The Law Of Motivated Noticing
I was pondering yesterday the collective shriek of “well, I never!” from liberals over right-wing Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro tweeting out disapprovingly that video of public kink from Carnival when I came across this op-ed in The New York Times. Remember that this is the most valuable op-ed real estate in the world. What’d they have somebody write about? A suggestion for Tinder, the hook-up app:
But speaking from the bottom of my cranky lesbian heart, let me just say: More than any other feature, Tinder needs a setting for couples looking for a third.
Think how great that would be! A queer person looking only for other queers on Tinder would never encounter heterosexually-partnered couples casually using an entire community to get their fairly routine rocks off!
Couples in the new “couples looking” section could feel secure in the knowledge that anyone who sees them actually wants to see them and is already looking for what they’re offering. More dates and hookups would be had. Everyone would be winning!
So, how ’bout it, Tinder? Even the now-defunct personals section of Craigslist had incredibly specific, bordering-on-startling filters for threesomes. (And foursomes. And orgies.)
In the early 1990s, I started to discern the cultural law governing these kinds of things. Back then, I recall a controversy over a crew from Pat Robertson’s network filming the Pride parade in DC, and airing the footage. It was just footage from the parade — nothing filmed in a deceitful way or anything. The context of the presentation was, Look, Christians, see how decadent these gays are. I recall a gay friend of mine at the time, a man who had been a gay activist until he converted to Catholicism, telling me that he had marched in that parade many times before, and that the CBN footage was entirely representative of it.
Had the same footage been aired on another cable network, but framed as, Look how wonderfully diverse we are, celebrating our queer sexualities, it would have been regarded as a progressive triumph.
On the same day that the Times published the appeal for Tinder to accommodate the polymorphous perversity of a restless lesbian from the Upper Midwest, it also published the indignant musings of a Brazilian journalist denouncing Bolsonaro for his kink-tweet, and in general for his retrograde views on homosexuality. Bolsonaro’s broadcasting over social media actual footage of one gay man urinating on another’s head, and the peed-upon fellow reveling in it for crowd below, was taken by the left as an act of anti-gay bigotry.
So, I propose the Law Of Motivated Noticing: It is only permitted to observe public acts of deviant sexuality if you are planning to praise them as progressive.