Silvio Berlusconi, Italian Women—And Rats

The Times of India reports:

Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has fuelled a furore yet again by saying that women in the country were so beautiful that they needed military escorts to avoid being raped.


On his defence, Berlusconi said he was complimenting Italian women “because there are only about 100,000 people in law enforcement, while there are millions of beautiful women.”

Berlusconi says he made his remarks in jest, which is just as well. After all, Italian men are not rats. In his intriguing history of this tenacious rodent, Jerry Langton writes:

Although all animals, especially mammals, can adapt to their surroundings, few if any do so as rapidly as rats. The reason behind this would appear to be the rat’s amazing fecundity. Rats just love having sex and they do it all the time. Male rats regularly mate with underage and already pregnant rats and have even been photographed mating with dead rats, their heads still caught in snap traps. Sometimes, groups of all-male rats will have sex with one another.

Don’t ask me why I’m reading that book. (Like a rat will eat anything, I’ll read anything.) But I read that news piece about Berlusconi, and straight away the image of rats humping all over the streets of Italy came to my mind. What army can fight rats?

PS: Can you imagine Manmohan Singh saying something like that?

(Berloscuni link via separate emails from Shantanu and Deepak.)