STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

'Swiped' matches digital hookups with unforeseen consequences

HBO's latest documentary actually owes a debt to science fiction, and the unintended consequences associated...

Posted: Sep 10, 2018 1:21 PM
Updated: Sep 10, 2018 1:21 PM

HBO's latest documentary actually owes a debt to science fiction, and the unintended consequences associated with unleashing forces beyond our control. In the case of "Swiped: Hooking Up in the Digital Age," the monster is the corrosive effects of dating apps that have rapidly led society into uncharted territory -- what one expert calls "evolutionary unprecedented waters."

That description comes from research scientist Justin Garcia, one of several academics who paint a dismaying picture of a world in which adults age 18-30 spend an estimated 10 hours per week on such apps, finding and engaging with potential mates in a way that's unlike any previous generation.

Still, writer-director Nancy Jo Sales -- essentially adapting, and updating, her 2015 Vanity Fair piece "Tinder and the Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse" -- accomplishes more than just make old married folk feel relieved to be out of dating game; rather, she travels the country, to places like Austin, Tex., and New York City, talking to young people hooking up, and how technology has impacted their attitudes.

As evolutionary psychologist David Buss says, we now live at a time when the photo that someone posts online "tends to swamp all the other information," placing a more pronounced emphasis on appearance than even in the past -- a shift from when people were more likely to meet in organic, in-person ways.

Sales' reporting also includes seeking out pioneers in this field, including Tinder co-founder Jonathan Badeen, who acknowledges the game-like features associated with finding matches and hookups. It's jarring, too, to be reminded how relatively new this all is, with the app only having begun to take root on college campuses in 2012.

Tellingly, the broader issues explored in "Swiped" are so much in the public consciousness right now that they're peripherally the subject of two dramatic projects that premiered just this weekend: "You," a Lifetime series about a stalker who uses social media to try to seduce his prey; and "Sierra Burgess is a Loser," a Netflix movie in which a self-conscious teenage girl assumes a classmate's identity as she uses her cellphone to flirt with an attractive boy.

"Swiped" also cites the influence of pornography, especially on young men, who -- as some of the women interviewed note -- use these digitally mediated hookups to find partners willing to indulge their porn-fed fantasies.

The most unsettling aspect of "Swiped," as the experts note, is that because society is at such a nascent stage of this phenomenon, it's not as yet clear precisely where these forces will lead -- and whether those responsible have simply brought another shiny new wrinkle into the process of pairing up or, more unnervingly, opened Pandora's box.

"Swiped: Hooking Up in the Digital Age" premieres Sept. 10 at 10 p.m. on HBO.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 4474

Reported Deaths: 159
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah122462
Marion101126
Washington75518
Clackamas33312
Deschutes1330
Umatilla1243
Linn1219
Polk10012
Lane803
Yamhill757
Jackson690
Benton575
Jefferson460
Clatsop450
Klamath440
Malheur320
Coos320
Wasco291
Douglas280
Hood River280
Lincoln230
Josephine231
Columbia160
Morrow120
Curry70
Crook70
Union60
Tillamook60
Wallowa20
Lake20
Sherman10
Harney10
Grant10
Baker10
Unassigned00
Eugene
Scattered Clouds
57° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 57°
Corvallis
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 59°
Roseburg
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 64°
North Bend
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 53°
KEZI Radar
KEZI Temperatures
KEZI Planner

LATEST FORECAST

Community Events