Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Of Thugs and Sluts

Stanley Crouch writes a brief but thoughtful op-ed that makes a firm and unflinching point to young people caught up in the thug/slut fashions of the day: you are slaves and you don’t even know it. He further suggests--a la George Gilder--that women have much greater power than they imagine to turn these things around by refusing to acknowledge the advances of such men and refusing to take part in the accompanying "slut" culture of the hip-hop scene. Crouch posits that most young men who are taken with this hip-hop rap culture are just playing a part in order to attract the attention of females. Well . . . perhaps.

On some basic level I suppose there is a bit of truth in what Crouch says. There is, at any rate, probably enough truth in it to make his prescription pretty effective in treating the symptoms of this disease eating away at our culture. But how do you get these women to swallow that bitter pill? That question Crouch leaves unanswered. Beyond that, however, I do not think the pleas of women for manly men will be enough, in the end, to ratchet up production. There are many reasons to be less than optimistic but one especially big one is that a true manly man (as well as a true thug) will not act out of concern for what causes a woman to fawn over him. And here’s the rub: women will still fawn over them--indeed they will fawn all the more. As a result less manly and less thuggish men will attempt to emulate their examples. So no, what thuggish men truly need is the example of real men defeating thugs and putting them in their place and receiving the sweet rewards of real women for their efforts. Similarly, what slutty women need is the example of real women who know the difference between a man and a thug.

Still, on the whole, there is nothing unsound about Crouch’s advice. I just don’t think it is a prescription that can ever kill the virus--only manage its more manageable symptoms (i.e., lesser thugs).

Discussions - 17 Comments

As an astute observer of the relations between the sexes once remarked, "I am convinced that we will never succeed in working these changes without bringing about the intervention of women, on whom men’s way of thinking in large measure depends...Do you want to know men? Study women." Finally, "never has a nation perished from an excess of wine; all perish from the disorder of women."

Rousseau? Perhaps he speaks to those little thugs Crouch talked about--the ones who crave the attention of females more than they crave self-respect. But Rousseau does not sufficiently explain what causes the disorder of women. Further, the problem is that Nietzsche answered Rousseau and the big thugs listened. Nietzsche said, "Who does woman hate most? Thus spoke the iron to the magnet: ’I hate you most because you attract, but are not strong enough to pull me to you.’" I will just go ahead and say what I’m thinking here--even if I am stepping in it . . . the disorder of women, it seems to me, is actually caused by the disorder of men. It is women, more than men, who react to what the opposite sex seems to want. And, unfortunately for Rousseau and Crouch and even George Gilder, what men seem to want is not dictated by men who care much for what women want--if not out of spite and hatefulness then occasionally out of virtue. It is dictated by the kind of man described by Nietzsche (in the over-man--thus spite and hatefulness) on the one hand and Aristotle (the magnanimous man--thus virtue) on the other. So waiting for women to change in order to shape up the men is not only futile, it is unmanly.

Consider this: Mr. Darcy, in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is justly mortified to know that he has assaulted the feelings of Elizabeth Bennett with his apparent but not actual haughtiness--but he is also amused by her wounded pride which was brought on by her prejudice against him and led to the whole unnecessary but delightful drama. But, of course, the whole drama also caused him to fall in love with her. Which may also be why Nietzsche says, "A real man wants two things: danger and play. Therefore he wants woman as the most dangerous plaything."

There are more players in Crouch’s sobering analysis: the "black middle class" and "white liberals." They too have a part to play in bringing change, though perhaps not as tough a part as Julie’s hoped-for young black "manly men." And for all that, it’s hard to see the allure of the latter, their prospect of defeating the "thugs" on their own.

Let’s not limit this to the Black community. Take a gander at the women abasing themselves around "Hef."

There is a significant catch in the last word in your post. "Plaything." There is the game played between the sexes, and then there is genuine passion. A man passionate about a woman does not view her as a "thing," let alone a "thing" to be "played" with, trifled with, toyed with. NO. He sees her as an ineffable, sublime creation. The mere vision of her is a vision of heaven, and possessing her, ravishing her, is a foretaste of the joys of heaven.

And to be parted from her, to be apart from her, is to know the sufferings of the damned.

I think the thread might take a more interesting departure by shifting the discussion from "thugs and sluts" to the issue of jerks and hook-ups.

I would like to know Julie’s opinion on why so many attractive women hook-up with jerks.

Nicely put, Julie. It does, however, seem to me that ultimately in the relations between the sexes one is the pursuer the other the pursued. It therefore remains the case that men tend to conform to whatever it is they think women desire or expect. Now, certainly you are correct that it is unmanly to wait for women to change before shaping up men. But I can’t help to think that the disorder began with the sexual liberation of women. If the blame is to fall upon men it can only then be their weakness in allowing this liberation to go as far as it did. But then again its difficult for young men to object to the sexual liberation of women. The "slut/thug" categories perplex me. If the girls are sluts why do you need to be a thug? Why do you need to be anything, other than properly equipped?

Oh lighten up you guys! Just because YOU always dressed like your parents want you to, doesn’t mean that every kid will.

FL--A simple question to answer your question: Who liberated the women? And then another: Why? Whose interests are best served by the sexual liberation of women?

Dan--A simple answer to your question: Women, when lacking experience (or without sufficient powers of reflection or discernment), are attracted to thuggish traits because they confuse these traits with manliness. Now, why?

It is easy to confuse the two things (partly because it is easier to find the former than the latter). Which is also, I think, why it is sometimes even more fun to read Nietzsche than Aristotle or Austen. In some ways Nietzsche is like that--a quick fix and very seductive. But it, like the seductions of a jerky guy, is full of fatal intellectual errors. But there is something of truth in it--at least enough to make it attractive. So some heed should be paid to why that is so.

You do, however, make an excellent point regarding the differences between thugs and men and how they view the women in their lives. In fact, I have read your post now about 20 times. I am sure, in fact, that I will be back to read it. Keep talking like that around pretty women and you will be too busy to bother asking someone like me why women seem to like jerks. -- (But isn’t it interesting that you seem to resent the affinity women have for strong jerks and yet, at the same time, you seem to demonstrate only an affinity for the pretty women. Don’t give it too much credence, but also don’t overlook the role of biology in these things either! From a purely biological point of view, strong men (even bad strong men) make a more reliable choice for women who need protection and a beautiful form in a woman is the best indication men have of her relative health for child-bearing absent a doctor’s report. So there’s some of that going on too!)

Does this mean chivalry is not dead? Just sleeping? Or too busy? What will the feminists have to say? Oh my, oh my...

I agree with you 100% Julie (which makes me glad, because it reinforced what I got out of Nietzsche). Women like jerky guys guys (aka thugs, bad boys, etc.) because the true ones have that one essential characteristic of manliness: confidence in the face of risk. Nietzsche talks about all of this at length, as Julie notes. And I agree with her that, contrary to Rouseau, it is ultimately the men who would affect a change. I think the problems started with Nietzsche, when the manly men were no longer oblidged to be gentlemen. The women began trying to act the way the ubermensche would want, and thus the rest of the men tried to imitate the others.

Maybe I am the only one to recognize this...but I doubt it... Young black people and young white people...and young people in general...are developing their own codes, their own culture...their own hierarchy of moral values...their own everything...it is ontological anarchy. A lot of the points you guys are making don’t even count as valid points from within the horizon of the thug/hip-hop culture. And sure these folks are slaves...and they don’t even know it... but to bring Nietzche into this properly who isn’t slave to a particular horizon? That is you aren’t preaching to them something that sounds like liberation...you are preaching to them something that sounds like be more white... accept these standards, these norms, these habits, these manners and mores...and they are saying...I am just fine being "me" thank you(substitute fuck for thank to get the same meaning).

Why should we care? I mean that in different circles different norms, and rules apply...and you can traffic in whatever group you fit into...In some places what Gilder suggests is applied...

I wager that I could live the rest of my life without encountering aspects of society that I find revolting...so if they revolt you...don’t hang around so long being appaled.

I don’t like gay people...so I don’t go to gay bars... pretty simple...avoid groups you dislike or feel uncomfortable around...and this is what most people do...I swear that as often as I hear these sort of complaints...there must be a lot of people who are simply masochistic...and I suppose I must share this trait myself to find company in people always complaining about the "other" in society.

There’s nothing new in the fact that young people generally try to develop their own standards and norms and habits and mores. There’s also nothing new in the fact that 9 times out of 10 these developments are not good for them. Many of them will figure this out before it is too late to deal with the anarchy they have created in their lives. A good many will not. I care because the good many who do not will wreak havoc on the rest of society and my progeny--no matter how carefully I try to insulate myself and them. I also care because I am sensitive to human tragedy.

Also, I like the way you summarized my too lengthy post Andrew. I think we do agree.

Please elaborate on just how "thug culture" is wrecking havoc on society.

Last time I checked, gangsta rap is still played on the radio, but yet America hasn’t crumbled down around us.

Illegitimacy rates, coarsening language, absence of thought, crime, drugs, vandalism, glorification of the death culture . . . shall I go on? These things don’t only affect "certain neighborhoods" or communities; they affect all of us.

Being sensitive to human tragedy is indeed machochistic...especially if Nietzsche is correct. But I disagree that the thug culture will wreak havoc on the rest of society...the thug culture will affect those who convert to thugism...and in many ways the very existance of thug culture will provide an example of what not to emulate... as such it will point the way to something else(In other words...how many people would be thugs were it not for the unglamorous ends met by a majority of adherents?) If you happen to know any thugs as I do...you realize how ridiculous it to put 22" rims on a dodge charger that will no doubt be in repo in about 6 months. These jokers all try to fake it before they make it...with kansas city bankrolls (a one hundred dollar bill on the outside and 100 ones on the inside). 3 things happen to thugs either they can no longer fake it...in which case they settle down with one of their baby mama’s...or else they continue faking it past the time that it is credible...and they look riduculous...or else they actually make it. Not very many make it. It is a hard thing to actually pull the thug life off... Because of the sheer number of ridiculous(failed) thugs...I would say that you are beating a dead horse. I don’t see this as being a highly emulated life style... in addition to this 3/4 of the thugs actually don’t have real thug credentials...The majority of the sucessfull thugs who can fake it the longest...might even have degrees and make great bank in the legit economy...at the very least half of them are in the millitary...which means that in the rest of their lives(outside the weekend) they have to conform to some real standards, and at least be productive. So the thugs that make it are in fact responsible, opportunistic, thinking people in other areas of life. So when the thugs are rollin’ on 22" pimpin’ Rocca wear and the newest Jordans...you can probably rest assured that they bought them by saying "yes sir" at the office.

If you think about it...the hip hop culture has actually raised the bar...everything that it glorifies is very expensive...its all about the bling’. In order to get these expensive things...they have to work...in order to work you have to accept responsibility.

If you want to know why women love thugs... well...sluts/women love men with money...so long as they have money. Let me break it down... Clothes $200. Watch $1200. Sneakers $180. Cadillac 50k plus. 22" rims $4000. Sound system $3000. Cover charge $10+, drinks for the ladies $10+ per. Not to mention the hours spent detailing, and keeping everything nice. You better be ballin’ some serious moolah if you want to be a thug. If you don’t have that kind of money then you better have serious game and a Kansas City bankroll...but women can tell the difference.

If you ask me the thug life style is mostly about spending lots of money and pretending riches... The thug lifestyle in one sentence: Fake it before you make it.

What you describe, John Lewis, is very much like the whole problem with the coarsening of the culture. If you are upper middle class or rich, the lack of boundaries does not affect you--at least not in the most apparent ways (the outlook for your soul is a different matter). But the example this sets for those without the means to support their stupid decisions about life, is devastating. It’s all well and good for those ample resources to pull their chestnuts out of the fire to behave irresponsibly. It is much more problematic for the rest of us. And you’re forgetting this fact in your post above . . . the need for the money to support that expensive lifestyle you describe just as often leads to crime, not legitimate work. But beyond all of these things, these people are polluting their souls and ruining all hope for attaining anything that is truly high or noble in life. And that’s not only a shame, it’s an unnecessary shame in this great country.

Well crime is rarely a good provider for the expensive lifestyle. One has to be pretty resourcefull in order to be successful as a criminal. As Levitt points out in Freakonomics most drug dealers live at home with parents and make the equivalent of less than $10/hour. So I think that the thug lifestyle is just another version of materialism. I think that the thug lifestyle is actually an inducement to hard work...to making it...A lot of yound black people work really hard so they can afford those 22" rims and those escallades...and latinos work really hard so they can pimp out lowriders..and rednecks work really hard all so they can create the ultimate 4x4 mud running truck...just like some women work really hard so they can wear prada or have a Gucci purse. Almost any group of people can be mocked for the priorities they choose...but those priorities are the expression of who they are.

"But beyond all of these things, these people are polluting their souls and ruining all hope for attaining anything that is truly high or noble in life. And that’s not only a shame, it’s an unnecessary shame in this great country." I might have to say that it is a necessary shame...because in essence their ontological structures or horizons precludes the truly high or noble. And I think it is a demonstratable myth to suggest that all souls aim at the same heights or nobility... If anything there are millions of people who are all mutually incapable of understanding why the arguments of the "other" should count as arguements. In other words: check out Book 1 of the Nichomachean ethics.

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