As a non native speaker of English I'm having difficulty in understanding the exact meaning of this sentence. What I have understood I will write it down. The paragraph goes like that

Dirty games are sick, and the outcome of screwed up developmental history, of neurotic, unfair, unfeeling upbringing -- in the family, in society, in the midst of cultural monstrosities that institutionalize abuse and maintain it as a norm.  People grow up twisted and starved for love -- but because they are twisted and have no other frame of reference for human relationships, the way they seek love (or reject it in favor of unfeeling stances) also comes out all distorted and abnormal.  "All is fair" only in psychopathic or sociopathic consciousness.  Not in love and not even in war.

What I understand is that - Dirty games develop out of bad upbringing and after that I cannot understand till the word norm. After that I understand the other lines. Can anybody simplify the sentences?

in the midst(middle) of cultural monstrosities(huge/evil) that institutionalize abuse(?) and maintain it as a norm. It's what I tried.

1 Answer 1


The dirty games are the outcome of:

screwed-up developmental history....
neurotic, unfair, unfeeling upbringing....

These phrases are in apposition and both refer to the developmental history of the individual.

Then, where do these things occur?

in the family,
[and] in society,
[and] in the midst of cultural monstrosities that institutionalize abuse and maintain it as a norm.

It's not entirely clear to me whether it is only cultural monstrosities that are claimed to institutionalize abuse and maintain it as a norm, or whether family and society are also claimed to do that. It may even be claiming that family and society are cultural monstrosities.

It probably doesn't make much difference, since this is a diatribe, not meant to be parsed closely.

  • Sorry to disturb. But I cannot understand what are cultural monstrosities. Can you please explain. Commented May 1, 2021 at 5:39
  • 1
    I can only refer you to dictionary definitions. A monstrosity is a monstrous thing, that is, something with the properties of a monster, a horrific, abhorrent thing. The author implies there are such things in the realm of culture, that is, in the established ways that humans interact with each other. There may be more explanation of what the author means in the text that the quote came from. Commented May 1, 2021 at 6:17

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