A Slap On the Face, Not a Slap On the Wrist, for Rape

In India, a man was accused of raping a deaf-mute neighbor. The police failed to do anything, arguing that the deaf-mute couldn’t give evidence. (What, the booming Indian tech economy can’t afford a few rape kits?) This is kind of doubtful, because here’s how they found out:

Communicating through hand signals, the woman, a mother of three, said she was raped in a field last Sunday when returning home from work in Rampur, 330 kilometers (205 miles) northwest of Lucknow, the state capital of Uttar Pradesh.

So the village elders stepped in.

Their punishment? A 5,000 rupee ($110 US) fine and 51 slaps to the face in public.

“We can’t do more than that. The village court doesn’t have powers to arrest anyone,” said Hasan. “By public slapping, the court wants to put (him) to shame.”

I think this illustrates the challenge facing India. Despite the booming tech sector, there is a completely different world in most of the rest of the country that isn’t going to be contributing very soon until a minimum level of modernization happens. The US has grown a lot in no small part since 1970 because the South finally started joining the 20th century and was able to contribute.

So here’s a provocative question: could the most important economic development in the US in the latter half of the 20th century have been Brown v. Board of Education?

Will George Beat Susan If He Loses?

George Allen, despite trying to use gay-bashing to boost his electoral chances, has proved too racist even for many who believe that Adam and Steve tying the knot will cause them to leave their wives for those hot, hot Congressional pages. Now that Allen has managed to legalize wife-beating in Virginia in the interests of protecting his job, will he take it out on his wife, Susan, if the recount doesn’t go his way? He can always challenge the constitutionality of any domestic violence law if it includes references to people “living as married” as happened in Ohio.

George, don’t beat Susan or your kids, even though you’re objectively pro-wife-beating.


Even though it’s not my favorite type of humor, Borat is really funny because it’s pitch-perfect. The rubes he makes fun of aren’t the sweet kind you cringe when he abuses (mostly) but some deserving assholes who I hope lose their jobs. Three quick reactions:

1. When the scene with the University of South Carolina frat brothers was over, I leaned over to a friend and said, “…and that’s why I left.” Seriously, if the President of the University has any questions why I never give them a dime, he should just watch that exchange. He was hired to stop the “other” USC from getting to be too prominent and too smart for the ignorant hicks who make up its board of trustees. They’re much more comfortable with the kind of students you see on the screen than me. The evangelical Christian church scene brought also back some bad memories of South Carolina.

2. It was jarring when every time I could understand some of the “Kazakh” coming out of Sacha Cohen’s mouth, it was Polish–a language spoken about a couple of thousand miles from Kazakhstan. I’m guessing Sacha’s family were Polish Jews before the war. None of it was Russian, though I think some of the language in the village scene was.

3. I’ve been to Kazakhstan, and in case you’re wondering, no, it’s not really like Cohen lampoons it to be–while that’s part of his joke, the irony is that he’s reinforcing the type of prejudice he’s exposing in others. On a similar theme, his fake anti-Semitism is not taken up by anybody else in the movie. Southern rednecks hate blacks first, and Jews are way down on the list, now even behind Muslims.

Little Things That Give You Hope: Doogie Howser Edition

Little ways life gets better are important. The title of Tyler Cowen’s Marginal Revolution blog is a reference to this. So I’m going to start keeping track of small things that make life better or give you a bit of hope.

So what better way to start, than with the inimitable Neil Patrick Harris? More specifically, the lede of the recent AP story about him:

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — Neil Patrick Harris is gay and wants to quell any rumors to the contrary.

Addendum: A shout out to Reverend Ted Haggard: you could learn a thing or two from Doogie.