August 30, 2012

"I replied to ads people had posted to the casual encounters section of craigslist."

"I asked if I could photograph them in visual representations of their ads. Some said yes." 

The link isn't NSFW, but what it links to definitely is.

The comment (at 2:21) — "Strange how many of the photographs are reminiscent of Abu Ghraib" — is written by me (under my Metafilter pseudonym, which predates this blog).

I think the photography project is quite brilliant, and I'm interested in how it made you feel, if you clicked through the photographs. How far did you click? How did your feelings progress? Why did you stop when you stopped?

150 comments:

kcom said...

I stopped when they all started looking the same. After about 10. I found it mostly tedious.

Aridog said...

Ditto to what @kcom said ... tedious is the word after a few views.

Who is the photographer? Titus the poseur?

EDH said...

All dudes, no chicks, no surprise.

John McCrarey said...

I looked at the entire set. Some were visually interesting, but I mostly found it boring.

John McCrarey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

At number two. I got the idea at that point.

Shouting Thomas said...

"All dudes, no chicks, no surprise."

Ditto.

I can remember how excited I was, when I first moved to San Francisco, to check out the nude beach at Devil's Slide.

Beautiful Northern California day.

Several thousand naked gay guys and about 10 women.

Shouting Thomas said...

"At number two. I got the idea at that point."

I've never bought the innate theory of gaydom, and Freeman's comment highlights the reason.

Men are frustrated to the point of madness by the matter of fact non-interest in variations in sex that is characteristic of women. (No offense intended, Freeman, and, no, I don't know what you do or what you like.)

In the early 70s, when men were flocking to SF to find sexual nirvana, I talked to dozens of them who just couldn't stand the sexual reticence of women, ever in SF, where women are much looser.

I knew plenty of men who abandoned sex with women and took up with men precisely because they felt they were starving to death sexually as a result of relating primarily to women.

Jay said...

I'm interested in how it made you feel, if you clicked through the photographs

It reinforced my belief that being a gay male is a mental disorder.

wyo sis said...

I clicked through them all. I wanted to see how bad they'd get. Mostly boring. No wonder they're seeking something. What they have come up with as a need is so pointless.

JohnBoy said...

Pure decadence is depressing. A catalogue of the damned.

Shouting Thomas said...

"It reinforced my belief that being a gay male is a mental disorder."

I don't know why you've assumed these men are gay.

S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shouting Thomas said...

I'm going to have to call bullshit on the commenters now.

Everybody's watching porn. Porn is almost why the internet exists. Porn drives technology and accounts for most of the profit on the internet.

For public consumption, people reflexly revert to this "people who are fascinated by sex are sad perverts" posture.

You're lying when you do this.

Jay said...

I don't know why you've assumed these men are gay.

The "I sucked your cock in the parking lot" seemed to be a good indicator.

Along with "uncle seeking newphew"

chickelit said...

Althouse's hint that S&M may be involved made me decide not to click through at all.

Jason said...

...And that's just the "women seeking men" section!

Shouting Thomas said...

You might want to actually check out the Casual Encounters section of craigslist.

It has sections for married couples seeking a man for a threesome, and a wide variety of other sexual interests.

One of the odd outcomes of the gay marriage hysteria is that the world now seems to think that there are only two sexual interests in the world... gay marriage and straight marriage.

Triangle Man said...

It reinforced my belief that being a gay male is a mental disorder.

Said the asexual letter of the alphabet...or someone who lies and claims they have no sexual fantasies...or someone who has fantasies but is too repressed to act them out...or someone whose fantasies would be illegal in all 50 states if acted upon.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm interested in how it made you feel

It's a bunch of lost people flailing around in the dark. It's depressing. It makes you want to go do something nice for them.

Oso Negro said...

Shouting Thomas said "I knew plenty of men who abandoned sex with women and took up with men precisely because they felt they were starving to death sexually as a result of relating primarily to women."

Not my experience of the '70s. No, not at all. It was a golden era for young men who were interested in young women. I call bullshit on your sample as representative of the era Thomas. Keep in mind, your boys were in San Francisco. 'Nuff said.

Shouting Thomas said...

"Keep in mind, your boys were in San Francisco. 'Nuff said."

I have plenty of men friends for a couple of reasons. I'm a musician. So, I have lifelong friendships with musician friends. And, I've always been interested in sexual rebels, both gay and straight.

San Francisco was just the first place I encountered this phenomenon of men who were just plain desparately starving for sex because they were in relationship with women. I learned to talk with men about this in SF, but I found the same to be true in my travels. And I've spent plenty of time in Chicago, NYC and Portland since.

Shouting Thomas said...

"It's a bunch of lost people flailing around in the dark. It's depressing. It makes you want to go do something nice for them."

That's a very compassionate comment, Freeman,

Yes, people who can't find love and sex in the matter that theyu crave will "flail around in the dark" in their effort to find it.

BarryD said...

I wonder how many Congressmen were in those pics.

Richard said...

Around 8. That was the point were I figured that if my wife walked in, I would have a ton of explaining to do.

sdharms said...

I viewed one too many. COnclusion:
gay men are perverts, there are alot of them out there, they are far far from normal, I need to stay where I never encounter these people, if there are some like this, what are the ones who are worse like? They do themselves NO FAVOR with the hetero world to publicize stuff like this. Now do you understand why we are against gay marriage? Raise childer amongst this? You have got to be kidding.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm just read some of the Metafilter comments.

cazoo wrote:
REM's Everybody Hurts works nicely as background music when viewing this gallery.

Sounds about right.

ST, I think you're misdiagnosing the problem here. You're also wrong if you think that everyone, or even just all men, watch porn. But so it goes.

Shana said...

"I'm going to have to call bullshit on the commenters now.

Everybody's watching porn."

And I am going to call bullshit on your calling bullshit.

t-man said...

Perhaps this is sample bias (the people who agreed to be photographed), but I was surprised that most of the guys seemed to be in good shape. They could just mostly be bi-guys in relationshiops with women who are trying to feed that other aspect of themselves, thus the quick, anonymous encounters.

The 18-year old kid in his mother's basement was really depressing.

Shouting Thomas said...

What is that Everybody Hurts from, Freeman?

It's always the same thing. Not finding love and sex in the manner that they crave.

I've been very fortunate in a couple of ways. One, as I said, I'm a musician. The desire to maintain musician relationships means that I've learned to forgive a lot in men so that I can maintain my playing relationship with them. This is a common characteristic of musicians. So, I've got a lot of male musician friends.

I've also been very fortunate in that I've known some extraordinary women who were tough sexual rebels.

Porn is a good thing, as well as a bad thing, just like everything in this world. On the good side, porn has revealed a facet of life that had been hidden for thousands of years. If you aren't watching porn, you are missing a great awakening. And I admit, you've got to sort through a huge pile of dreck to find that great awakening.

alan markus said...

I don't know how far I got (my daughter & her sleep-over friend just got up asking for breakfast, so now I have to be careful what I'm looking at), but I think it was maybe 5 or 6 - stopped at the one that reminded me of Crack Emcee.

MadisonMan said...

I stopped because I have a meeting to go to.

I wondered what drove them to this aspect of their sexuality. How did it form? (The uncle seeking nephew one made me shudder).

Overall, it's kinda sad. So many lonely people. The one asking for Hot Chocolate -- the drink -- made me smile though.

BarryD said...

Personally, I have generally found hearing Michael Stipe sing to be far more painful than the inability to find love.

Shana said...

"And I admit, you've got to sort through a huge pile of dreck to find that great awakening."

Diving in the septic tank for a pearl? No thanks. :)

Rusty said...

Why couldn't it have been a buncha lonely, horny, women? I went through the whole batch thinkin,"theres gotta be a chick in here somewhere"
I guess I missed the point.

The guy laying on the kitchen floor covered in chocolate/feces/fake blood, was kinda artful though. At least he put some thought into it.

Kevin said...

Ugh. Now I'm desperate enough to go back to the Go Topless thread from the other day to cleanse my eyeballs. That's desperate, I tell you. I suppose I should have figured it would be all men.

Oso Negro said...

Shouting Thomas said "I have plenty of men friends for a couple of reasons. I'm a musician. So, I have lifelong friendships with musician friends. And, I've always been interested in sexual rebels, both gay and straight.

San Francisco was just the first place I encountered this phenomenon of men who were just plain desparately starving for sex because they were in relationship with women. I learned to talk with men about this in SF, but I found the same to be true in my travels. And I've spent plenty of time in Chicago, NYC and Portland since."

Amazingly enough, I was also a musician in the late '70s and I found musicians and camp followers of all stripes an adulterous and uninhibited lot. In Austin, the young women weren't demonstrating a lot of inhibition.

Kevin said...

Re: the Michael Stipe sniping, given what we know about his proclivities I'm half surprised he ain't in the photo shoot.

Lyle said...

I was surprised by the number of fit guys too.

It's interesting art. Voyeur, but not really exposed.

Krumhorn said...

I stopped at "toilet fuck". My over-riding sensation was one of degradation, despair, and, yes.....let's have it said....perversity.

I don't get the cock-in-the-ass thing anyway. But I particularly don't get the cock-in-MY-ass thing. I'm not much for going the wrong way up an exit ramp...boy or girl.

Shouting Thomas said...

It's not about shit, Shana, but you're belief that it is highlights, once again, what I'm saying.

For one hell of a lot of women (and I'm not talking about you because I don't know you), sex is little more than a bathroom function. It's about the same as the need to relieve yourself by shitting and pissing.

Sex can be a hell of a lot more than a bathroom function. That so many women see little more than the bathroom function in it is precisely what drives so many men to desparation.

Shana said...

I was just quoting you, ST, when you said you had to sort through a "huge pile of dreck".

Shana said...

And from what I am reading about these pictures (I haven't clicked through), it isn't women who link sex to a bathroom function.

Shouting Thomas said...

My apologies, Shana... I looked up the word "dreck."

I meant the word to mean "trash," which is one of its meanings.

But, you are correct in that its root is "excrement."

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

I don't get what's so great about the photography project. It was a good idea, but poorly executed. The photography was boring and repetitive. Basically: take off your clothes, put this over your head. Click. OK thanks. Next. It seemed lazy and devoid of creativity to me.

It made me appreciate the value of women in my life, and the stifling goodness they instill.

Shouting Thomas said...

It made me appreciate the value of women in my life, and the stifling goodness they instill.

There's that, too.

Shana said...

Well, even if the only meaning was "trash" ST, my metaphor would be the same. Why sort through the landfill to find this "pearl"?

I do appreciate, however, your good faith in attempting to understand what I am saying.

edutcher said...

What kcom and Shout said, although I have to tell Shout, if the guy wanted to show his homemade porn, he ought to call it that - not some "photo essay" that turns into Hatman's wet dream

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Not that much into male S&M

Mick said...

I guess you are fixated on gay men. They are surely not "happy" in their situation, and proclivity, as the pics display a sense of doom and melancholy-- all the way through. Is that the real way most gay men feel? Are you worried that your son feels the same way?

Chip Ahoy said...

I felt sad that all those dudes felt they had to put something over their head.

Rocketeer said...

The guy laying on the kitchen floor covered in chocolate/feces/fake blood, was kinda artful though.

Sounds like there's a kind of Salvador/Gala Dali hookup thing going on in that one.

tiger said...

Freeman Hunt said...
I'm interested in how it made you feel

It's a bunch of lost people flailing around in the dark. It's depressing. It makes you want to go do something to them.

FTFY.

Youngblood said...

I worked through all of them.

The photography itself seemed pretty uninspired, and the subjects themselves weren't all that interesting to look at. The whole concept of showing the people behind these Craig's List personals was undercut by the fact that we don't see them, we just see their bodies and an assortment of masks. For example, once you realize that the bunny mask in that one picture was probably the photographer's choice and not the subject's, it becomes a lot less interesting.

Also, to the people reading Althouse's Abu Ghraib comment as an indication of S&M content, that's simply not the case.

William said...

I was relieved that there were no pictures of Prince Harry. I just think that it would be wrong for any member of the Royal Family with all their connections to engage in such activities....I think it's good, however, that a forum such as this exists. This is a podium upon which Anthony Weiner can pound.

SteveOrr said...

Quit at “straight” guy looking for a “JO Bud”.

It’s a common fantasy to believe we’re so sexy we can flip someone else’s orientation. Plenty of “straight” guys and “lesbians” will pander to that instinct. But the immediate dishonesty of it all is a huge red flag to me.

creeley23 said...

"Strange how many of the photographs are reminiscent of Abu Ghraib"

That was strange. I assume this was an artistic pretension on the part of the photographer -- who seems to be a Mapplethorpe wannabe but lacking Mapplethorpe's supreme eye for composition.

It became tedious and unpleasant very quickly.

When I look at pictures of naked people (1) I prefer women, (2) I want to see their faces, (3) I don't like hard bright light and (4) I want to have some sense that the subjects are comfortable, maybe even happy.

These photos left me feeling icky.

Valentine Smith said...

Looks to me like sexual repression is a lot healthier than
being imprisoned by your own self-hatred.

"Sooner strangle an infant in its cradle than to nurse unacted desires."

Little Billy Blake, sweet subversive bullshit artist, a little creature further afar from deviance than most, was beaten by his wife on a regular basis. So to speak.

The Crack Emcee said...

How far did you click? How did your feelings progress? Why did you stop when you stopped?

I laughed at the lead-in photo (guy on the bed, in front of his computer, with a pillowcase on his head) and stopped at the forth photo, of the black gay guy hamming it up.

Why?

I have a life,...


Andy R. said...

When people see unhappy gay people, it's interesting whether they blame homosexuality, or the decades of widespread anti-gay bigotry in the United States.

It's hard to have a husband and kids and a house with a nice picket fence, when that's illegal.

EMD said...

Insipid, really.

EMD said...

When people see unhappy gay people, it's interesting whether they blame homosexuality, or the decades of widespread anti-gay bigotry in the United States.

Or something completely different, like what affects most people, sexual orientations excluded!

The Crack Emcee said...

t-man,

Perhaps this is sample bias (the people who agreed to be photographed), but I was surprised that most of the guys seemed to be in good shape.

Why? People who work out are mostly trying to look good - what for? Sex! (If you buy all this "health" nonsense, you're really a rube,...)

Thinking people - who will usually be found somewhere reading - can undercut all that effort at the gym with a single well-crafted phrase,...

Palladian said...

I just looked through the pictures for any guys I hooked up with in my single days.

Shouting Thomas said...

"Looks to me like sexual repression is a lot healthier than
being imprisoned by your own self-hatred."

These are not necessarily the only
two choices.

"It's hard to have a husband and kids and a house with a nice picket fence, when that's illegal."

It isn't illegal.

Andy, it's quite apparent to me that you are blaming the shortcomings of your own life on some systematic problem, when the shortcomings are undoubtedly of your own making.

My gay friends are in their 50s and 60s. One of the constant topics of conversation is that people who are sexually different (and there are a lot of ways to be sexually different) often bring to their relationships the notion that, because they are different, any sort of craziness or abuse can be tolerated.

Quite often, people who are different get very caught up in this societal criticism thing, when, in fact, they need to look at what they are doing in their relationships with other people.

The Crack Emcee said...

alan markus,

stopped at the one that reminded me of Crack Emcee.

Ouch!

Oh well, as long as you spelled the name right, I guess,...

Shouting Thomas said...

Andy, I keep trying to have patience with you and to find compassion for you, but it's pretty difficult because you keep playing the the puritanical moral scold.

You're sort of a leftist Rick Santorum, a scolding moralist.

Dump the crusade and your life with be several thousand times better.

The problem with your life isn't political. This crusade you are on is the problem with your life.

Andy R. said...

Dump the crusade and your life with be several thousand times better.

When all gay people in this country can get married and adopt kids and not be fired or evicted for being gay, maybe I'll take a break.

Andy R. said...

Dump the crusade and your life with be several thousand times better.

Also, you wouldn't imagine how much fun I'm having kicking Chick-fil-A's ass.

Shouting Thomas said...

"When all gay people in this country can get married and adopt kids and not be fired or evicted for being gay, maybe I'll take a break."

In other words, you're going to waste your life on this shit. Be my guest.

I know quite a few gay guys who are shacked up in a nice house in Jersey, living a good life and working at a nice job. They don't give a shit about the abstract crap that obsesses you.

Ann Althouse said...

It bothered me that there were so many covered-up faces, but that might be that they didn't want to be recognizable in the photographs.

Andy R. said...

abstract crap

It's not abstract to the people that are being fired or evicted for being gay. Or the kids being sent by their parents to camps to try to turn them straight, against their wishes.

If people want to go live happy gay lives because they are rich enough or white enough or straight-acting enough so that anti-gay bigotry is not a personal concern to them, that's their choice.

Palladian said...

The point of Craigslist is not half-assed psychoanalysis, nor tiresome artistic conceit, nor priggish moral condemnation. The point is to find a good fuck.

These pictures are a failure, because they don't approach their subject with neutrality. The photographer didn't let the lens simply look. He (or she) used it to see what he wanted to see, which misses the point of a good photograph entirely. The pictures are embedded with standard, and uninteresting, moralistic conclusions (these people are perverts, these people are lost souls, these people are repressed by society, &c). Yeah, yeah. The interesting thing about the subjects is not their extremity, but their normality. The pictures could have revealed that these people are just like the rest of us, in their own way. But, as I said, that would have required that the photographer looked at the subjects as entirely human rather than as exhibits in a tawdry and threadbare and pedestrian freak show.

Palladian said...

... you wouldn't imagine how much fun I'm having kicking Chick-fil-A's ass.

That statement is far more pathetic, lost and depressing than anything represented in the Craigslist photographs.

I almost feel sympathy.

Clyde said...

I miss that redhead from the topless protest the other day!

Michael said...

AndyR. Kicking Chik-fil-a's ass are you? You are delusional. You are kicking no ass at all. You are a small part of a small cohort that has an outsized voice that is not being heard. Because it is too shrill to be heard. And nuts. You are having fun pretending to fight Chik-filA and they have never heard of you and never will. They are too busy hiring great people with great attitudes and work ethics to care about your ass kicking.

Howard said...

I looked at 8 or 10 and found it boring and sad. I appreciate Thomas' willingness to be honest about his views and agree that inhibitions and taboos surrounding sex are juvenile. However, desperately seeking hookups is juvenile as well.

Also, if you want uninhibited women in California and you are not a rockstar, movie idol or sports hero, go to Riverside, Fresno, Santa Rosa, etc. anywhere except a big city. I'm sure it's true in most states. Also, all nude beaches are gay male dominated unless it's an organized nudist colony that charges an entry fee.

Also, the ocean is really cold in sunny California and the best time to visit is October or April. OK, enough local secrets revealed.

And one other thing Thomas. It appears that most women think all porn is dreck, unless they are in Cabo drinking tequilla and the kids are 1,500-miles away.

Andy R. said...

How many Chick-fil-A franchises do you think will be closed in the next six months specifically because of the anti-gay actions of that company?

Michael said...

Palladian has it right. Stilted photography obscuring the very ordinary-ness of the subjects. Not Walker Evans for sure.

Palladian said...

I would be far more interested in a great picture of the ass-eater buying socks at the mall, or a picture of the married bottom guy commuting to work.

Now that's transgressive!

Michael said...

Andy-R. None would be my guess. And if any are closed because of your bigotry then you should have your ass beaten by one of the people who lost their jobs, their livelihoods because of you. If you are bragging about this you are sleazier than I thought. Y ou arent some gay crusader you are a pervert, a fucking freak. Do you think you are helping the straight worlds view of gays by bragging about this? You are one suck fuck, dude.

Palladian said...

How many Chick-fil-A franchises do you think will be closed in the next six months specifically because of the anti-gay actions of that company?

That's so unintentionally hilarious that it's embarrassing.

Andy, the chicken sandwich warrior!

Shouting Thomas said...

"How many Chick-fil-A franchises do you think will be closed in the next six months specifically because of the anti-gay actions of that company?"

I'd say zero.

First, you're lying. There haven't been any "anti-gay actions."

Only the expression of opinions by the CEO of the company.

So, you're something of a Nazi, aren't you Andy, equating a difference of opinion with an action? Thinking that a business should be shut down because its owner doesn't agree with you.

Yes, I know that you love playing the moral scold, Andy. You are just like Rick Santorum. Different symptoms, same character defect.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to shut up and dump the crusade. I've met plenty of crusaders. They were all full of the same BS. You've mis-identified the problem completely. People don't react negatively to you because you're gay. They reaact negatively to you because you won't cease the moronic moral scolding.

Andy R. said...

you are a pervert, a fucking freak

If you're wondering why the anti-gay bigots in this country are losing, it's because of stuff like this.

I'm done talking to you. Have a nice day.

Palladian said...

Andy only gets his rocks off when he's trolling.

And now that we've given him his daily reach-around, can we return to the topic of the post?

Shouting Thomas said...

You know, Palladian, I've discovered over the long haul that you are a pretty sensible guy.

I'll take a look at your artwork today.

t-man said...

On my way to Chik-fil-A, Andy, just because of you.

Andy R. said...

I also love the idea of combining people's posted craiglist ads with mundane picture of them. But would it be possible to find people willing to be pictured with their face shown?

Palladian said...

Casual encounters, m4m, Atlanta area - Pudgy post-college guy looking for other under-employed guys to help vanquish evil chicken sandwich franchise. No strings attached.

wyo sis said...

After reading all the comments I still think the whole thing is banal and pointless.
Sex when it gets to be an obsession seems to have the quality of increasing need and increasing perversion and at the same time decreasing pleasure to the participants. What a sick and sad cycle.

Palladian said...

I think you could take interesting pictures even without revealing the subject's faces, and also without resorting to putting bags over their heads.

Really, bags?

Palladian said...

Only women find sex sad.

Shouting Thomas said...

"Sex when it gets to be an obsession seems to have the quality of increasing need and increasing perversion and at the same time decreasing pleasure to the participants. What a sick and sad cycle."

Well, you might be right about obsessions.

Some people just have different sexual needs than you do. Some people just plain need one hell of a lot more sex than you do.

Not all of those people fall into a self-destructive cycle. Most of them find a way to take care of their needs in a way that makes them and their partner(s) happy.

Here's where I differ with the Andys of the world. I think that people should find a way to serve their needs without blaming other people, and they should develop a thick skin and shrug off criticism from people who don't like what they do, instead of making a political crusade out of it.

SukieTawdry said...

Living in proximity to San Francisco lo these many years now, I became inured to this kind of stuff long ago.

This kind of display can be artful and interesting (Robert Mapplethorpe), but this was neither. I stopped clicking early on when that became obvious.

What's with all the hidden faces? Is everybody on the down low??

Methadras said...

Shouting Thomas said...

"All dudes, no chicks, no surprise."

Ditto.

I can remember how excited I was, when I first moved to San Francisco, to check out the nude beach at Devil's Slide.

Beautiful Northern California day.

Several thousand naked gay guys and about 10 women.


Like Black's Beach in San Diego, except the thousand of people. It's a nude beach. Still is, but it's mostly old nude guys. Maybe an occasional woman here or there that is youngish (30's, 40's), and the older ladies who don't give a shit anymore. Maybe a rarity of a 20's aged young lady pops up now and then. But Blacks Beach is probably one of the best surf spots on the west coast. 300 yards of awesome.

Aridog said...

Shouting Thomas said...

Everybody's watching porn ...[snip] ... people reflexly revert to this "people who are fascinated by sex are sad perverts" posture.

Why do you, apparently, consider fascination with sex as indicative of perversion? Why would that be equivalent to "porn?" You've carefully worded it so that the concept is a lie, in your terms, but the concept is none-the-less there in your words.

What most comments have indicated is that a compendium of pointless asexual photographs of men (and one manikin)is boring, a tedium to review. That has nothing what-so-ever to do with those individuals fascination with sex per se. Boring is just boring.

I can even begin to figure out what our hostess found "brilliant" about this photo project. The elementary aspect of it has been so done before it is redundant. But we've agreed and disagreed on things photographic before.

Shouting Thomas said...

Aridog,

We've got a fascinating mismatch between what you and I are thinking of as subject and object.

No, these pics didn't turn me on. Apparently, the activity of those depicted did turn on the posers.

The question is... why?

I don't regard a fascination with sex as perversion.

Shouting Thomas said...

I have long found these ads in craigslist to be quite fascinating.

I suggest you look at some of the other categories. Plenty of women are posting in the casual encounters section.

And, a much broader range of sexual actions are being discussed.

Of course, you also have to consider that some percentage (probably above 50%) of the ads are outright scams and prostitution rackets.

Palladian said...

I've gone through periods where I've had an enormous amount of sex, with all sorts of men- straight guys looking for good head, bi guys, gay guys, married guys, doctors, taco delivery guys, options traders, scions of powerful families, unemployed 20 year olds, black thugs, artists, musicians, Muslims, Italian soccer players, and so on and so on. I've also gone long periods without having sex with anyone. I'm now in a monogamous relationship with a wonderful man.

Shouting Thomas is right, every person's situation is different, and facile moral conclusions are meaningless. To me, these pictures invite facile moral conclusions. Look at Mapplethorpe's work (all of it, not just the explicitly sexual ones) and you won't find those invitations to facile moral conclusions, either condemnatory or celebratory.

And thanks for the kind words, Shouty, and good to have you around again.

Shana said...

Along the same lines as wyo_sis,

ST, is the sexual appetite the only appetite where you deny the need for self control? The desires for food, drink, drugs, and sex all require some limitations and self-control, or they all descend into degradation and the pursuit of ever diminishing returns and yes, unhappiness, even despair.

CachorroQuente said...

How many Chick-fil-A franchises do you think will be closed in the next six months specifically because of the anti-gay actions of that company?

None.

Shouting Thomas said...

"ST, is the sexual appetite the only appetite where you deny the need for self control?"

Self-control is a good thing. I'm not denying the need for it.

In the simplest terms, some people's bodies only require sex once a month. It's the way they're built. Other people might need sex every day, or twice a day. Just the way their bodies work.

Self-control is essential. People need to learn to understand their needs, and how to care for them in a sane and non self-destructive way.

For some people, sex is like alcohol. One drink and they are gone to perdition. But, there are many people who learn to manage their needs, although those needs might be far different than yours.

Finding a sane and compassionate partner(s) is usually the key.

If you want a blanket set of regulations, I'm afraid I don't have that handy.

Aridog said...

Shouting Thomas [addressing Andy]...I know quite a few gay guys who are shacked up in a nice house in Jersey, living a good life and working at a nice job. They don't give a shit about the abstract crap that obsesses you.

Okay, now that I understand. Your observations are the same as mine.

I'm still a little bit puzzled by your contention that men find women frustrating per se...e.g., that women can think of sex as a toiletry function. Don't think I've met any like that. However, I do know some who think poorly of the the male habit of hip thumping for 3-4 minutes, oh wow!...then go have a cigarette...while never addressing that which makes women so special to a lot of us men. Yeah, a woman who experiences that quickie syndrome often enough might see sex as a bathroom function. Because men made it so?? Who know?

CachorroQuente said...

Plenty of women are posting in the casual encounters section.

Do you really believe that? My guess would be that most of the posts purporting to be from women are not. Just like most little girls trolling chat rooms are really 45-60 y.o. fat guys typing with one hand.

Aridog said...

Shouting Thomas...We've got a fascinating mismatch between what you and I are thinking...

Yes, and I misinterpreted. My bad.

You're right, the photographs are not turn ons in my frame of reference. Weird and pointless might fit them better. I'll just blame a lifetime from age 13 onwards in sports locker rooms and in military latrines where a bunch of naked guys is almost unnoticeable.

Kind of like the next sage bush (sagebrush) you see on the high plains after spending years there. Huh? Oh, yeah...they're a pretty purple.

t-man said...

Sure, Aridog, a woman's possible shortcomings are always some man's fault.

creeley23 said...

It's hard to have a husband and kids and a house with a nice picket fence, when that's illegal.

Andy R: This is the big gay marriage lie.

I'm sure gays want houses, though they could lose the picket fence, and a live-in lover, but how many of them want to be married, i.e. sexually faithful with a lifelong commitment to raise children? Almost none.

Gay marriage is legal in many places. Where are all the wonderful "Honey, I'm home" gay families that you pretend are prevented by evil anti-homosexual bigots?

Sure, such families exist, but damn few. They get written up in newspapers and magazines because they are so unusual. And I wonder how many of those aren't activists slogging through to prove a point.

It's hard to have a husband and kids and a house with nice picket fence, when you don't want that setup.

Mike said...

How many Chick-fil-A franchises do you think will be closed in the next six months specifically because of the anti-gay actions of that company?

Chick-fil-A's website lists 17 new stores opening in the next 8 weeks. That's up from 14 openings over the previous 7.

You go get 'em Andy!

Aridog said...

CachorroQuente said...

Just like most little girls trolling chat rooms are really 45-60 y.o. fat guys typing with one hand.

Thread winner.

Palladian said...

I'm sure gays want houses, though they could lose the picket fence, and a live-in lover, but how many of them want to be married, i.e. sexually faithful with a lifelong commitment to raise children? Almost none.

You tried pulling this shit the other day, based on your extensive research reading Armistead Maupin novels.

And anyway, natural rights are not contingent upon how many people wish to exercise them.

The government should have no say in marriage of any kind, which would make it none of your business. Problem solved.

Palladian said...

Can we get back to talking about sex now? As much as I like chicken sandwiches and picket fences, they don't keep my dick hard.

Aridog said...

t-man said...

Sure, Aridog, a woman's possible shortcomings are always some man's fault.

Now that is NOT what I said. :-0

More elaborately, I said that if a woman has too many experiences with men whose sole interest is their own satisfaction, quickly, then they could easily develop a bad attitude toward sex. And why not?

How many men will actually admit that almost all hetero sex is connected to romance in some fashion? Not marriage, but romance per se?

I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that taking romantic notions in to account has always made sex much more available and more fun for me.

Your mileage may vary.

Palladian said...

OMG, Aridog likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain!

Shana said...

ST, I think self-control is crucial when there is a mismatch in appetite between partners. The one with less appetite needs to have the self-control to be giving enough to meet their partner's need even when he/she is not in the mood, and the partner with the greater appetite needs to be able to give it a rest occasionally. What the Bible terms "mutual submission" , in fact. What happens frequently (I am generalizing greatly here for ease of posting something brief) is that the man gets lazy in making it interesting for her wife and vice versa - he feels neglected and she feels used like a trash receptacle. It can become a vicious cycle, if they don't both contunually practice putting the other's needs and wants first.

Mike said...

Andy R fantasized -

Also, you wouldn't imagine how much fun I'm having kicking Chick-fil-A's ass.

Meanwhile, here on earth:

"The company gets 10,000–25,000 applications from potential franchise operators for 60–70 slots they open each year. Chick-fil-A gets a larger share of revenue from its franchises than other chains, but the formula works well for operators – franchisees make an average of $190,000 per year. In 2010 Chick-fil-A took the industry lead in average sales per restaurant, making an average of $2.7 million per restaurant in 2010 (McDonald's was second with $2.4 million per restaurant)."

bagoh20 said...

The thing that strikes me is that I imagine someone answering their ads, but that person being a real disappointment. It seems like they are actually trolling for the worst possible lay.

And Andy, thanks for the reminder. A Chick-fil-A would hit the spot right now. Later.

Aridog said...

Palladian ...The government should have no say in marriage of any kind, which would make it none of your business. Problem solved.

An interesting point. I can agree with it, so long as government privileges, related to marriage and child bearing, are also not part of the affair.

A flat tax, no refundable tax credits for dependents, no deductions for dependents, no government license for marriage, and voila' ... everyone will be paying taxes ...er, "their fair share."

What a concept. Equal treatment under the law regardless of marital status.

bagoh20 said...

One more thing before the chicken sandwich run:

I felt that, although I'm not gay, I should go fuck a few of them and then visit the ass eater just to be compassionate.

Shouting Thomas said...

ST, I think self-control is crucial when there is a mismatch in appetite between partners.

Different cultures handle this in some remarkably different ways.

I've been to the Philippines several times. Transvestite prostitutes (sometimes quite beautiful) are just about everywhere in the big cities. And, the Philippines is a strict Catholic country.

It is common for married men to take a night off to patronize these transvestite prostitutes, and it seems to me that their wives are fully aware of what they are doing.

In the cases in which I've observed this, I did not see any noticeable problem in the marriage. When I've talked with Filipinas about this, they usually tell me that it is just natural for men to want more sex than women want, and it's better for men to patronize a prostitute than to cheat.

Shouting Thomas said...

bagoh20

Remember the immortal words of Jim Morrison:

I eat more chicken
Than any man ever seen

Aridog said...

Palladian said...OMG, Aridog likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain!

Yep. Has always beat "bend over bitch" for an invite. :-)

bagoh20 said...

Who am I kidding, I couldn't get past an encounter with even the first one before I'd be settling down and getting me that picket fence. A pink picket fence, which would be a great way to show support for gay marriage: Pink picket fences everywhere.

alan markus said...

Remember the immortal words of Jim Morrison:

I eat more chicken
Than any man ever seen


Thanks for that nuance - I never noticed that those words weren't in the original version("Back Door Man" by Willie Dixon).

BarryD said...

So what would Brian Boitano'd do if he was here today? I'm sure he'd kick an arse or two. That's what Brian Boitano'd do.
Brian! Skate! Brian! Live!
When Brian Boitano traveled through time to the year 3010, he fought the evil robot king and saved us all agian. When Brian
Boitano built the pyramids, he beat up Kounlah Khan! Cause Brian Boitano doesn't take shit from an-y-bo-dy!
[Man In Back:]
No! Brian! Those chicken wings are really spicy! Don't eat those!
[Singers:]
I've never seen a man eat so many chicken wings. I've never seen a man eat so many chicken wings. I've never seen a man eat
so many chicken wings. [man:]AAAHHHH! I've never seen a man eat so many chicken wings! AAAHHHH! I've never seen a man EAT SO
MANY CHICKEN WINGS!! AAAHHHH!! I'VE NEVER SEEN A MAN EAT SO MANY CHICKEN WINGS!!! AAAHHHH!!! I'VE NEVER SEEN A MAN EAT SO
MANY CHICKEN WINGS!!!!
Brian! Skate! Brian! Fight!

alan markus said...

And here it is for anyone's listening pleasure, if so inclined:

The Doors - Back Door Man

Freeman Hunt said...

"Normal" and "lost" are not exclusive terms. In fact, I would imagine that they largely coincide.

Michael said...

AndyR typed. "you are a pervert, a fucking freak

If you're wondering why the anti-gay bigots in this country are losing, it's because of stuff like this.

I'm done talking to you. Have a nice day."

Guess what, asshole, only a fucking pervert would get a kick out of putting people out of jobs because they dont agree with them. Dontq pull the victim shit on me you little turd. See you at the next grand opening you little bigot.

creeley23 said...

You tried pulling this shit the other day, based on your extensive research reading Armistead Maupin novels.

Palladian: And you pulled this abusive shit of insulting my intelligence then not bothering to follow through with a substantive argument

And anyway, natural rights are not contingent upon how many people wish to exercise them.

We may decide as a society that gay marriage is a natural right. In that case, fine.

The other big gay marriage lie is that is established that gay marriage is a natural right.

However, in the meantime it remains a lie that there are all these poor oppressed gay men yearning to play Ward and June Cleaver but for bigoted straight people not letting them.

Bullshit, I say, since we are being cordial. Bullshit.

Tell me otherwise.

Shana said...

ST, sounds like a good way to spread VDs frm husband to wife. And it may be a cultural norm, but it is certainly not sanctioned Christian practice in any Christian church, be it Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox.

Shana said...

Pink picket fences. LOL

Youngblood said...

Althouse wrote:

"It bothered me that there were so many covered-up faces, but that might be that they didn't want to be recognizable in the photographs."

I think that you're right, that they wanted to retain some degree of anonymity. Like I said, though, that undercuts the whole idea of photographing them. I mean, their Craig's List personals already sexualize them and render them anonymous. The photos just seem to belabor the point there. The photographer has given us what we "expect" to see, not what's there.

I think that Palladian hit the nail on the head. Seeing them in a more natural context would have worked a lot better.

Shouting Thomas said...

"ST, sounds like a good way to spread VDs frm husband to wife. And it may be a cultural norm, but it is certainly not sanctioned Christian practice in any Christian church, be it Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox."

Well, life is seldom perfect. Danger is often part of the deal.

The Philippines is Catholic, but the religious practices of the people are a synergy of pagan and tribal rites that the Spaniards did not succeed in entirely eliminating.

What makes you think that Catholics only do that which is "sanctioned?"

bagoh20 said...

About half the gay couples I encounter do in fact have a nice home often with kids and a long term relationship, many longer than most straights. There seems to be a bragging rights factor to long relations among gays now. It's a way of saying see, were just like you.

When considering a stable, open, gay relationship where everything is respectable, it's pretty hard to argue with. As apposed to Andy's approach of hate and name calling, which would make you slap your best friend and call him a whiny queen.

EMD said...

A flat tax, no refundable tax credits for dependents, no deductions for dependents, no government license for marriage, and voila' ... everyone will be paying taxes ...er, "their fair share."

What a concept. Equal treatment under the law regardless of marital status.


You've enumerated my position quite precisely.

Ann Althouse said...

“The photographer didn't let the lens simply look. He (or she) used it to see what he wanted to see, which misses the point of a good photograph entirely."



What's bad about having a point of view? Are you sure you're not just disagreeing with the point of view?



I thought the photographs were sad and simultaneously repellent. You can't quite feel sorry for these people and you want to look away. You wonder: Where's the love? I do anyway. These people don't even seem to love themselves. They're like the Abu Ghraib victims, but they’re doing it to themselves.



I understand the way in which subordination and even abasement can be sexually exciting to the person who is inviting it, but I didn't ask to look at them in that condition, and I don't like seeing it. 



It's an interesting interplay between text and graphic depiction. There's a fascinating discord. Oh, that's what you want to do? In writing, the Craigslist material is experienced from a distanced perspective, and maybe you get an image in your head (but that’s yours and it’s probably pretty vague).

In a photograph, it's so specific that it becomes stupid or funny. So, I'd say, taking a text and then making it a photograph is a transformation that's very funny or intriguing.



It's not like the "lens" gets to "see" something that was already there. What was there was the text. Then a tableau was constructed to go with the text.



Reminds me of that photographer who read lists of the last meal requests of the condemned. She then got those foods and laid them out as a still life to be photographed in a uniform way. These are not the actual meals, a real life scene to be encountered. These are arrangements based on a text, which are then photographed.

The whole process counts as the artwork.

creeley23 said...

These pictures are a failure, because they don't approach their subject with neutrality. The photographer didn't let the lens simply look. He (or she) used it to see what he wanted to see, which misses the point of a good photograph entirely. The pictures are embedded with standard, and uninteresting, moralistic conclusions (these people are perverts, these people are lost souls, these people are repressed by society, &c).

Palladian: Since when are photographs a failure because "they don't approach with neutrality"? Likewise the notion that photographer should "let the lens simply look." What do you mean?

That's one aesthetic out of many, I suppose, but usually it's just another illusion.

Photographers may or may not reveal their artifice, some photographers may be less skilful in concealing their artifice, but they are not neutral and they are not simply letting the lens look.

I don't see much difference between this guy and Mapplethorpe other than that he doesn't have M's originality and chops.

Shana said...

ST...

I meant exactly what you meant, I think -that just because they are Catholics, doesn't mean that all their behavior is "Catholic". I am one those people that doesn't really understand claiming a religion that you don't really follow, though.

Palladian said...

They're like the Abu Ghraib victims, but they’re doing it to themselves.



Nonsense. The photographer did that to them. I doubt most of these people's desired encounters involved putting a bag over their heads. The photographer intruded in their fantasies, imposed his or her own upon the subject, and produced unsatisfying, trendy-looking pictures.

Compare them to some of Mapplethorpe's sexually-charged imagery [NOT safe for work, obviously]. Aside from the fact that Mapplethorpe was obviously a superior technician, I think it's a very different, and superior, way of presenting a similar subject.

Obviously there's nothing wrong with the artist projecting an aesthetic and even imposing a viewpoint upon his subject, but I think things only rise to the level of art when there is a synergy, and a tension, between artist and subject. I don't find that synergy or tension in the Craigslist photographs.

Shouting Thomas said...

"I thought the photographs were sad and simultaneously repellent. You can't quite feel sorry for these people and you want to look away. You wonder: Where's the love? I do anyway. These people don't even seem to love themselves. They're like the Abu Ghraib victims, but they’re doing it to themselves."

Probably a testament to childhood sexual abuse.

One of the surprising outcomes of childhood sexual abuse is that the child becomes, literally, addicted to the sexual stimulation that is used to abuse him.

TMink said...

That was interesting. What depravity and lonliness.

Trey

Palladian said...

Likewise the notion that photographer should "let the lens simply look." What do you mean?

The central storyline of one of my favorite movies, "Blow-Up", involves a photographer's encounter with a beautiful woman (played by Vanessa Redgrave) in a deserted London park. The photographer takes some pictures from afar of her embracing a man, later to discover that the pictures seem to show that man being murdered. The photographer, an arrogant and disaffected character, took pictures of something he thought he understood and thought he controlled. He did not use the camera to "see" anything, he used it to exert power over his subjects; at one point, when Redgrave's character discovers that he had been photographing her, he aggressively snaps pictures of her, almost as if the camera is a weapon. He also used the power of the camera to psychically brutalize fashion models early in the film. But it turned out that the camera "saw" something that he didn't, something that his presumptions didn't allow him to see, and that "something" (the apparent murder) ended up consuming him.

This has always been, to me, a brilliant allegory of artistic creation; the artist's certainty, and arrogance and intentions are completely upended and transformed by the art itself. In other words, the artwork, and the subject of the artwork, have motives and stories and trajectories that the artist can't even dream of, and those things, the independent life of the artwork, end up transforming the artist's vision. This is the "synergy" I mentioned, and I consider this transformational, transcendant miracle a necessary component of all great art.

Palladian said...

What depravity and lonliness. [sic]

Again, an utterly conventional moralism imposed upon subjects who may not be depraved or lonely at all, because of the artistic laziness and arrogance of the photographer.

Shouting Thomas said...

This is why porn is so endlessly fascinating.

No matter how crappy the production, the actors are revealing something very intimate about themselves.

As I said, something that has been hidden for centuries has been brought into the light.

And, as Palladian so often says, it gives you a hard-on.

Ann Althouse said...

"Nonsense. The photographer did that to them. I doubt most of these people's desired encounters involved putting a bag over their heads. The photographer intruded in their fantasies, imposed his or her own upon the subject, and produced unsatisfying, trendy-looking pictures."

The photographer relied on descriptions they wrote. That wasn't changed. If the photo differs from the verbal description, that's one more thing to think about.

But I suspect many of the subjects just didn't want to be seen in the photograph.

A. Shmendrik said...

Evidently the problem is that we have some sick fucks out there who don't know they are sick fucks.

Titus said...

I looked at all of them.

I don't find them interesting or brilliant.

I actually agree with my friend Palladian, they would be much more interesting doing mundane things, like a picture of them at their job.

The bunny mask was hilarious though.

On line sex ads have never interested me.

t-man said...

I know this post is probably dead for commenters now, but maybe, just maybe, the photo essay of guys looking for sex, with bags on their "heads" was subliminal public health advertisement to always use condoms.

Michael Ryan said...

What a bunch of worthless wankers

kentuckyliz said...

Their god is the belly.