"Permit me to introduce myself. I am Pepe Le Pew, your lover."
I was working on Saturday afternoon when the NY Times news alert arrived in my inbox. I could see most of the headline: IMF boss arrested in New York and...
Normally, I don't stop what I am doing and read the breaking news. I figure it broke without me and can develop without me. But this was intriguing. At first, there was no article, just a banner and then a clickable link to the the NY Daily News. The headline spoke of sodomy, the running copy of oral sex, a naked DSK, a chambermaid, a locked room, a call to 911. Wow!
I was in a state of shock. I said to myself, it is 2 am in France. The French are going to be in a state of collective shock on Sunday morning. And they were. Mathilde and I wanted it to be une machination politique. After all, Strauss-Kahn and his wife Anne Sinclair had just received and filed suit over unflattering press coverage about their gauche caviar lifestyle, complete with a photo of them getting into a porsche (not theirs, but never mind, it's all about symbols) and details about the 125,000 dollar custom kitchen in their DC townhouse (the stove hood alone cost 3,000 euros).
Strauss-Kahn had already cultivated a proud reputation as a ladies man. Everyone remembers his "one-night stand" (according to a forgiving Anne Sinclair) with a Hungarian IMF staffer in 2008. Now reports are surfacing that he attempted to rape a journalist who wanted to interview him for a book, and who did not come forward at the time. Others, speaking on condition of anonymity, say he has long been a little too... insistent. Decode this and you get: refuses to take no for an answer. He is not the only Frenchman, or indeed the only man (or woman, why not?), who won't take no for an answer. Her lips said no but her eyes said oui, oui, oui.
The issue of rape and consent is complex. Strauss-Kahn, after denying he was there and promising to produce proof of an alibi (lunch with his daughter in Manhattan), has now got the bad news from the DNA results and has changed tack: consent, he now says. She wanted it, that chambermaid. That's why he sequestered her? She wanted that too? Some kind of twisted rape fantasy?
Okay, never mind. Innocent until proven guilty. We have not heard from or seen the alleged victim. In fact, no one seems to care about her. She is just a bit player in the larger drama. But what about her? And what about Anne Sinclair? She has stood by her man in the past. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Is she his enabler? His handler? And the rest of his family? A detail from one of the French reports on the story: the daughter he is said to have had lunch with, who is married and a student of politics at Columbia, showed up at his arraignment with her husband. They both wore jeans and grim expressions.
No matter what happens next, and I think it is likely he will go directly to jail as we say in Monopoly, he will not be the socialist candidate for President in 2012. I think I am not the only person out there who is deeply disappointed. Sarkozy, though his approval rating is below 30%, is already claiming privately to have won the "bataille de la morale". Carla Bruni's pregnancy could not have come at a better time. Just a few months ago, people were whispering about her possible affair with Benjamin Biolay. Now she is the smiling Madonna, Nick's "Carlita". She has put out her cigarette. Word on the street is she is expecting twins. In one of the unauthorized biographies about her, the author claims that she was one of many who "tried out" for the role of French first lady after Cécilia packed it in and headed to New York to marry her true love. Carla got the job, beating out several other aspirants after Laurence Ferrari declined the offer.
Meanwhile, in Italy, Berlusconi must face the music over his alleged relations with a minor, 17-year old Ruby; back in the US, we have just learned that former California governor The Terminator fathered a child with one of the domestic staff a decade ago. He kept that hidden from Maria until earlier this year; hence the recent announcement of a split. And how's this for a funny coincidence: Carla Bruni, in the novelized version of the real-life story of how she stole Justine Levy's husband (it's complicated), goes by the name of Paula, aka Le Terminateur (because of her extensive plastic surgery). That may not exhaust the subject, but let's end with the posthumous: Osama Bin Laden, though he now sleeps with the fish, apparently had an incredible stash of porn in that compound of his. This is definitely something I feel better knowing.
There. I feel like I got a lot of crap off my chest this morning. The world is sometimes less a sad and beautiful place and more a ridiculous place. A vanity fair. Everyone was expecting a dirty fight in France if DSK was chosen, as expected, to run against Sarkozy. Now it looks as if he did himself in. Hoisted by his own pétard, hidden beneath a towel.
UPDATE: In the icky detail category, I just read a Daily Beast article with this tidbit, in a rather lurid paragraph ostensibly chastising the French for being interested in sordid details about the alleged victim:
“Physically, accounts differ,” writes the website of Paris Match. “The lawyers for DSK [Dominique Strauss-Kahn] apparently declared they were surprised to discover her face was ‘not very seductive,’ ” when they saw her at the lineup where she formally identified the head of the International Monetary Fund as her attacker. But the French tabloid France-Soir interviewed a limo driver who works with the hotel, saying the housekeeper “was a very pretty woman in her thirties, with big breasts and a beautiful rear.”
So I take back what I said above: that nothing is known about the alleged victim. Now we know that she isn't all that pretty but she has big knockers and a nice ass. Where is the dismay emoticon when you need it?
Il ne manquait que ça.