For the past few weeks, I've been (slowly) contemplating an article that I read in the New York Times about Slow Blogging. Unlike countless other news items that I've hastily consumed in the same time period, this one keeps returning to mind. The well-documented trend of "Slow" activities captured my imagination, perhaps in part because it resonates with the "back to basics" perspective of my last post. Appropriately delayed, I'm just writing about it now, weeks after reading the article and decades after the beginning of the Slow Movement. I'm liking this Slow stuff already.
The Slow Movement, which includes such notions as Slow Food and Slow Travel, seems to welcome brand extension. Since reading the Times article, my mind has clicked and whirred with ideas for new Slow disciplines, including Slow Sleeping (I'm not sure what this means, but I'm actively seeking the answer), Slow Yoga (this one shows real promise - both because it's charmingly redundant, and because it offers the irresistible concatenation, "Sloga"), and Slow Trampoline (perhaps the most challenging of the bunch). Rejected ideas included Slow Flossing (making one of the most contemplative activities in my daily routine positively transcendental), and for the teen demographic, Slow Slow Dancing.
I was inclined to immediately post all of this (and more!) as a quick, snarky commentary on the silliness of diminished velocity. But I sensed that these were just my first thoughts; the ones that this Slow Blogging Manifesto suggested I let simmer, and perhaps evaporate away entirely.
Then I began to take Slow seriously. I noticed that the "Slow" prefix (and all that it connotes) does in fact function meaningfully when inserted in front of an activity which, though accomplishable in a short amount of time, may offer a far greater benefit if approached with more emphasis on the journey than on the destination. This sentiment is captured nicely by the "Life and Music" animation created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker (of South Park fame) to accompany a recording of deceased British philosopher Alan Watts. Certainly, stopping to smell the roses is not a new idea, but given the ease with which Slow permutations can be contemplated - it's as easy as adding the prefix - it offers great food for thought.
Given my occupation, and the most universal preoccupation we all share, it isn't much of a surprise where my thinking went next. Slow Food addresses one of our most fundamental human needs - sustenance. Slow Blogging addresses another - the desire to express ourselves, to know and be known. Both seem worthy of the time commitment that Slow-ness requires. But what say we try something even more fundamental to the human experience - how about some Slow Sex?
At first blush it might seem that this has already been addressed, but I'm not talking about employing desensitizing lubricant to fend off premature ejaculation (or rather, "extend pleasure"). Thinking about Slow Baseball has always done the trick for me. Nor am I invoking the ever-tantric Sting & Trudie. Instead, I'm suggesting that we shamelessly co-opt the Slow Food mission, bending it to the service of our more prurient predilections. It's not difficult when the Slow Food philosophy commences with, "We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure..." High-five on that.
Where Slow Food seeks to "defend biodiversity", Slow Sex might stand for "sexual diversity". This could be interpreted as being welcoming of all sexual orientations, as well as being supportive of moving beyond the basic missionary, or better yet, beyond the bedroom itself.
Where Slow Food advocates for "taste education", Slow Sex could extend this to "sensory education", encompassing all five senses, plus a bonus sixth - the sense of dirty.
And finally, where Slow Food teaches us to link producers with highly-engaged consumers (known as "co-producers" in Slow-parlance), Slow Sex would advocate for the same - encouraging a positive feedback loop with designers and manufacturers, such as yours truly, engaged in creating the next generation of provocative products and experiences.
So where do we stand today?
If McDonalds is the antithesis of Slow Food, and Twitter is the antithesis of the Slow Blog, perhaps YouPorn, where the speed of self-gratification is limited only by your bandwidth, is the antithesis of Slow Sex. It's telling that as this posting goes live, YouPorn ranks 52nd in Alexa's list of the web's most trafficked sites, outstripping almost all others. The Huffington Post comes in at 484th, and my company's site, Jimmyjane.com, isn't even a contender. Yet.
The stakes are high, my friends. Morgan Spurlock, director, star and myocardial martyr of Super Size Me demonstrated the repercussions of adhering to an all-McDonalds diet for 30 consecutive days. In case you missed it, they weren't good. I'm uncertain what the impact of starring in "Super Porn Me" would be, but apparently the experiment is well underway all across the US. (I play it safe and take a break every fortnight.)
Meanwhile, in Texas, Reverend Ed Young has challenged his 20,000 parishioners to "make whoopee" every eve, and over in North Carolina, Charla Muller signed her husband up for a full 365 nights of sex - then wrote a book about the ordeal. It seems there are efforts to jump-start the quantity side of the equation, let's just hope the quality follows suit. Better yet, rather than hope, I'm going to wrap up this posting and get back to work.
Here's where I net out:
Slow Food - absolutely.
Slow Blog - a marriage of convenience for this procrastinator.
And Slow Sex?
Follow Ethan Imboden on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Jimmyjane