationships, queer people would “have to invent, from A to Z, a relationship that is still formless, which is friendship: that is to say, the sum of everything through which they can give each other pleasure.” We see this very clearly happen with Louise and Joe, as their relationship grew through friendship, and through the intimacy and the homo-social spaces that were created through their relationship. All of which is a little sad to consider the amount of innovation and labor expected of such marginalized groups, but to also study the nuances of the relationships created out of them. And who’s better to have theorized some of it than Foucault?

I have not yet read Roach’s book, but here’s a quick review of it.

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  1. This is really insightful and I agree, considering the exchange even between Roy and Belize at the hospital, where Belize actually tries to help Roy despite him being homophobic, because of his queerness.

    “Belize: This didn’t come from me and I don’t like you but let me tell you a thing or two:
    They have you down for radiation tomorrow for the sarcoma leisons, and you don’t let them do that…So tell the doctor no thanks for the radiation. He won’t want to listen. Persuade him. Or he’ll kill you
    Roy: You’re just a fucking nurse. Why should I listen to you over my qualified, very expensive WASP doctor?
    Belize: He’s not queer. I am” (154)

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