Thomas Bushnell, BSG (thomb) wrote,
Thomas Bushnell, BSG

A Pinch of Salt

Over at the blog A Pinch of Salt I have been labelled a predator for the crime of suggesting that the experience of pornography among gay men is different from heterosexual porn. This from an anonymous editor, "AdR" at the blog. (My suggestion was about one sentence long, and simply said that the social context of gay male pornography is quite different, and that for many gay men, porn has more to do with liberation than oppression.)

The post Sequel and finish describes either a sexual assault, or a badly made drunken pass coupled with the author's homosexual panic. Indeed, many straight men report receiving an unwanted pass from another man as if it were an assault, and react as if it were an assault. We do not know, from our author's description, what exactly occurred, except that it was clearly at a drinking establishment of some kind, and that the author's friends--many of them--were all present. I have no doubt that for the straight people who feel assaulted by a pass from a gay man, the experience is traumatic. If it were not traumatic, it would not motivate as many gay-bashings as it does. (Recall that those who killed Matthew Shepherd used the same excuse.) So, traumatic it obviously was, but whether the trauma was caused by the other, or by our author's own homophobia, his post does not make clear. It does, however, make clear the depth of his homophobic response system.

The unwanted advance comes from someone who doesn't talk; he "lisped". Mention of the writer's girlfriend was supposed to "scare him off". (Why? Are gay people scared of heterosexuality the way some straight people are scared of homosexuality? Our writer had to run away from a crowded bar. Our writer "thought it necessary" to explain how he got a sprained ankle to the doctor. (Why? "I was running and I sprained my ankle" seems fully sufficient for the doctor.) The doctor asks an inappropriate question back: "are you sure you're not gay?" Our writer apparently responds that he has a girlfriend.

This is the usual homophobic response, by the way: not just "I'm straight", but "I'm straight and I can prove it to you." Trust me, gay people don't need to have a partner to count as gay, why do straight people think that having a steady date of the opposite sex somehow is more "confirming"?) If our author were not dripping with homophobia, would not the answer be, "does it matter?" Does our author think that what happened to him is worse because he's straight? And then there is the commonplace of the lady who doth protest too much. The only character in Avenue Q who keeps bringing up his off-stage girlfriend, is of course Rod.

The doctor is fine with this response, but our writer is confused by that: "And why the g.p. was completely at ease with my answer that I was going steady with a girl - I don't know." Why shouldn't the doctor be at ease with such an answer? Since the author's sexual preference is entirely irrelevant to the treatment of a sprained ankle (and the doctor was truly a fool for asking the inappropriate question in the first place), it is not surprising that the doctor should drop it. So why is our author confused by the doctor's ease with that reply? Easy: because the doctor is supposed to be much more upset when he finds out that his patient is truly straight. But alas for our author, the doctor returns to treating the actual medical condition before him, and doesn't take the bait that somehow what happened to the author must be worse because he is straight.

Then we have this one, Was Tolstoy right with his Kreutzer sonata?. Here we are told that gay men "are not naturally saints." Are these our only two options? We are either saints or predators? Because in the writer's country (the Netherlands), "the official gay movement is advocating the xenophobic proto-nazis who are making NL infamous," I guess this American queer is automatically suspect. No, worse than that. I'm a "predator". Recall that the author knew one and only one thing about me: that I reported that the gay male experience of pornography has had a liberative aspect for many, and that I used the pronoun "we" so that he knew I was in the category "gay male".

On this basis--and this basis alone--our author describes me as a "predator". The homophobia drips off the screen.

We hear that it is "simply incredible" that the actors in gay porn are acting completely voluntarily. Well, I can't speak about all--unlike the author of the blog, I don't have the hubris to declare what is always the case about such a thing. I do know that I have personally met models (that's the term, actaully, in a nice nod to the reality that the job isn't really about acting) who struck me--at least, the ones I met, at a party at my house, for example, or a nice potluck dinner at a friend's--as singularly healthy individuals, both mentally and physically. One was a computer engineer from Illinois for whom this other job was a part-time gig. He said that, for him, it was an experience he greatly enjoyed. I make no claims about what is typical, or usual, or anything of the kind. I speak only of that experience.

If the narrative of the author at A Pinch of Salt were correct, then what do we make of Tom of Finland? Paul Morris? Or the recently in-the-news Hawaii Speedo Student? How should we understand the not infrequent occurrence where models end up as producers and directors?

What is most striking is that gay men are all suspect, because "They are human males, socialised with the idea of domination." Whatever we do, must therefore be all about domination.

This is anarchism? Not by any definition I've ever read. Please, give us some Emma Goldman!
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