Stories About My Brother
September 26, 2019 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Prachi Gupta on the sudden death of her brother, her deep love and complicated grief, and the MRA mindset that led him to make a fatal decision. (cw: domestic violence, misogyny, suicide attempt)
posted by Countess Elena (16 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
It's outrageous that the surgeon was willing to do the limb-lengthening procedure that killed Yush.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:16 PM on September 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

Previously, on incels & invasive cosmetic procedures.
(the article is much more than just that, and staggering in its composition, but this was particularly relevant to the above point)
posted by CrystalDave at 1:23 PM on September 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

Good god, that's horrifying.
posted by suelac at 1:42 PM on September 26, 2019

Just finished reading the piece at lunch. Man.

It hit extra hard for me (as another Asian American woman). Even though I've only personally experienced a fraction of what Gupta has described, I have more than a passing familiarity with witnessing many of the insecurities and cultural pressures that she addresses in the article.

The following passage is going to stick with me for a while:
Writer and filmmaker Imran Siddiquee, who was raised Muslim, wrote in 2016 about the damaging effect that ideals of white supremacy and masculinity had on them as a brown person: “I carried with me, for a long time, that feeling of exclusion, resentment, and belief that my self-worth was tied to my ability to control my surroundings... It was an illogical mess, but all that mattered was that I felt superior — in some way, to someone. And actually, most often, those ‘someones’ were women.” Siddiquee worked hard to check all the boxes of masculinity–achieving power, showing force by bullying others, degrading women and seeing them as nothing but sexual conquests. Yet, this display of masculinity wasn’t good enough: They were still rejected by the dominant white culture. Eventually, it dawned on them: “I was struggling for acceptance into a club which you can never quite get into.” Siddiquee ultimately rejected the culture that refused to accept them, and now writes about the need for diversity, inclusion, and feminism. I think that Yush, on the other hand, was still trying to find admission into a club that was never going to accept him.

I believe even more intensely than ever that rigid gender roles harm men, too, and the effects can be deadly. But as a woman, and as the defiant sister who had challenged the natural order of her patriarchal family, though I was the closest to Yush, I had also become the person least likely to reach him.
posted by rather be jorting at 1:52 PM on September 26, 2019 [30 favorites]

posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:04 PM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

"You’ve dedicated yourself to a political worldview, and one of its founding principles is hatred and disrespect towards people who are very much like me.”

This is said by Yush to his siter; it could equally have been said by her to him, which is no doubt why she included it. It's painful and disorienting. The older I get the more I think that consensus reality is an illusion and, perhaps, a dangerous one? Do we all live in different realities?

I went to see Ted Chiang do a reading of his latest book and he read an essay about life-logging (referencing the story The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling). Afterwards, the Q&A period was derailed by Audience Guy who wanted to talk about how people even when given the same piece of evidence interpret it in wildly divergent ways. Chiang didn't take the bait but it does seem like an even more important and dangerous question than that of memory self-alteration.

Also, I have 2 boys who are lovely and loving and sensitive, and I am acutely aware that I don't get to control what kind of people my children grow up to be. It's scary.
posted by bq at 2:13 PM on September 26, 2019 [18 favorites]

This made me very sad.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:22 PM on September 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

An MRA dies of MRA-related complications, and probably the most loving and sympathetic eulogy he could ever have gotten comes from his feminist sister writing for Jezebel.

I'm gonna resist trying to tie a bow on that, it's just something to observe.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:34 PM on September 26, 2019 [68 favorites]

The parallels between Prachi and Yush's sibling relationship and immigrant background are so eerily similar to that of my brother and myself. It hurt to read this.

My older brother and I are Asian-Americans who immigrated to the US at a young age. We experienced domestic violence in our household. In our youth, we were so close, bonded by both our love of stupid movies and less lightly, the mutual pain from a dysfunctional home life. He was my best friend for so long but somewhere in the last few years, he's become such an angry person. In the last few years, he's developed a fondness for guns, Joe Rogan and Alex Jones. He seems to hate women. It is apparent to me that he has severe depression and no one in my family wants to deal with it. There are times when he is more like the way he was when we were still hopeful teenagers, and it's too easy for me to pretend the scary parts aren't there anymore.

At times, the things he says are so painful to hear that I don't know if I can continue to have a healthy relationship with him yet it's also so clear to me that he himself is in so much pain.

I wish there were a simple answer, but as Prachi has written, sometimes there are none.
posted by quadrant seasons at 3:31 PM on September 26, 2019 [58 favorites]

posted by riruro at 7:12 PM on September 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

Beautifully written and utterly heartrending.

Feminism is for everyone, and liberates not just women and girls but also men and boys from toxic masculinity. Boys like Yush need to learn it growing up to protect them from the poisons to which he succumbed. I'm grateful to my feminist mother for raising me as a feminist to question the roles society offered me as a boy.
posted by biogeo at 9:33 PM on September 26, 2019 [23 favorites]

For some reason, we have a tendency to blame the victims of propaganda machines for their angry and twisted world view. They should be held responsible for their actions, of course, as anger, hurt, and fear does not excuse attacking other people. However, it behooves us to remember that there is an entire system of radicalization that has been whispering in their ear for 30+ years now, and that many of our neighbors have fallen victim to the cult.

Make no mistake, it is a literal cult. (call it a network of closely related cults if a singular leader is necessary to meet your definition of the word) Until we start treating it as such, it will only continue to grow, egged on by many of the same people who have been pushing the same toxic, divisive, and threatening messages in earnest since the Soviet Union was still a thing.
posted by wierdo at 10:15 PM on September 26, 2019 [6 favorites]

This is heartbreaking.

All I can hope is that one person's brother happens to read what Prachi wrote about Yush, and it plants a seed of self-recognition.
posted by away for regrooving at 10:23 PM on September 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

I think this boy's dad warped his heart long before the internet and silicon valley warped his mind. While I can understand and empathize with this writer's reasons for refusing to focus too much on the domestic violence in her family, her over-focus on culture and politics and under-focus on their personal family of origin issues does a disservice to this story.

Are boys from non-neglectful, non-abusive, non-misogynistic families susceptible to getting red-pilled? Perhaps. But growing up with a violent father and a curiously invisible mother in a culture that reveres the right of the patriarch to do as he pleases was probably what molded this young man into who he became. Does that sound too just-world-ish? Sigh. Such a difficult, powerful story.
posted by MiraK at 7:19 AM on September 27, 2019 [11 favorites]

These comments gave me hope we can start to deradicalize these young men. I expected more "lol fuck u incel" comments which is exactly what the people who are indoctrinating and telling others to go kill "normies" want. I'm just really sad that he died before he could work his way through it and reconnect with his sister, who clearly loved him so deeply. Fuck incel/redpill/blackpill ideology. It steals people from us.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:15 AM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

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