August 28, 2003


Human brutes, like other beasts, find snares and poison in the provision of life, and are allured by their appetites to their destruction.

Jonathan Swift(1667-1745)

Leonard Pitts is one of my favorite columnists. I read him regularly. He has written columns about Kobe Bryant and Mike Tyson. He though highly of Bryant and lowly of Tyson. These are two celebrities; Bryant because he is exceptionally adept at placing a basketball into a basket; Tyson because he is expert at (in his own words) beating his opponents into unconsciousness.

Tyson was accused of raping a woman who accompanied him to his hotel room. He was convicted of rape and sent to prison. Recently Bryant, age 24, was similarly accused by an 19 year old woman. Bryant admitted to having intercourse with her, but claims that she consented.

In a contrite appearance before the TV cameras, Bryant, accompanied by his stunningly beautiful wife, admits to "sinning," but denies the charge of rape. Tyson also claimed that the sex was with her consent, but he went to the pokey anyway.

Perhaps none of the people I have mentioned, nor their lawyers, have heard of what psychiatrist Eric Berne calls the game of "rapo;" pronounced rape-oh. In his book Games People Play he describes a game played by some women, the object of which is to humiliate a man. Berne states that, "This is a game played between a man and a woman which might more politely be called, in the milder forms at least, 'Kiss Off' or 'Indignation'. It may be played with varying degrees of intensity." He describes the extreme form of the game: " Third-Degree Rapo is a vicious game which ends in murder, suicide or the courtroom. Here White leads Black into compromising physical contact and then claims that he has made a criminal assault or has done her irreparable damage. In its most cynical form White may actually allow him to complete the sexual act so that she gets that enjoyment before confronting him."

In the case of Tyson, the woman involved knew exactly what kind of a man he was before she entered his hotel room. Tyson had made the same advance to a group of women. All, with that one exception, declined the invitation. When a woman goes to a man's hotel room, there is usually an understanding, by both parties, that the result will be sex. In the case of Tyson, the understanding is that it will probably be rough sex. That Tyson has blown 400 million bucks and is now bankrupt indicates that the man is a fool. He also picked the wrong lawyers and managers.

Bryant is a very attractive young man and his celebrity status makes him the target of women who either want to have sex with him, or might want to humiliate him. Professional athletes, and other celebrities, are often propositioned by women. If I believed the number of women that some basketball players say that they have had sex with, they have more sex in a year than most men have in a lifetime.

I believe that both Tyson and Bryant have been victimized by women who get their jollies out of humiliating a man. Fortunately, there aren't too many women like that, but one is more than enough. I suspect that Bryant might have learned a lesson. Tyson is probably a slow learner, although I assume that he doesn't want to spend any more time in the pokey.

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