Liam pointed me to your article about ‘Slammed’ and after reading it through I wanted to respond to a couple of issues you brought up.
First off, yes, I funded a film called “Meth” in 2006 that was meant to bring attention to the problem of methamphetamine usage among gay men. My intent in backing the film was to bring into the open a situation that was generally known but seldom discussed. Much like the issue today of hiv stigma. Experienced by all, discussed by few, understood by even fewer.
Since then, my attitude and ideas have changed. I’ve never been one to embrace simplistic ways of thinking of things. Given the choice between restrictive politics or chaos, I’ll always go with chaos. And as the world of gay men continues to slide down a predictable slope toward ever greater conservatism and marriage group-think, I find myself siding more resolutely with those who will do anything at all to avoid being part of that slide.
This isn’t to say that marriage, monogamy, political conservatism and even assimilation are altogether bad things. They’re wonderful things for some men. But there are those for whom they equal real ideological death, an end to the dionysian lineage of gay male identity. And as the case for assimilation, monogamy and marriage becomes more dominant, the voices of the contrarians of necessity have to become more strident, the tactics more intensive, irrational, specific.
Seen from the outside, sans direct experience, drug use and hiv are both issues that generate simplistic and emotional knee-jerk responses. The same is the case for gay promiscuity. Lately I’m seeing more and more the argument that if gay men want to assimilate into proper society, they must choose either condom usage (during a limited number of sexual forays) or marriage with committed monogamy. Just like idealized straight folks. More and more, I’m seeing promiscuity–whether with or without condoms–paired by commentators with phenomena like NAMBLA in terms of the putative damage they do to our social palatability and our personal lives (Remember Dan Savage’s statement that bareback porn is equivalent to child-rape?).
My entire life has been about the meaning and experience of male sex, wildly promiscuous and uncontained. I embrace, celebrate and document it because from a very early age I have experienced the astonishing social and personal significance of “random” encounters with countless “strangers”. There is a spacious structuring of identity that is specific to gay men and it’s made possible only through an unlimited number of such experiences. This identity and these values were the treasured discoveries of those who began the gay identity revolution. In a very real sense, an entire generation of gay men–my generation–gave their lives for the powerful lessons learned through our sex.
The driving ethos of TIM has been from the very beginning to capture male sex in all its beauty, complexity and unreasonableness. Naturally, as we’ve engaged in this purpose, the world of gay men has developed. And we respond to these ongoing social and political developments in our work. Regretfully, the world of gay men has become steadily more tightly defined and manacled by apologies for our nature and for the breadth, depth and meaning of our profound sex.
As the world of gay social politics has become ever more simplistic and monolithic, those who don’t fit in–men who aren’t interested in participating in what Blake called “the marriage hearse”–do what they must do in order to simply be who they naturally are. As de Quincey pointed out in his “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater”, it was the overwhelming everyday moral and political strictures of 19th century England that drove him to use opium simply to become free of those very strictures.
I recently read an interview with (of all people) Michelle Pfeiffer. She said that while she doesn’t smoke, she always finds herself gravitating to people who do. They are without exception the more interesting, adventurous and creative people. This made great sense to me. In impossibly repressive times, exceptional people are driven to exceptional means–to do what others discount as unhealthy or unreasonable–in order to simply be themselves. The question for gay men now is how not to become another contrite, bitter drone. How does one embrace oneself and one’s life with a profound appetite and pleasure while everyone around you is giddily building the walls of their own prison?
I’m not interested in playing what you called an “outrage” game. Despite what critics say, we’ve never been in the shock-for-shock’s-sake business. And we certainly don’t hope, plan or intend to outrage anyone. Our work is about who we are and what we are, nothing else. The fact that it might occasionally be seen as shocking or sensationalistic reflects more on the conservative and fearful nature of today’s gay world than on our work or acts.
I’ll admit that I’m dismayed that you’ve used as a primary source for your article statements from a blog that has repeatedly been inaccurate, irresponsible and uninformed. The blogger you cite hasn’t seen “Slammed” and, in point of fact, was completely in error in every single one of his statements.
This isn’t surprising: the blog is owned by a gay porn company that has a history of “slamming” TIM (even while making a great deal of money from us, incidentally). The author of the blog recently wrote to one of my employees that he’d love to agree with us publicly but would be fired if he did so. That was, to my knowledge, the single honest and uncynical thing this man has ever written. [Read That Email Here]
Regarding our recent growth into the use of social media (about which you again cite disinformation from the same blogger), these aren’t a sign of a loss of direction but of intentional growth. And the material is real and factual. That you have on occasion laughed at the content of a posting should indicate that sex is, in fact, often funny, often ludicrous, often strange. Sex is as powerful as it is because it is absurd. Furthermore, not everyone tweets the same. My own twitter account has been called “manufactured” and fake. I assure you, it’s neither: I’m just not very adept at using Twitter.
In general, the efforts at TIM are aimed at combatting the growth of irony, cynicism and pettiness in contemporary gay consciousness. Gay men willingly reduce themselves to a state of “equality” in return for a questionable political presence. Young gay men are being led to believe that there is “one man” out there with whom they should spend the rest of their lives, on whom they should depend for all of their earthly needs. It’s the sacrifice of revolutionary possibility for a second-hand knock-off of Romantic love. And it’s clearly the inevitable future—for both good and ill.
It’s no wonder that those who refuse to tailor their identity to the politicized needs of this neo-Christian monogamous gayness fight wildly to buck it all. “Gay” has now been sanitized to such an extent that proud and sanctimonious mothers are crowing that their 7 year olds have “come out”. In one sentence they point out how proud they are that their child has a crush on a puerile character from Glee. In the next sentence they threaten with evisceration any adult homosexual who might dare to approach their darling spawn. How could these mothers explain or understand or accept the wild bacchanalian power of a lost weekend in a sleazy London sauna? How could they possibly see anything in the future for their faggot son other than a lovely wedding that sadly apes their own, adopted grandchildren, and a married life that, like theirs, is mired in repression, “good” behavior and quiet desperation? For this a generation of men gave their lives?
At TIM, we aim to document the complexities, moral or otherwise, of contrarian male sexual existence today. Our work ranges from the photographic essays I make regularly (snidely criticized by your blogger friend as being obviously faked because they seem to him to be too emotional and poetic to be real) to the major videos we produce (like “Slammed”). The work is always honest, specific, documentarian, painstaking–“Slammed” took over a year to produce–and perfectly real.
Our corporate direction is as clear and positive now as it has ever been. We stand against the smug and belittling cynicism that is eating away at the profound complexities and truths of gay life as surely as any drug or disease ever has. Smallness of vision, smallness of living: this is the real disease, the hopeless gay epidemic of today.
Your blogger friend recently publicly warned one of our poz men only to have sex with other “contaminated” men. His word, “contaminated”. I for one am thrilled to be counted among those he disparages as “contaminated”. The fact of the matter is that this blogger is the carrier of a disease more malignant than hiv ever was.
– Paul Morris
lol Zach is irrelevant. People disrespect him to his face. He has to be messy just to get attention. I wouldn’t think twice about anything he writes. No one else does.
This is why we admire and appreciate your work, Mr. Morris.
This article is brilliant, Paul. I am speechless by the candor, the clarity and bravery of this discourse. I love anything that goes in a direction away from complacency and acceptance into the Slave Coffin that is The Mainstream. Its nice not to feel so alone in my ideas, and a pleasure to see them echoed elsewhere.
Colour Me both Pleased and Impressed
Just look what “ASSIMILATION” did 2 ALL the Indigenous Cultures!!! It is about “EXCEPTANCE” NOT “Tolorate or Tolerance” & CERTAINLY NOT “ASSIMILATION”!!!!!
your lack of English skills makes this a non-sensical entry
No capital letter to start the sentence, no full-stop (period) at the end. People in glass houses …. 🙂
I really admire your vision and your commitment to it. And I love your porn!
The only thing I would add to this is in regard to the line, “The blogger you cite hasn’t seen Slammed and, in point of fact, was completely in error in every single one of his statements”. It’s true that TheSword have not seen Slammed and that Zach’s accusations were guess work, but I refuse to confirm or deny his claims because that would mean revealing more information than I want to. (Even Paul was not present at the shoots to see everything that was happening.) It’s interesting that a trailer which reveals so little has been interpreted by many in such a specific way. Truly, we see what we want to see.
Paul you are an amazing man, your writing makes us think, and take a step back and admire what you put in front of us, I admire you Sir
Oh I loveeee you Paul, your words are just amazing and so well put, I was transfixed by reading this post, no one understands men and our sexuality better than you. I’m sooooo proud of working for you and being part of TIM!!!
(it made me cry)
Your Swedish / Croatian horny London top
It is very well written but reading between the lines, it sounds like a poor excuse to exploit and make a lot of money out of men who are on drugs out of this particular movie. Of course no one (outside of TIM) has seen Slammed because it has not been released yet.
Your work is far more interesting when it explores stretching the limits of the “un-tweaked” – the trailer for Slammed looks poor. The men are mediocre, the camera work a bit dull and amateur, and faces twisted while looking like they are high on drugs (who really knows, of course exactly what they’ve taken, despite holding needles and syringes in their hands) just isn’t attractive. And of course, it has been done before (see Slammin’ Perverts, and other sites such as Nasty Kink Pigs) – it is not original.
I’ve not seen what American blogs have written (I don’t care if someone things I am contaminated or not because I have HIV) about the trailer for Slammed but I am not shocked by it, just saddened. There are so many other ways to be transgressive other that injecting (for that is what slamming is) drugs into one’s veins for a quick destructive high.
I wonder will TIM give any proceeds to those of us who work in the field of addiction and see the consequences of meth and other drugs that decimate the gay scene and destroy the lives of wonderful young men. Or then again, maybe not, eh?
I have always loved TIM’s output and found it erotic and terrific… but not this, not at all. A very sad wrong turn Mr Morris.
Excellent writing! As always intelligent and authoritative.