Wednesday, February 2, 2011

House Hunters International Egypt and the Romance of the Third World

Anyone watching "high end" reality TV, the "upscale" stuff designed to appeal to upper income viewers such as pretty much anything on Home and Garden TV or Food Network knows that the programming, aimed at a mostly female audience (just watch the ads), has certain ideas it caters to that reside in the hearts of its audience. Among them, the "romance" of the Third World which is seen as "authentic" (because its crowded, noisy, stinking, polluted, and most of all non-Western). Much of the self-hate for Western culture comes from a combination of spoiled boredom and a desire for more "masculine" men (i.e. sexy-dominating guys who boss them around) by an upper class female audience. HGTV is no exception, and its "House Hunters International" has run episodes on Western women moving to places like Bombay, and Cairo.




Mamdouh and Laura Raafat now live with their two children, Tarek and Hannah, in a nice, quiet neighborhood in California. They have a great house, nice careers and an easy-going lifestyle most people would envy. So why are they looking to leave all that and move to the to the busy, bustling city of Cairo, Egypt? Well, it depends on who you ask. Mamdouh wants his children to experience part of their cultural heritage while they are still young and Laura is up for the adventure of living in the ancient city by the Nile, the Triumphant City of Cairo, Egypt. But just because they've got the ambition to move doesn't mean they know where to live. So to help them navigate the real estate scene in this hectic city they've hired realtor Soaad Abd Elsalam. The Raafats have asked her to find them a family friendly condo that's near a good school. Let the house hunting begin.


Yes, a nice quiet neighborhood in California just pales in comparison to the "multicultural" and "diverse" environment found in Cairo. Even more, the show's producers figured their audience would love the episode. And they were right!

For too long, much of the Western world has labored under a delusion that life is "better" in other places. Particularly Third World places. You'll often see comments by men bemoaning Western women, and extolling the virtues of Third World women (and environments). The reality is quite different. Third World places have no real law, safety, predictability, decent hospitals and medical care, safe and uncontaminated food and water, or working sewer systems. In short, they lack all the reasons why people come to the West in the first place. They lack them, moreover, because the people of the Third World are completely incapable of constructing them. Japan and South Korea were flattened by war, with much of their people dead or displaced, yet built modern nations that whatever their faults, do not lack for: safe food, clean water, working sewers, modern and efficient hospitals and medical care. Even, functioning legal systems that while not "fair" keep anarchy and street chaos at bay.

But as much as the typical male attitude towards the compromises inherent in having a functioning nation with modern technology and all the benefits it implies, tends towards belittling Western ways (and Western women) and extolling the virtues of Third World anarchy and (presumed, the reality is much different) more deferential women, it is the media empires aimed at women that contribute most of the romanticizing and idealizing of failed peoples and nations.

HGTV has much of its programming predicated on the "romance" of dirt poor and fairly ugly Third World nations, with the network running episodes on searching for houses in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize, Tonga, Tahiti, Mexico. But HGTV is not alone. This attitude, of glorifying Third World failure as success, is something that you can see on almost any TV show, reality or otherwise, on the broadcast networks or cable networks. The specifics are usually, the Third World is more colorful (less dreary stability needed to keep the power on). More spontaneous too, a fiesta (or an anti-American riot) can break out any time. A "slower pace of life" contrasted with the West (where the water is not loaded with fecal bacteria, straight from the tap, and the police don't routinely shake you down). Indeed, one memorable HGTV episode in Nicaragua featured a "suicide shower" with an electric water heater plugged right into the wall and affixed inline to the shower's pipes. It was noted as typical for the region.

Naturally, the congruence with Western women's desire for a "type" of man, i.e. one colorful and amusing and dominant, with bouts of unpredictability, is no accident. Both speak clearly to a sense of wealth, power, and security. Able to trade off security and safety for "excitement" and thrills.

This seems destined to come to an end. The Third World has been coasting on (relatively) cheap energy and food that has come to an end. China's insatiable demand, loss of Western farmland to housing/development, and biofuels all signal an end to cheap food. Cheap energy being laughable even with the economic crisis, given China's own demands on the global market, and Western fantasies of "green" energy from biofuels, wind, solar, unicorn farts, and rainbows.

Cairo is a seething mass of violence now (likely the entire family is desperate to move back to California), and likely to remain so for some time. Not only Cairo, but other areas featured on HGTV: Lebanon, Dubai, and Jordan. To say nothing of Central America and Mexico.

And the impact of all the strife in the Middle East is a guarantee re-run of 2008's $4.50 a gallon for gas. A price that ensured economic meltdown as people could no longer afford to fill up their cars and pay their mortgages. The entire West has had a long run of safety, affordability, predictability, and security. If 9/11 was the wake up call, that this dominance had ended, the Cairo riots and Egyptian mess (prompted largely by fallout from Tunisia, itself a victim of food riots), is the alarm clock blaring loud rock music.

The Romanticizing of Third World failures is likely to stop. While you can't smell the tear gas and blood through the TV screen, its hard to project a romantic image of the Third World when much of it is flames. And the US looks threatened as well, in different forms. Idealization of failed peoples is likely to be stopped by reality, and America and the West's own virtues pushed larger by simple comparison.

After all, even the most bored upscale yuppie would rather live in suburban California than Cairo.






29 comments:

Anonymous said...

This "suicide shower" seems to be quite common in Latin America. When I was first time visiting Brazil is was terrified when I saw it first time, but actually it works pretty well.

Kendama said...

With regard to male romanticization of Third World conditions and Third World women, please give some details.

Anonymous said...

Kendama, he's referring to the opinion of a lot of men on the internet that american women are too competitive with men & stuck up for their own good; that asian or third world women are much more submissive and willing to accept the old school idea of man and woman.

Anonymous said...

for examples, see any comments thread on Roissy or the Spearhead.

Kendama said...

@ Anonymous

Oh yeah, I have seen a lot of that on both Roissy and The Spearhead.

What I want to know, though, is where they get it wrong.

Sgt. Joe Friday said...

"...extolling the virtues of Third World...(presumed, the reality is much different) more deferential women...".

I have first hand experience with this. My first wife was Central American and she was loads of fun until we'd been married not more than a few weeks. Bitchy, argumentative, sense of entitlement, you name it. Deferential? No way.

Novaseeker said...

Women are the same, basically, everywhere. What differs is local law, custom and culture. That is why importing a woman from a "more traditional" country is a waste of time -- she is, at her core, a woman, and once here will use the same legal and cultural tools at her disposal as other women do here. In order to benefit from the "more traditional" country, you need to live there, and living there can pretty much suck, for all the reasons stated in Whiskey's post.

Kendama said...

@ Novaseeker

I knew that bringing a woman here, hoping you'd get someone super-deferential, is a dumb idea, as is going to live in her country of origin.

This is one of a few reasons I stick with America, in spite of everything. Call me stupid or "sheeple" or naïve, I don't care -- even if the insults come from Bardamu and Vox Day.

Anonymous said...

"Much of the self-hate for Western culture comes from a combination of spoiled boredom and a desire for more "masculine" men (i.e. sexy-dominating guys who boss them around) by an upper class female audience."

What you say is true.

I am a gay male so I am often privy to the unfiltered female psyche.

Case in point - I was hanging out with a friend of mine, a tall, gay, dredlocked black artist and his fag hag: a SWPL JAP pilates instructor married to a handsome white doctor.

But of course, her gay best friend is a proxy for what she really wants. . . this became evident to me as she spoke obsessively over the course of the evening about how she just really wants a mixed baby. Oh and how she loves it when she goes out in public with gay best friend and people think they are boyfriend and girlfriend.

I got a kind of sick feeling from her tokenization . . . her racism was some kind of weird inverse of the David Duke variety. Of course no one would ever call her out on it, being a nice pretty white lady and all.

I truly feel sorry for heterosexual men. It seems women have become so spoiled and narcissistic, like their female psyches have been left to spin out of control. Although I am gay, I don't buy the typical feminist party line. I see nature for what it is.

The rest have just gotten fatter and fatter. It's disgusting how fat American women have become.

My sister, for instance, is pulling an "Eat Pray Love" on her long time boyfriend . . . travelling to an eastern european city to teach english, while her dutiful beta boyfriend is stuck with his sales job in the midwest.

Kendama said...

@ gay male Anonymous

A fascinating perspective. Western self-hatred takes rather bizarre forms.

Also, to clarify my previous post, I wasn't saying that overly selfish women are the reason I stand by America. I'm saying that I'll stand by this place in spite of such women -- no matter what people like Bardamu or Vox Day have to say.

Anonymous said...

"With regard to male romanticization of Third World conditions and Third World women, please give some details."

Liberalism is influencing non-Western countries too. I'm a non-Western chick and me and my mother would be considered traditional conservatives (converted to traditional Christianity). Lots of third world chicks are turning either liberal or apolitical now. I say be careful because the liberal worldview is infecting non-Western countries. Lots of them believe in rights, equality, autonomy, non-discrimination, change and so forth. Plus sorry but the conditions where I'm from while not horrible is not first class for sure.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

Novaseeker, how's that any different from the "all men are rapists" yarn that feminists like to spin?

Novaseeker said...

1. Because I'm not saying all women are rapists.

2. Because I think men *also* have a fundamental nature that is consistent across cultures, but it doesn't involve all of them being rapists.

Anonymous said...

Kendama said...
With regard to male romanticization of Third World conditions and Third World women, please give some details.

ahh man you're making this too easy
Full metal jacket

Anonymous said...

quote:
Much of the self-hate for Western culture comes from a combination of spoiled boredom and a desire for more "masculine" men (i.e. sexy-dominating guys who boss them around) by an upper class female audience.

While on a non HBD aware forum having a debate about illegal immigration I cited a statistic showing more than a third of victims who die from domestic violence in Utah are Hispanic women, but Latinos only make up 8.2 percent of the statewide population.

Everybody went ballistic especially the feminists. Oops I guess that kind of destroyed the 3rd world fantasy of Hispanic men being hot and sexy "Latin Lovers" kinda like in those Enrique Iglesias music videos.

Anonymous said...

I actually watch, and enjoy, HHI but what gets me is that these Westerners spend so much money for so little. ($500,000 for a high-rise condo!) When I looked at houses in Hungary 5 years ago, you could get a 1500 square foot solid-masonry, tile roof home in a village for $15,000 - $35,000, depending on condition. I was tempted!

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

You said all women are the same, which is identical to the feminist claim that all men are the same.

Nine-of-Diamonds said...

"I guess that kind of destroyed the 3rd world fantasy of Hispanic men being hot and sexy "Latin Lovers" kinda like in those Enrique Iglesias music videos."

Correct. My city's Hispanic population has exploded, and it is interesting to compare pop culture portrayals of "Latin" sexuality with real life.

The vast majority of Hispanics in the area are Central Americans; they are squat, prone to obesity, especially the women, and tend to be nearly a foot shorter than their black and white neighbors. Neither the males nor females would probably be desirable partners for "Native Born" Americans - even before taking into account low household income and the language barrier. Here's a good article that explodes many cherished myths about "Hispanic Family Values" (Sorry, George Bush):

http://www.city-journal.org/html/16_4_hispanic_family_values.html

It's also interesting to contrast all this "Noble Savage" Third Worldism with the opinions of non-Westerners themselves. Although anti-Americanism is still fashionable throughout the third world, many nonwhite foreigners I've met hate their homelands and dream of middle class life in the West - complete with a White bride. "White" standards of beauty & "white" living conditions/dress seem universally appealing.

Recall how Steve Sailer & others pointed out that western-featured Anglo types predominate in Latin American advertising. In fact you don't have to read Sailer's articles - just check out youtube & look at what kinds of women are selected as newscasters in Spanish speaking countries. I doubt you'll see too many four & 1/2 foot tall Mayan or Mixtec girls dressed in "ethnic" garb.

Jack said...

I never really agreed with the "go to other countries to find women" advice. I live in America, my friends live in America, my family lives in America. In many ways America is still the best nation to live in. Of course, we have problems, the second class status of men being one of them. But instead of running away, we need to organize and lobby for changes in the system. We also need to, as men, control our relationships so that women are truly terrified to leave or divorce us. If she's worried about the consequences, she might be less likely to take your house, car and kids on a whim.

Basically, men (mostly white men) need to start giving modern American bitches the shitty treatment they want and deserve. Let's change America instead of running away.

Anonymous said...

to Jack:
Feminists have demanded equality. I propose that we give in to their demands. Let's treat women equally.....equally worthless just as we do with each other as men. *grin*

Having said that I'm literally putting away 40% of my gross income every year into savings. It's amazing how much surplus economic wealth a man can have if not burdened with the cost of caring for a woman and children. In 10 years I'll have enough money to buy a small house or condo (paid in full) and I won't have to pay rent or mortgage for the rest of my life. Or if I want to get really financially smart, I can borrow money to buy 2 houses (live in one and rent out the other) that way I have a 2nd source of income in addition to my regular job. Yeah I think I like the sound of that.

I agree with feminists, marriage is indeed a form of legalized institutionalized slavery, I just disagree with for whom!

jules said...

Some post superbowl hilarity. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong: "the future of the internet will be a lot more driven by females"
http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=148725

Polichinello said...

Case in point - I was hanging out with a friend of mine, a tall, gay, dredlocked black artist and his fag hag: a SWPL JAP pilates instructor married to a handsome white doctor.

Sir, you may have just written the basic premise of the next great American sitcom!

Polichinello said...

I actually watch, and enjoy, HHI but what gets me is that these Westerners spend so much money for so little. ($500,000 for a high-rise condo!)

Fort Knoxish security, complete with armed guards, doesn't come cheap.

At any rate, Laura Rafaat from Whiskey's post better hope the marriage is solid. If Mamdouh gets tired of her (inevitable whining and homesickness), it's three "I divorce thees" and she's out of the country, minus the kids and any form of alimony or compensation.

Anonymous said...

BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN
Why American men should boycott American women

http://boycottamericanwomen.blogspot.com/

I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN!

Anonymous said...

BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN
Why American men should boycott American women

http://boycottamericanwomen.blogspot.com/

I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN!

Anonymous said...

One appeal of the third world (whether here or there)for western women is that it provides them with an unlimited supply of cheap domestic labor. It allows bottle blonds like the one in this clip, to have queen bee status rather than a worker bee status.

Anonymous said...

Something happened to Lara Logan in Egypt. They don't say how long she was away from her security detail.

http://www.tmz.com/2011/02/15/lara-logan-cbs-news-reporter-raped-sexually-assaulted-egypt-60-minutes/

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/15/60minutes/main20032070.shtml?tag=exclsv

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the real reason American women are looking for men from other countries is because some American men, such as many of you, make these comments about women that drive them away. Who, man or woman, wants to be with someone who is completely dominant to them? Everybody wants at least some control over their lives. Marriage is an EQUAL partnership; no one should have the final say, you should work together as a team.Ok yeah,there are some American women who are real pieces of work that you should never trust, same with some women all over the world. Hey, guess what? There are men all over the world that are just as bad (yeah thats including America). People are people, some are terrible and others arn't. You can't just say that a certain GROUP of people are are bad and others good; thats sterotyping, which often leads to prejudice. That prejudice and bigotry is then what often leads things like the holocaust. So, I hope that when you look for a new girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband,or even a friend that you dont look at "oh hey they're American, gay, black, Muslim, etc." because you should have learned back in elementary school that sll of that doesnt tell you WHO a person truly is, you need to set that aside and get to know a person before you brand them, jeez. Really hope this isnt an indication of what our world is coming to, because I really thought we were progressing, but with comments like these I fear that the problems in the Middle East will soon be the least of our concerns.

ste tomkinson said...

Looks interesting, ill be sure to check it out. Property in Egypt