Monday, May 16, 2011

The Astrologers Get It Wrong--Really Wrong

Prediction from December 2010:

Dans un entretien à Paris Match , Elizabeth Teissier prévoit "peut-être un destin présidentiel" pour Dominique Strauss-Kahn en 2012, car "depuis 2010, Pluton imprime un grand tournant dans son destin, qui se prolonge sur le printemps 2012". "2011 sera pour lui une année géniale : à 62 ans, c'est l'année de sa vie ! S'il doit prendre une grande décision entre le 10 et le 15 septembre, il connaîtra des doutes et des interrogations- jusqu'en décembre 2011", a ajouté l'astrologue. "Le président de la République pourrait donc ne pas être réélu", a-t-elle encore poursuivi. (source)

Gopnik on French Libel and Privacy Laws


Ouf! Quatremer-Mélenchon Polemic Heats Up

Jean Quatremer unloads.

TV Appearance

If you're in Boston, catch me tonight with Laura Frader and Bill Keylor on Greater Boston with Emily Rooney, 7PM, WGBH. Discussing "The Case," what else? I know I said earlier I turned down France24, but GBH is for the hometown crowd.

The Official Complaint against DSK

Here. Awful. Revolting.



The Author of Sexus Politicus on Omertà


Bail Denied!

Dominique Strauss-Kahn maintenu en détention

La juge de New York a refusé lundi la libération sous caution de Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Le parquet a fait valoir que les rapports préliminaires des experts corroborent les accusations de la plaignante. Il a estimé que si l'accusé retournait en France, il ne serait pas possible de le faire revenir aux Etats-Unis. (Reuters)

Bad News for DSK

Les experts corroborent les accusations contre DSK, selon le parquet

Le parquet de New York a demandé lundi le maintien en détention de Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Il affirme que les rapports des experts corroborent les accusations de la plaignante. Les avocats de DSK ont rejeté ces accusations et demandé la libération de leur client. (Reuters)

Use the Discussion Page!

Many people have been commenting on the DSK posts. May I suggest to those of you on Facebook to use the new French Politics Discussion Page. That way, your discussions can have some semblance of coherence and won't end up scattered among many separate posts and invisible to the casual reader. Try it and see if it works. And don't forget to "like" the page while you're visiting. This will spread the word to other Facebook users in your networks.

I must say that one odd if rather sad byproduct of the DSK affair is that blog traffic has soared. I hope some of the new readers will stick, but I don't plan to become a 24/7 DSK channel. In fact, I just turned down a chance to appear on France24 because I think far too much is already being said by far too many people on the basis of too few facts. So I am going to try to focus on other news, while not neglecting new developments in the case, of course.

Critique of Terra Nova Report

Another good critique of the Terra Nova report by Gaël Brustier.

More details

Here. (Including the first mention of the alleged victim's first name.)

Grunberg's Analysis

Gérard Grunberg makes two points: 1) good thing the Socialists didn't just anoint DSK, as many wanted; the primary now gives them an opportunity to regroup, though as a party, they will surely suffer collectively from DSK's downfall; 2) there is now an enlarged space for maneuver in the center, and Sarkozy really has to fear a Borloo candidacy in a way that he didn't on Friday.

Grunstein Indicts the System

Judah Grunstein sees a "system of enablers" at work. I'm of two minds about this. As Judah says, " I wonder how many people today are asking themselves if they are guilty of it with regard to Strauss-Kahn's past behavior, regardless of whether or not he himself is found guilty of the latest accusations in New York." On the other hand, when I ask myself this question, my answer is that although I had heard persistent rumors of DSK's behavior, a) I had no idea whether those rumors were true, and b) all the rumors I had heard concerned boorishness and serial seduction, not violence. In 2007, I read Jean Quatremer's blog, which provoked a furor at the time, but which did not mention the interview with Tristane Banon about which everyone is now talking. In fact, I did not hear of or see that interview until after DSK was arrested and it was mentioned by someone in my Facebook network. Nor did I know of the book Sexus politicus or its chapter on DSK's affairs.

Furthermore, if I had known about the Banon interview, I don't know what I would have made of it. There is something rather unsettling about the way she tells the story: smiling, insouciant, to a roomful of men around a candlelit dinner table, provoking their prurient smiles. She gives no sign of the trauma her mother now says she suffered. She says, "Je portais un col roulé noir, ça tripe les mecs, les cols roulés noirs." This self-presentation in itself sounds rather "enabling." So I probably would have discounted the "evidence," especially since she did not press charges, leaving the whole story in the realm of "she said--he said kept silent."

I suspect that many people in France were in this same position. We had a vague general picture of DSK as a politician who had had many women. But there are many others in this category, and in my picture of him, there was nothing to suggest violence. So, should crudeness have led me to denounce him. Is boorishness a disqualifying trait in a man who would be president and has a better claim on the job than most? Should I have been more diligent in investigating innuendo? I confess, I don't feel too guilty about my indulgence, but perhaps I'm letting myself off the hook too easily.

UPDATED: A longtime reader of the blog and a person whom I trust implicitly tells me that I am letting myself off the hook too easily, because the word "seduction" is too often used in French discussions of such behavior as a euphemism for inexcusable actions toward and treatment of women, as she can testify from personal experience. So, I stand corrected--and chastened.

RMC Claims to Have the Defense Case

Here it is. But I don't believe that this story really comes from DSK's lawyers. Why? First of all, because they would be fools to leak it unless they have every detail locked down, which they can't possibly at this point, and Ben Brafman is no fool. Second, no defense attorney would ever comment to a journalist about the victim's "unattractive appearance." This is both disgusting in the extreme and highly implausible for a crack team of defense lawyers. I would file this story in the trash bin, but it's being reported widely, so I thought I would send you to the source.

The New Yorker Goes Tabloid

Philip Gourevitch of The New Yorker rounds up the gossip from the Café de Commerce and publishes it as journalism. On a dit is not usually the style of The New Yorker, nor is the tone of this article usually the magazine's tone. PG evidently does not like DSK. Or is it France? (h/t Kirk)

And here is an equally disappointing example of French "journalism," essentially assembling every far-fetched conspiracy theory into a "defense."


Le Point:

Le directeur général du FMI Dominique Strauss-Kahn avait évoqué fin avril, devant des journalistes de Libération, l'hypothèse d'une machination autour d'un viol pouvant être montée contre lui, relate le quotidien lundi. Racontant un déjeuner avec DSK le 28 avril à Paris,Libération écrit : "DSK se met à imaginer une femme violée dans un parking et à qui on promettrait 500 000 ou un million d'euros pour inventer une telle histoire."

Times with more details

Here. The alleged victim was an African immigrant. DSK called the hotel looking for his lost cell phone, and the police told hotel employees to say that it had been found and was in the hotel's possession.