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Archive for May, 2011

Wasting one’s time


The excellent Aaron David Miller tells us, not for the first time, why Obama is wasting his time trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s insoluble. Even I could have told him that.

Though the conflict is insoluble I will soon lay out my own detailed peace plan. Not that it will make a whit of difference to anyone. But if Obama can’t or won’t give us a plan, then I’ll do it for him. Stay tuned.

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[update below] [2nd update below]

That’s the title of Roger Cohen’s column in today’s NY Times, which has put me in a bad mood. One of the unfortunate fallouts of the DSK affair is that it has given the umpteenth life to a number of stupid clichés and stereotypes that the French and Americans have about one another (like the ‘Friday the 13th’ series, where Jason just won’t die). All sorts of rubbish is being recounted in France these days about America and vice-versa. Definitely vice-versa. Cohen was the NYT’s Paris correspondent in the mid-late ’90s, so presumably knows this country well enough—though I was so unimpressed with his reporting and commentary at the time that I would pronounce his name à la française minus the h and e. But then he got better—after leaving France—notably on the Middle East (even though I don’t always share his take). We’ve even had a few friendly email exchanges (and I can proudly say that at my instigation Cohen did a number on Dominque de Villepin in the NYT in late ’05).

But now he’s back to his bad old ways. In today’s column he focuses on the supposed French penchant for conspiracy theorizing and that has come to the fore in the DSK affair. To demonstrate this penchant Cohen kicks off the column with the anecdote of the French radio interviewer asking him for “proof” of Osama Bin Laden’s death and then offers this one

I was put in mind of an unpleasant Paris dinner when a France Télécom manager with international experience began to expound on the theory — more than plausible to his mind — that Jews had not turned up to work at the twin towers on 9/11 because Israel and the Mossad were behind the planes-turned-missiles that turned lower Manhattan into an inferno.

The apparent French fondness for complotisme, we learn, has something to do with the “French deference to power” (which is indeed the case, as is the French defiance of power). In this vein, Cohen opines that “[t]he freer a society the less inclined it is to conspiracy theories, while the greater its culture of dependency the more it will tend to see hidden hands at work everywhere.” As the French tend to see hidden hands at work—that’s the point of his column—we are therefore to understand that France may not in fact be such a free society, or is in any case less free than America (and presumably the rest of the Anglo-Saxon world).

Okay, let’s try to unpack this. First, the suggestion that French society might be less free than American: unless one defines freedom in a libertarian sense, of freedom and centralized welfare states (“big government” in American parlance) being inversely correlated—a notion I categorically reject—, no serious person and/or one who knows both countries would make this assertion. When it comes to civil liberties, the rule of law, and the general functioning of democracy, I am quite sure that not even Cohen would argue that France is less free than America. In some respects, it might even be more so. American First Amendment liberties are defended with equal vigor in France (France admittedly does not have a Second Amendment, but that’s not a liberty in my book; voilà une triste exception américaine).

On his radio interviewer, there are many fools in the French media and who ask inane, ill-informed questions of interviewees. Just as there are many in the American media (I have my favorite anecdotes on this, si vous voulez). As for his France Télécom manager friend, I wonder if the latter wasn’t speaking in the second degré—ironically, tongue-in-cheek—and Cohen just didn’t pick up on it. If not, the manager was definitely an outlier in his socio-economic class. Crackpot 9/11 conspiracy theories had currency only on the extremes of the political spectrum and in certain ethno-confessional groups. À propos, Thierry Meyssan’s infamous best-seller was universally ridiculed in the media and polite society. The mainstream indignation against Meyssan’s screed was such that two well-known journalists wrote a book refuting it point by point (and which was put out by a major left-leaning publishing house to boot) (the effort was laudable but they were wasting their time in my mind, as persons given over to such conspiracy theorizing are not going be swayed by rational argumentation and/or won’t ever come across or bother reading such “mainstream” books).

As for the reasons Meyssan’s book was a best-seller in France, I had a theory on this: in addition to the usual conspiracy theory aficionados, I am quite sure that the book sold like hotcakes in France’s sizable North African/Muslim communities. I have no data to back this up and saw not a single article suggesting a link, but I know these communities very well—intimately well: as I have been studying them since the 1980s and they include many of my friends, in-laws, and associates here—, so I know of what I speak. They’re France’s Arabs (and Berbers): and as we know—sorry for being un-PC here but I am absolutely serious—Arabs (and Berbers) are given over to conspiracy theorizing in huge numbers—in their large majority—and which includes otherwise brilliant holders of Ph.D.s (I’ve heard the craziest conspiracy theories from Maghrebi academic friends and for decades, that one would never get from their European or North American counterparts; voilà the subject of a future blog post).

On the conspiracy theorizing in regard to the DSK affair, this was the initial reflex of many Frenchmen who were in a state of shock—or in a state of cognitive dissonance—over his arrest and alleged crime. The phenomenon—of the conspiracy theories—has been analyzed and debated over the past two weeks. And now two weeks later, a lot of it has abated. On France 2′s ‘Mots croisés‘ last night, which was entirely given over to DSK—what else?—, there was no talk of conspiracies or plots. The focus was on sexual harassment, the proper role of the media in covering the private lives of politicians, when the private becomes public, and other such questions de société. When the dust settles on this, the percentage of Frenchmen who will cling to DSK conspiracy theories will no doubt be roughly equal to those Americans who believe in similar crazy theories (e.g. Obama “birthers”).

On DSK and his champions in the French media—which has put certain American commentators in a state—if one were conspiracy theory-minded there is in fact an interesting pattern. Take a close look at the Gang of Six champions of Mr. Strauss-Kahn (most of whom have been laying low of late, BTW, or apologizing profusely for conneries they uttered during the first days of the affair): Bernard-Henri Lévy, Robert Badinter, Jack Lang, Jean-François Kahn, Jean Daniel ( Bensaïd), and Ivan Levaï (one may also add Alain Finkielkraut, though he’s been better on DSK than he was on Roman Polanski). Notice the pattern, Mr. Cohen? Something they all have in common? Hint: all “members of a tribe” defending one of their own? (wink, wink) ;-)

I’m being facetious here, bien entendu. If there were emoticons for irony or eye-rolling, I’d put them in. But what is noteworthy is that absolutely no one in France—no one mainstream, in any case—has gone down this road. And I have heard or overheard nothing on it. If one is into conspiracy theories, this is the oldest in the book. And with a miserable recent history in France. There have no doubt been DSK conspiracy theories in the darker precincts of the Internet—places I don’t go, except by accident—that take up this theme, but no one else has. To conclude: the French are not into conspiracy theories any more than are Americans or any other people of an advanced, mature democracy. I repeat: they are not. Period.

UPDATE: Art Goldhammer at French Politics is also peeved at Cohen and his column.

2nd UPDATE: Maureen Dowd, in Paris, sums up the current climate.

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L’excellent site d’infos Rue89 a un débat sur la vie privée des puissants et si la presse doit en parler, entre Patrick Jarreau (Le Monde) et Elaine Sciolino (New York Times). Je suis d’accord avec Sciolino sur les Mitterrand (François et Frédéric), et avec Jarreau sur Clinton-Lewinsky. Sur DSK, les deux sont bons.

MISE À JOUR: “Un avant et un après DSK” : entretien avec Valérie Toranian, directrice de la rédaction du magazine Elle.

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Here’s an excellent piece from last December by the military historian Martin van Creveld, on “why Israel doesn’t need the West Bank to be secure.”

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J’ai trouvé intéressante cette tribune dans Le Monde, “Un capitalisme du XIXe siècle pour aider les révoltes arabes”, par Edmund Phelps (Prix Nobel d’économie 2006). Cela mérite débat.

Here’s the article in English: “For a Successful Arab Revolution.”

 


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Voici une belle réflexion par l’historien Abdelhamid Larguèche, sur Fadia Hamdi, l’agent municipal à Sidi Bouzid qui n’a jamais giflé Mohamed Bouazizi…

(h/t Raja Bouziri)

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On Paul Berman

Ça y est, we have the first political casualty of l’aprés DSK. No big loss for the French political class. I viewed Georges Tron with a jaundiced eye since I first heard about him, as I do with anyone in Dominique de Villepin’s inner circle (even formerly in that circle, like Tron; I am not a fan of Villepin, to put it mildly).  It looks like France is indeed witnessing its “Anita Hill moment.” Tant mieux. Not a moment too soon.

In case anyone didn’t see it, the NY Times had a good discussion on Friday on the DSK affair, with six defense lawyers and legal analysts weighing in. All the contributions are worth reading.

One article not worth reading is Paul Berman’s in TNR the other day, entitled “DSK and the Coming Collapse of U.S.-French Relations” on TNR’s web site. A total crock of bulldust. In the article we learn, among other things, that “skeptical [French] populations will cock an ear to Strauss-Kahn’s champions in the French press. The champions will turn out to be some of the most talented writers alive”… What on earth is Berman talking about?! Apart from maybe BHL, who in the French press is “championing” DSK right now? And “some of the most talented writers alive”? Oh Jesus, GMAB! Berman then gives us a quick tour of the roots of French anti-Americanism—which has become some kind of immutable “cultural tradition”—, taking us back to the 1830s and the Andrew Jackson administration… WTF does this have to do with anything?! What essentialist drivel. He concludes with this doozy: “The ocean-liner of American justice and the ice floes of French conspiracy theories are already bobbing in one another’s direction, and nothing is to be done about it, and, oh dear, has anyone figured out what to do next, post-collision?”

Oh dear is right. Has anyone told Mr. Berman that he is a complete idiot has a faulty understanding of France and contemporary French politics? I sort of liked Berman in the ’90s, after reading his book on the 1968 generation and essay on Joschka Fischer (though my friend Adam Shatz, for whom I have the utmost esteem—intellectually and otherwise—, gave the ’68 book a less-than-stellar review). Since then, it’s been all downhill for Berman. There was, of course, the Iraq war and his liberal hawkism—to which I was not totally hostile, I should say; I could have gone along with a campaign of regime change in Iraq if I’d been sure it wouldn’t involve dropping bombs, killing lots of people, generating millions of refugees, costing a trillion dollars, wreaking general havoc and destruction, shattering lives, etc, etc. But I was quite certain in early ’03 that all this was going to happen. Berman: nah. Then there’s his obsessive campaign against the innocuous, overrated Tariq Ramadan—overrated both as an intellect and in terms of his putative influence—and which he extended to Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash, who had the temerity to critique, ever so mildly, the equally overrated—intellectually and in most other respects—Aayan Hirsi Ali, provoking a silly guéguerre that only intellectuals who take themselves way too seriously can engage in. The fact is, Berman lacks the competence to be discoursing on Islam, Sayyid Qutb, Hassan al-Banna, Ba’athism, and the like (likewise with Timothy Garton Ash, BTW, who has otherwise been so brilliant when writing about eastern and central Europe, but rather less brilliant when punditizing on Muslims and Islam). Intellectuals and other talking heads should stick to subjects they know well, and avoid pontificating on those they know less well. In Berman’s case, this clearly includes France.

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I really shouldn’t post stuff like this but, FWIW, here’s a commentary in TWS by Harvey Mansfield, straussien historique*, entitled “Manliness and Morality: The transgressions of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn.”

Like I said, FWIW.

* By Straussian, I mean Leo, not Dominique.

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[mise à jour ci-dessous] [2ème mise à jour ci-dessous]

avec le sexisme, en fait, comme elle dit, l’universitaire Cécile Alduy, dans une tribune assassine dans Le Monde. Et dans une autre tribune, assassine aussi, l’universitaire Jérôme Bourdon épingle les “tristes élites masculines françaises pro-DSK”…

On attend la traduction française de cette lettre ouverte, adressée à la France toute entière, par la chroniqueuse Katha Pollitt dans The Nation, porte-étendard de la gauche américaine et (naguère) francophile. Elle n’est pas tendre avec les Français, et n’y va pas par quatre chemins dans sa critique.

MISE À JOUR: Alain Duhamel, le très mainstream journaliste-chroniqueur, défend l’honneur de sa profession dans les colonnes de Libé.

2ème MISE À JOUR: La tribune de l’écrivaine Christine Angot, “Le problème de DSK avec nous”, est l’un des articles le plus lu sur le site de Libé cette semaine.

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The Tree of Life

Saw this last night. It’s not a film for the masses, that’s for sure. Even cinematic cognoscenti are likely to give it the thumbs down, some of them at least. I had to struggle against nodding off during the first half hour—not on account of the film, though it wasn’t exactly keeping me awake either—and my reaction upon leaving the theater was: beautiful cinematography but didn’t deserve the Palme d’Or. But interestingly enough, it held my attention throughout (once I stopped nodding off). When it was over I didn’t realize it was 2 hours 20 minutes long.  Not once did I look at my watch or was impatient for it to end. There’s something mesmerizing about the film, of its portrayal of childhood, the father-son relationship, the mother and her sons, America in the ’50s… And visually it’s spectacular. I could actually see it again. This review in Variety gets it right, and says it a lot better than I can.

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At the G-20 in September 2009. Priceless. Also these “awkward pictures of Dominique Strauss-Kahn with world leaders” (c-à-d, ces photos embarrassantes de DSK avec les dirigeants du monde).

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[addendum in English below]

Il y a un entretien très intéressant dans El Watan (en deux volets) avec le grandissime et brilliantissime historien et intellectuel, Mohammed Harbi, sur ses sujets de prédilection : la guerre d’Algérie et ses conséquences sur la société algérienne. En effet, il est inutile de dire qu’un entretien, livre, article, conférence, ou réflexion de M. Harbi est intéressant, car cela va de soi. On apprend toujours de choses nouvelles de ce grand monsieur. Toujours.

Voici un morceau notable de cet entretien

- Lors du colloque organisé récemment en hommage à Claudine Chaulet, vous avez rapporté ce fait révélateur, à savoir que sous le PPA la notion d’individu n’existait pas, et qu’il était par exemple inimaginable de se représenter un Algérien boire une bière dans la conception identitaire du PPA…

Publiquement non, comme dans toutes les sociétés musulmanes qui vivent sous le signe de la schizophrénie. Vous pouvez tout faire si on ne vous voit pas. Mais, officiellement, un militant nationaliste ne buvait pas, était censé ne pas boire, et les mœurs des gens étaient sous surveillance. Ce sont des choses qu’on ne veut pas voir de près. Nous sommes des sociétés de surveillance mutuelle. Avant, la surveillance était une institution, c’était la «hissba». Le problème, c’est qu’avec la colonisation cette institution a disparu. Du coup, la surveillance est devenue l’affaire de chacun, et elle est beaucoup plus pernicieuse que s’il y avait une institution comme telle.

Si l’individu n’existait pas dans l’époque du PPA, ça reste largement le cas aujourd’hui en Algérie, société ou on est constamment épié par des voisins et dans la rue par des inconnus, ce que des Algériennes—dont l’actuel Ministre de la Culture—m’ont dit il y a une vingtaine d’années. La situation n’est pas totalement figée, bien entendu, mais la société algérienne se modernise très lentement. La religion n’y est pas pour rien

- Vous avez souvent souligné la prépondérance du religieux comme référent identitaire dominant au détriment de la diversité raciale, religieuse et culturelle, qui caractérisait notre pays. Pensez-vous que cela constitue un facteur bloquant qui nous empêche d’aller vers la modernité culturelle et politique ?

Tout à fait ! Si le FIS a été ce qu’il a été, il ne le doit pas à la capacité de ses chefs mais précisément à cet élément. Il faut s’avouer que nous sommes une société fermée. Nous avons un système éducatif de type conservateur et patriarcal. D’ailleurs, je suis effrayé par la haine que les gens ont pour les femmes. C’est incroyable !

Ce n’est pas simplement de la haine, c’est de la peur. Je vois pas mal de femmes, des chercheuses surtout, qui sont tout à fait exceptionnelles, et dès le mariage, elles ont des problèmes. Elles sont confrontées à un dilemme : soit, c’est le sacrifice du métier, soit c’est la rupture. Et si vous faites une recherche statistique, vous verrez que pas mal d’universitaires de haut niveau sont des femmes seules.

Les changements démographiques en Algérie, avec la chute du taux de fertilité, auront des conséquences importantes à terme, mais on n’en est pas là…

Revenant à Mohammed Harbi, on attend avec impatience le deuxième tome de ses mémoires, qui couvriront la période de 1962 à 1973. Il m’a dit il y a quelques mois qu’elles seraient terminé cette année. Espérons.

ADDENDUM: The NY Times had an article on Mohammed Harbi in 2003 (and which quotes me).

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This is just too weird. Haaretz had an article last week on a former L.A. gang banger named Marcus Hardie—whose street name was “American thug”—, who converted to Orthodox Judaism, moved to Israel, lived among the haredim, enrolled in the Golani Brigade, and hopes to become the first ever Afro-American member of the Knesset (with the Likud, of which he is a member). According to Haaretz

Hardie is looking for Hollywood producers interested in turning his 320-page autobiography “Black and Bulletproof: An African-American Warrior in the Israeli Army,” published last year by New Horizon Press, into a movie. As actors for the lead role he suggests Will Smith, Jamie Foxx or Denzel Washington. “I think it would be great if we could get Steven Spielberg to direct it,” he said.

If the movie is ever made, I’ll definitely see it, no doubt about it. Hey, I may even read the book!

À propos, a friend currently visiting the West Bank sent an email yesterday about meeting Tali Fahima. Another weird case. She was the apolitical Israeli Likud-voting secretary who had a conversion of sorts during the second Intifada, starting hanging out with Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade heavies, was sent to prison in Israel, converted to Islam, and is now a Hamas supporter living in Ramallah. Like I said: weird.

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[mise à jour ci-dessous]

Christine Delphy, sociologue et féministe historique, livre une bonne analyse juridique sur son blog de l’affaire DSK, où elle compare les ressemblances et différences entre les systèmes américains et français. Tant qu’elle y est, elle prend à partie certaines réactions et réflexes des Français dans cette affaire.

Ce qui est frappant, depuis une semaine que les journalistes de la presse écrite et de la télévision consacrent la majeure partie du temps des infos à l’affaire, citant celui-ci ou invitant celui-là, c’est d’une part l’ignorance généralisée quant aux principes du droit pénal appliqué aux Etats-Unis — mais aussi en France –  et d’autre part une confusion entre procédures pénales et procédures civiles, aux Etats-Unis –mais aussi en France.

Commençant par ce qui est commun aux deux pays, il faut d’abord mettre en pièces encore un de ces préjugés nationalistes qui font de le présomption d’innocence un bien exclusivement français. S’il est un bien français, c’est tout récent : elle a été introduite par la loi Guigou de 2000, loi qui  a eu du mal à passer ; les policiers en particulier criaient qu’on les empêchait de faire leur métier, etc. Un bien exclusivement français ?

Oh que non, il nous a été donné –un peu contre notre gré, il faut bien l’avouer—par ces « Anglo-Saxons » que nous méprisons ! Cette loi vient de « l’habeas corpus » anglais du 17è siècle, qui a été exporté aux Etats-Unis dès que les premiers colons anglais y mirent le pied. La présomption d’innocence a donc mis 300 ans à traverser la Manche – ou l’Océan atlantique. Cela n’empêche pas Yves Calvi de répéter de façon obsessionnelle : « ils ont la présomption d’innocence, aux Etats-Unis ?», comme si cette loi – acceptée in extremis avant la mise en demeure européenne -– était devenue dans l’instant partie d’un patrimoine national immémorial et, bien entendu, non–partagé avec le reste du monde. Il est navrant de constater que les journalistes ne préparent pas leurs émissions ; mais encore plus de constater que c’est parce qu’ils estiment sincèrement ne pas avoir besoin de se renseigner, de constater qu’ils partagent cette caractéristique, nationale celle-ci,  parce qu’ils croient tout savoir d’une part, et d’autre part, que tout est mieux en France.

Mme Delphy s’insurge en particulier contre

un chauvinisme ahurissant et un anti-américanisme stupide – car s’il existe de bonnes raisons de critiquer les Etats-Unis, il en existe aussi de mauvaises. La réitération compulsive de clichés et d’expressions accusatoires toutes faites, comme celle de  «puritanisme»…. que signifie-t-elle ? Que les Américains auraient inculpé DSK par horreur… de la « sexualité » ?  Appeler les Etats-Unis « puritains » parce qu’ils poursuivent les violeurs présumés, cela signifie que le viol…eh bien, n’existe tout simplement pas, ou ne devrait pas exister : la chose, oui, mais le crime, non.

Pas mal. Ce qu’elle a écrit vaut la peine d’être lu en entier.

MISE À JOUR: Le JDD du 22 mai a une décryptage de l’affaire par la philosophe italienne Michela Marzano.

“Sexe, arrogance et connivence”

Michela Marzano, philosophe italienne, professeur à l’université Paris-V, éditorialiste à La Repubblica, analyse pour le JDD l’onde de choc provoquée par l’affaire DSK en France.

“Heureusement que Gisèle Halimi et Clémentine Autain ont pris la parole pour rappeler que la femme de chambre doit bénéficier de la présomption de victime!” Comme de nombreuses féministes, la philosophe (more…)

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Midnight in Paris

Woody Allen at his best.  If you love Paris, don’t miss it.

UPDATE: From the NY Times: “Decoding Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’” (May 27).

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[update below]

Philip Gourevitch has a good piece in The New Yorker on what Frenchmen and women are saying about the DSK affair, now that the initial shock and denial have subsided somewhat. He says they are talking about little else. I can confirm this 100%, as with what is being said. There is little disagreement. People are pretty much on the same wave length (and it’s not BHL’s)

UPDATE: Voilà Naomi Wolf on “a tale of two rape charges.” (h/t Jamila EK)

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C’est le titre du dernier billet de blog de Maître Éolas, “Journal d’un avocat”, qui donne une analyse juridique sur—quoi d’autre?—l’affaire DSK. Ça vaut la peine d’être lu.

Dans un entretien dans Le Figaro, Christophe Dubois nous apprend que “DSK avait un besoin effréné et systématique de séduire”… Sans blague ! Dubois est coauteur, avec Christophe Deloire, de Sexus politicus, livre sur le sexe et la politique en France qui est sorti en 2006 (Albin Michel) à l’indifférence générale. Il se vend sans doute comme des petits pains ces temps-ci (je vais l’acheter, évidemment…).  (h/t Art Goldhammer)

Dans l’interview, Dubois fait une affirmation sur François Hollande qui peut lui donner quelques soucis. À suivre.

Et la Turquie est également frappé par un sex scandal. Dommage que M. Erdoğan n’est pas impliqué…

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Le prolétariat de notre époque, de toute façon. Et le monde du travail de “Ophelia”, la femme de chambre qui a “rencontrée” DSK le samedi dernier.

Journal de femmes de chambre

LEMONDE | 20.05.11 | 11h24

Les femmes de chambre doivent faire toujours plus vite avec un degré d'exigence toujours plus élevé.

Les femmes de chambre doivent faire toujours plus vite avec un degré d’exigence toujours plus élevé.AFP/FRANK PERRY

Célestine, “auteur” du Journal d’une femme de chambre, sous la plume d’Octave Mirbeau, serait-elle étonnée par la condition de ses collègues d’aujourd’hui ? Elle qui observa chez ses maîtres bien des travers de l’âme humaine… De l’inoffensif fétichiste M. Rabour qui mourut avec l’une de ses bottines vernies entre les dents, à l’acariâtre Mme Lanlaire, exigeante à lui casser le dos.

(more…)

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[mise à jour ci-dessous]

On n’est qu’au début…  Et ce n’est pas glorieux pour les socialistes…

Anne Mansouret—la mère de Tristane Banon—dit que “au PS, beaucoup me critiquent“…  Et l’irréductible strauss-kahnienne, Michèle Sabban, veut sa tête… (il faut bien regarder les vidéos)

D’après sa page Wikipédia, Mme Sabban, la bonne militante socialiste, est “particulièrement engagée en faveur de l’égalité entre les hommes et les femmes”… Ah bon.

Le journaliste Éric Brunet—étiqueté réac—vilipende les médias, les socialistes, les intellos et il en passe, pour leur attitude dans l’affaire DSK. Il n’a pas totalement raison mais n’a pas totalement tort non plus.  (h/t Art Goldhammer)

MISE À JOUR: L’excellent journaliste Nicolas Beau s’insurge contre “l’inquiétant pouvoir des communicants“.

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[update below]

The conservative Weekly Standard has two articles on the DSK affair that are worth reading. In one, Christopher Caldwell—who knows France pretty well—writes about “Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the downfall of France’s elites.” As with many observers not on the left, Caldwell was impressed with DSK as a politician and economist.

Strauss-Kahn, in short, was like a business-friendly Democrat—sort of the Larry Summers or Robert Rubin of French economic policy. In this day and age, it speaks well of the French Socialists that they were about to nominate, and of the French public that they were ready to elect, a president focused on growth rather than envy. It also speaks well of the IMF that it saw fit to hire a person with such an independent streak.

This makes the affair all the more tragic. If it weren’t for DSK’s satyriasis—and what appears to be outright psychopathic behavior—he would have been a shoo-in in next year’s election. Quel gâchis.

In the other article, Anne-Elisabeth Moutet—a French, Paris-based journalist who writes for right-wing Anglophone publications—says that “French women are starting to speak up.” Money quote:

The DSK thunderbolt may well change [the French culture of borderline sexual harassment]. It will become increasingly difficult in the future for the media not to report on politicians’ and top bosses’ excesses the way they do on Hollywood—and for judges not to permit the defense, if privacy laws are invoked, that it was in the public interest. No wonder the pundits look gloomy these days: They and their politician friends can hear the tumbrils rolling across the cobblestones. Their cozy lives may never be the same again.

Inshallah.

UPDATE: Benjamin Brafman, DSK’s trash talking lawyer, is certain his client will be acquitted. As I’ve said before, if O.J. Simpson can get off scot-free, then anything can happen in an American court of law.

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