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YouTube, Iran, and Gay Sex


Execution by hanging of two gay Iranian teenagers

It’s no secret that I’ve got a statistics fetish when it comes to our films. This morning brings an unexpected bit of data, courtesy of YouTube’s suite of tools. Of all the countries in the world, the DAMON AND HUNTER excerpt on YouTube, “Gay Men Love Sucking Cock” is most popular in Iran.

There are some not particularly startling inferences that can be drawn from this. As illustrated above, Iran is hyper-repressive of gay sexuality, which is a polite way of saying they kill men for having gay sex. (They kill people for other sexual crimes too.) So it’s not so surprising that a passage from a film that offers a positive depiction of gay sex and gay men might be popular there. That’s an easily anticipatable result of repression.

Still, number one? And not just number one. According to YouTube, the DAMON AND HUNTER clip isn’t just more popular in Iran than any other country, it’s three times more popular than the next country (the US.) Below is the graphic. It’s startling seeing that deep green right in the middle of the map.


Youtube’s map of popularity for our DAMON&HUNTER YouTube clip

I’m left with an unsettled feeling. Usually I like knowing that my films are reaching people. But given my catastrophizing imagination, it’s not much of a leap for me to go from images of some fellow in Iran, watching and enjoying the YouTube clip in the privacy of his own home, and maybe even feeling a little comforted and affirmed; to images of the Revolutionary Guard bursting through his door and dragging him off to be hanged.

This ought to be the sort of thing that would make me feel like I’m doing something important; making films that affirm sexuality as an important and whole aspect of our humanity. But today it just makes me feel like I want to quit. The clip is embedded below. If you can watch it without fear for your life, consider taking a moment to do so.

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One Comment

  1. Posted January 29, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I linked this post over at my blog, though I haven’t got the ideas around in my head enough. I know it’s a terribly troubling consideration, but I prefer the hopeful view to the defeated.

    On an unrelated note, while researching my blog post, I found this: http://www.google.com/googlebooks/chrome/index.html
    Which is an google-related adaptation by one of my favorite comics thinkers. I haven’t read it yet and will take to digest it in the future.

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