Main | Friday, February 12, 2010

Christians Discover Grindr

BeliefNet columnist Rod Dreher has read the Daily Beast article about Grindr that I mentioned here two weeks ago. Dreher finds the entire concept "dehumanizing," something a few gay men might agree with, but then he rolls out the usual "Won't somebody please think about the children?"
There's no point in arguing whether we should or shouldn't have the Internet, because many people misuse it for pornographic reasons. The Internet is a fact -- which leaves the rest of us to contemplate how technology is increasing our power to act on our beastly instincts, and what that means for social evolution. Which brings us to the broader questions raised by Grindr, the iPhone app that allows gay men who want to have anonymous sex with strangers to find sexually willing partners within near geographic proximity. Read the whole thing. The writer comes off as monstrous, I must say, because he is so nonchalant about all this. I mean, it would be ugly if he were doing this, but what's shocking to me is that he takes this kind of life as if it were as normal as breathing. Like I said, dehumanizing.

No doubt there will be a heterosexual version of Grindr out soon (the website already exists to connect married people who want to have an extramarital fling), and straights who want to find out who's sexually available can arrange impromptu hook-ups with little fuss. My guess is that most people, after a certain age, will find this sort of thing gross. But let's say there were a Grindr-type app for heteros (or, for that matter, if gay teens put Grindr on their iPhones): does anybody doubt that teenage boys would think of this thing as the greatest thing since the invention of cars? Seriously, it would dramatically lower the barriers to entry into the world of active sexuality, because the jumpy teenager wouldn't have to work up the nerve to talk to potential partners to find out if they are even available.
Dreher doesn't suggest that Apple block Grindr. And it's not an invalid concern that horny kids might make some poor decisions and end up face-to-face with a Grindr predator. Most of the commenters on the relatively moderate BeliefNet board reacted with a "meh" and some advice about restricting internet access for kids. But one bozo suggests that Christians load up Grindr in their iPhones and trick unsuspecting men into a coffee date, where the righteous word of the Lawd can then be laid out and they'll be brought directly to Jeebus. Glory!

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