Blame’em 4-ever

April 19, 2006 at 6:05 pm (Crime, Society)

Ever seen the Russian film „Lilja 4-ever“? It’s a good movie with a great leading actress. It’s about a girl who’s forced into prostitution in a foreign country (Sweden) after believing some guy (young, seemingly) attractive that she was heading towards some work on a farm. The cajolery was quite ridiculous (reaping vegetables during winter) and she ends up as a sex slave.

I don’t want to tell you everything about the film and it’s not that I knew this film by heart (I saw the movie a long time ago), you may want to watch the film (I really recommend it).

What I want to talk about is neither the film itself nor sex slavery in Eastern Europe or generally around the world but the reaction of many people hearing/reading/watching stories of girls/women who hit the hay.

The first reaction is to thrust it away by claiming them to be fully responsible for what happened to them due to their stupidity. But I think that this behaviour is highly unfair and shows the lack of will to think about it and to look into the difficulty those girls and women faced.

Just try to put yourself in one of these girls’ position: The town you live in is bedraggled, there’s nobody who takes care of you, poverty is the norm, your adjacencies don’t motivate you to strive for higher education and there hardly any prospects of ever getting a job which enables you to leave this dull environment or a job at all.

You are not well-educated and all that is left to you are dreams of a better future without an idea how to achieve this goal. Nobody really tried to cultivate your mental abilities.

You are NOT sitting at home in your middleclass household, graduated from high-school and went to college. You DON’T know about the problem of slave trade and all you want to DO is to turn over a new leaf.

No one really knows what’s going on in those girls and women who fall for the slave traders before the human trafficking occurs except for them selves and it’s only presumptuous to judge them for what is happening to them afterwards.

And you should never forget that even the most preposterous stupidity is in no way decreasing the guilt of slave traders. Nobody deserves the destiny of those girls and women and the greatest fatuity involved in this whole issue is putting the blame on the victims!

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Outgunned: Up against the MRA

April 17, 2006 at 9:27 pm (Crime, Society)

MRA? He probably intended to write NRA, didn’t he? No, I didn’t! MRA is the abbreviation of “Men’s Rights Activist”.

Some men consider themselves the losers of the feminist movement. There are actually some problems like mothers preferred over fathers when it comes to custody battles even if the father may provide better living conditions for the child. Not that it’s always like that but it shouldn’t be concealed.

But a real MRA doesn’t let reality slow him down. So he proceeds to fight windmills wherever he encounters them.

MRAs blame women for everything.

Sure, the evergreen is: “She asked for it” or even worse “If you ask for it, you deserve it” – a real classic to make excuses for raping a woman but for beating her up, too. You know, everyone is to blame except for the rapist. She was either dressed the wrong way, drank too much, “flirted” with the rapist to-be or just enjoyed freedom (but only men are allowed to in a MRA’s mind).

Another one is: “He didn’t really rape her. He took advantage of her”. What an innocent guy – he’s not a brutal rapist but merely a rascal. Well, but this is still not stupid enough for a hardcore MRA.

No, the woman not only asked for it or deserved it, it’s even worse in some people’s perception: She used her beauty (“provocative beauty”) as a weapon against those poor guys. So they were just defending.

Some MRAs go even further. Can you still go further than giving the victim the responsibility for the crime? Yes, you can! Richard demonstrates special impertinence:

What strikes me as peculiar is prosecutors’ reluctance to admit that innocent men go to prison due to false rape allegations. We get the normal platitudes about them having been very “careful” in their investigation, and how the woman is so “very brave”, but none of them want to deal with the actual statistics and just how uncertain it is that the vast majority of reports are actually rapes.[…] And this is what concerns me, the apparent complete lack of curiosity about the true number of false reports by those charged with prosecuting rape. When I broach this subject with folks in law enforcement it’s as if I’m challenging some religious doctrine; something deep in their soul is threatened by the very possibility that false reports might be significantly higher than they believe. The possibility for them is off the table, because they are "very careful", the woman have been "through so much", and we are lucky to have such "brave" women "come foreword". That's all I get. Finally, it would have been instructional if you told us what the accused rapists go through as the result of the accusation, and what their lives look like afterward if they are eventually acquitted.[…]

Richard goes on presenting “evidence” for false accusations but it’s not over yet.

My point is that it is extremely easy to find rape acquitals, much more so than other crimes. That may be because the nature of the crime's focus on consent (and therefore intent). Absent strong evidence of contemporanous physical abuse and/or an eye witness, it becomes a he said/she said matter that is very much open to abuse.[…] If a certain type of crime is known to be more open to false reporting than other types of crimes, than this is an extremely important fact that I believe public policy should take into account.[…]

Richard goes the whole hog. All this claptrap about responsibility is not enough. He doesn’t even bother to make up excuses for rapists. He claims that rape was more open to false accusations than other crimes. He really hit rock bottom!

Here’s a nice site with an interview presenting a real MRA to us.

The world is not perfect. And women aren’t either. Men sometimes turn out to be disadvantaged and if this is the case they have all the right to complain about it. But those MRAs lost every sense of proportion. It’s not that feminism threatened men and society and equality meant discrimination of men. The opposite is true. It’s not a fight between the sexes but aspiring toward a better society in which nobody’s being oppressed. But many men don’t get that. They think it was some kind of competition with them being on the edge of a loss. The elimination of inequity is a win-win situation. I know that this may sound quite idealistic. I’m not an idealist but I just wanted to make this clear.

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Women in chess

April 17, 2006 at 12:23 pm (Chess, Society)

If you have a look at the FIDE Top 100 you’ll find just one female chessplayer – Judit Polgar (2700+ and Top 10 strength but caring for her little child). The current FIDE Top 100 ends with Evgeny Vladimirov rated 2616. The second best female chesplayer in the world is Koneru Humpy with an Elo of 2548 (Zsuzsa Polgar (2577) and Xie Jun (2573) dropped out of the list).

The question remains why there are so few strong female Grandmasters in comparison to the tons of male GMs?

A brief history of women in chess can be found here.

There was Vera Menchik competing with men and doing quite well and then you had to wait until Nona Gapriandashvili (sixties) and Maia Chiburdanidze (seventies) came up. High level chess could be observed when the Polgar phenomenon made an impact on the World of chess. Zsuzsa being the first woman to ever achieve the men’s GM title and Judit breaking Bobby Fischer’s record and becoming the world’s youngest GM at 15 years and 5 months of age in 1991. Zsofia’s stellar performance rating of 2879 (or 2928 depending on the source) in Rome 1989 shall not be forgotten.

Judit Polgar beat anybody. Spassky and Karpov in matches (Polgar was the first woman to ever beat the world-champion in a match), Kasparov in 2002 and Topalov. Only Kramnik is still missing. She’s also responsible for the best performance of a female chessplayer ever by coming a close second in Wijk an der Zee 2003, ½ behind Anand and without a single loss! She won so many tournaments (and doesn’t compete in “women only”-events) that I won’t list them here.

But the question remains: Are women capable of playing chess as good as men do? Was Judit Polgar nothing but a fluke?

Many strong chessplayers like Kasparov and Kramnik and others like Nigel Short commented derogatory on female chess (Judit taught them a lesson, especially Short who has a score of 3:12 against her). But there’s still a discussion going on.

I don’t think that there’s a difference between men and women concerning their ability to play chess. In my opinion you need a strong basis and long tradition to produce Super-GMs. But that’s still not enough. And the basis for female chessplayers is still going so we’ll probably have to wait for some time. Take Germany as an example: Their chess association has 236000 members and their strongest chessplayers are: Arkadi Naiditsch, Artur Yusupov, Alexander Graf (former Nenashev), Rustem Dautov and Igor Khenkin (only Christopher Lutz, Jan Gustafsson and Dr. Hübner break ranks). Or have a look at the United States with Onishuk, Kaidanov, Goldin, Shabalov, Gulko (Zsuzsa Polgar became an US citizen also). But the strongest US player is Hikaru Nakamura.

So what I wanted to show that it’s extremely hard to produce those Super GMs even if there are lot of people playing chess and with many strong players around. Just compare the rate of female chessplayers in chess clubs to the one of male chessplayers. I think it will become clear that it has nothing to do with the gender itself (some people really think that women were inferior to men concerning mental abilities). The large basis is necessary but the women lack this large basis so it's not surprising that Polgar was the only one to ever cross 2600 (and 2700).

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Evolutionary Psychology and Rape

April 13, 2006 at 9:32 pm (Crime, Science, Society)

I just found the following article on the site of the centre for evolutionary psychology:

Is rape an adaptation?

No one knows, nor is there currently enough evidence to decide the question either way. A better question is whether or not a rape adaptation in humans is conceivable. Here, I think the answer is clearly yes. That rape might be an adaptation is a reasonable hypothesis to pursue, and the proper framework is intersexual conflict. Nature is rife with violent conflict–conflict between members of different species (such as predators and prey), conflict between members of the same species (such as males competing for females), and conflict between males and females (such as the killing of offspring by unrelated males during harem takeovers). Further, many organisms clearly possess adaptations to successfully engage in violent strategies (e.g., fangs and claws). There is no principled reason why animal nervous systems could not be specialized for coercive mating, including rape. In humans, the benefits of rape for males may have outweighed the costs during the EEA in the following circumstances:

High status males may be have been able to coerce matings with little fear of reprisal.

Low status women (e.g., orphans) may have been particularly vulnerable to being raped
because males need not have feared reprisals from the woman's family.

During war, raping enemy women may have had few negative repercussions.

Men who were low status, who were likely to remain low status, and who had few
opportunities to invest in kin may have realized reproductive benefits that outweighed the
considerable costs (e.g., reprisal by the woman's family).

Whether human males possess psychological adaptations for rape will only be answered by careful studies seeking evidence for such cognitive specializations. To not seek such evidence is like failing to search a suspect for a concealed weapon. It is extremely likely that human males, like males of many other species, have both physiological as well as psychological adaptations for successfully engaging in violent strategies. Rape may well be one such strategy. However–and this is important–adaptations provide organisms with special abilities. Rape is a behavior. It could easily result (for example) from the ability of individuals to use physical aggression to achieve any one of a number of goals, including sex; it may not require any cognitive specializations whatsoever. In order for a rape adaptation to evolve, there would have to have been cognitive problems involved in successfully raping someone in the EEA that were specific to rape, and did not generally occur in other aggressive encounters. It is not entirely obvious what these problems might have been. Perhaps identifying circumstances that were propitious for rape, as outlined above, would be one example.

More generally, the human sciences may be forced to consider that individuals are innately capable of doing bad things.

First things first, i was surprised that the term "habituation" was not used in this article.

The "benefits" of raping:
Primarily they talk about mating: A man rapes a woman and impregnates her thereby so that the "rape-gene" is given to the child. Reproduction's successful.

But I'm not convinced. The chance of becoming pregnant after one sexual intercourse is very low (i didn't find any figures but who would disagree?) and the rapist probably doesn't know about the woman's menstrual cycle. If pack raping comes to your mind – the chance of the woman being impregnated rises with the number of rapists but the chance for every single rapist remains the same. Ok, if you consider the rape-gene to be impetus then this may even make a bit of sense. Some kind of altruism would be involved because what's the benefit of the guys who participate but aren't those fathers to-be? It would be better for them to rape alone because there's no competition (you're reminded of the text: such as the killing of offspring by unrelated males during harem takeovers). And there would still be no explanation for any other rape than pack rape. The other problem would be the mother's relationship to the child and the chances of surviving would probably be lower (look at circumstance Nr.2). A woman who suffers from a trauma and with no father to care for the child… A stable relationship is by far a more successful strategy than raping could ever be. The development in medical science which led to abortions not being kind of a butchery anymore should have had a major impact on the success of an alleged rape-gene also.

Rape is a way of wielding power and this shows that there's an intention so the mating being a benefit of rape becomes even more unlikely. They provide us with another possible reason – a violent intersexual conflict. Using rape to domineer the women? This idea is not new (Susan Brownmiller's "Against our will: Men, women and rape" or Buchwald's, Fletcher's and Roth's "Transforming a rape culture" perhaps) but linking it to evolutionary psychology is just speculation. I don't think that this needs a subconscious instigation to be case.

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Bernardo Provenzano apprehended

April 11, 2006 at 12:53 pm (Crime)

The 73 year old head of Sicily's Cosa Nostra was caught today after 40 years of abscondence.

He may have been involved in the assassination of Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992.

There are three major Mafia Oraganisations in Italy: Cosa Nostra in Sicily, Camorra in Naples and the N'drangheta in Calabria. It's interesting to note that the N'drangheta is considered the most powerful Mafia Organisation in the world.

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Elections in Italy: Prodi seems to have won

April 10, 2006 at 5:34 pm (Advocatus Diaboli)

Addendum:

Berlusconi makes a fool out of himself. There's no chance left for him to remain in the lead and he's everything but a "vanquisher of the hearts". He still didn't realize that Italy is not a self-service outlet for him, his family and his "honourable friends". 

Update 2:

Prodi won officially in both chambers. Berlusconi still doesn't want to accept the truth but he has to. His only chance to maintain would be a coup d'etat which is very unlikely. Berlusconi, give Italy a break and let Prodi do his work!

Update:

Ok, so it's not quite clear what's going on in Italy. When i wrote this Post Prodi seemed to be the clear winner then they said it wasn't that clear-cut but now Prodi seems to have won at least something. It's better to wait until the official results are released.

The Godfather says:

The news say that Romano Prodi won the elections. He beat Berlusconi for the second time and he did that in a very clever way. He attacked Berlusconi's misgoverning of italy, not his dubious dealings. Sanity won and Italy also. Well, but a real Godfather…

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Koneru Humpy: Total Domination

April 8, 2006 at 8:44 pm (Chess)

Koneru Humpy (Humpy is her forename) dominates the men's section of this year's Indian Championship.

Today's victory earned her an incredible score of 6.5/7 with a performance of nearly 2800.

Round 1: Arun Prasad (2384) 0-1 Koneru Humpy (2537)
Round 2: Koneru Humpy (2537) 1-0 Arghadip Das (2402)
Round 3: P.D.S.Girinath (2350) 0-1 Koneru Humpy (2537)
Round 4: Koneru Humpy (2537) 1-0 Vikramadithya Kamble (2403)
Round 5: Deepan Chakravarthi (2428) 0-1 Koneru Humpy (2537)
Round 6: Koneru Humpy (2537) Tejas Bakre (he left the tournament)
Round 7: R.B.Ramesh (2491) 1/2 Koneru Humpy (2537)
Round 8: Koneru Humpy (2537) 1-0 D.K.Sharma (2370)

So Humpy does have a score of +6 against rating average of 2404 with a performance of 2747.

Humpy looks likely to win this event. She's already the youngest girl to become GM in the history (beating Judit Polgar's record) and currently the second strongest female chessplayer on earth (Well, Judit Polgar tops them all by far).

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A lack of plain common sense

April 7, 2006 at 5:13 pm (Society)

If you wanna see the abysses of human nature, you have to read through the comments on articles in a not quite exigent paper. Some guy called Ian wrote an interesting letter to the editor which doesn't contribute to the discussion but demonstrates a lack of common sense. But let's see what he wrote first:

If a drunk Newcastle fan started jeering Millwall in a group of drunk Millwall fans and was beaten, people would say he asked for it;

No, i would consider it to be another evidence of hooliganism in English football.

If you walk around with your wallet or purse in full view on top of a shopping bag then you will be told it was your fault for it being stolen; if you leave valuables in full view in a parked car – you will be told it is your fault if they are stolen.

I won't comment on these two now. You will see where this leads to.

There are times when a person's behaviour can lead to them getting into trouble.

Sure, you can either act illogically or sensible. Ian's comment is an example for the former.

What makes the individual's behaviour in a rape case something that should not be considered?

A good question. The answer is that the victim's (or survivor's) behaviour just doesn't play a role although an interesting twist exists. A man doesn't rape a woman (same with prison rape, etc.) because of wanting to have sexual intercourse. He rapes her to exert power on her. To impose his will on her. You see the difference? The motive primarily has nothing to do with sex! And this means that a sexual stimulus is just not necessary. Ian doesn't know that. Well, you can't blame him for his ignorance which he shares with so many men and women all over the world. But if you don't have a clue, why not keeping the mouth shut? But what if the victim's behaviour/clothing etc. does play a role? What if the rapist selects them over their behaviour? Well, this happens. Very often, i guess. But why should he do that after all what i wrote about the motifs? The reason is as simple as that: You have a better chance not to be convicted of rape thanks to all those Ian's out there who believe in (at least) partly responsible victims. Some rapists display common sense though it's not good.

It still does NOT excuse the rapist, but the 'well you asked for that' response is as understandable as in the previous examples it is not 'sexist' just plain common sense.

Sorry, Ian but you don't display any sort of common sense. And the only reason for the "well you asked for that" response to be understandable is the knowledge of so many Ian's being out there, living their lives and having no clue of what's really going on.

The Godfather says:

Ian, you asked for that!

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Suicide by Killer?

April 6, 2006 at 12:15 pm (Crime)

The Times has a story about the former spy Dennis Donaldson who was found dead on April, 4. He was a former chief of staff for Sinn Fein and named as a spy for the BSS at a press conference last December.

Living in a cottage in Ireland with no comfort whatsoever.

The journalist discovered that Mr Donaldson seemed to spend his days making the most of his meagre resources to survive. Water had to be drawn from a well, heating and cooking were from a peat-burning range. His only communication with the outside world was a battery-operated radio. At night, with the temperature dropping below zero and the Atlantic gales howling across the hills, his only source of light was a Tilley lamp. His only luxury was a petrol-driven log-cutter.

This reminds the Godfather a bit of Latitants but that's another story… His journey obviously came to an end. But it's even more fascinating that this was not some kind of a good ambush.

Terence Slowey, the Donegal councillor with the opposition Fine Gael party, said: “It’s up a very isolated bog road — you wouldn’t be on it unless you had cattle. “There were certainly many visitors from Belfast, you’d hear the accents. People did come and go to the house. It’s on a very bad road but it’s my understanding that senior republican people would have known about the house for years.”

Some journalists found him also. The question who killed him remains and the IRA claims to have nothing to do with his death.

Did this man give up? Maybe he didn't find the strength and lacked the will to flee or commit suicide. So he sat there in his shelter and vegetated. Lying for about twenty years and then suddenly being uncovered must have been hard to take. This cottage may have been so bedraggled that he could have been detracted from the latent threat of being killed.

His life ended but the story is not finished yet…

The Godfather says:

A man who thinks that he has no future is already dead.

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Guess whose fault it’s this time

April 5, 2006 at 4:33 pm (Society)

Okay, the article is almost three weeks old but still… Let's start!

I'll skip the part on her little brother.

The concept started to slide off the agenda once women decided that equal opportunities meant that they should pursue sex in the same way as men.

Women are free to decide with whom to have sexual intercourse and when to have. So they can handle it like men do? Where's the problem? Arent't they allowed to because of equality being only a misconception?

But that's what she said before

He was just behaving as young bachelors did – and do – according to the courtship customs of our modern world. Courtship no longer exists Of course, I'm being ironic when I talk about 'courtship' because it barely seems to exist any more.

So the modern world made "young bachelors" behave that way? And the women who fought for equal rights overextended and this "young bachelor" is the product of all of this.

Once all the fair ladies had descended from their towers, there was little incentive for men to behave like courtly knights.

Poor guys! They don't need to treat ladies like they should because they have sex without having a rest.

Take the growing tendency for people to have sex on a first date. Three quarters of men and women are prepared to bed a new romantic prospect on their first jaunt according to a recent survey. I'm not surprised the men are eager, but it's worrying that so many women are prepared to forfeit their traditional strategic stronghold so early in proceedings.

What the heck? Those poor men don't want to have sex on a first date but this evil girls are always compliant. Now this is interesting since it's not only insulting all those "modern women" but all men also. Like a man couldn't say no to sex!

This is still the foreplay:

The rise in one-night stands and first-date sex coincide with a sharp rise in women's alcohol intake.New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, author of a new state-of-the-sexes book, Are Men Necessary, tells how a friend of hers who teaches the brightest Ivy-league girls despairs of the way these same young women behave at the weekends: "(They) drink a bunch of pre-game shots," and, "Initially, they have tremendous power, cruising into the clubs with their bosoms hanging out." But as the girls get drunker, the boys gain control, "they're groping and grinding and pawing and trying to get laid, and the girls are pathetically giving guys blow jobs." Does that sound familiar?

Now the article hits his peak:

The British Mori poll's saddest statistic was that 31 per cent of women had had sex they did not want and alcohol was a significant factor.

"Sex they did not want" is kind of a euphemism. I would call that "Rape". The author knows who can be blamed if a woman gets raped (and alcohol was involved) – the women! Now this is so ridiculous. First, she tries to convince us that modern women want sex like men do. That makes them drinking to much and "cruising into the clubs" where they try to seduce every man. And in the end, they get raped.

Men are like sex machines who won't refuse any offer so it's up to the girls and women to behave the correct way. If they don't, punishment is the consequence and it's their fault.

The Godfather says:

That's the way a real Godfather prefers to solve problems. Lean back and let others do the donkeywork. Like giving female authors the opportunity to write sexist, stupid articles instead of doing this on your own.

Update
Here is a nice article i found.

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