August 26, 2007

Monkey misery

Not from Across Difficult Country: Although it sounds like it's from Carter van Carter's website, this is from the BBC:


Monkey misery for Kenyan women villagers
By Juliet Njeri BBC News, Nachu, central
Kenya

A troop of vervet monkeys is giving Kenyan villagers long days and sleepless nights, destroying crops and causing a food crisis.

Earlier this month, local MP Paul Muite urged the Kenyan Wildlife Service to help contain their aggressive behaviour.

But Mr Muite caused laughter when he told parliament that the monkeys had taken to harassing and mocking women in a village. But this is exactly what the women in the
village of Nachu, just south-west of Kikuyu, are complaining about.

They estimate there are close to 300 monkeys invading the farms at dawn. They eat the village's maize, potatoes, beans and other crops. And because women are primarily responsible for the farms, they have borne the brunt of the problem, as they try to guard their crops.

They say the monkeys are more afraid of young men than women and children, and the bolder ones throw stones and chase the women from their farms.

Nachu's women have tried wearing their husbands' clothes in an attempt to trick the monkeys into thinking they are men - but this has failed, they say.

"When we come to chase the monkeys away, we are dressed in trousers and hats, so that we look like men," resident Lucy Njeri told the BBC News website. "But the monkeys can tell the difference and they don't run away from us and point at our breasts. They just ignore us and continue to steal the crops."

In addition to stealing their crops, the monkeys also make sexually explicit gestures at the women, they claim. "The monkeys grab their breasts, and gesture at us while pointing at their private parts. We are afraid that they will sexually harass us," said Mrs Njeri.

The Kenyan Wildlife Service told the BBC that it was not unusual for monkeys to harass women and be less afraid of them than men, but they had not heard of monkeys in
Kenya making sexually explicit gestures as a form of communication to humans.

The predominantly farming community is now having to receive famine relief food.


Thank God for famine relief! Otherwise, these women's husbands would have to get off their duffs and scare away the damn monkeys. And that just wouldn't be culturally appropriate.

Considering how frequently Bono, Bishop Mugabe, Bob Geldof, Tony Blair, Angelina Jolie, Bill Clinton, Jeffrey Sachs and other worthies get together to bask in their collective celebrityhood discuss how to alleviate Africa's poverty problem, you might think that somebody, somewhere would have mentioned in the press the Sailer Solution: African men should start working as hard as African women already work. But it never seems to come up. (My wife suggests that Oprah, who has funded a school for girls in
South Africa, might eventually spills the beans.)


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

13 comments:

Mr. Pooh said...

Maybe the gals could make a buck by video taping the monkeys and selling it to the western media.

You didn't mention it Steve, but the monkeys sound a whole lot more productive than the husbands.

mr. pooh said...

Or perhaps they could make a video comparison of the monkeys and of their husbands and then sell it to Oprah.

SN said...

I read that the govt has banned the villagers from shooting or harming the monkeys, hence the need for famine relief.

tommy said...

I've wondered why Africans were less altruistic than Arabs. Why, for example, do the leaders of high GDP African nations tend to horde their nation's wealth, like the rulers of Equatorial Guinea, while Arab leaders in nations like Bahrain and the UAE actually provide welfare states for their citizens?

I think three things can be said about group behavior in different climates:

1) Harsh environments, like the Middle Eastern desert or cold Northern Europe, encourage greater future time orientation (i.e. planning ahead). If you don't plan and conserve resources, then you die of thirst, heat exhaustion, starvation, hypothermia, etc. In such environments (a) the number of needs is greater, (b) those needs must be met more promptly, (c) temporary deficiencies in needs are more difficult to recuperate from, and (d) temporary deficiencies are likely to take a greater toll on groups.

2) Harsh environments demand greater contributions from each individual in the tribe. This requires that men actually get off their asses and contribute toward production and not just spend spare time lounging around or making war against the men of rival tribes.

3) Harsh environments encourage greater group altruism. When scarcities arise, you must rely on your neighbors and kin more to survive during hard times. (This seems to hold true not just for entirely different races but also ethnicities: Scandinavians are noticeably more altruistic than Sicilians.)

Anonymous said...

"(My wife suggests that Oprah, who has funded a school for girls in South Africa, might eventually spills the beans.)"

Ha ha ha..,.This can only come from someone FAR removed from traditional African society, you know the society which all the hobnobs including Bishop Tutumuch who "bask in their collective celebrityhood" swoon and fawn over.

African men take pride in their positions as heads of the households and not having to work. Not having to work is a sign of their status. African men who have to work are considered lower class, so the thing to do is get many wives and relax. It shows you are the man. Better yet to get a white wife that really brings the dough home; except trying to make her behave like an African wife is a little harder.

Many African women resent this chauvinism but it is a basic ingredient of African society.

My Pa once observed an African in Botswana who was chopping down a tree by making a fire around the stump, and then waiting for the tree to fall over. Whilst waiting he was snoozing at a safe distance. That's African work ethics for you. As far as he was concerned he's just being ingenious and not as stupid as Europeans with axes and saws and what not who are only stressing themselves out.

Anonymous said...

freakin' highlarious- that's why i read Steve's blog. Sometimes it's the simplest answer. I love how the article mentions that farming is left to the women...and what are we to believe the men are doing...aeronautical engineering??
Dan R

Anonymous said...

Bishop Mugabe? Is that Bishop Tutu or Robert Mugabe?

Big Wave Dave said...

I recall a study done decades ago involving baboons that demonstrated their acute ability to discern gender and react accordingly. Again, it was crop raiding, and it was observed that the troop, which would scatter whenever the male farmer appeared, would, in the presence of just the wife, merely monitor her movements and continue raiding. The response was the same no matter whether she wore her own clothes or male garb. It was suspected that the baboons could tell (smell) the sex of the person from a great distance (a hundred plus meters, as I recall), and this was born out when they immediately scattered when the farmer appeared outfitted as a women (either a good sport or an African of British ancestry).

Baboons, lowly creatures that they are, have yet to learn what we humans have come to know, that being the folly of basing one's reaction on the gender of another. If we could somehow reeducate the baboons to the point where they would respond the same to both the farmer and his wife, then we could guarantee that the troop will stop engaging in sex discrimination and choose between always staying and eating, or always running in fear. Perhaps what we need is a judge to order them all to counseling, then we would have the satisfaction that comes with enlightening a fellow species, even if in doing so we doomed them to a certain death, either via the farmer's gun or by slowly starving.

Anonymous said...

"Bishop Mugabe? Is that Bishop Tutu or Robert Mugabe?"

What's the diff? Tutu only went through the church hierarchy because the openly political route was too risky for him, pitting the blacks against the very efficient Apartheid security forces. Otherwise he is really a politician in purple robes. Mugabe apparently schooled in a mission station. Makes you have sympathy for the Afrikaans saying

"Sendeling ellendeling"

loosely translated

Missionaries are trouble.

C. Van Carter said...

More evidence the Flynn Effect has been working not just on us but on our primate cousins as well.

Anonymous said...

"More evidence the Flynn Effect has been working not just on us but on our primate cousins as well."

Train those monkeys to harvest the crops! Pretty soon African women will be sporting T-shirts that read: The more I know men, the more I love my monkey. (Present company excluded, no doubt.)

Curious George said...

"2) Harsh environments demand greater contributions from each individual in the tribe. This requires that men actually get off their asses and contribute toward production and not just spend spare time lounging around or making war against the men of rival tribes."

This is a tempting theory, but how do we use it to account for the notorious difference in behavioral adaptations found among Chimps on the one hand and Bonobos on the other (Chimps are from Mars, Bonobos are from Venus)? And how do we use it to account for the difference in behavioral adaptations of non-human primates in Africa on the one hand and humans in the same area on the other. Since they inhabit the same area, presumably they are subject to the similar constraints and should demonstrate similar adaptations.

tommy said...

This is a tempting theory, but how do we use it to account for the notorious difference in behavioral adaptations found among Chimps on the one hand and Bonobos on the other (Chimps are from Mars, Bonobos are from Venus)?

I don't see any contradiction. I'm not explaining differences in aggression between the sexes or most other differences in male/female behavior with this theory. (Many of those differences might be explained better by pointing out that we are more closely related to chimps than bonobos.) I'm just discussing resource production and how males spend their time. Since neither species is capable of even temporarily conserving many resources and each individual in a group must spend a significant amount of time obtaining food, it would seem pointless to try and extrapolate to chimps or bonobos.

It might be true that a reduced need for altruism in African societies could result in men who are more aggressive than men in harsher climates.