To get some off-the-cuff informed reaction, I asked a Maasai blogger for his take on Laden's post. He replied:
I am sorry to say its not true in the Maa people who live in Kenya,The bride in my culture will never walk a lone she will be taken from her home by the Groom with the best Man, in some case women will meet the bride but will not assault her or mock.
As far as I am concern she will be given a lot of gifts this will include cows as well as Sheep.May be this happen in sub Maa tribe out side Kenya where I am from but still sound like a very well cooked story.
Beyond Laden's non-contextualized exoticization of the Maasai, the post is genuinely perplexing: What general cultural lesson is Laden attempting to bring to readers' attention? Marital practices are extremely varied, globally? Does he really think this type of description makes such a point? Or does he simply seek to impress us with his academic status, as the type person who's made multiple trips to sub-Saharan Africa?
In Laden's three marriage posts (that I've read), I've yet to come across a single interesting insight, amid the chest-thumping, 'credential-establishing' fluff.
Extra-maritally, Laden publishes a great number of posts, all quite dull I'm afraid. Consider yourself lucky to have Gavin Sullivan on this trying detail. Laden has recently linked to an anti-troll clip. If you participate much in the online exchange of ideas, you'd be surprised how little pushback you'll receive--in simply calling anyone with whom you disagree as 'a troll.' I wonder how much credibility one might gain were, say, a Harvard Ph.D to attempt such a trick, within an academic conference:
All people who ask me difficult questions--and people who say critical things about the words I publish--are ill-willed and evil, so I can summarily dismiss their statements and malign their characters. Die, trolls!
Quite a number of bloggers assert their moral superiority in precisely this vulgar manner. The blog-reading public shouldn't fall for such malarkey.