In the ‘Highlights’ Era, Even Porn Suffers
By Andy Dworkin
PlannedMan

Technology delivers everything, including highlights of hot dates, at the speed of 5G. But we have an ancient memory of love in dimly-lit rooms with actual living people using their real names. Call it paleo-kink.

In the ‘Highlights’ Era, Even Porn Suffers
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Highlights


Watching porn used to mean sitting through "character development" waiting for the payoff — but that was part of the fun.

What's ruining sex is trashing baseball: a double, an error, a stolen base and a late home run.

Highlights are killing us. They are turning life’s greatest experiences into drive-bys.

Romance? These days, we go to Chaturbate for first dates and meet up later on Tinder!  

Back when I started watching porn, I used to watch the whole movie. Had no choice, since it was in an actual movie theater. I’d find a seat,  one without readily unidentifiable squim on it, and watch the show — all the way to the end, because otherwise you’d miss the best stuff. Very occasionally, the film would be a classic — think Behind the Green Door — but even when not, there was build-up, what the film’s writer and director seemed to regard as “character development,” which was not the same as breast development and the real reason guys watched the stuff. You had to watch the lonely suburban  woman with the jerky husband, meet her horny best friend, suffer through the trauma of broken cable, and cheer on the guy at the door in his tool belt arriving to fix it.  Usually, as Julianne Moore’s Maude scornfully observes in The Big Lebowski , “the story is ludicrous,” but that was also part of the deal. You had to — and were content to — wait fifty-five or sixty minutes , because the payoff would be totally worth it. In fact, the anticipation often made it seem better than it actually was.

Now? Go to the web, click on Pornhub or xHamster, and there’s no waiting at all. No conversation or dramatic build up, no feints, fakes or sexual dekes. It’s one money shot after another. Talk about inflation! Maybe you’ll get a couple of cutaways of faces and weirdly enormous body parts, but basically it’s all money shots in a row.  Over in under five minutes. All highlights.

Forget “story.” Now it’s one money shot after another. Talk about inflation!

Okay, I mainly used this example for the sake of hyperbole, but stay with me, because believe it or not, I’m about to make a serious philosophical point.  And you don’t have to wait for it, because here it is: no one has patience for anything anymore, and this is a terrible loss.  Because waiting used to be a major part of almost every great experience.

For example, in addition to porn, I often used to watch baseball. The whole fucking game. Maybe left the room to take  leak in the bottom of the fifth, but otherwise watched the whole thing happen. Had to. It was a matter of principle. Now? The whole thing’s cut down to a highlight clip with a double against the wall, an error, a stolen base and a late home run. One minute twelve seconds. Football is now two great passes, a sack, a crappy end zone dance, a few  fans with painted faces. And when was the last time anyone listened to an album start to finish? Now it’s all new tracks by some artist Spotify found on your phone.

We text with no pronouns, adjectives or adverbs. They read like fucking ransom notes. Highlights are killing us. They are turning life’s greatest experiences into drive-bys.

Above all, our need for instant gratification has cost us what we need the most: the patience essential to nurture intimacy.

Romance? Long languid conversations? The pleasure that comes with letting things unfold at their own pace?  Swipe that. These days we speed date, we go on first dates and without even putting our phones on mute, we meet on tinder! Christ, it’s the romantic equivalent of chugging a martini. A lot of the time it’s just easier to screw the whole thing and have a quick fling with our MacBook Air.

Okay, forget intimacy, let’s just stick to the sex. Because, really,  who wants to give up the joys of slow seduction, the sudden surprise and tipsy confusion, the spontaneous learning of new uses for furniture, the not quite seeing what you think you’re seeing ? Who wants to give up closing your eyes and keeping them closed, and saying weird things that sound illegal and nasty but which, given the context, make total sense. Who, finally, wants to give up the great, amazing, earth-shattering finale, the one that makes it all worthwhile and which, if you’d been signed on to stroke.ru instead, you’d have experienced in three minutes instead of forty five.

Why do we want to rush everything? What’s the fucking hurry?

 

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