Is this questions creepy and/or offensive? March 7, 2006 11:05 AM   Subscribe


I'm posting this since I think so. It doesn't seem like a good use of Ask.Mefi. I'm not sure if racist is the word i'd use to describe it, but there is definitely something ugly about it.
posted by chunking express at 11:06 AM on March 7, 2006


Yes.
posted by smich at 11:08 AM on March 7, 2006


Did you mean "hilarious"? Because it's really funny.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:11 AM on March 7, 2006


I assumed it was a joke, a la the "My girlfriend's sister is pregnant *snort* *giggle* I can't believe people are answering this" thread.
posted by Gator at 11:12 AM on March 7, 2006


Creepy: yes.

Offensive: I think it depends. Some people might not be offended by it, but I was.

Moreover, the fact that anyone could see this question and not see the racism/imperialism/essentialism/misogyny in it is totally beyond me.

But I majored in Women's Studies so what do I know.
posted by elisabeth r at 11:14 AM on March 7, 2006


I can't believe that Meatbomb thought he'd get helpful answers here on that topic. Some topics MeFi just can't help with.
posted by raedyn at 11:15 AM on March 7, 2006


Ironic el oh el tasteless humour aside — which I'm often a fan of — it should probably be deleted.
posted by blacklite at 11:16 AM on March 7, 2006


Exactly. It's either a joke, in which case it should go, or it's not a joke, in which case it should go.
posted by chunking express at 11:18 AM on March 7, 2006


Moreover, the fact that anyone could see this question and not see the racism/imperialism/essentialism/misogyny in it is totally beyond me.

To elaborate on what I said earlier: it is everything that elisabeth r said it is. And those attitudes are thankfully rare. So it's funny when someone doesn't have shame about it. Lonely people are sad. Creepy people who are lonely are mostly funny. Unless they're killing and maybe eating people. And even then they're still a little funny if you're not having lunch when you read about them.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:18 AM on March 7, 2006


Sure it's a little creepy (well, OK, a lot crfeepy), but it's no more offensive than, say, tagging a question about how to hire a prostitute with "whiteslave."
posted by dersins at 11:18 AM on March 7, 2006


MetaChattel.
posted by furtive at 11:18 AM on March 7, 2006


no
posted by AllesKlar at 11:19 AM on March 7, 2006


Maybe it is. Would "I am a black guy looking for an Asian woman" offend you too?

How about, Swede for Dane? Ashkenazi for Sephardi? Hispanic for pygmy? Filipino for Inuit? White for Filipina?

Different people have different fetishes. Some are fetishes for "race" (nationality. ethnicity) some are for other characteristics, both in-born and assumed. You can't choose your race, but you also can't choose your height or your eye-color or your Major Histocompatibility Complex. Is "I like tall guys"/"I like short girls"/"Blue eyes"/"Dimples" offensive too?

Is "I like to date within my religion" What about, "I prefer people of such-and-such a religion that is not my own"?

Dude has a thing for "Hindu" chicks, it might be creepy, it might not be. Dude didn't ask if you thought it was creepy.
posted by orthogonality at 11:20 AM on March 7, 2006


OK, so none of you have a physical type you are especially attracted to? And no one hopes to meet a person who combines the requisite qualities of wit, intelligence, integrity, etc. etc. and is also the physical type you are attracted to? No one thinks it would be enriching to be partnered with someone from another culture?

Meatbomb's critics are projecting certain qualities on him that are not evident in his question. Give the guy a break.
posted by LarryC at 11:20 AM on March 7, 2006


All The Dude ever wanted was his rug back.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:21 AM on March 7, 2006


[Damn, Ortho said it quicker and better.]

Also: Metafilter: I majored in Women's Studies so what do I know.
posted by LarryC at 11:21 AM on March 7, 2006


I think he wants to look for girls somewhere where "white" and "American" are redeeming qualities because he knows he's got nothing else to offer.
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:22 AM on March 7, 2006


But I majored in Women's Studies so what do I know.

i majored in talking robots or something and that post still gave me the shivers. the shivers in a "ha ha, let me link all of my friends to this and have a nice chat about imperialism" way, but still shivery.
posted by soma lkzx at 11:23 AM on March 7, 2006


Meatbomb's critics are projecting certain qualities on him that are not evident in his question. Give the guy a break.

No, I think it's clear that he wants to kill and eat an indian woman. Why do you have to put a nice gloss on it?
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:23 AM on March 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


I thought it was a little creepy but not beyond-the-pale creepy. I wish people had taken their "this dude is creeeeepy" asides here earlier.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:23 AM on March 7, 2006


That's one of the best threads ever! I <3 Meatbomb.
posted by xmutex at 11:24 AM on March 7, 2006


Can someone explain what's so delete-worthy wrong with someone being creepy? You prudes.
posted by xmutex at 11:24 AM on March 7, 2006


There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the question. I think the awkward statement of it is throwing people off. If he had just said he was traveling to India, loved Indian culture and women and wanted some tips suitable for a 37-yr old white guy to actually meet women there - would there be an outrage?
posted by vacapinta at 11:26 AM on March 7, 2006


Whether or not it should be deleted has nothing to do with whether it is creepy or offensive. Anyway, as has been demonstrated here, people have differeing views on what constitutes both. The admins obviously agree as well since they deleted the off-topic condemnation you posted in the thread. For the record, I find the question creepy, but not offensive.
posted by Falconetti at 11:27 AM on March 7, 2006


Also, what Hindu woman would marry a dude who's fond of using the handle "Meatbomb"?

Or maybe I'm just being essentialist in my assumption that Hindus are vegetarian!
posted by elisabeth r at 11:30 AM on March 7, 2006


What vacapinta said, I don't know the guy, but hey to me it sounds as if he is physically and culturally attracted to Indians. He wants to know what cultural barriers he need to overcome to meet some Indian women. Knowing nothing else about it I find it no more offensive than if some non-Latina asked me how she could meet and understandLatino dudes. I dunno though maybe I just don't see what everyone else is seeing.
posted by ozomatli at 11:30 AM on March 7, 2006


And I call bs on elisabeth r's

"You asked for warnings, so here is one: beware that you are looking to marry a woman based on her cultural/racial attributes and not at all on the individual person that she is....And some advice: compare your own wishes to an ignorant asshole saying something like "I want an Oriental wife! I hear they have tight pussies!" ...and you'll see there's not much difference, really."


I'd say a big part of an individual person is their cultural/racial attributes. So, if a female friend of mine says "Oooh! I think French guys are hot!" should I reply with : "compare your own wishes to an ignorant asshole saying something like "I want an Oriental wife! I hear they have tight pussies!" ...and you'll see there's not much difference"???
posted by vacapinta at 11:30 AM on March 7, 2006


I think he wants to look for girls somewhere where "white" and "American" are redeeming qualities because he knows he's got nothing else to offer.

Not sure he's American.

I found it a bit bizarre, but what the hell -- 30,000+ members is sufficiently statistically significant that you're going to have at least one of every kind of anything 'round these parts. And if this guy can find love in this world, more power to him.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:31 AM on March 7, 2006


OK, so none of you have a physical type you are especially attracted to?

This was not 'How do I meet a Hindu girl?' it was 'How do I realize this imperialist advantage-taking fetish in the [darker!] flesh?'
posted by soma lkzx at 11:32 AM on March 7, 2006


This was not 'How do I meet a Hindu girl?' it was 'How do I realize this imperialist advantage-taking fetish in the [darker!] flesh?'

Is this something I would have had to have read his blog to know about, because I don't get that from his questions and follow-ups at all.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:34 AM on March 7, 2006


I found the question more clueless, clumsy, and sad, rather than creepy. Certainly not "It puts the lotion in the basket" kind of creepy.
posted by Gamblor at 11:34 AM on March 7, 2006


I wonder if he ever got that cult up and running.

Am I really the only one who thought it was a joke?
posted by Gator at 11:36 AM on March 7, 2006


it was 'How do I realize this imperialist advantage-taking fetish in the [darker!] flesh?'

Where in his question are you getting that from?
posted by LarryC at 11:37 AM on March 7, 2006


How do I realize this imperialist advantage-taking fetish in the [darker!] flesh?

Where are all the 'imperialist' comments coming from exactly, since he's mentioned nothing along these lines?

I know lots of Indian guys who had arranged marriages. Should we heap scorn on them, as well, or is it only offensive if the couple is mixed-race?
posted by Gamblor at 11:37 AM on March 7, 2006


omg I am a hindu woman who is intelligent, beautiful, young, and speak some english , i am coincidentally looking for a antisocial, misogynistic , middle-aged, fat american white man with manhood like shree krishna leela who will pay my dowry in cheeseburgers and american porn magazines plus. I will keep you happy as lord padmanabha on thiruvonam day. meatbomb i want to eat your babies only you make me happy sweet pasty lover tia!
posted by naxosaxur at 11:39 AM on March 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Fair enough.

But, I think it's one thing to say "French guys are hot" and another thing to say "I want to marry a woman of a particular ethnic background." Both statements are essentialist because they presuppose that a person will have "typical characteristics" in line with their ethnic/religious group- you're totally right about that- but Meatbomb was basically saying "I'm going to India soon and want to come back with a wife," which is like saying "I hear they make great wives! Git me one!" and saying French dudes are hot isn't implying anything about the characteristics of French dudes. Just their looks.
posted by elisabeth r at 11:42 AM on March 7, 2006


vacapinta writes "If he had just said... would there be an outrage"

Of course.

Metafilter's all about displaying one's moral superiority -- and identifying with one's cohort, flashing the "gang colors" -- by displaying the "correct" outrage in a pile-on.

"Mefite X said Bush sucks!"
"Mefite X constantly defends Bush, who sucks!"
"Larry Summers is a male chauvinist pig and so is Mefite X who supports him."
"Liberals like Mefite X don't understand that 9-11 changed everything!"
"I definitely could fall in love with an 'intersexed' person; if Mefite X can't, it's because Mefite X is a bad person."
"Mefite X is linking to Newsfilter and using small fonts!"
"Mefite X is self-linking!"
"Mefite X isn't self-linking yet, but has made short comments which are a prelude to self-linking!"
"Matt can do no wrong, Mefite X disagrees, so Mefite X is a wrecker and an enemy of the people!"

Blah, blah, blah. There is, I guess, a human instinct to run in packs, and to identify one's fellows by seeing who else will take up the torches and pitch-forks with you.

Lynchings serve to define and unify communities. It's the mutual agreement on a scapegoat that brings us all together, it's the "righteous" violence of the lynching that binds us forevermore -- as long as we continue to agree the scapegoat deserved the pile-on, all our own petty differences are forgotten, all own sins are forgiven.

Again, nothing special about Metfilter, it's the human condition throughout recorded history, and no doubt back to the first cave in which proto-humans learned to form gangs and point fingers.
posted by orthogonality at 11:45 AM on March 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Taking a look at the blog linked in his profile took away some of the creepiness. Sounds as if our friend has a powerful lust/crush for a certain trainee he met while working in India. Unrequited "love" can make one desperate.
posted by Carbolic at 11:45 AM on March 7, 2006


Lynching? Who's lynching?
posted by elisabeth r at 11:49 AM on March 7, 2006


God, I hate that damn Mefite X.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:49 AM on March 7, 2006


omg I am a hindu woman who is intelligent, beautiful, young, and speak some english , i am coincidentally looking for a antisocial, misogynistic , middle-aged, fat american white man with manhood like shree krishna leela who will pay my dowry in cheeseburgers and american porn magazines plus. I will keep you happy as lord padmanabha on thiruvonam day. meatbomb i want to eat your babies only you make me happy sweet pasty lover tia!
posted by naxosaxur at 1:39 PM CST on March 7 [!]


Goddamn that was uncalled for. This guy has done nothing to you.
posted by ozomatli at 11:50 AM on March 7, 2006


Is this something I would have had to have read his blog to know about, because I don't get that from his questions and follow-ups at all.

Yes, the blog is creepy. But! I will go out on a limb and try to make my case beyond that.

"marriage / children / life together / etc." is a little flippant. it doesn't sound based on anything emotional, which i am taking for granted as a valued norm in marriageland. to me, it sounds like some sort of transaction.

"She needs to be intelligent, speak some English, beautiful, young." It's imperialist to assume that by waltzing into another country you can take the pick of the litter, despite the fact that you are a 37 year old guy (I'm assuming young is 22 or so). The only things that could really give someone an 'in' in this case is money or some other power, like green-card style. That's exploitative, in my eyes.

"I don't require a dowry and class is a non-issue." I could take this to sound like an invitation for comments regarding snagging needy vulnerable girls from lower classes, but I'll just hint at it and say it's just him knowing what's going on with Indian cultural norms.
posted by soma lkzx at 11:51 AM on March 7, 2006


...they presuppose that a person will have "typical characteristics" in line with their ethnic/religious group


Which is why they call it a 'group'. Are you saying people in a group don't share common traits?

"I'm going to India soon and want to come back with a wife," which is like saying "I hear they make great wives! Git me one!"


Only if you turn your head and squint at it real hard. But not really. It could also mean, "I'm attracted to Indian women" as he basically says in his blog.

...and saying French dudes are hot isn't implying anything about the characteristics of French dudes. Just their looks.


Looks are a characteristic. You're crawfishing.
posted by Gamblor at 11:52 AM on March 7, 2006


Well, I want to marry a caucasian girl becauase I'm culturally caucasian. I know women who like me for my judiac heritage.

Yes, the question is a bit creepy. And may be worse once I'd read his blog (which I won't!)

But to a large degree, it's someone asking after their preferences..which may come off creepy (especially if it's someone in their 30s and has difficulty socializing).

Offensive? No. He's trying to say:
"I think this sort of woman might be sexually 'my type.' I don't seem to meet them here (and possibly may speak to social inadequacies.)

But to be honest, the russian brides groups (etc.) do business like this. If you don't approve of the morality involved....flag it as offensive...but still, c'mon it's ASK.MEFI not JUDGE.MEFI.
posted by filmgeek at 11:54 AM on March 7, 2006


Maybe white(?)-guy is a little creepy, but it goes both ways. Indian guys can be creepy too.

I'm not the only here who's been really freaked out by some of the hindudes on AIM when he was pretending to be a 16 year-old schoolgirl? We've all been there, am I right?
posted by If I Had An Anus at 12:10 PM on March 7, 2006


Eh, what exactly does a Hindu woman look like that is different than a normal Indian looking woman? I'm not trying to be rude, I just honestly don't know because I am not very visual. Is the girl in Bend it Like Beckham a Hindu woman? I guess what I am asking is, what attributes would a Hindu women have that is different from other woman?

(My confusion in identifying traits doesn't end there. I remember a time when a friend of mine, who I knew had a thing for Thai women, confused me when he didn't have a thing for Vietmanese women. Also, when I was a waiter in college, I could tell the difference between a 16 year old girl and a 30 year old girl. Come to think of it, I probably still can't without seeing their hips.)
posted by dios at 12:15 PM on March 7, 2006


"marriage / children / life together / etc." is a little flippant. it doesn't sound based on anything emotional, which i am taking for granted as a valued norm in marriageland. to me, it sounds like some sort of transaction.

I have to wonder if you've ever traveled much outside the U.S.

I'll be honest and admit the question sounds a bit desperate to me. And for that reason its not one I'd bother to help answering. But I also think people are over-reacting based on their own prejudices/fears etc.
posted by vacapinta at 12:17 PM on March 7, 2006


Meatbomb is from Kyrgyzstan. I think.
posted by puke & cry at 12:20 PM on March 7, 2006


He just works there; he's a Westerner.
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:21 PM on March 7, 2006


I have to wonder if you've ever traveled much outside the U.S.

on top of extra-US travelling, i even knew someone who was tricked by her family into getting on a plane to india which was taking her to an arranged marriage she didn't know about. that's so far beyond emotion it's magic.
posted by soma lkzx at 12:25 PM on March 7, 2006


"marriage / children / life together / etc." is a little flippant. it doesn't sound based on anything emotional, which i am taking for granted as a valued norm in marriageland. to me, it sounds like some sort of transaction.

I have to wonder if you've ever traveled much outside the U.S.

Exactly the point I was alluding to earlier: Arranged marriages happen in India. They happen for a whole variety of reasons, and love isn't always the first one. When two Indians get married through arrangement, do you folks complain? If not, why is it so offensive if this guy wants to do the same?
posted by Gamblor at 12:29 PM on March 7, 2006


Thirteenkiller nailed it. Figuratively speaking.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:34 PM on March 7, 2006


I think it's offensive and creepy and flagged it as such. He sounds like he's closer in age to a 15-year-old not a 37-year-old.

Especially with the phrase: "Creepy or not, I want to get it on with a Hindu girl and make little Hindu / Euro babies..." (link)

I shudder to think what's in his blog.
posted by hooray at 12:34 PM on March 7, 2006


as I said elsewhere,

he is indeed fucking with us. I mean, come on, some askmefi questions are just too crazy/spooky, it's bored people going, "let's make up some crazy shit and see what those guys answer".

etc.


This guy has done nothing to you

well, she's a Hindu woman. of course the guy wants to do something to her.
posted by matteo at 12:35 PM on March 7, 2006


I'm not the only here who's been really freaked out by some of the hindudes on AIM when he was pretending to be a 16 year-old schoolgirl? We've all been there, am I right?

Once, in an internet cafe in Mumbai, I finished my email, got up to leave, and accidentally glanced at my neighbor's screen. Being a fairly fast reader, I was unable to tear my eyes away quickly enough not to notice that he was conducting a sex chat over AIM, and that he was not the guy. Moral lesson: even accidentally, eavesdropping never pays. Yikes.

I didn't find the question especially sinister, although I think Meatbomb correctly recognized that he did not frame it especially well. I didn't notice a special desire to dominate a culturally submissive wife or anything similarly imperialist. If anything, I feel kind of bad for the guy, because if he comes across as awkwardly in person, he's not getting with any of the intelligent, young, beautiful Hindu women I know. Of course, neither am I, but that is a sad story for another, drunker time.

Then again, I might be skewed by the fact that I have had random strangers ask me this in real life (seriously! more than once!). All I can really say is: um, be someone else.

On preview: dios, the girl in Bend It Like Beckham, Parminder Nagra, is and plays a Punjabi Sikh. The differences are primarily cultural rather than physical.
posted by Errant at 12:39 PM on March 7, 2006


The question gave a creepy vibe to me because of the 'nearest future' and 'bride' aspect of things. It didn't give me the sense that he's planning on travelling to India for a long time and would like tips on meeting Indian women and their families and establishing a relationship with them. It sounds like he's popping over for a week or two and hoping to pick up a mail order bride without the hassles of mail order. It made me think he has a horribly simplified view of Indian culture and arranged marriages.

Yes, that's a lot of reading between the lines of the post, but it's a damned short post about a very large issue, so there's lots of interpretive reading to be done. I could make the most charitable of all possible interpretations of the post, but I'm just not that naive.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:39 PM on March 7, 2006


The world is too complex to NOT assign characteristics to groups. And yes, there are groups and these groups share common traits. I'm not saying that's bad or wrong.

I just think that assuming ANY Hindu woman would make a good wife is presumptuous etc etc.

And here's what I'm assuming: because MB said specifically that he wants to marry a Hindu woman, he must believe there is something intrinsic in Hindu women that makes them more marriageable than other women. Otherwise why would he feel the need to specify?

[meant to post the above earlier but the office internets broke]

also, jacquilynne's got it- it COULD be interpreted as innocuous, but I'm skeptical.
posted by elisabeth r at 12:42 PM on March 7, 2006


Or maybe I'm just being essentialist in my assumption that Hindus are vegetarian!

Or maybe you're just wrong.

"Not all Hindus avoid eating meat. A great majority of Hindus eat it. In ancient India even the Brahmins were said to be eating certain types of sacrificial meat. Hindu law books do not prohibit the eating of meat in general, but only certain types of meat."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:51 PM on March 7, 2006


I have no opinion re: deletion but duuuude, his blog is mega-creepy.
posted by signal at 12:57 PM on March 7, 2006


elisabeth r writes "the fact that anyone could see this question and not see the racism/imperialism/essentialism/misogyny in it is totally beyond me"

I think you may be reading a bit much into his question. You may be correct that the asker is a imperialist pig but you can't prove that from the question.

orthogonality writes "Maybe it is. Would 'I am a black guy looking for an Asian woman' offend you too?

"How about, Swede for Dane? Ashkenazi for Sephardi? Hispanic for pygmy? Filipino for Inuit? White for Filipina?

"Different people have different fetishes. Some are fetishes for 'race' (nationality. ethnicity) some are for other characteristics, both in-born and assumed. You can't choose your race, but you also can't choose your height or your eye-color or your Major Histocompatibility Complex. Is 'I like tall guys'/'I like short girls'/'Blue eyes'/'Dimples' offensive too?"


Ortho says it better than I could.

elisabeth r writes "And here's what I'm assuming: because MB said specifically that he wants to marry a Hindu woman, he must believe there is something intrinsic in Hindu women that makes them more marriageable than other women. Otherwise why would he feel the need to specify?"

Maybe he is a Hindu (IE: he practises Hinduism) and wants to marry a Hindu? In the same way that a Jewish convert might travel to Israel where the pickings are good to find a jewish husband.
posted by Mitheral at 1:13 PM on March 7, 2006


"it's ASK.MEFI not JUDGE.MEFI."

The latter sounds like a Stallone movie sequel waiting to happen.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:14 PM on March 7, 2006


What orthogonality said, and more succinctly filmgeek:
it's ASK.MEFI not JUDGE.MEFI.

The question comes off as a tad creepy, but frankly a lot of stuff at MeFi and its offshoots comes off as more than a tad creepy—isn't that one reason we love the place? It's bizarre to me that so many people are so willing to assume the worst about the guy and pile on with repetitive flames (imperialist! offensive! &c &c). I guess people just love showing off their correctness so much they can't resist an opportunity. But seriously, folks, the guy has a right to be attracted to "Hindu" women (though, like dios, I find that an odd way to define his type: is it the dot on the forehead that turns him on?), and he has a right to ask what would be a good way of meeting such women. He admitted he phrased the question poorly; I suggest everyone relax and find something else to fulminate about (hey, look, it's President Bush!).

Oh, and don't worry, I visited his blog and it's a perfectly normal blog. No killing and eating. And he lives in Kyrgyzstan, which is pretty cool.
posted by languagehat at 1:15 PM on March 7, 2006


slightly creepy, but he has every right to post it.

/askme libertarian
posted by By The Grace of God at 1:17 PM on March 7, 2006


is it the dot on the forehead that turns him on?

Usually ladies wear Bindis (Puttos) after they are married, so that wouldn't work well for him.
posted by chunking express at 1:20 PM on March 7, 2006


I thought it was a joke, but I guess not.

I wouldn't blame anyone for being offended, but personally, I would just file this one under "sad and tacky."
posted by 912 Greens at 1:23 PM on March 7, 2006


Man, it sure is a good thing you're all attractive, glib rocket scientists instead of self-righteous assholes with your own bizarre idiosyncracies.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:28 PM on March 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


he is indeed fucking with us. I mean, come on, some askmefi questions are just too crazy/spooky, it's bored people going, "let's make up some crazy shit and see what those guys answer".

matteo, it's not unreasonable conclusion, but it's hardly a lock, either. Everybody has different social backgrounds and social deficits, and nothing but tact/discretion/social-sensibility prevents a person from asking odd, crazy, spooky questions in earnest. I'd bet that pretty much anyone on this site could ask at least one awkward, revealing question if they were so inclined, and it's totally plausible that Meatbomb was, in fact, inclined.
posted by cortex at 1:30 PM on March 7, 2006


(Or, going back to that notion of social deficits [itself a shifty, relative formulation], it could be and in fact seems very likely that Meatbomb didn't see anything socially questionable about asking at all; so not even necessarily an issue of him being inclined to reveal himself as him not seeing it as an odd thing to ask.)
posted by cortex at 1:34 PM on March 7, 2006


Man, it sure is a good thing you're all attractive, glib rocket scientists instead of self-righteous assholes with your own bizarre idiosyncracies.

Amen. I was going to post a question to AskMe about turning Morman and taking several more wives, but after all the man-hating I've seen in here, fuck that.
posted by Gamblor at 1:37 PM on March 7, 2006


Oh, that hasn't happened since the Morman conquests.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:43 PM on March 7, 2006


Whence you first became, under the guidance of one Mssr. Harrelson, an active member of Morml, non?
posted by cortex at 1:45 PM on March 7, 2006


Wow. That thread and this one are rorschach tests.

My problem is with the context of arranged marriages and the implicit servile status of women—which I disapprove of universally, but particularly disapprove of when one party is a westerner who, typically, shares my values of personal liberty and is an agent of a culture in which I, too, am an agent.

But if you remove the arranged marriage from this, I think that most people's reactions would remain very negative. This is obvious by how most people view the whole mail-order Russian bride thing. But there, where we assume the woman is an autonomous agent making rational choices, then the disapproval of this becomes an insult to her autonomy and is quite paternalistic. It should be noted that paternalism is not a minor and seldom seen aspect of imperialism. It is, rather, the key to differentiating imperialism from simple exploitation or oppression.

Key to the contemporary western negative reaction to this stuff is the disgust at seeing marriage as a practical, pragmatic decision and not as a romantic institution. We imagine that the only people who would approach the decision to marry as a practical and pragmatic decision are those so disadvantaged that they are unable to approach it romantically, as we think they otherwise would. But that is a very Eurocentric and absolutist view of the custom of marriage and, insofar as this is the basis for protesting what is seen as an exploitation of another party by a westerner, it's quite paternalistic and, again, imperialist.

This stuff is not as easy as many think it is. And, unless you agree with Leon Kass (the chair of the President's Council on Bioethics) that "gut instinct" is an important and meaningful moral test, then you can't hide behind your own strong and seemingly intuitive repulsion as a guide to what is right and what is wrong.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:52 PM on March 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Hey, fuck you, orthogonality.
posted by Mefite X at 1:58 PM on March 7, 2006


You too, Alvy. What did I ever do to you?
posted by Mefite X at 1:58 PM on March 7, 2006


Optimus Chyme writes 'Man, it sure is a good thing you're all attractive, glib rocket scientists instead of self-righteous assholes with your own bizarre idiosyncracies.'

Well, some of us are attractive, ironic architects, but yes, it is good, thank you for noticing.
posted by signal at 2:03 PM on March 7, 2006


Mefite X, did you really just waste $5 on that joke?
posted by Gamblor at 2:09 PM on March 7, 2006


I'm an attractive, witty grad student in the social sciences!
posted by thirteenkiller at 2:10 PM on March 7, 2006


Man, Matt is SOOO wrong. MeTa is the best part of MeFi.

("Dark skin girls are better than light skin. Light skin girls aren't better than dark skin.")
posted by klangklangston at 2:11 PM on March 7, 2006


Gamblor: You're damn right I did.
posted by Mefite X at 2:15 PM on March 7, 2006


What Ethereal Bligh said.

And what orthogonality said.

The question was worded poorly. His blog is not creepy. You are all overreacting.
posted by sid at 2:20 PM on March 7, 2006


I think it's a great use of Ask Metafilter, and hope he finds what he's looking for.
posted by cellphone at 2:23 PM on March 7, 2006


Definitely creepy, but it's a question, and that's what AskMe is for. You can't assume that ALL questions will be happy, nice, politically correct ones.
posted by Meagan at 2:50 PM on March 7, 2006


I'm glad this gave me the chance to read his blog.

Keywords: asian teen schoolgirl politics Michelle Malkin gag deepthroat bukakke

Just what I needed today...
posted by slogger at 2:54 PM on March 7, 2006


I guess people just love showing off their correctness so much they can't resist an opportunity.

I resisted the first opportunity, by not posting in the Ask.Me thread. But when it came up a second time on MeTa, I couldn't resist. It's not that I'm weak-willed, it's just that I'm big-boned.

I don't, for what it's worth, think the question should be deleted. He's perfectly within his rights to ask the question. I'm just going to think he's creepy because he did.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:04 PM on March 7, 2006


Is "I like to date within my religion" (okay)

Personally, that creeps me out too, but probably because I'm not religious and naturally consider the human being before what god they (or their parents) happen to worship. I'm probably in the minority in feeling like that, though.

the wise man of IRC
posted by Jimbob at 3:40 PM on March 7, 2006


I'm not religous either but I wouldn't consider dating, for example, a Roman Catholic, Orthodox Jew or Scientologist. Aside from the fact that Mrs. Mitheral frowns on my dating, I know that members of those religions have core values that wouldn't be compatible with mine.
posted by Mitheral at 4:06 PM on March 7, 2006


"It's more than a bad dream, now that I'm sober..." Tom Waits

Wow. What a bunch of interesting stuff to wake up to this morning. I really need to make more of an effort to remain in passive mode when drinking and internetting. But it always seems like such a good idea at the time! "Hey, everybody look at me, Meatbomb is on the Internet! Hey over here!" STFU is a useful phrase that comes to mind now, perhaps I should tattoo this on backs of my hands, as a reminder when I am using the keyboard.

Lots of angry stuff projected my way, and lots of attempts to judge and evaluate, wow. Just for the record, I really would like to meet and marry a Hindu woman, live somewhere in India, get happy and enlightened... But my rational sane sober self asks why the Meatbomb of eight hours ago, with 2 litres of beer in him, why the fuck it seemed appropriate to post a bare bones question like the one I did on AskMe.

For anyone who got creeped out or angry because of my post, my apologies to you. My prime mission is to increase the positive energy flux on the Interent, and I have now accumulated a deficit in that regard which will require some hard work to make up for.

As to whether the actual person who runs Meatbomb on Metafilter and the blog is a creepy imperialist fat misogynist, well, I guess I need to consider issues of authenticity, ownership, self identity in regard to what I post on the Internet... In real life I am actually a pretty nice guy, honest, but I guess you'll just have to take my word for it...
posted by Meatbomb at 4:15 PM on March 7, 2006


JudgeMe strikes again!

Be disgusted, be outraged, flag it, send the author a flame email, take it to MetaTalk, write your congressman, but for fuck's sake, people, your moral outrage is not an answer, and is not helpful.
posted by scarabic at 4:34 PM on March 7, 2006


Ethereal Bligh, your comment is very good. It's a very good point. However, regarding this:
This is obvious by how most people view the whole mail-order Russian bride thing. But there, where we assume the woman is an autonomous agent making rational choices, then the disapproval of this becomes an insult to her autonomy and is quite paternalistic.
I don't work in human rights, but a lot of evidence has been presented that mail-order brides don't know what they're getting into. They are often not well-off, not well educated, naive, and are lied to by the people who facilitate mail-order marriages. They do live in a culture (Russian culture) which can be considered to grant women more agency, especially in making the decision to marry, than other cultures, such as traditional Indian culture. However, their socioeconomic circumstances prevent them from making decisions with a level of informativeness which it could be said is generally regarded as necessary in Western Europe and North America.

Basically, it is questionable whether the Russian women who seek mail-order marriages are actually autonomous by the standards of most people on MeFi (North Americans and Western Europeans generally).

Regarding Indian women, what autonomy a large number of Indian women have is different from the autonomy that the women that most MeFites encounter on a daily basis have. Every day, most MeFites assume Western standards of rights to individual agency for themselves, and also grant such rights to others. This is not so in India. It may be so among Indians who are more educated, more wealthy, or live in metropolitan areas, but there are many Indians who are not and whose conceptions of the nature and of any fundamental right to agency as most MeFites know it is very different.

Also, those Indian women who are not lucky enough to be educated, wealthy, or cosmopolitan, are are in socioeconomic circumstances which are likely to make it hard for them to make what most MeFites would consider adequately informed and uncoerced decisions about marriage. Their situation is similar to the Russian one, and probably worse, because India is still a Third World country.

One last point, less-educated, non-wealthy, non-metropolitan Indian families would not allow their daughters to marry without their consent. This is a Catch-22. Your family marries you. You are not allowed to exit the marriage without their consent. There is one exception. You are allowed to exit the marriage on condition of estrangement from your immediate and extended family and also your community. Estrangement from family and community has very real consequences in a Third World country. Women of that socioeconomic status have little ability to support themselves without their family's or community's help. Should they fall ill, be attacked, run out of money, or otherwise need help from family or community, they won't get it. Social services and law enforcement as we know it are non-existent there... such resources by and large are not around to give help. And traditional familial culture is not like Western familial culture in that demonstration of adequate need might cause your relatives to overcome disagreements in order to help you out. Sanctions for non-compliance to social norms can be extremely severe in such cultures, to the point of allowing ostracized family members to fall into poverty or prostitution (being a last resort for women who need money), or to die alone from disease, over what MeFites would consider trivial things, like refusing to marry the person one was told to marry.

So that having been said, a woman of such status may either have a marriage arranged or seek a marriage on her own. If she has a marriage arranged and it goes well, she is lucky. If she has a marriage arranged and it does not go well, she has to go through her family to get out of it. If her family respects her interests, she is lucky. If her family does not respect her interests, she either stays in this marriage, which could merely be bad in the sense of being emotionally exploitative or which could mean she is emotionally or physically abused, or she leaves the marriage and accepts ostracization. If she accepts ostracization, she takes on the sanctions that follow from it.

If a woman of such status seeks a marriage on her own, she also accepts ostracization and takes on the sanctions that follow from it.

Now consider a generic Westerner who wishes to go to India to get a bride. If this person is a genuine, kind, caring person, then his wife is lucky. If this person is not then, if his wife is of a certain socioeconomic status, her options to escape a bad or abusive relationship are not the options that a Western woman has.
posted by halonine at 5:17 PM on March 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Very good points, halonine. I agree with them. I was too glib in apparently asserting that "mail-order" Russian brides are fully autonomous and rational in their decisions. Clearly, there's lots of reasons to believe they're not. However, I do think that the point I was trying to support with that argument is correct: even if there was full autonomy and reason, there'd still be a predominant repulsed reaction. Of course this is only a supposition.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:31 PM on March 7, 2006


Oh, man. I don't just like certain types of ethnicities, I even like certain types of facial shapes! I even like certain types of hairstyles, or clothing! Even accents! Or even the ability to converse intelligently! Heck, never mind genetic or class-imparted characteristics, I even like women who have certain types of interests and skills that they share with me. Oh no! Now I'm going to burn in hell for being über selectivist and fetishist or whatnotist.

In other words, I have nothing to say really but would like to note that I stake my position on the opposite corner from elisabeth r & co.

I think "I want to marry a Hindu woman" is a perfectly valid inclination to have. Cute, even.

However, I agree that the tone of 'I want to pick up a bride, how do I go about doing so' is eyebrow-raising. But that has to do with (slight) insensitivity or even a hint of boorishness, not with racism/classism/imperialist/sexism/oh-my-god-i-can't-believe-you-count-physical-or-cultural-characteristics-when-chosing -a-romantic-partner-ism.
posted by Firas at 5:32 PM on March 7, 2006


"I don't require a dowry". That cracked me up. Creepy? Hell yes. Damned funny though.
posted by Decani at 5:59 PM on March 7, 2006


Languagehat's comment that it is a "perfectly normal" blog is nauseating. This quote taken from the first paragraph on his blog: "We'll be able to take off our humanistic masks and become bitter and cynical again, openly ogle women, tell sexist and rascist jokes."

Languagehat, if that's perfectly normal for you, then you've got issues.
posted by digitalis at 6:11 PM on March 7, 2006


A perfect illustration of what I meant about people loving to show off their correctness. Yeah, that's right, pal, that's me to a T. Sexist, racist, downright evil languagehat. You can ask anyone.

You, um, apparently don't read blogs much. But enjoy your feeling of superiority! You da man nongendered raceless nonspeciesist mammal!
posted by languagehat at 7:01 PM on March 7, 2006


if that's perfectly normal for you, then you've got issues.

Perfect people are perfectly boring.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:03 PM on March 7, 2006


Crap, isn't looking for a BRIDE bad enough? What, you can't look for a HUSBAND? I think that anyone who isn't attracted to people (and non-people) of every race, creed, culture, religion, gender and age is creepy. Preference is icky.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:03 PM on March 7, 2006


Ugh, 23skidoo is a speciesist.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:04 PM on March 7, 2006


Yeah, what's wrong with lichen? They need love too!
posted by languagehat at 7:09 PM on March 7, 2006


I refuse to marry a degenerate lichen! Don't get me wrong, there are good lichen and bad lichen. I don't wish any of them ill, but I don't want one in my family. Lichen are also good at sports.
posted by Falconetti at 7:50 PM on March 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's possible to find racist and sexist jokes funny without being racist or sexist yourself.
posted by sid at 7:55 PM on March 7, 2006


Sarah Silverman, is that you?
posted by Falconetti at 7:57 PM on March 7, 2006


Man, I love Sarah Silverman... anyone know where I can meet a nice Jew girl like that?
posted by Meatbomb at 8:43 PM on March 7, 2006


Man, I love Sarah Silverman... anyone know where I can meet a nice Jew girl like that?

That comment might have been worth this mess of a thread, but I think the moral of the story is to wait 8 hours before taking anything to Metatalk.
posted by chunking express at 8:57 PM on March 7, 2006


Sarah Silverman, is that you?

It is if you think she looks thin :D

I didn't find Meatbomb's blog creepy at all. Some of his thoughts are just very honest and raw. You know, because it's a blog people, a BLOG. Also, don't most adults get to a point where they find they urgently desire a life partner & then often go about it badly? Also-also, like everyone else here isn't as creepy in their own special way?
posted by zarah at 9:14 PM on March 7, 2006


MAKE MORE BLOG POSTS!
posted by crabintheocean at 9:59 PM on March 7, 2006


Wow a lot of douchebags in this thread. Meatbomb don't sweat the haters.

reminds me of one of my favorite phrases...

NUKE ALL THE GAY WHALES!~
posted by Dreamghost at 10:32 PM on March 7, 2006


I will keep you happy as lord padmanabha on thiruvonam day

Thiruvonam? naxosaxur, are you from Kerala too?


As an Indian (Hindu turned atheist), I didn't find the question offensive, but my initial reaction was a "yeee" shudder. Perhaps the question was poorly worded, but it just had a "white guy wants to swoop in, save/pick up poor Hindu girl and fly back" vibe. I tried to answer the question, however.


Or maybe I'm just being essentialist in my assumption that Hindus are vegetarian!

elisabeth r, you are quite wrong on that one. Yes, India has a large percentage of vegetarians, but Hindu != "vegetarian".
posted by madman at 10:35 PM on March 7, 2006


I didn't find Meatbomb's blog creepy at all. Some of his thoughts are just very honest and raw. You know, because it's a blog people, a BLOG.

Are you seriously suggesting that blogs needn't necessarily be bastions of distortion and dramatization and transparently flattering falsehood?

I mean, what the fuck?
posted by cortex at 11:06 PM on March 7, 2006


On the one hand, I know where this guy is coming from because most Indian/West Asian girls I've met have been smokin'.

On the other hand, I value personality and compatibility over Indian-ness, and while a girl being Indian would be a nice bonus, like having a fantastic butt or enjoying Star Wars, it is hardly a requirement for a healthy, fulfilling relationship.

This guy sounds like he's got a Indian variant of yellow fever. *shudder*
posted by schroedinger at 7:40 AM on March 8, 2006


Obviously I'm not very slow to call people racists if I think they are, but I honestly don't find the question creepy at all.

In fact, the only way I see the question as offensive is if you assume that Indian women are somehow extra submissive and inherently unequal to white men. That assumption is inherently racist in itself. Alternatively, you could imagine simply that he has this supposition, which isn't exactly racist but the core of the idea has to come from somewhere.

I've known Indian women and they all seemed reasonably confident, worldly, and independent as much as Western women. In fact, from a cultural standpoint there really doesn't seem to be much of a difference, other then that they are less promiscuous in general.

I think they're pretty good looking. I have no idea if they are very racially selective, for me it doesn’t really matter since they think I'm Indian anyway.
posted by delmoi at 1:17 PM on March 8, 2006


This guy sounds like he's got a Indian variant of yellow fever. *shudder*

The other day I was looking at match.com profiles for my town, and saw a Chinese girl saying she preferred white guys, and found she had more in common with them, etc. Is that creepy to you too? I'm honestly curious.
posted by delmoi at 1:20 PM on March 8, 2006


and saying French dudes are hot isn't implying anything about the characteristics of French dudes. Just their looks.

Since there is no way to tell a French dude apart from an English or belgan dude, it obviously has a little more to do with then their looks.
posted by delmoi at 1:25 PM on March 8, 2006


Maybe white(?)-guy is a little creepy, but it goes both ways. Indian guys can be creepy too.

Now, I really hate to ethnically generalize, but it seems to me like many collage aged Indian dudes (actually from India) basically consider American women sluts that they can bang freely while they're over here.
posted by delmoi at 1:29 PM on March 8, 2006


I wrote "Jains are hotter" in that thread and it was deleted by a mod.

My experience is based on several dates with a woman from a Jain heritage.

My only conclusion that I can draw from the censorship is that mods hate Jains.
posted by meehawl at 1:58 PM on March 8, 2006


My only conclusion that I can draw from the censorship is that mods hate Jains.

I'd suggest something simpler like "Jains are hotter" not being an answer to the question "How do I find a Hindu bride?"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:22 PM on March 8, 2006


Pandagon actually did a post on it: What if it turns out the stereotype you married was a human being after all?
posted by amberglow at 6:38 PM on March 8, 2006


Jainism is the wellspring out of which much of modern (ie, post 500 BCE) Hinduism and Buddhism sprang. Possibly many of the qualities people associate with "Hinduism" are in fact Jainist related, derived, or associated. The founder of Jainism, Lord Rişhabha (ऋषभ) is sometimes considered an avatar of Vishnu by many Hindus. Plus, Jain veggie food is the core of good Gujarati cuisine.

Jains *are* hotter. IMHO, the OP would do well to look for some Jains along with Hindus.
posted by meehawl at 8:37 PM on March 8, 2006


Thank you for the heads up, meehawl, this is useful information
posted by Meatbomb at 1:19 AM on March 9, 2006


What kind of keeved me in the post was that there wasn't a distinction made between Hinduism-the-religion and Indian-the-race-or-nationality. Not all Indians are Hindus, and there are Hindus that are not Indian (not many, but existent).

Also, why do you need to go to India to find such a person? They're not only confined to there, y'know. Try Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, United Kingdom, USA, Canada, almost every other country in the world...

Besides, this question also somehow implies a stereotype of Indian/Hindu women - that they all act alike (what the "alike" is, I don't know, that's up to Meatbomb). But they're all different, in their own way! You could get two ladies that were both Indian and Hindu and still have completely opposite personalities. It doesn't guarantee anything, really. It may make some things somewhat more likely (especially in terms of cultural values), but it's not a sure thing.

It also reduces someone to just two values - nationality and religion - which is rather problematic, as people are more complex than that. You don't go and marry someone only because they're such-and-such an attribute, whilethe other attributes are all null; there's also all sorts of character and personality aspects to consider - some of which you may not like or tolerate.

Apparently Meatbomb's looking for a Hindu/Indian wife because he had fallen in love with such a girl somewhere. (Something about a trainee?) If that's the case...dude, going to India to look for a bride ain't gonna get you your dream girl. There's more to her than just her religion and race.
posted by divabat at 5:43 AM on March 9, 2006


oh, now I get it, Borat has a mefi account?

"In US of A, if you want to marry a girl, you cannot just go to her father and swap her for 15 gallons of pesticide. Here you have to do something called dating. I find out more ..."

and when dating sounds like shopping, yes, it's creepy.
posted by milovoo at 10:36 AM on March 9, 2006


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