My aim with the project was not to find an answer, but engage with and add to this discourse that I find very important. The “sexual emotional aesthetic network,” has endured a disruption and shift in its feeling (networked). Though The Sluts deals with a website, again, it is used to generate hookups as the primary function of the network. Contact always followed the reviews and discussion board. With websites like Grindr, contact is not the primary function, connect is, and cruising in boredom. Just as my previous post stated about Cruising, it doesn’t matter “what happened in the end,” with The Sluts. What matters is what it says about the queer network of impersonal sex, and how it has shifted with time. So, on a timeline we have Times Square Blue, Cruising, The Sluts, and then Grindr. You can group them into two by order, but I don’t really want to because there is a major shift between the last two that is important to look at them all separately. The Sluts is actually a midpoint between Times Square Blue and Grindr (remember the bars etc. were still around and frequented by characters of the network, in the novel). The type of website introduced in The Sluts is very different, and a step above (socially for the network) that in Grindr. Since Times Square Blue and Cruising, queerness has become digitally network into what we see in The Sluts and Grindr. This shift is not progressive, in neither time nor social advancement. Grindr lacks the primary push toward contact and freedom-of-identity found in The Sluts. The Sluts lack the public private safeplace found in Times Square Blue and Cruising.
The queer network of impersonal sex between men has been reduced from public space, sexual intimacy (in terms of contact), and identity baggage freedom. This research project was created to make us feel more about this specific topic in our course. It deserved that much. Now, into its Grindr and cousins days, queer impersonal sex has been extracted of its meaningfulness. Bersani’s desire of sexuality without selves is damn near depleted (Grindr and its cousins), those in this “culture,” as I have liked to call it, are now bearing this burden. Capitalism has destroyed, or as they called it, “rezoned,” protected queer spaces, and they continue to do so. Normative standards are at large and in play. And all of this shit is not good, okay, or for the best (and I do not find it fair either).
After the liberation of an entire culture was “rezoned,” it quickly became restricted. Even in the same time we learned of the rezoning, in Times Square Blue, we learned of the restrictions that would come with the rezoning before it even occurred. The bartender, Jimmy, explained that the queer men frequenting Forty-second Street would be under new restrictions at the new location over by the water. They would be under tight police surveillance, new laws, and in a less busy part of town. And as Jimmy said they were no longer in a private public safeplace (Delany 106). One of those restrictions that occurred after the rezoning, is dear old Grindr :). Grindr and its cousins (hookup websites and apps if you don’t remember this from my earlier post) represent, the restricted connected networks of impersonal sex amongst men as a culture. And another very important thing I want to bring attention to, or add emphasis to the attention some may already have paid it-is that this network, was valuable. I think if many saw how great of a value it had, the network would not be in the current state it is in (regressed).
The porn theatres, leather bars, and peep shows shown in Times Square Blue and Cruising, were “humane and functional, fulfilling needs that most of our society does not yet know how to acknowledge” (Delany 90). And sadly, sixteen years later, our society still does not yet know how to acknowledge. Society still finds the need to make places (The Sluts website) that were never unsafe, safe with restricting websites/digital networks. The “hookup” sites are not even truly hookup sites, as we see with Grindr. That is not their primary goal of what they facilitate. The social networks that do, such as Backpage (though it is not strictly for queer men), are strongly considered nasty-in terms of sexual diseases and low. So, there has been a shift in this culture, and that shift is not one for the betterment of those in the culture, or the culture as a culture. The shift is in the way the network now facilitates impersonal sex-which does not truly facilitate impersonal sexual contact, instead, it facilitates connection. Scott’s essay references the magazine Vanity Fair and its coverage of Grindr. It coined it, in 2011, “the world’s biggest, scariest gay bar” (3). In Times Square Blue and Cruising, these bars actually occupied public physical spaces. Now, there are virtual gay bars. In in these virtual gay bars, not much gay contact is happening as the main reason for being in the bar. So what the hell is really going on here? That is a question to keep asking, and discourse to keep analyzing.