Review: Roxana Shirazi’s The Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage

[ed. If anyone screams misogyny at this review I am going to scream and pull out half my beard, just read the bloody book; it’s tedious to anyone with an adult attention span. Also if anyone screams hypocritical prudery, I’ll tear out the rest of my beard and fling it at them. I’m not a prude, I just have standards. roftl…]

(a reasonable proxy for a baby Roxana)
(this is not Roxana, but it is a reasonable proxy for a baby Roxana)

“The Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage” is an autobiography, perhaps ghost-written (by Neil Straus a.k.a. Style one suspects) of an Iranian born rock groupie who in a deliberate rebellion against the patriarchal misogyny she perceived in her upbringing decided to become a Motley Crue and Guns and Roses cum receptacle, thus joining a legion of bleached blond young American neo-jawariya [*harem slave-girls, see note], from trailer parks and suburbs all across America.

Reading it, I thought to myself:
I bleed for this?”

And indeed my heart wept tears of blood, in utter boredom, as I struggled to force myself to read Roxana Shirazi multimedia personal anthem of slut autonomy (multimedia, being of text, not so sexy photos of the author in slut drag, and several noxious fumes of donkey punched, scat spread, fluid bespeckled glory, wafting up from the book. One could virtually smell the sweat and feet.)

Slut autonomy – empowerment through sexual promiscuity. I am always a little suspicious of people who have something to prove through their sexuality, especially a social or political ideology, beyond a simple, and natural, “this feels really good, and I feel compelled to do it, so hence I do it.” Aught beyond this becomes somewhat contrived.

Since the author self identifies as a slut, as her personal badge of honor, we do not insult her by calling so, and thus let us continue.

The author is a groupie, sort of like Kat Stacks, though perhaps with less taste and less honesty. Kat Stacks and others like her admit that they are essentially tricking. Though Shirazi, through her book, certainly stands to make far more money than Stacks, and one can argue that Shirazi is certainly more attractive than Stacks (though without makeup this may be debatable)

Groupies are the courtesans and concubines of our age, not quite kept women, but rather shared women, among a wealthy and – somewhat – powerful though dissolute strata of wealthy and dominant Alpha males. Remember that in history nothing really changes except the names, and the neat toys we play with. Groupie drama is fairly equivalent to concubine drama in every age that we have record of [*see my note below]

I often find that people who base a good deal of their personal identity on their sexuality are intensely boring.
Such people, with a few exceptions, are often not truly very sexy, beyond a superficial show of sexuality. There are also exceptions, I’ve met a few very interesting complex and nuanced people whose primary pride and identification in life was being a slut, but I doubt the author would be one of them. I have no doubt Shirazi would protest over-much on this point, but I’ll let the reader decided from reading her book. I personally found nothing sexy about it.

The author’s greatest pride and achievement lies in emulating a groupie lifestyle mostly aspired to, in America, by girls coming from the lowest rungs of the social ladder. I mean, Biker girls typically emerge from lower social strata, but rock groupies aren’t exactly that high up on the rung. Being a shared woman amongst Alpha male rock stars is a more socially acceptable achievement than being a shared woman amongst Alpha male bikers, or street criminals, but here Baudrillard ‘s Simulacrum comes into play since Rock Stars are faux biker and outlaw rebels, and biker outlaw rebels are faux pirates and brigands, and hence their groupies are ultimately faux camp followers.

I’m sure Mongol camp wenches in Genghis Khan’s camps could out fuck Roxana Shirazi and her peers, but need we consider this much further?

This book was an immense disappointment, and consisted of page after page of somewhat poorly edited vignettes of the author’s personal debauchery fueled by a glamorized Rock & Roll lifestyle, and presented as a bombastic middle finger raised in defiant anthem against the conservative, and found by her highly stifling, moral and gender values of her native Iran.

About as puerile as flinging a bloody tampon at the Ayatollah in defiance. Wow, “you go girl…”

Hell hath no fury like a libertine who is hell bent on proving that she is a libertine. Beneath the blood, excreta, semen, broken hearts, donkey punched violent coitus, S & M, multiple swords in a single sheath, one simply has to roll one’s eyes and wonder

“Do you actually get off on this or is it all just some sort of bizarre compulsion?”

The book is as slickly presented and packaged as, and somehow manages to be even more vapid than, Neil Straus’s “The Game”- I allude and suspect that he ghost wrote it anyway. Personally I found his Jenna Jameson biography to be more interesting reading.

I would be lying if I said there were not a few incidents of amusement, and perhaps of mildly titillating value, but over-all there isn’t much here folks.  Again, the book was a let-down

[* nb, the literary educated might notice my snarky usage of the term jawariya, and perhaps complain that my comparing Roxana to a harem slave girl is inappropriate, because her sexuality is consensual and freely chosen and hence empowering.

It bears noting that jariya girls in the middle east were typically free to choose lovers of their choice, this becomes very apparent when reading the literature of the period in depth. Jariyas were not necessarily forced to serve as their master’s concubines, rather they could and would switch master by request, deny their favors to masters they disliked, and typically seemed to act with the drama of their modern hip-hop equivalent and actually suffered few social restrictions, other than being technically slaves.

Slave classes in that era were fairly well equivalent to the modern working class, in terms of autonomy and legal rights, they could and did often own property, leave endowments, inherit, maintain their own businesses, and apart from the legal status of being legally owned really would appear free to most modern observers. There are exceptions in history, but it bears mentioning that in the medieval middle east some slaves were wealthier, and indeed more powerful, than free citizens. Unlike in the West, where typically slaves did not end up ruling nations, or forming the elite managerial class of such states (see Mamluke Egypt and the Ottoman empire, where the Janissaries formed an elite administrative strata)

Qiyan girls were able to acquire great prestige and wealth in much the same way that modern high class prostitutes are able to. Comparing Roxana Shirazi to a Jariya would no doubt insult most Jawariya, in the sense that comparing an alley cat dragged from underneath a rutting tomcat boinking and caterwauling in an alleyway, to a well maintained house cat, could well irk the house cat;
“You compare her to me? Just… look at her?!?”

Among groupies too, there is a hierarchy.
Women have a fine and refined sense of relative comparisons between themselves and fury awaits the man insensitive to their multiple status markers…

I refer the diligent reader to al-Jahiz’s Kitab al Qiyan – the Book of Singing Girls. Reading it one notices that the differences between today and yesterday are far fewer than one would imagine…]

12 Comment

  1. Johnny Caustic says:

    “Do you actually get off on this or is it all just some sort of bizarre compulsion?” Yes, my frustration with the book is that she gives us no insight into this at all. Hell, I don’t recall her ever telling us whether she came, never mind enjoyed any of it. She manages to objectify herself entirely…never giving us a window into her own mind during these events.

  2. That’s an interesting observation actually.
    It reminds me of Julliana Moore’s little monologue in The Big Lebowsky.

    I think the thrill of breaking taboos, and a sort of nostalgie de la boue, shines through her writing rather than any sort of genuine sexuality.

    I sure she comes, perhaps, but I think physical pleasure is secondary to the sheer muck of it all in what she writes about her experiences, sort of like that one porn starlet who staged the world’s largest gang bang and had to have her nether parts iced from time to time to numb the.. discomfort.

    There is a certain thrill from degradation and debauchery in itself, why get off from sex when one can get off from an evasion of authentic sexuality.

    At the end of the day I’m not inside of her head, of course, and who knows what really moves her.

  3. Treta Yuga says:

    She’s a Female Pick Up Artist.

    Pick Up Artists rarely write intimately about the way their sexual encounters made them feel or the details of the pleasure or awkwardness. It’s about the attention, the conquest – not orgasm and certainly not eroticsim.

    I’m willing to bet that not even the most famous and wealthy of the PUAs are multi-orgasmic men or even have a clue about how to become one.


  4. Well Neil Strauss aka “Style” did write the forward to the book, and had the signs of his hands all over the book, so I’d say your comparison is more accurate than you may have even intended.

    This is one of my complaints with modern American dating and mating culture in general, the whole of it is largely full of the east erotic and most attention and validation hungry people possible. This is the case for guys and gals. Long ago I came to the conclusion that many American men and women have largely come to deserve the worst in each other. Except the few who manage to take the initiative and pick themselves up and heal the wounds of self and spirit that causes the compulsions we are so often prone to.

    The real pity, I think, is the destruction of marriage and any semblance of family, and the incredible neuroticism and self-focus both men and women often display, and the degree to which a real eroticism seems to vanish. Also the idea that eros can have a spiritual component, both eros and amor, is lost in our society.

    Instead the few in the west who are even interested in the spirituality possible in sexual union and a higher form of marriage go off, appropriates, and flagrantly rip-off Tantra and some Taoist teachings, suppress the things that don’t agree with their western aesthetic, and come up with a sanitary faux-version to be sold to wounded and damaged people with enough money in their pocket to try to chase gnosis and enlightenment through bonking. Making other religions’ teachings into a commercially viable lifestyle choice. Like the appropriation of neti pots…

    I’m not the only one to have observed that people in the past seemed to have had more sex, and better sex at that.

    Amusing story; I was sitting on my little brother’s porch a few months ago and a couple of girls who just moved into one of the flats in his building came out and started chatting with me, after a good bit of banter and flirtation she let slip “I really love validation you know” oh really? “yeah, validation’s a huge turn on, the more attention the better, don’t you think?”
    I’m thinking, are you from Mars or something?

    All in all it was a relaxing and fun chat, her roommate seemed a bit more authentic. I certainly didn’t ask for either of their numbers though. The conversation was enjoyable for its own sake and I am not a fan of dishing out validation to people with self esteem issues.

    Many years ago, when I was younger and more foolish, I had a friend who was all but a female player. Most of her observable sexuality was simply a sort of compulsive seeking of boys to conquer and dangle along. She was a consumate attention queen, thriving on attention and validation.

    At one time we let the friendship turn intimate, it was a mistake on my part, but we were briefly involved and it almost ruined a good friendship. Since we started out as friends there was no sense of conquest on either of our parts and when intimate she was surprisingly vulnerable and tender, and in her own strange way, awkward as a young girl. It was the first time she had experienced a truly emotionally and physically mutually passionate situation, and it was fascinating exploring a side of her that she normally kept hidden, peeling layers back.

    It was still a mistake, though our experiences were indescribable, in hindsight as an older and wiser man I never would have let it get to that point. Since our experiments were based on real affection and mutual attraction I had a chance to experience some wonderful times with her.

    She mentioned years later that she almost never had orgasms previously until we made the enjoyable mistake of straying down the wrong path together. I found it remarkable considering the number of men she had been with. What she enjoyed in the past was the feeling of being desired and the chase itself. There was also a certain lingering bitterness, that she indulged in by using boys in the way some had used her in the past. At a certain point she got beyond her need for sexual power trips, some people however never do.

    In the past I’ve noticed some players seem to have an underlying dynamic of resentment. Not all, I’ve met some guys who seemed to simply just enjoy the physical act of sex, and a few guys who genuinely loved women, greatly, and promiscuity for them was combined with a real affection for the women they found mutually agreeable trysts with.

    Still I’ve met some guys who could easily confess in private, all sorts of issues of low self worth and low self esteem, and at times even deep anger over past perceived hurts from women.

    And other guys still who just seemed to have some sort of compulsion, the thrill was in the chase with no ill will or need for validation, it was like a speed high. A sort of drug.

    Ships passing each other in the night, each half sinking from half patched leaking hulls, none learning from their mistakes.

  5. Treta Yuga says:

    I am continually shocked by the insecurity that men display on the internet. Truth be told, it reveals a side of Man to me that I never know existed. They talk about “dominating” their women by giving a decisive answer to the question, “where do you want to eat tonight?”

    Since when does knowing which restaurant you want to eat at qualify as “domination”?!?!?

    When did this shift happen?


    Bottomline: men are insecure.

    And then the faux PUAs. 30, 40, even 50 year old men acting like kids in candy stores just because a woman gives them 30 seconds out of her day when he tries to speak to her at Starbucks or a bar. Then they return home and blog about it or put up a video reenactment of a “successful pick up”.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    When did men become like this? Or were they like this all along and I just never knew it?

  6. 1. When did this shift happen? Short pithy and inaccurate answer utterly lacking nuances:

    The mid 1990s.

    2. The longer answer includes noting that generalizing about an entire gender on the basis of what one reads on the Internet is generally a mistake, that shifting the discourse to a small narrow class of men who – for the most part are – statistically negligible (such as pickup artists) is treat the exceptional and unusual as normal and commonplace.

    Blatantly ripping off the movie Fight Club, of course as far as how marginal, the dictum “the first rule of fight club is, you do not talk about fight club” applies. So you have a somewhat secretive type of movement at the edge of dating culture, whose full extent may not be fully ascertained because

    “You do not talk about fight club”

    That said I respectfully suggest you may be blowing things a bit out of proportion in your observations. You are noticing things that exist, but the degree to which they are prevalent or relevant can be explored in greater depth.

    It is often a mistake to generalize: saying “when did men become like this” implies that men in general have become like this. This could be true, but it could be more complicated than this. I know many men who are as you describe, and I know many men who are not. I think the interesting thing about the Internet is that it exaggerates trends and tendencies.

    The on-line MRA vs. radical Feminist row is one example, in both cases radical feminists and MRA types are extreme minorities among the population but capable of being highly vocal. They represent real tendencies hyper-accentuated. Now these are real tendencies of real people with real concerns, and they will have fellow travelers and sympathizers who are going to be more widespread, but it would be a mistake to look things out of perspective.

    Pick up artists and players are another example of something marginal that can be blown out of proportion by looking at the Internet. The HBD, human biodiversity and neo-eugenics movement is another example, of a small but homogenous group, in background, scientific training and education, and world view, making a lot of noise when in reality they are somewhat marginal to the general political discourse in America.

    There are neo-eugenicists who are far more mainstream than the standard HBD guys, not among psychometricians and psychologists, but more among bioethicists and environmentalists. I suspect there is overlap between the small but vocal HBD crowd, and the much larger eco-sustainability neo-eugenicists and Malthusians (of course they don’t call themselves this, being of some intelligence..)

    Another example are the sort of radical Afrocentric bloggers and media pundits such HBD types react to. A good example of misperceiving a small and vocal group can be seen on Robert Lindsey’s blog. This isn’t to knock on Lindsey, I find him to be an intelligent commentator and though I disagree with many of his politics, he’s rather insightful. But on Robert Lindsey’s blog you can see examples of people, both leftist and rightist, basing a lot of their views of racial reality on the basis of what they hear from certain media pundits and bloggers.

    Another example: White nationalists, but this has been beat to death even by white nationalists themselves, and among others on the Right who lean towards them. But again, a small and narrow group of very loud people whose loudness is partially an attempt to redirect the larger discourse in their favor making them seem larger than they are. White nationalists and black nationalists both are marginal in the overall discourse though on both sides many of the themes and goals they share may be held in common across society in a diffuse sort of way.

    The sex-positive wave of radical feminist bloggers and forum personalities, vs. the older anti-pornography, anti-“compulsory heterosexuality” radical feminists are another example, though here we have a narrow scene that is loud enough to be noticed, but many aspects of radical feminism have become far more mainstream exposure than MRA, or HBD, or Afrocentricism, or white nationalism. Still for me to generalize on modern young people, male and female, from reading Jezebel or Feministing or Stormfront or Vanguard Network, or some other high profile high volume forum that, when you scratch the surface, only exposes an extreme statistical minority (you have a blog with 1000 page visits a day, out of a population of a million viewers on the Internet at the time) and – well – you run the risk of missing the cart for the horse.

    Pick-up artists are marginal, the most successful ones leave the whole pick-up artist scene behind, or at least take steps to somewhat distance themselves from it, the successful among them are few, many pick-up artist figures online really seem not to be what they claim to be.

    For a perspective of how marginal pick up artist scenes can be, Assanova has some pretty good critiques and criticisms of them, but there is a guy who goes by the moniker of “Aaron Sleazy” who wrote a couple of pieces “debunking the seduction scene’ or something to that effect. He basically showed that most of what was going on was a bunch of half clueless, half profiteering Internet marketers making a buck out of young men’s insecurities. “Sleazy” found himself outgrowing the Internet PUA “community”, and in his own strange and somewhat amusing, though disturbing, amorous adventures basically discovered that all of it was load of bunk being pushed by marketers. It’s a pretty interesting expose.

    PUA’s are marginal, so blowing them out of proportion in American dating culture is ratherodd. Though there is a general culture filtering of some aspects of “game” throughout society and America’s dating culture, partially through pop culture (VH1 shows and books like, well, Neil Strauss’s) but in general I suspect that you may be seeing thins somewhat out of proportion.

    Next, on male and female insecurities,
    I’m taking the liberty of re-arranging things around. “women are insecure, bottom line” is a simplistic generalization as “men are insecure, bottom-line.”

    The truth is that both are, and both are not, by degrees. Each has degrees of insecurities, some more and some less than others. This is a matter of simply being human and self conscious, sometimes excessively self conscious.

    Popular culture, and bad parenting in the last generation accentuates this, but men and women alike have degrees of insecurities, by matters of degree. The most confidant woman and man has, somewhere, a small chink in their armor, one or two small weaknesses and vulnerabilities that they keep hidden and compensate for in other directions. this is human. Some have greater degrees, more or some less, than others. Some are neurotic bundles of insecurities whilst others have mostly strengths and a few weaknesses of indecision. In a mythic sense, like the story of Krishna and Arjuna, for example.

    It’s called being human and self conscious, sometimes excessively self conscious, sometimes less. Since the self consciousness and insecurities of many women are well known, commented on in popular culture and the media, much less than between each other, in their own magazines, or discussions, is it really any surprise that men are not made out of steel, but rather out of flesh and blood, just like women, and therefore that men, just as women do, have specific weaknesses?

    You have to look at both sides of the fence, few people are capable of cultivating the discernment or empathy to look at the ways in which popular culture warps the instincts and feelings of both men and women.

    As for a shift, it is true that the last couple of generations has seen an increased wallowing in self pity and insecurity on the part of many men. For every man running around without his proverbial emotional act together, there is another or two even who do have their emotional act together, and who are able to use their weaknesses as strengths (since they are inverses of each other) and who manages to be an emotionally and mentally healthy adult. What has changed things so that neurotic insecurity seems increasingly more of an open norm than n previous generations are two factors, one is popular culture and the media, which on a very low level insidiously acculturates both women and men along certain lines, from ideals of masculinity and femininity presented in movies and TV shows, that people aim to be like, to lyrics in popular songs, to what people read in novels and suchlike.

    See my Michael Wilson archive on the subject of “memetics” – see also the writings of Edward Bernays and some of the studies done on him, people are surprisingly malleable on a mass level. You can engineer women to have insecurities about, say, their breast size, or their stomach size, or how thin they are, or their relationships- so much to the point that you can accidently induce en masse specific pathologies (see recent research on the fact that Anorexia is specifically a Western disorder, that has only now just begun to spread in Asia. And the possibility that many other neurosis, emotional and mental disorders have culturally specific etiologies. There was a good piece on NPR about this several weeks ago.

    In the same way you can engineer men to have insecurities over their dominance or lack thereof, their pectoral and bicep size, the way they stand and walk and strut, or their penis size. You have men hanging lead weights onto their members and compulsively massaging it, and doing exercises with it, to gain size and strength in it. You have men taking endocrine system destroying medicines to grow a little bit bigger. None of this is any surprise and its pretty well documented for both genders.

    Another factor is frankly parenting in the last generation. Parents in conjunction with really bad media programming have collectively, often innocently with no malice whatsoever, churned out young men with huge insecurities.

    The movie Fight Club was a beautiful example of the end results of this process, the main character was neurotic, anxiety ridden, and prone to delusions so strong that he created an entire other imaginary human being that was his own other side, as an imaginary friend who was everything he wanted to be and not the insecure, beat down, looser he was. Brad Pitt’s and Edward Norton’s character traded a couple of conversations in the film that essentially sum up everything I wrote above, and below.

    To shame and blame them for their insecurities is uncharitable, and even becomes somewhat detestable, it’s like blaming a bird whose wings were snapped at a young age for always flying lopsided, if the poor thing can fly at all. The adult decisions made on the basis of insecurities, especially to emotionally and physically hurt others, is blamable. But the underlying condition – well lots of people are simply broken through no fault of their own before they exist the starting gates.

    Parents have a huge role to play in this – one, parents in even intact families are often self-centered and fail to rear their children in a way contributing to a healthy sense of regard for others as well as themselves. Some such parents seem to have a demented degree of psychological abuse that, far from making little boys emotionally stronger, actually grinds them down. Others are just so self centered they fail to establish clear boundaries and provide clear guidance, some are caught up in materialism and acquisitiveness and treat their children as pretty possessions just like their cars and houses.

    The demise of respect and politeness in American culture is a symptom, lots of kids are not raised to even recognize other people as human beings almost, subjects instead of objects to be used. Myopic and narcissistic parents raise myopic and narcissistic youth.

    The structure of two parent Nuclear families are somewhat a problem as well, but I’ll get this in a bit. Another huge problem – though some may scream and accuse me of misogyny in some sort of knee jerk defense mechanism – honestly is the single parent household. Anyone who thinks what I just said is a matter of “blaming” someone or kicking parents when they are down should read the rest of my words thoroughly and simply projecting his or her emotions, anxieties, and fears onto a discourse that is broader than their little issues. None of these words are hateful, or bigoted, I’m describing things I’ve seen and witnessed in the lives of many, many, people as well as things that have been deeply researched by social scientists.

    This isn’t a matter of laying blame. Lots of people have no other choice or alternatives that seemed viable, other than to raise a child by themselves, in a single parent household. Single parents are not exactly at the top of the mating totem pole, so in finding a partner in itself, one’s attractiveness for a long term partnership drops significantly and it sharply restricts the pool of available mates. Also the process of being a single parent is highly stressful, time consuming, and difficult.

    In spite of this, it is true, and obvious I deny not, that there are very successful single-parent. There are parents who try hard and work intelligently to raise their children. I have met single parents who were incredibly selfless and dedicated to their children in every way they possibly could be. Both men (I have several male single father friends) and female (I have several female single mother friends). Some of these people receive no support whatsoever from the mother or father of their child, and have a huge burden to carry. Some of these people have partners who just up and left them high and dry. Some of these people had partners with whom it was mutually difficult and almost impossible to remain together.

    In spite of this some people manage to raise children not only very well, but excellently. Indeed sometimes much better than in other dysfunctional intact 2 parent families. Few deny this is possible, or that it occurs, unless they are being ideologues. Some may deny the degree to which this occurs, and some may exaggerate the degree to which this occurs, commensurate with their own emotional and social agendas and issues. But it happens. Class matters, education matters, access to resources matter, but there are poor women and poor men who have done incredible jobs with their kids, and rich women and rich men who have also done incredible jobs with their kids. The wealthier and more educated one is, the easier it is to pull through on such an incredible task.

    So it’s not a matter of blaming people or kicking them when they are down, pointing out truths are in context and unlike a lot of people I take great pains to avoid blindly generalizing as much as possible. It is a matter of not being a disingenuous, or lying, and admitting what’s in front of us, whether we like it or not.

    Nor am I about overly romanticizing the American family. It’s not just single parents, it is even the intact Nuclear Family that’s a huge problem.
    Frankly it has been culturally problematic even into the 19t century.

    On single parent families, looking at the stats, and research, as well as just looking around one and seeing one’s peers, it’s hard to escape the conclusion unless someone is being willfully blind that many single family households are incredibly dysfunctional and engender many emotional and psychological issues in children. In single father households there is a problem of not having a stable and reliable model of the ideal woman, which is important for boys to see how to interact with women, and for girls to see how to be women. For single mother households there is a problem of not having a stable and reliable model of the ideal man, for boys to see how to be men, and for girls to see how to interact with men.

    The “stripper with daddy issues” stereotype is so engrained because it’s true. The street thug with murderous rage and daddy issues, is a stereotypes because it’s true. The young milquetoast boy who is overly sensitive and simply cannot easily relate to other guys, nor to women, having lacked a model of strong manhood is a common stereotype because it’s true. The ruthless player with mother issues, who simply goes through girls like a box of Kleenex, having seen his mother in and out of a rotating string of short term flings and relationships with guys who were strangers, some of whom may have beat or emotionally roughed up the kid, thus engendering further bitterness against his mother and women, well again this is a stereotype that is true. The girl who has been with 20 guys by the age of 22, and constantly puts out sexually to secure the affections of men, and is constantly getting pumped and dumped, who had a father who always rejected her or put cigarette butts out on her arms and beat her, or who was nice and kind to her but never around, maybe only coming around twice a year, so she’s both bitter from not having a real father present and always constantly seeking in other men a surrogate father – well this is a stereotype that is common because it is true.

    All of these are extremes on a continuum, and all actually represent people I’ve personally met in my life.

    So someone would simply just be being disingenuous as to suggest that at the very least, single parents have their work cut out for them and decrease the probability of success immensely. It can be done, many people simply have no other alternative, there is no subtext of blame or lurking misogyny in any of this, though a reader with poor reading comprehension or an agenda of their own is welcome t project onto this what they may.

    But a lot of emotionally fragile and vulnerable and insecure young men are the end result of the way their parents raised or did not raise them.

    The nuclear family itself is a problem.

    The Western world has seen the demolition of the concept of family over a 150 year period, take in-laws. In-laws once lived next to or in the same house as parents in America, in fact real estate books still have a zoning section called “the in law” allowing one to re-zone one’s property to build a small add on house to house one’s in-laws. This was once not uncommon in rural and urban America.

    This mean 4 adults were helping to raise children and maintain a household, providing moral support and also passing on 2 or 3 generations worth of accumulated wisdom. Though my parents divorced, and this badly affected my younger siblings, we all did have the benefit at least of close connections with both sets of grandparents, a couple of great grandparents, aunts and uncles, all of whom lived very close by and were in our lives even after a difficult divorce. And also a mother, a father, and a step mother, who all tried to – in spite of any respective faults – put the children first. Most broken families do not have this. By being exposed to multiple generations my older siblings and myself benefited in ways my younger siblings could not have because these older family members had died by that time.

    The older model of the American family was not the atomized nuclear family seen on 1950s TV shows. it was an extended family often with aunts, uncles, and grandparents living close nearby and intimately involved in the life of the family on a daily bases.

    Several decades ago the idea of the nuclear family, a mother father and children living in isolation from the rest of their families, became the norm in America. This is the ideal that so-called conservatives want to go back to, the nuclear family of the 50s, not recognizing that this was actually a development that many at the time saw as unfortunate, and it represented a decay in the American family.

    Therefore the overall process of decay of a stable family unit as an agent of acculturation has also contributed to insecure children growing up into insecure adults, especially boys

    It’s idiotic to expect en masse that people can escape the powerfully conditioning processes and tendencies of broken families and a popular mass and commoditized culture designed to break them into compliant units of consumption and production.

  7. Treta Yuga says:

    1. You are romanticising the “joint family system” which is what is prevelent in India to this day. Ask the daughter-in-laws who have to move in with their husband’s parents how they feel about it.

    2. I have not been a magazine or TV consumer since I was a teenager living in my parents home. Perhaps I have a higher level of self esteem than most American adults because I do not expose myself to media images of men and women, thereby not comparing myself with them?

    That’s also why I continue to be shocked at the sheer knowledge grown-ass adults on the internet have about “pop culture”. In my world one loses interest at about the age of 17.

  8. I romanticize nothing, and try to avoid doing so often.

    In any case it’s possible to romanticize the opposite, simply because one is sick of the problems with the former, or blinded by the excesses of the former.

    Where it may seem I romanticize something it’s usually something I point out the disadvantages of in another place. I think in nuances and shades, and at times I see fit to call attention to specific nuances where they are being missed.

    I often point out there are problematic aspects in many cultural arrangements, there are highly problematic aspects of the patriarchial extended joint family.

    FeministX’s whole discourse is based on a hyper-awareness of what she sees as the coercive and oppressive aspects of it. In many ways, she’s right. I believe she misses the cart for the horse, and the possibility that the human situation might be far worse without it, but I will not deny such families are highly problematical.

    I maintain that in many ways the nuclear family is worse, and the single parent family is worse still. Both are not without benefits, but these are offset in many ways by demerits.

    Whatever pain people experience in their past encounter with one type of family, causes them to seek liberation from it, in exploring alternative family structures, there is a possibility that they may miss the fact that in their exploration they could stumble on something far worse by far. It’s a possibility, plenty of people do just fine or somehow manage to find something better. And many do worse.

    There is no progress, there is only change, every shifting, ever mutating, change – governed at all times by entropy.

    From the Satya yuga to the Kali yuga, nothing progresses.

    Roll a ball down the street and it eventually comes to a stop. Entropy, heat death, the more complex the system the longer this can be seemingly evaded or shifted around but all things come to a cool dead stop.

    The Quran puts it: “Everything is perishing except the face of Allah”
    This is fana, extinction. “Is perishing”, is in the present tense, its a continual process.

    Aught perishes continually, at every moment, at some point all perishes, all motion stops, all energy is no longer usable in the system.

    The common amongst humanity can understand such in a certain way, whilst the elect can understand it in a certain way, and those who simply wish to disbelieve in the statement are free as they wish.

    I believe that there is no progress, and that this thought eventually occurs to everyone with an intellect at some stage in her, or his, life. Whether they are able to accept its implications is another matter, but the observation dawns on most people with any degree of thought.

    Black families in the USA, in spite of their degradation, still display some of the old extended family, though in an increasingly attenuated form. My family ambiance was a constant intermixing of grandparents, aunties, and uncles, and we lived with both grandparents at several stages of my life.

    My small experience has been that Italian American families display something similar, and with many contemporary black families retain a bit of the extended family system as a living reality. Though this has decayed considerably and even in the last 15 years (with growing rates of bastadry and higher mobility across the board).

    All family systems have benefits, and all have disadvantages – one can miss certain benefits of the older extended family system. It can only be offset however by significant transfer payments and welfare safety nets, which essentially place one under the control of the State – while it works its great but talk to the tens of thousands of people who grew to rue social workers who made their lives living hell once they were caught up in its system.

    The other way to evade it and still benefit is with great affluence, but this necessitates giving up partial raising of one’s child into the hands of strangers, in day care – and the rash of pedophilia incidents at daycare centers all around the Western World shows this is a matter that is not unproblematic – or by hiring au pairs and nannies (for those with greater affluence) and of course, the relative benefits of three or more generations socially interacting, sometimes in anger, sometimes in fear, sometimes in love, and sometimes in joy, are lost.

    You have no “advance” or progress without losing something of equal or greater value, at best you simply shift and re-organize things around.

    You may disagree, I simply bid you to consider the possibility for a bit. Look closely at modern American and European families and you will find for everything that seems beneficial over their eastern variants in several dissimilar cultures – Indo-Pakistani, or Arabs (if you ever have a chance to interact closely with Arab families), or even Chinese – you will note that corresponding with such Western benefits are also losses and problems. Some simply not commonly spoken of or noticed until one gazes deeply.

    The extended family system was present in American society, albeit to a weaker degree than in India, even up to the early 19th century. The nuclear family began amongst the upper middle classes and permeated downward. It was not without its advantages, however it was also not without its problems. It’s not hard to find echoes of memory with older people, as well as in the literature and surviving cultural practices.

    Nursing homes are a perfect example of a progress that hides a deeply alien and horrific reality. My father was a doctor and a substantial portion of his practice was in nursing homes and hospice care. Our society’s embrace of this “solution” for the previous generation hides horrors that the families are rarely aware of. It deprives all generations from the responsibility and the blessing of interaction with, and caring for even unto death, their own. Think very carefully of all aspects of this matter, it’s more complex than most people think.

    There is no human situation with clear total advantage or clear total disadvantage. Things have to be considered in their totality to see where the scale weighs.

    All families display advantages and disadvantages, to me it’s pretty clear that the benefits and strengths of extended joint families should be considered and that the modern Western nuclear family was an atomized

    Whether or not mother in-laws make the life of a bride a terror is a matter of specific cultural ambiences, for example while this theme can be found throughout the East, from India to Morocco, looking at Arabs, Persians, Turks, and Desis, it seems that the theme is strongest among Desis which indicates that while there may be a universal aspect to this theme the degree to which it occurred was by no means the same in all cultures (and in fact the tyranny of in-laws does pop up here and there in older Western literature, though in a more attenuated form because the extended joint family was already evolving away by the time Western fiction became prevalent.

    Of course I could be wrong in all of this, if I am then what the heck, I’ll simply figure it out and move on to something better.

  9. 1. Is there an epidemic of abuse and molestation in Day Care Centers? Any stats or references on that?

    2. The nuclear family has it’s benefits and disadvantages, as does the extended family system, no doubt. But you seem to be of the opinion that the good in an extended family system far outweighs any small amount of good that could be found in a nuclear family system. Why?

    3. African Americans have uber-extended families. They extend to every baby momma’s and baby daddy’s family members – LOL! And in that way they end up having even more aunts, uncles, cousins, etc as a Desi does.

    4. “This is fana, extinction.” I thought Fana was a Bollywood film starring Kajol and Amir Khan.

  10. An epidemic might be an over statement and hyperbole. I do lapse into hyperbole now and then. However it most certainly does exist, there have been several well publicized instances of such abuse in the USA, some in the UK, and elsewhere over the last 20 years.

    Stats are only useful in that they extend to things people bother to count. That book “How to lie with statistics” covers this a bit, statistics can be made to paint any picture possible. What I do notice are instances of such abuse covered in the media, and to extrapolate form there given the intensely private nature of such abuse add an additional margin to cover the instances that doubtlessly do exist but are kept discreet.

    My argument on the extended family is more nuanced than this, I would not say far outweighs as much as there are substantial advantages that can only be compensated for in post industrial modern societies, with substantial transfers of wealth through gradated taxation and welfare policies. The problem with social welfare is something so subtle most people ignore or do not even see it unless it his them – it increases dependency on state authorities, which in both the US and UK, have a clear demonstrable history of growing increasingly intrusive over time. Social work is hard work and mostly thankless, so I do not condmen all social workers, but having known several good people whose families have been made nightmares by overzealous

    3. Is an error of scale, like many outsiders you are looking at the media representation of african american families and not noticing the rest of the picture. What you say is true to a large degree for many (not all) urban, lower class families, and the working poor.

    My observations are that the baby mama, baby daddy thing isn’t as present for many middle class blacks. In all sides of my family (mother and father) irrespective of whether or not the individual family is rich, or upper middle class, working to middle class, or in a few cases poor, I don’t know of any immediate relatives who have multiple baby mama or baby daddy scenarios. And I know hundreds of my cousins, aunts, and uncles. Everyone’s married, or if not formally married settled down common law, long term for a couple of decades or so.

    I honestly know of no one in my family, on my father’s side, or my mother’s side, with baby mommy or baby daddy drama. Everyone has “proper” families.

    I admit – go back a couple of generations and a couple of my ancestors had two women, but maintained both of them and their respective children. OOne on one side of my family, another on the other side of the family, another more distant great great grandpa was notorious for having a couple of women at the same time – but again he maintained them both as families. It’s more like a soft committed polygamy than random baby mama drama.

    There was on other of my great grandpas had a previous relationship and child, before marrying my great grandma, in any case this was between 100-70 years ago, for the last 4 generations pretty much everyone in my very, very, large family have had “proper” marriages. And lots of kids, of course. 6-10 was the norm until recently. Class might matter, my family were mostly entrepreneurs and individual farm owners, and then in the late 1940s they started going to college, and becoming professionals. The ones who didn’t go to college still had their own businesses, from funeral homes, to janitorial services, to shops, and so on. The rest became teachers. This was a couple of decades before affirmative action. My entire extended family is like a red-thumb exception to HBD wonks. We are very conservative and not prone to popping out lil bastard kiddies.

    That said, I don’t think we are exceptional, the whole 50 baby daddy social pathology in the black community that the media points out has real truth to it, but I think it’s exaggerated

    That said, by white standards, Blacks across the board do seem to have rather strangely extended families.

    It’s a general rule that extends from upper middle class blacks down to lower class blacks is a larger degree of extended family structures.

    But thinking that urban black professionals, or socially conservative rural southern poor blacks in the middle of Alabama, have the same types of extended, multiple baby daddy, multiple baby mommy dynamics as seems normative in lower to working class urban blacks in Northern cities and on the coasts, is to miss the bigger picture.

    In any case the multiple baby daddy/baby mommy thing is fast becoming a norm among lower class Whites as well. Given another 10-15 years the lower middle classes of whites and blacks will find this an absolute norm, and so on. I see it in a few communities near where I live.

    America is huge, there is much variation.

    Fana is indeed a film, it’s also a term Sufis use to describe the extinction of the self, beyond that the term can be used to describe any sort of extinction or blotting out of something.

    Anyway you made some good point sin all, but maybe when I have a bit more time, I’ll get back to you.

  11. “Is an error of scale, like many outsiders you are looking at the media representation of african american families and not noticing the rest of the picture.”

    Never owned a TV. I speak from personal experience.

  12. Fair enough, personal experience trumps things.
    notice I mentioned media and not explicitly TV, but this is fair, I’m not denying that this is the case in many cases, as previously stated, I’m denying the universal generalization.

    My denial of a universal generalization is also from personal experience, beyond my entire absurdly large family (500 close cousins at a family reunion, none of which are bastards or have baby daddy/mommy drama in their immediate lives)

    But like I said before, sure its an aspect of many black families, just be careful of universal generalizations.

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