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Tuesday, October 8th 2013

4:23 AM

Who Reads The Obsidian Files, & Why?

Hello everyone, 
Well, it's that time to get a sense of what's going on out there - the informal and highly unscientific Obsidian Files survey. Please let me know who you are, why you read, what you like and dislike about the blog, etc. I'm looking to see how and where I can improve things. Feel free to elaborate or bring anything else up. Thanks!

O.
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Friday, September 27th 2013

10:42 AM

Move Over Stop And Frisk - Here Comes The Street-Harassment App!

From my latest article over at The Urban Politico:

"No sooner than my recent article taking up the burning issue of our era, "street harassment" hit the Interwebs, did one of my readers alert me to the fact that, as the quote above so presciently observes, there ARE indeed moves afoot to criminalize this supposed pandemic of the behaviors of lecherous Men. The Atlantic ran an article about two weeks ago, detailing how the Hollaback! organization, a multi-state "the sky is falling" franchise chockfull of the kinds of Do-Gooders one is likely to run into in Left-leaning havens like New York City, has released an updated version of their original "street harassment app" that came out back in 2010. The newer version - "Hollaback! 2.0" if you will - was granted $20K USD back in 2011 and was released for use in the Big Apple with the blessings and support of local politicos Julissa Ferraras and Christine Quinn - the latter of which being a mayoral candidate in her own right. Aside from all the usual "features" you'd expect from an app - like the ability to take and catalog pictures and/or video footage of the putative "offenders", GPS stuff and balloons mapping when and where some guy you don't like was, gasp! looking at you - the app has raised concerns among the Best and Brightest for one other updated feature: the ability to collate data. You see, when you use the app, you can then send your findings in to a kind of Big Blue database - in this case, something called Councilstat - which kinda sounds like Compstat, doesn't it?-where, instead of merely the mayor of NYC will have access to such "reports", just the NYC council members. Like Ms. Ferraras. Or Ms. Quinn. 

These developments come at a most interesting - and uncomfortable - time for the Hollaback! franchise; earlier this Summer, a NYC judge ruled its infamous "Stop and Frisk" policy to be unconstitutional, and which has sparked a national debate about the abuses of the police state, racial profiling of young, lower-class Black and Brown Men, and trampling of civil liberties; then, there's the larger and even more troubling revelations brought to us by American dissident Edward Snowden, about the federal government's snooping activities - it's gotten so bad that the actions of the NSA in this regard have soured relations between the USA and Brazil, after it's president discovered that the former was indeed, spying on her. The chief question, in both of these well-known - infamous even - events, is who gets to decide if someone is outta pocket? What objective standards will come into play, in making such a determination, when someone, likely a Woman, uses this "Hollaback! 2.0" app and presses the "send" button? What happens then - will criminal penalties be levied against the offender - without trial, perhaps? 

There are those in the "hollaback" community who certainly would like to see legal penalties assessed, for certain - one Cynthia Grant Bowman, of Cornell university, has been on the stump advocating for criminal penalties for "verbal street harassment" - she calls for fines being levied against the "offenders"."

Checkout the whole article and comment over there. 

Now adjourn your arses...

The Obsidian

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Tuesday, September 24th 2013

6:58 AM

Considering Tatyana's Street Harassment "Crusade": (Male) Commenter Reactions, Follow-Up Insights

"I'll be your huckleberry; that's just my game."
-Val Kilmer/"Doc Holiday", "Tombstone"

Yesterday, I posted my Monday Missive, this time focusing on the "activst" rabble that is Tatyana Fazlalizadeh's life's work. The article was I am very happy to say, very well received, and got mucho attention - just what I had hoped. A full-throated conversation obtaining on all facets of Sexual Politics in our time is sorely needed, especially when it comes to the Black community(?) in the 21st Century.

In one of the venues where my article appeared, the blog collective that I cofounded, Just Four Guys, featured several very interesting comment-reactions to my article; I should like to present a few of them for your consideration. 

The first is from "DME", who writes: 

"Well since “stop and frisk” is on the way out, and black men seem to be the target demographic for “The war against street harassment”, maybe they can just substitute “stop and gag”. Can’t let all that taxpayer money go to waste. Got to give the cops something to do.

As a blue collar dude, who has spent most of his adult life on construction sites, I have seen maybe a half dozen real “cat calls”. And I have worked with drug addicts, convicts, thieves, murderers, armed robbers, alcoholics and at least one ex pimp. If these guys, who are the dregs of society, who have no respect for any woman who didn’t bear them, are not participating in this “epidemic” of street harassment, then who the f*ck is?

Also I can say that when I worked as a bouncer, in a club that had a lot of bachelorette parties, that’s when I saw real sexual harassment. I’ve had my d*ck grabbed, my ass slapped, my nipples pinched, my chest stroked, and endured grilling’s about the size of my cock or my favourite sexual positions. And I was far from the best looking dude who worked there. Some of the good looking bartenders got that shit a dozen or more times a night."

Hmm! 

"Tasmin" concurs:

"Second that. And strangers. Younger and older women. While women may not take the route of unsolicited sexualized verbal attention, IME many women operate under the premise that because men are of course just twitching sexual animals that they can put hands on us or engage in various other highly-sexualized-suggestive behaviors; that because they (may) have pre-approved such contact from us that it means we are always interested in their advances.

Perhaps the vocalization of that same kind of sexual objectification is beneath them – or would be too overtly indicative of their own base sexuality. Either way their hands can wander. Don’t get me wrong, the vocalization often comes, but usually just more privately or in the company of their close agents, as opposed to shouts from the scaffolding across the boulevard.

Interestingly, when called out on this behavior they often become hostile and take offense, go immediately to that poisoned well, the reflexive demeaning of the man. “What, are you gay or something?” “You can’t handle a real/strong/sexual/powerful/hot/experienced woman?” They must quickly place the man beneath them – and other men just for good measure. A man that they just had the hots for. Its crazy.

The victim chameleon, that cold-blooded reptilian seems to always be lurking just beneath the surface. They come at you with that pinkish glow of empowerment, but turn the lamp toward them and the victim skin comes out and suddenly that empowerment is invisible and my male privilege/power is trying to stomp all over them.

I’ve stopped calling them out lately and just give them a look that I would give a child that has done something disappointing yet predictable, that kind of subtle condescension that teachers can never seem to shake; suggesting that her behavior is beneath me and should be beneath her too; that the whole encounter is as asexual as possible to disarm the sexual aspect and turn it into just something stupid and rude – which it is. I suppose their confusion in all of that is better than a confrontation. I’ve lost what little desire I ever had to give my feedback on female behavior of this nature. Its pointless.

To me it is about that same old power/control and hypergamy stuff. They don’t want to be called out by the prisoners or construction flunks; they want to be called out in more sophisticated ways (of their choosing) by the SVP or the tall-cool-guy holding court at the bar/club. Nothing new about feminists and their beneficiaries wanting to control the entirety of the sexual market which includes policing and shaming anything that might “offend” them or suggest their actual place – natural or self-inflicted – within the SMP.

This is particularly true for anything that points out the fact that female sexuality (sex itself) has been on the clearance rack for years (dare not mention that they put it there) or if certain classes of men dare to express anything based merely on a woman’s appearance. They use words like dehumanizing and objectifying to make it seem like a universal issue, when in fact it is just more of that hypoagency and victim culture nonsense sloppily applied in their ongoing attempts to yoke men with more responsibility for women’s behaviors and choices."

I think the above two comments give us all a goodly bit to mull over, in this grand time of reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic that is the United States. 

Elsewhere on the Internet, reactions from other Men have been just as interesting...if not reactionary. Charges of "sour grapes" on my part were made, with the epithet "Holla Freedom!" (which I actually think is rather clever!) being hurled about - the notion that the motivations for my writing the article in the first place were a facade to cover over my own supposed failures to "holla" at Women on the street, that I am part and parcel of the demographic of which I chose to advocate for in this debate. These guys, and they are a paltry few I must point out, give stark witness to the idea that being a White Knight in Blackface, is a very real and living thing. 

Then, there were howls of derision over the (my) use of the term "She-Fascist" - a smoking gun, prima facie piece of evidence if there ever was one, that Obsidian was a rabid misogynist peddling wild-eyed conspiracy theories of an Estrogen-fueled Extinction Level Event just on the horizon over there. I'm chuckling to myself as I type these words; I guess my turn of phrase in describing the Tyranny of the Fairer Sex in our time. has rankled quite a few feathers indeed. The pen - or shall I say the keyboard - truly is mightier than the sword after all. 

Other guys questioned the style in which I wrote my missive - we Black folks are nothing if not style conscious, dontcha know - and suggested that my mentions of the McCarthy era, George Orwell and Leni Reifenstahl, were over the top and brought more heat than light to the discussion - of course, failing to get the joke, that my reasoning for mentioning those names, events and incidents was precisely to highlight the over the top actions of Fazlalizadeh and her ilk themselves - as well as to recall the lessons of history, and how they so often repeat themselves: the marginalization of others, the silencing of dissent, the assault on civil liberties; the hijacking of moral narrative, the axe-grinding in the name of "right", and an imposition on the reproductive lives of others - the very same grievances that those who paint themselves as Feminists have claimed to be against for lo these many years themselves. And, when they are first able to gain some degree of influence, what do they do? They do what their ostensible oppressors do - become oppressors themselves. 

Indeed, that the "responses" on the part of those who peddle this tripe would attempt to either personally attack and/or shutdown my voice of dissent, is telling, as I noted in my previous piece - the very same "WOC Feminists" who whined and moaned about how the all-powerful Prof. Hugo Schwyzer using his racial and gender privilege to silence their dissent and personally attack them using backdoor channels - and here we are on Twitter, where these same ladies are attempting to do the same thing to yours truly - and in so doing, have proven my point: they don't want a real debate, nor do they give a damn about "justice". What they want is to impose their worldview onto others, without challenge or even innocent questioning. They, are every bit as meglomaniacal as those they claim to oppose.  

Well, the done went and messed with the wrong Brotha this time. 

Stick around - we're just getting started.

Now adjourn your arses...

The Obsidian
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Monday, September 23rd 2013

9:53 AM

Considering Tatyana’s Street Harassment “Crusade”

My latest post, which appears today at both Just Four Guys and The Urban Politico, picks up where I left off on Friday:

"Last Friday over at the popular website Very Smart Brothas, I participated in a discussion on the question of Street Harassment, the latest tempest-in-a-teapot "cause" on the part of what have come to be known, perhaps appropriately so, as Internet Feminists. A number of them have raised a ruckus over the past few years, and seems to have been successful in garnering their fifteen minutes of infamy. 

The discussion that I refer to at VSB was presented in the following manner: one half of the hallowed blogging team, one Mr. Damon "The Champ" Young, appeared on a panel of talking heads to discuss the matter on Huffington Post Live. The 22 minute segment featured Champ, who got to be on the panel in the first place, because he wrote a piece for Ebony.com where he appropriately did what comedian and commentator Bill Maher described as "making Women nod". He was the only Man on the panel, and no one there to actually present a balanced or even nuanced view of the matter under examination, regardless of gender. 

And what, pray tell, was the matter under examination? The idea that there is a horde of lecherous Men who can't, or better still won't, control their gaze, and keep it movin'. When this discussion comes up we're regaled with tales of Creepy Guys following Women around, throwing bricks at them for being rebuffed and so forth. It's a matter of national security! Stop Street Harassment Now!

The problem with this line of histrionics, actually several problems, is that it (1) cheapens any chance for actual thoughtful discourse on the matter; and, (2) it actually slaps yet another layer of profiling the putative offenders.

Why do I say that? 

Because - and this has been borne out on the aforementioned discussion obtaining on VSB - the "source" of the "problem", appear to emanate from lower-class Black and Brown Men. As a rule, Men regardless of color, who are nevertheless from the upper stratas of society, don't form up on street corners in sketchy neighborhoods and harass the ladies as they walk by. Quite a few of the ladies who took part in the discussion on VSB last Friday confirmed my initial analysis of the matter - and in so doing, couldn't help from squirming in their realization."

Read the whole thing over there and over there, too!

Now adjourn your arses...

The Obsidian
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Friday, September 20th 2013

4:51 AM

Three VSBs Takeup The Question Of "Street Harassment"

"Equality, for those who can stomach it, is a cruel master - deal with it."
-Paul Elam, A Voice For Men

Good Evening Gents, 
*Pulls up chair, puts fedora on table, rests cane on back of chair, motions waitress over to get a few rounds for the Brothas*

Mr. Panama told me recently that he intended to return with expanded and revised remarks on the current topic, and true to his word, he didn't disappoint - and I am most pleased to see you join in on the action as well, Mr. Champ. 

As I am sure it comes as no surprise to either of you, I too have been made aware of the latest #OutrageOfTheMonth on the part of the (WOC) Feminist Lobby, and have indeed written a bit about the matter from my vantage point; today serves as an opportunity to put everything I've said on this and related matters into one treatise for your and the Grand Assembly's consideration. 

Let's dive right in, shall we? 

The other day, I openly expressed skepticism at the supposed "epidemic" of street harassment, and asked if there was any empirical evidence available that lends support to the many and, I must say, somewhat hyperbolic assertions made on the part of certain ladies in the round in this regard; of course, no such evidence was forthcoming, and instead was informed about the very same "artist/activist" that Mr. Champ had the recent nonversation with on HuffPo Live with (I certainly do hope that Mr. Champ knows, that his appearance on such a forum was to serve as the proverbial sacrificial lamb and whipping boy, there only to do what Bill Maher called "the Oprah Nod" - right? Right? I mean, he didn't really expect to have a full-throated conversation on the matter - right?). I've investigated said "activist/artist" and found what she presents to be...wanting.

There are a number of points that require illumination:

1. The "issue", such as it is, is one of LOW CLASS MEN WHO HAVE LITTLE IF ANYTHING TO OFFER A WOMAN, DOING THE "HARASSING", IF AT ALL. We've all seen this so there's little point to take it any further. Men from the lower end of the SES scale have always been society's biggest street offenders of all kinds. Brothas who frequent forums like these are highly unlikely to engage in such behaviors. 

2. A Man may most certainly approach a Woman on the street or anywhere else (at work, et al), IF, he's The Right Kind of Guy. What is that, you ask? 

To ask the question, is to answer it; in White America, as Tina Fey aptly demonstrated on Saturday Night Live a few years back, it's Tom Brady; in Black America, it's Idris Elba. YES, Men like them can and most likely will, say and pretty much do, anything they like to/with the ladies. And YES, this definitely means, that lesser Men need not apply - this is what the ladies are saying, and when it comes to Black America and particularly for the crowd that makes up the Afrosphere, ladies have been saying this for quite a few years now. Simply put, they are amenable to being approached, *by certain types of Brothas*. 

End of.

3. Here's the thing, though - the Brothas, writ large, have heard you, ladies - hence the "curious cases of the Man-less meet markets" and the like (looks at Mr. Champ). In fact, in a recent conversation with Mr. Paul Carrick Brunson, I learned that he has recently instituted a program on his website, where he actually pays "finder's fees" of $100 USD to people who can find him Black Men for his Black Women clients(!). 

Let that sink in for a moment. 

I recently attended a backyard end-of-Summer party about a week or so ago, and I was the only Man in present, among roughly a dozen or so Women. It was NOT a pretty sight; Brothas got invites, the hostess even rang a few of them up to try to entice them to come over, etc - nada. About a week before that I was reading elsewhere online about how a Sista went out for a night of dancing and socializing - problem was, there were hardly any Brothas there, and she was quite distraught over it. 

For decades now, Brothas have listened intently when Sistas of a particular cohort rundown their lists of what the ideal Man MUST have, or he need not even bother - and the Brothas have aceded. Hence why, at least in part, Grand Theft Auto V has made EIGHT HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS ON THE FIRST DAY OF ITS RELEASE. Forget video games, that's more than what Iron Man 3 made, and that's arguably this Summer's big blockbuster hit movie in Hollywood. What this proves is that Brothas are indeed Going Their Own Way - and it ain't necessarily to ogle ladies in various states of undress online. 

The X-Box, will do. 

4. As for the notion that Women in the early 21st century are somehow under great threat by marauding bands of Negroes out on the make, I offer the following from my recent column "Attack of The She-Creeper" for the Urban Politico:

"One major reason as to why Men aren't particularly vocal about being harassed by She-Creepers is due to this Orwellian system of Social Justice Triage that has been foisted upon them - anything that is perceived to impact Women, like the male variety of Creepers, street harassment and the like, must be addressed first and foremost, on the grounds that Men are stronger than Women and can pose a threat to them. If we were still living on the African Savannah back in the Land Before Time, or if we were still out on the frontier before the West Was Won, I might have gone along with that argument. However, we now live in the 21st century, where even children can operate Soviet-made AK-47 assault rifles, and it is not at all unusual to find copious amounts of video footage of Women administering severe amounts of Kickass on hapless male victims. And of course, there's the infamous film "Fatal Attraction"."

Hmm. 

5. Which reminds me - *of course, the Feministas will never admit to such a thing as a She-Creeper, because of the very same sexist views they claim the whole of Mankind has against Women themselves* - how many Men here have encountered the following kinds of Women; again, I quote:

"Well, as the name infers, the She-Creeper is someone who violates the personal space and boundaries of others (She-Creepers can and often do this to other Women as well, but for purposes of this discussion we are only going to focus on the She-Creeper-to-Hapless Male dynamic, and for reasons that are well-justified; read on), often in sexual ways, that just, you know, creeps you out. They give guys unsolicited/unwanted "compliments", jump into conversations uninvited, touch guys unwanted, and almost never miss an opportunity to make sexually implicit remarks or jokes (sound familiar?) to guys they've got their creepy eyes on.

Now, and this is based on my own extensive observation and experience over the years, I've found one defining characteristic of the She-Creeper: she tends to be an older Woman, and by "older" we are talking north of 35 years of age. You see, while there is much discussion in our time over who-should-do-what in terms of dating and mating (like who should pay for the first date, who should approach who, etc, et al), what's often left out is the crucial factor of Time, and the role it plays in the mating dynamic among humans. Or, in other words, Women tend to get just a weebit more forward with age - often, creepily so. 

Toss in half a dozen bottles of wine and spirits into the mix, and it will not be at all unusual to see the more seasoned gals out there on the make in ways that would make even the most clueless Fanboy look innocuous. I've both seen and been the unfortunate recipient of the "attentions" of such Eartha Kitt knockoffs, and it is NOT appealing in the least. No, all She-Creepers aren't over the age of 35; and no, all She-Creepers aren't lushes; but there does seem to be a correlation here of these factors."

Don't all you intrepid ladies speak at once, now.

So, in closing, I offer the final point for the Brothas' consideration:

6. You are no longer living in the time of Mad Men. You are not Mr. Darcy. You live in the 21st century, and it is way past due to that notions of making the first approach to a Woman, or paying for the first date for a Woman, etc, et al, die the quick and painless death it has rightfully deserved for far too long now. Women in general, and Black Women in particular, are strong, independent, in control of their sexuality, know what they want and how to go after it - so let them. Your job, is to make yourself as attractive as you can - your grooming, your manner of dress and style, your social skills, your body language, you living an interesting life - and trust me when I tell you, you do all these things, you WILL get ladies approaching you. 

And that's when the fun, really begins. After all, guys who approach Women first? That's for beginners. 

The ladies have said that they wish to be left alone - and you know what I say, fellas? 

We should do, just that. 

My job is done here.

Now adjourn your arses...

The Obsidian
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Wednesday, September 18th 2013

9:22 AM

Talking About "Black Love Is Forever" Has Gone On Forever - And It's Woefully Wrongheaded

"A final source of resistance to evolutionary psychology comes from the idealistic views of romance, sexual harmony, and lifelong love to which we all cling. I cleave tightly to these views myself, believing that love has a central place in human sexual psychology. Mating relationships provide some of life's deepest satisfactions, and without them life would seem empty. After all, some people do manage to live happily ever after. But we have ignored the truth about human mating for too long. Conflict, competition, and manipulation also pervade human mating, and we must lift our collective heads from the sand to see them if we are to understand life's most engrossing relationships."
-David Buss, "The Evolution of Desire", pp. 18

One of the local papers, Philly Weekly, advertised a groundbreaking event: journalist and author Gil Robertson hosting a "town hall" on the neverending topic of "Black Love", that took place yesterday at the Community College of Philadelphia. I didn't attend, but the topic itself makes me want to opine, so here we go. 

You know, Thomas Sowell - seen by some in Black America as a pariah for his sociopolitical views - was nevertheless correct when he says, in his book on the darkside of public intellectuals out for "social justice", that any ideas and policies they or anyone else puts forth and implements, can, should and must be measured, not by their intent, or frequency of attempts, or clever arguments advanced in their favor, but rather on the basis of the results they have set out to achieve. Taking an empirical view of things is often unsettling to many, because so very often, so many of our most cherished ideals and beliefs are not in any way, supported by the evidence. 

It's with this thought in mind that I approach round umpteen in the "talks" Black America - or, a certain segment of same - has about "relationships". I find the entire enterprise to be tedious, self-absorbed and exclusionary, all in one fell swoop, for reasons that I will layout below. 

Get coffee.

The ad in the Philly Weekly for this "town hall" leads off with three very interesting questions:

1. Is there a crisis underway in Black America's relationship department? 

2. Where are all the "Good Black Men(TM)"?

And finally

3. Why are Black Women at the lowest end of the matrimony totem pole?

These, and presumably, other pressing concerns, were supposedly hashed out yesterday evening by Robertson and his panel of "experts", some borrowed, some new, all of whom seem to be a cresting army of "experts" giving their take on what putatively ails Black America along these lines. Of course, the questions above merit some hard-headed analysis and consideration, and vague, quasi-metaphysical asides to "deconstruct the good, the bad and the ugly of modern-day mate seeking", among other "inspirational" devices, just ain't gonna cut it - so let's do this, O-Man Style. 

First, a response to the questions posed above:

"1. Is there a crisis underway in Black America's relationship department?"

O: I respond with one of the most profound lines ever uttered in the annals of Hip Hop history, by Mos Def: "If we're doing alright, Hip Hop will be doing alright; if we're smoked out, Hip Hop will smoked out - WE ARE Hip Hop."

Given the locale in which this "town hall" panel discussion was to take place, Philly, where some 20 schools were recently closed, unemployment remains rampant among its Black citizenry especially, vital services like food stamps and the like are being cut, and more, and such circumstances will very much be similar in many if not most of the stops Mr. Robertson will make on his book tour - the question is, I think, ill-put. The question isn't whether there's "a crisis underway in Black America's relationship department", but whether there's a crisis underway in Black America PERIOD. And of course, it takes no rocket scientist to find the answer to that question, yes?

So, it seems to me that, if Black Americans are having inordinate difficulties finding enough food to eat, adequate housing, employment with which to make a living and healthcare with which to keep them alive and sane, then of course, there will be a corresponding crisis in Black relationships, whichever way one wishes to define that term - which brings to mind the third question:

"3. Why are Black Women at the lowest end of the matrimony totem pole?"

O: Again, I find the question ill-put; it presumes that all, or even most, Black Women WANT to BE married in the first place - and that is something I for one am not at all certain is the case. Often in these discussions, as Robertson gives considerable witness to in his interview over at The Grio earlier this year, a certain class of Blacks hijacks the conversation around these issues and frames it in such a way that its actually something of a trick bag to enter into if one isn't careful. Who is saying that getting married, for anyone, is the only way with which to experience a relationship, or love within it? And who says that all Black Women everywhere in the nation, actually do want to be married in the first place? For that matter, who says that Black Men want it?-per US Census stats as recently as little a decade ago or so, that isn't the case. 

Instead, I argue, contrary to notions of some "Legacy of Slavery", that the reason(s) why Black Women may not be marrying may have more to do with the events following 1965, rather than 1865. The Sexual Revolution - which included a lessening of the stigmas of premarital sex, being able to end bad marriages easier and sooner, the advent of the Pill and Abortion on Demand, and the opening of doors to economic and educational opportunity for Women - have played a powerful role in how, and why, Black Women are among the least likely to marry in our time. Indeed, prior to 1965, Black marital rates were not only strong and constant throughout the Reconstruction and Jim Crow years, but were never higher since. So, the notion that "The Man" was keeping Black Men and Women from finding and getting together, is at best, a tenuous one. 

No, the Sexual Revolution made it possible - for Black Men and Women both - to craft lifestyles more suitable to their own individual needs, aims and desires. For many Black Women, not needing a Man to survive meant that they didn't need to marry the first guy who came along; and being able to care for children on their own, without significant financial hardship or social stigmas, meant that fulfilling the desire for children wasn't wedded, pardon the pun, to finding, having and keeping a Man. I often find, that this very important aspect of Black American history - the Sexual Revolution aspect of it - is curiously left out of any "discussion" on Black relationships, and suddenly we're all transported in time back to Django's era, complete with the chains and lash. And such a framing of the discussion along these lines isn't just simple and foolish, it's romantic in the worst of ways. 

So, I question this notion that all Black Women want to be married; indeed, quite a few seem quite comfortable with not doing so, and I don't think foisting some kind of "mission" to "Save the Black Family" will work and sounds hopelessly out of step with the times. The simple truth of the matter is that marriage has fundamentally changed in our time - from one of economic and social necessity, to one of personal desire and fulfillment, and oh yeah, that thing called love. Speaking of which...

I reject the premise that Mr. Robertson puts forth in his interview with The Grio, that the only way people can successfully navigate life is by walking down the aisle - clearly, a simple look around will prove this false. Just a quick trip around a Black neighborhood will turn up many couples who have cohabitated, in some cases for years, quite happily in fact - it's just that they don't make the panels and chapters of books and the like that "relationship experts" in Black America like to crank out. Moreover, we all know that simply being married, does not guarantee marital success or bliss, and in more cases than we'd all care to admit, quite the opposite. Black folks of Mr. Robertson's stripe need to let go of the idea that ending a relationship or even a marriage, is ipso-facto, a bad thing; more often than not, it ain't. 

"But what about the children, Obsidian?", many of you may ask - and it's a fair question. My response?

What about them? Let's stop pretending that we've ever cared about kids first and foremost. For most of human history they have been our pawns to use when and where we like, and that very much continues to this day - no one here needs me to recount the umpteen ways kids are used as levers of advantage over each other, especially when it comes to family/divorce court proceedings and the like. Then, there's the aforementioned abortion rates - which Black Women tend to have the highest, by the way. None of this is to say that kids shouldn't be important, but the time is way past due to stop deluding ourselves into thinking that we place them front and center of our lives - we all know this isn't true, most of all the kids themselves, and you know something? That may not be such a bad thing. 

For those of you out there who wish to suggest the hard data findings, that kids who come from two parent homes fare better in life than kids who do not, my response to that would be that it's one thing to look at things in the aggregate; something else to look at it on the individual level. How many sociologists would have predicted, based on the aggregate data, that Barack Obama would never become President of the United States? I know, I know, he's an exceptional figure - or is he? How many people, Black Men and Women alike (Ben Carson, Wesley Moore, Oprah Winfrey, the list is extensive), who've come from familial situations very similar to Mr. Obama's - and have gone on to lead full, productive lives in their own right? None of this is to say that marriage in itself is a bad idea, or that kids cannot benefit from same; it isn't and they certainly can. But it IS to say, that ours is a different world, one in which the definition of family and what it means, has changed as well, and does not guarantee success or failure. We all know, personally, kids from single parent homes who've done well in life, and kids from two parent homes who've done poorly. Can we honestly say with a straight face that, in the times in which we now live, that the only way to have a family, or to raise healthy, successful kids, is one where Mom and Dad are married and together? 

Really?

Finally, we tackle my personal favorite question of the three, the second's "Where are all the "Good Black Men(TM)"?

You may notice that I've phrased "Good Black Men(TM)" in a certain way; I use it as my nod to a kind of meme in Black America, that in White America would be recognized as equal parts Nice Guy(TM) and White Knight. In the Black community, this term usually refers to a at least nomimally middle class Black Man with at least some college education if not an outright graduate, who works in some kind of profession and is therefore deemed, on these and related metrics (having the right sociopolitical views, particularly as they relate to Black Women, et al), a "Good Black Man(TM)", and as such is in purported high demand by the Spinstahood who wrings their hands at these events year in and year out. The threadbare premise that hangs in the background of such a question, is that because so many Brothas are in the joint or the graveyard, there's a shortage of such "Good Black Men(TM)" to go around. 

And while there would be a kernel of truth to the aforementioned premise, it is often blown out of proportion and serves to catch all the flak that a more honest discussion along these lines would serve. For one thing, as violent crime rates go down, and as fewer Brothas are sent to the pen, more of them will likely enter school - indeed, one of the best kept secrets over the past decade or so has been, just how many Brothas are indeed entering university and the like. In fact, if you listen closely to Sistas of the younger cohort - and by "younger" I mean under 30 - you won't even hear this kind of "the sky is falling" talk, and for good reason:

Because many of these Sistas know and understand, that they saw quite a few Brothas on campus with them, and that "on paper" they looked good - they had all the credentials of success. 

But, the problem you see, is that they didn't have other things said Sistas might have wanted in a mate - or they possessed them, but also possessed other personality characteristcs (read: he was an A1 Jerk, or a chronic cheater, or abusive in a myriad of ways). Then, there's just the simple truth of the matter, that often times, such guys don't make the ladies "tingle" - he's not physically attractive, or has mannerisms and behaviors that are off-putting and lessens, or outright kills her attraction. In other words, the argument that has driven the "Black relationship" discussion over the past few decades, where said ladies today are at the least in their latter 30s and most are in the mid 40s and beyond, are becoming more and more, passe'. Sistas of the current and younger cohorts, simply don't experience the same concerns that their older Sistas did and do. 

So, a big part of the reason as to why there are so few "Good Black Men(TM)" out there today, has at least as much to do with the fact that fewer Black Men can or will offer "the full package" quite a few Sistas in our time demand - because, as I point out above, they can. 

But, as with any Power to Choose - and Black Women in our time today have far and away more agency than many of them would have us believe - there is a downside. Be a bit too picky, and you run the risk of staring down Spinstahood past a certain age. 

This leads us to the second part of my answer to this thorny and perrennial question - the definition of what a "Good Black Man(TM)" is changes over time, due to the ladies' circumstances changing over time. Indeed, this was the topic of a recent post by me over at Just Four Guys, where I spoke out as a Blue Collar Brotha and weighed in on the matter of Black relationships; I quote:

"The hits just keep coming, when all of those articles and discussions attempt to make the case that Blue Collar Guys aren’t all bad; “why not give them a chance?”, many of these “voices” say, again, not a single Blue Collar Brotha to be heard among the chorus. Well, allow me: who said that we were clamoring for you dusky princesses to “give us a chance” in the first place? By all accounts, Brothas, Blue Collar and otherwise, have left the building a long time ago – I’ve written about how so many Brothas, Blue Collar and otherwise, have been quietly voting with their feet for quite some time now; Sistas of a Certain Cohort, have made it all too-clear as to which Brothas are to step upfront, and which who needn’t apply – and the Brothas, have listened to you. Hence the anywhere from 3-6 to 1 Sista to Brotha ratio at various “meet market” events, designed to ostensibly bring the two together; many Brothas rightly reason, that there is precious little to be gained in turning out for such gatherings, only to run headlong into Sistas who turn their noses up as if a stink bomb had just gone off – and only when all other options have been exhausted for these ladies – when they’ve been pumped and dumped by the guys of their dreams, could never get his attention at all, or have come out of bad marriages and the like just the same, do they ostensibly turn to me and mine to save them from relationship oblivion – but only if we’re showing the proper amount of reverence and awe in their sight, dontcha know. The idea that somehow you are doing us a favor by gracing us with your presence, isn’t exactly what we’d consider all that exciting or romantic. I’ve personally either witnessed, or experienced, those Sistas (again, NOT “all”), who act as if they’re doing you some grand gesture, by “giving you a chance” – the same Sistas who makeup the client rolls of relationship experts, and keep same on the New York Times’ bestseller’s lists, bemoaning where “all the good Men have gone”; am I the only one who sees the Great Irony here?"

The piece merits reading in full, because it brings forward quite a few facets of the discussion that, for some strange and odd reason, just doesn't make it onto the panels and into the anthologies on "Black relationships" that seem to always drop once or twice a year by someone in Black America. 

In summation: I find the current "conversation" on the question and issue of "Black relationships" to be quite myopic, incredibly ignorant and exclsive in extremis. What is ostensibly supposed to be an examination of these themes and issues, is in fact little more than yet another round in Black folk of a certain cohort and class, ruminating amongst themselves as to how and why someone took a wee-wee in their Wheaties. 

Color me far from impressed. 

Now adjourn your arses...

The Obsidian
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Wednesday, September 11th 2013

12:15 PM

Quick Hit: Don't Let The Dime Piece Be The Enemy Of The Plain Jane

Hey fellas,
Here again with something for you to consider. 

Way back when I was a regular commenter at Roissy's old blog, I encountered a guy who was from a foreign country, and who was really in a bad way; he hadn't had a Woman in years(!) and was really in the dumps about it, even to the point of talking all kinds of potentially dangerous stuff. 

Noting that no one else seemed particularly interested in assisting the guy, I suggested that he do the following that coming weekend:

1. Hit up a few popular nitespots in the area, spending an hour or so at each one

2. Get himself a drink or two and a table close to the dancefloor or bar

3. Observe what those guys who seemed most successful with the ladies were doing, what those guys least successful with the ladies were doing, and finally, to closely observe the ladies themselves

And report back the results. 

You see, it's been my experience that precious little concern or focus has been put on the importance of observation in pickup circles and venues. To be sure, much of the training in the Venusian Arts has to come from actually doing thus and so, and learning from trial and error, like any other worthy endeavor; but, one can and should learn from the actions of others. Besides, being aware of one's surroundings is always important, and knowing the lay of the land - the de facto mating grounds, so to speak - is hugely important as well. And I've personally found, that often observing people in a given situation from a distance, really does wonders in tempering one's perspective.

The guy in question did exactly what I recommended - and stumbled headlong into some action. During the let out (didn't know such a thing existed in foreign lands too!), and as he was walking across the street, he observed a young lady who was also at the club and trying to hail a cab, *who made first contact by saying something to him* - something along the lines of how nice he looked or something like that (Women have some of thee most lame pickup lines you will ever hear, LOL). Seizing the opportunity, our guy stops in mid-stride, chats her up a bit, hails a cab together, and winds up spending the weekend over at her place. 

Fool's Mate all day, but you know what? A win's a win no matter how you slice it. 

His drought over, he triumphantly comes back to the old Roissy forum to thank me and give his Field Report of that night's events, during which, he notes that the lady in question was about a 3 or 4 on the scale.

And. That's. When. They. Lost. It.

By "they" I mean the Roissy commentariat - they immediately began savaging the poor guy for daring to stoop so low as to get with a lowly 3 or 4 gal on the scale, and so forth - the same lame arses who couldn't be bothered to help the guy out in the first place, now suddenly couldn't say enough about who this guy just spent the weekend with(!).

I mean, you just can't make this stuff up.

Of course, most of those lame dudes were (and are) keyboard jockeys, who most likely didn't see any action themselves other than their own hands, and this has been discussed numerous times elsewhere throughout the Seduction community, so I won't belabor all of that.

Instead, what I want to focus in on is this very real tendency in the community and other venues where Men tend to gather, to ratchet (pardon the pun) up the BS when it comes to Women and their looks. All it amounts to is posturing among the homies for bragging rights - an evolutionary impulse to be sure, because a Woman brings more than straight ahead reproductive value to the table; her looks (or the lack thereof) can assist (or hinder) a Man in his social and career life as well. Granted.

The problem with all of that is it's not kept in proper perspective, especially in the hyper-visual age in which we live, where even supermodels themselves have been clear that what they peddle to the masses is for all intents fake and unattainable in any event, in the real world. 

For all the talk of "HB10s" (or "Dimes" as we call them in the Black community), the simple truth of the matter is that even if such Dimes were available, and I freely admit they DO exist, by definition they are also a very small pool of them. Assuming that you're in the top 30% of all Men even able to make a pitch for one of these Dimes, simple math dictates that quite a few of the Top Guns are going to be left standing when the music stops. Put that together with the FACT that the vast majority of guys walking around, and that includes those of us in the community too, are hardly approaching Male Dime Material ourselves, and it puts things in a much "realer" perspective. Most Women walking around in the average guy's social circle, even if he works really hard to expand it, aren't going to be "Dimes"; at best, they will be strong 7s, maybe an occasional 8. That's about it.

And on top of that, because such ladies are also in high demand, the greater likelihood is for most average guys to grip up gals who are in the 4-6 range. To be sure, you're likely to want to aim for the upper limit there if you're in a position to do so; but let's be frank - how many Men truly ARE in a position to make that choice? For most Men, most of the time, they have to choose from the ladies who are available at any given time. 

If the guy I'm talking about in today's post would have taken the position the keyboard jockeys were advocating, he'd have gone home that night, once again, to his hand, alone. Still bitter, still stewing in anti-Woman anger and all the rest of it. By seizing an opportunity to get with a Woman who was willing to be with him that night, which turned into a weekend of Nut-Busting Bliss, he got his whole situation back on track. 

Even when not meaning to, Sarging, truly does cure all ails. 

Today, he's happily involved in a relationship with a cute gal who really digs him - no one would accuse of her of being a Dime, but she's far from the Hunchback of Notre Dame, too. I'd say she's at least a 5 on the scale - and he's as happy as a clam.

One reason why Game "doesn't work" for some guys is because they have wholly unrealistic expectations of who they can reasonably attract, and then have the nerve to be bitter about the entire enterprise, not taking into account what they're bringing to the table to begin with, among a great many other things. 

There's nothing wrong with enjoying eye candy online and having fantasies of your Dream Dime in your head; but the minute that interferes with your realworld reality of the Women who actually ARE attainable to/for you, is the day you have a much bigger problem than merely trying to get laid. 

Now adjourn your arses...

The Obsidian
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Monday, September 9th 2013

9:29 AM

New Post Up At The Urban Politico: "Playing The "Misogyny" Card"

Good Morning fellas,
My newest/latest is up over at The Ubran Politico:

"When you've been hard at the blogging game as long as yours truly has - four years next month - it is to be expected that you're likely to ruffle a few feathers. Indeed, much of the conversation between myself and the powers-that-be here at The Urban Politico, had to do with precisely this dynamic, one of irate commenters and the like who, because what you wrote has struck a raw nerve in them, are not able or willing to respond with reasoned debate, but rather with Id-rage fueled invective. One of the more recent ploys toward tarring and feathering one's interlocutors, while at the same attempting to shutdown any meaningful examination of the issues along Sexual Politics lines, is to label anyone who says anything you, as a (Black) Woman, doesn't like, as a...

wait for it...

"Misogynist".

Such was the case, or should I say, the most recent case of where I was accused of such a dastardly act, by one of my irate commenters to my column last week that examined Street Harassment, the current tempest in a teapot of the moment. The dusky-hued lady of the hour, accused me of being a "misogynist" in response to a piece where, if anything, I was taking fore-square aim at Brothas, many of whom make utter fools of themselves when out and about on the streets of America, trying to "holla" at the ladies going about their daily business."

Checkout the whole thing over there.

Also: by now I'm sure you've noticed that my posting has been a bit sparse of late; that's because I've been trying to get into a rhythm with my blogging duties across four blogs, including this one, and it's been a heck of a period of adjustment. But, I'm managing the process and enjoying the challenge! So, be on the lookout for more regular posts from yours truly here at the O-Files very soon. I'm working on sticking to a regular posting schedule of three times a week: Mon, Wed and Fri. Plus I'll toss in any updates on anything I put out elsewhere, etc. 

OK, now adjourn your arses...

The Obsidian
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Friday, September 6th 2013

11:11 AM

Quick Hit: Walkabout

What's up Fellas,
Well, it's the weekend, the first after Labor Day and already the weather's changing - that means, it's an excellent time to get your walk on. 

I've written about this before, but it can't be said enough - if you want to meet the ladies, the best way to do that is to get out and about; and the best way to get out and about, is by pounding the pavement

You see, a lot of guys think that having a flashy ride or bike is where it's at, and in some cases, there's a bit of truth to that; but if you're living in an urban center that's pedestrian friendly, has lots of mass transit options, cabs and hacks, you really don't need a whip in order to get around. Plus, driving all the time comes at two great costs 1), not being able to really get a lay of the land (and by extension, the honies); and (2), gaining a good bit of weight around the middle - a definite no-no for a guy. 

Being able to walk the streets then serves two purposes - you open up more opportunities for approaches (either you apporaching the honies, or them approaching you, or both), because you're actually on the street instead of driving by (oh, and by the way - PLEASE do not attempt to "holla" at a Woman from your car - not only does it never work, all it winds up doing is making you look like the Lame Creeper that you are), and, you get a chance to get the pounds off. Being fit is important, and let's face it, in these days and times, when times are hard, especially for us Brothas, a lot of us may not be able to hit up the gym on the regular, either due to not having the spare finance, or the spare time due to working, or both; BUT, if you're smart, you can still get in some road work, which will serve the purpose of shedding some pounds and keeping you in shape. 

Trust me on this, fellas - just putting two miles in a day of walking, especially if there's hills involved, five days a week, WILL get you in good shape. You'd be surprised at just how many people, Men and Women both, can barely manage something like that, so just doing this alone gives you an advantage. 

Plus, think of the police - they say the best policing is the kind where the cops are working very closely with the communities they serve. The best way to do that is by walking the beat - in fact, those areas that have routine beat cops on patrol, see marked reductions in crime, because those cops, by walking that beat, know everything and everybody in said hood; cops who roll in squad cars, on the other hand, have a tougher time bringing down crime, in part because they really don't know the area they're policing; they don't know the people in it, don't have contacts and informants, don't know where all the action is likely to be. Think about it. 

Whenever possible, I walk, provided the weather's good, the distance one way is five miles or under, and I have the time to do so (in cases where I'm pressed for time, etc., of course I make use of transit). I figure a maximum limit of ten miles a day in walking is good, and gives me the chance to really see what's out there. When you look around, you see a lot.

Mystery says, that the real deal Gamesmen do what other guys don't do; that what sets them apart from other Men out there, is that they do, say and act in ways that marks them out as different and a cut above the male masses. Well, other guys are bent on getting cars and the like, thinking that it will help them score chicks. It does, but at what cost? Now compare that to the smart guy who uses his feet and a little planning ahead of time to get to know the area he's working in, knowing the kinds of Women in it, the venues and hangout spots, you name it; he's able to meet a lady in his travels, chat her up, and setup a little meet over some chai at an out of the way side street hipster cafe spot. They hit it off in part because she's impressed by him not being "like all the rest" of the lame arsed dudes that are always trying to holla. You can take it from there. 

Who's getting more bang for their buck here - literally? 

Knowing the area allows you to know everything about it. 

Now get off the couch and adjourn your arses...

The Obsidian
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Thursday, September 5th 2013

10:40 AM

Guest Post At JFG: Deti's "Do Women Pursue Sex With Alphas For Commitment Or For The Sex?"

Just wanted to put the word out that today we have a special guest posting up what we at JFG hope to be the first of many contributing articles - Deti, who brings us the following good readings, "Do Women Pursue Sex With Alphas For Commitment Or For The Sex?". The discussion is already fast and furious over at JFG, so definitely check it out and tell a friend. 

Also - we've been doing gangbusters, folks - JFG's barely three months old and already we're in the top ten of Game-related blogs in the Manosphere. We're projected to be in the top five by or before year's end, and, Inshallah, we'll be in the in the top three or above by this time next year. 

Thanks to all of you for your support! Stay tuned - more good stuff to come!

Now adjourn your arses...

The Obsidian
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