The Accidental Viewing of the Gay Porn

This was my Facebook status update this morning —

“I will participate in the “Shop-In” on Sunday, February 12 and stand up to the idiotic, homophobic One Million Moms by going to my nearest lesbian bar and… oh, wait, I mean shopping at my nearest JCPenney to thank them for retaining Ellen as their spokeswoman.”

It was only later that I realized that I just committed myself to shopping at… JCPenney. OMG!  I called a gay friend who was aghast at even the prospect of walking into a JCPenney.

That’s when I started worrying. If you know me, you know that I worry.  Was my status update an authentic one?  Did I really intend to shop at JCPenney this weekend?  Or was I just joining the social media bandwagon?

I am a liberal who believes in social justice. Or at least that is my self-identity.  But who was I speaking to when I wrote that update?  Who was I trying to persuade?  Certainly not the 99.9% friends online who believe exactly the same as I do.  Is it possible that my update was self-promotional?

Does my motivation really matter?  If companies see us supporting Ellen, we defang the stupid One Million Moms.   My motivation is irrelevant.   Social media is about influence.

Social media. I am getting bored with it.

“Social” is not writing.   Writing is solitary.  Writing is digging deeper to find an inner truth. Social media is the enemy of alone.

When I sit down in front of my screen, I don’t need to prove my political beliefs to myself.  I frequently start with the question, “OK, what is wrong with me today?”  I want to take a journey within, not persuade you to act or do something.

Many of us want to take this inner journey, but are afraid of the reaction of others.  We might discover a version of ourselves that doesn’t belong on a Facebook status update.

A few weeks ago, I was searching for a video.  OK, so it was a video of some actress in a sex scene that I read about on a movie blog.

By accident, I clicked on the wrong link.  I found myself watching two men shtupping each other in a scene from a gay porn film.  I closed the browser so fast that I almost knocked my laptop onto the floor.   Watching the scene made me uncomfortable.  I do not want to see two men shtupping.  Two women shtupping: hot.   Two men shtupping: uncomfortable.

I am a good-hearted, pro-gay, equal-rights liberal who has real-life gay friends who have seen me naked (that’s another story).   But I was afraid of gay porn.   Why?   Was I afraid that I would secretly like it?   Was I concerned that I would suddenly be transformed and have the urge to change the drapery?   And what if this page accidently re-opened while I was sitting in Starbucks, and everyone looks over at me as hunky male porn actor on my laptop actor screams, “F*ck me, Joseph!”?   Would I be embarrassed?   Would I be slightly less embarrassed if it was a hot babe screaming the same thing?

Do gay men have trouble watching regular porn?   Do I need to force myself to watch several hours of gay porn in order to prove to myself that I authentically believe in gay marriage?

Of course, these worries are neurotic.   Hey, it is my brand!   And I can easily convince myself that I am still a good person.  After all, I am a straight man.  Why should I care about gay porn?  And unlike the Million Moms, I believe there is nothing wrong with two men shtupping.   You can enjoy your brand of chamomile tea; I will enjoy mine.

WTF is this post about?

I am writing about writing.   And how easy it was to write a status update about a well-liked celebrity.  Social media is about joining the mob.  Writing is about neurotic musings on gay porn.

Sure, this post is ridiculous.  Again, it is my brand!  But so much of what we talk about on Facebook and Twitter is downright fake.   We point fingers at the racism of others, then move our kids to private schools because the public school is too “ethnic.”  How many of us equate a “black neighborhood” as a “bad neighborhood” and lock the car doors when passing through?  If you say yes, that doesn’t make you a bad person.  It just makes you real.   And I bet writing about our own individual biases will advance society faster than the constant feel-good preaching to the social media choir.

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22 Responses to The Accidental Viewing of the Gay Porn

  1. schmutzie says:

    I am going to abuse your comments to talk about what bullshit this concern about One Million Moms seems like.

    Yesterday, they had only 10% of the followers I do on Twitter, so were they really going to to affect JC Penney’s business in any remarkable way? Also, JC Penney is not a member of Congress. They weren’t really going to lose much business anyway, and it’s not really voting to buy extra shit you don’t need.

    I’m irritated that the blogging community has given One Million Moms so much extra attention that they could obviously barely garner on their own.

    Do I ever feel a lot better.
    schmutzie posted Me at Aiming Low: How To Align Images and Create Image Borders On the Internet, Even If You’re Not a Nerd

  2. Momo Fali says:

    Bravo!

    Just for the record, I followed your link from Twitter.

  3. Sherry says:

    Neil, I love this post. I find myself not posting “real” statuses out of fear… of offending somebody, of exposing myself, of accidently hurting somebody’s feelings… the list goes on. So, I stick with the non-commital, middle of the road statuses…. don’t dare post something that might cause my friends to argue. I’m a real chicken-shit. I actually hesitated before posting my status about Bill Belichick being a poor sport after the Super Bowl but decided… man, who can argue with THAT?!
    Btw…. I’m glad you post your Instagrams to your timeline… I enjoy them.
    Cheers!

  4. Diana says:

    Is it a solitary act though? Isn’t writing about experience? Isn’t experience about social interaction? I write better when I have more social interaction to draw from.
    Diana posted From Scratch

  5. Adrienne says:

    Hell, I don’t know, but wondering about it at least half the fun. Right?

  6. Danny says:

    Love to see you writing on here again (Twitter be damned). I shared Schmutzie’s concern about giving those lunatic “moms” any attention but they are so freaking obnoxious I just couldn’t help myself. And they DO actually have quite an impact with many cowardly companies (not JC Penney) who are so afraid of offending anyone. As for your comment “that doesn’t make you a bad person, it just makes you real,” I’d amend that to “it just makes you paranoid and suspicious.” I’m not saying that with judgment, and I’m not saying I’ve never done it, but I really don’t think “real” is the right word. On the other hand, I see your point about our sometimes inauthentic social media personae but I’m okay with that. I don’t really need or want to know what’s going on in the deepest level of people’s subconsciouses–it’s not like we’re talking about secret Klan members who are pretending to be liberal. Sure, we all have thoughts that we wouldn’t necessarily be eager to share with others, on social media or any other platform! And I believe sharing those fear-based thoughts does NOT necessarily make us more “real.”
    Danny posted One Million Moms Is a Hate Group

  7. Bridget says:

    After reading this my only question is this: If he had to link to a definition, that means that there are people who don’t know the word shtupping. Really?

  8. Barnmaven says:

    Can you fear what you do not understand and yet accept its existence as perfectly benign? Of course.

    I’ll do the Penney’s shop-in as a statement of support for Ellen DeGeneres, but frankly neither Ellen OR Penney’s really need my money. In fact, I’d be damn happy if they’d give me some of theirs, because I’m certain they have a hell of a lot more of it than me.

    Personally, I think the “million” Moms did Penney’s a great big fat favor.
    Barnmaven posted Badass Dentistry

  9. Magpie says:

    What Bridget said. Though I kind of loved that Wikipedia definition. So…tame. :)
    Magpie posted Mock Mocha

  10. You made me laugh out loud, more than once, so thank you. I just read it out loud to my husband and he laughed his ass off too, so he thanks you.

    As far as the whole JC Penney thing is concerned, I will not be shopping there this weekend. The reason is because I never shop at JC Penney. I love Ellen. I love gay people, too. But I’m not going to make my way over to JC Penney to buy something I’d never buy at JC Penney and then look around to see if anyone’s noticing me buying something at JC Penney so they’ll be impressed with my dedication to the rights of others. Not that I have a problem with the people who will be shopping at JC Penney this Sunday. They have rights, too.
    Katherine @ Postpartum Progress posted Smell the Burnt Toast: Coming Together in A Postpartum Depression Support Group

  11. erykah says:

    Thank you for this post. I am well known for posting status updates for social justice causes. But on fb especially, its preaching to the choir. I fire off tweets than delete them if feel they’re too lame or too personal. I’ve never met someone as neurotic as I can be sometimes! Thx neil lol :o)

  12. I can’t recall the the time I shopped at Penney’s–15? 20 years ago? But I do plan to buy something Sunday because 1) we recently moved into our new house and I need things for it, 2) because I’m proud of Penney’s for not backing down as Lowe’s Home Improvement did when a hate group complained about their support for a reality show All-American Muslim. Lowe’s dropped their advertising on the show. If you didn’t catch this when it happened a few months ago, check the archives at the Daily Show as they summarized the events quite well and most humorously.

    Your made me laugh and think; thanks.
    kim/reluctant renovator posted Serve Up The Valentine’s Day Love

  13. Deb Rox says:

    That’s a whole lot of gay porn talk. I think you are trying to get SEO for the term “JOSEPH BLACK NEIGHBORHOOD GAY PORN.” Clever. Very, very clever.
    Deb Rox posted Dancing with Ellen in the Aisles of JCPenney

  14. Jane Gassner says:

    Profound, Neil. And real, baby, real. You must be in LA now; you’re going way too deep for Queens.

  15. Neil, I just really enjoy your writing and feel like I’m at a similar precipice with my writing and social media and writing online, period.

    Steph
    Adventures In Babywearing posted Everything is coming up Milhouse!

  16. Megan says:

    Ah, writing. How I miss it. Thanks for the taste.

    And you’re right. It is pulling in. Writing doesn’t come from outside, it comes from inside.
    Megan posted Fun Is Hard, Yo

  17. “I found myself watching two men shtupping each other in a scene from a gay porn film. I closed the browser so fast that I almost knocked my laptop onto the floor. ”

    Under such circumstances, my laptop might be disturbed for a different reason.

    But seriously…

    I agree with Danny. Great to see you blogging, which in 2012, is another word for real writing.

    Was this merely “writing about writing”? I think you were blogging about contemporary society, spiritual issues, life and sexual politics.

    And I’m going to challenge you, from a sexual politics perspective. Why do you say a heterosexual “sex scene” but gay “porn”? Are there some value judgements afoot here?

    Frankly, as a gay man who struggled with his sexuality, there were times when I found explicit erotica rather helpful, simply to work out on which side of the church I sat. Politically incorrect, I know, but so be it.

    You don’t have to be frightened of gay porn, Neil. It won’t bite.
    The Honourable Husband posted Denglish: Check Your Male

  18. I wrote something similar earlier this week, less about social media and social justice, and more about how we tell our own stories and how this is possible in the “I”-centric way that blogging can be seen – and argued – to be founded on. I don’t see this as bad; in fact, many bloggers I know (mum ones, yes) it’s one of their few chances to sit down and revisit how they’re feeling and explore their opinions a little more. I tend to be a writing snob – and admit this – but I can see the other benefits too.

    Being Aussie, I’ve not the opportunity to attend the JCPenny shopin, although I would if I was there (although maybe I can do something, must investigate some links)
    Karen (miscmum) posted Today

  19. Genie says:

    You said, “Of course, these worries are neurotic. Hey, it is my brand!”

    When I talk about you to my husband it usually goes:

    Me: “So Neil wrote/photographed this thing the other day …”
    Him: “Huh? Who?”
    Me: “Neil. The fretful Jew.”
    Him: “Ah, right. So you were saying?”

    Every. Time. So you’re a household name here. :)
    Genie posted Pop did it! The power of experience

  20. divacowgirl says:

    Finding Gay porn on the computer….not the best way to confirm that your teenage son is gay. I have had better days :) I do love reading your blog though, thanks for the chuckle.

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