All the stuff you never knew you needed to know about life in rural France.....and all the stuff the books and magazines won't tell you.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Hush, hush, whisper who dares...

Marine Le Pen at the 1st of May National Front...Image via Wikipedia
A New York Grand Jury has decided that Dominique Strauss-Kahn will stand trial....but the jury of French opinion has already decided on his overall innocence.

Let us ignore for the moment the fact that that the jury is composed '1066 and All That' would have it, 'other barons who would understand'...... journalists, self proclaimed philosophers, politicians and nobody else in France can get their views heard, but just listen to what it is saying.

Yes, he is strongly attracted to women...this is part of the French culture after all...but what goes on in his private life has no bearing on his capacity in public employment.

He has been accused by a number of women of seriously aggressive 'attraction'? How come they have stayed quiet so long? They must be seeking to boost their failing careers.

He was the 'white knight' who was going to beat Sarkozy and put the Socialist Party in his problems in New York must be down to a plot.

His actions at the IMF which kept the Euro from risk of collapse displeased the must all be a plot.

Photographs of him in handcuffs are humiliating and degrading for a person of his importance. Doesn't the American justice system see the difference between him and some ordinary person?

And what's all the fuss about anyway? All he did - if he did anything - was to roll an employee in the hay.

And who is this woman? Who is a cleaner, an immigrant moreover, to complain about a man as important as Monsieur Strauss-Kahn?

I think that about sums up the position of the self appointed French jury.

I think the real problem is that revelations as to the nature of Monsieur Strauss-Kahn's attraction to women have given rise to the risk of an 'Emperor's clothes' situation.....where the hoi polloi begin to question the basis of authority of their masters.

And questioning authority in France is the ultimate crime.

As anyone who has done it is aware.

It's not just on the national scale, either.

A few years ago a drunken gendarme ran over and killed two kids who were riding their scooters back from a local fete.
Had it not been for the fact that he had damaged someone's car as he left the car park, and that that someone had pursued him, it is likely that the deaths of those two boys would have remained a mystery as the gendarme's colleagues did all in their power to help him...not even breathalysing him until mid morning on the day after the crime when he was still stratospherically over the limit.

Once again, the jury spoke...the local notables.

It was the fault of the organisers of the fete......but the bar served only pink wine, beer and water; the gendarme had brought his own bottle of whisky which he had downed in the course of the evening.

It was the fault of the parents of the two boys....both sets of parents were divorced...there was no stability in the home. Both boys were doing well at school and had a settled social life.

The gendarme wasn't on duty at the time. I should hope not!

He would lose not only his job but his pension. I didn't feel that factor weighed for much in the balance with the loss of two children to their parents.

But all these factors weighed with the court, which gave him the lightest possible sentence.....

In both examples it is clear that the authority figure cannot be seen to be at fault and I think a factor in the general supine acceptance of this by the French generally is the philosophy of the state, in which the state - and thus its representatives - embodies the will of the people.

So it's quite important that the people don't decide that their will doesn't coincide with that of the elite and their enforcers.

So the elite and their enforcers discourage questions.

As the women who have come forward with revelations about Dominique Strauss-Kahn relate, they did not proceed with complaints because there would be no future in so future for them, that is.

The whistleblower on the local council who revealed the maire's juggling with tenders for public works was sacked...six years later, the maire was given a token fine.

That's how it is.

The French elite gets away with a great deal by its self confidence...its elan.
They feel themselves to be unbeatable.....but so did the young French officers of 1914 running forward, sabres held in their white gloved hands, only to be mown down...and their men with the steady, organised and resourceful Germans.

Its attitude might be expressed in the words of another Dominique...Dominique de Villepin, Prime Minister at the time, I believe.

France is like a woman...she wants to be taken (by implication) by force....

Well, that's all right then.

You, a French politician, embodying the will of the people, decide what they want and give it to them.

You, a French man, decide what women want...and give it to them.

They don't like it?

Tough. What can they do about it?

The real tragedy of this unfortunate affair is that while the elite deploy their white gloved hands in defence of one of their own, an increasing number of people...the non-elite, the ones traditionally led to the slaughter...might decide that they can do something about it by reposing the embodiment of their will elsewhere.

With Marine Le Pen and her Front National.

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  1. What can I say? The horrendous (shameful) media reaction in France simply bears out everything you've been saying for, what? years now?

    Regardless of the final outcome, the French media/political world has shown its true colours to all and sundry, apparently unaware that their opinions are not shared (they probably think the rest of us are simply hypocrits).

  2. Pueblo girl, a real little Cassandra, aren't I?

    The French media seem incapable of understanding that it is not acceptable to cover up sexual harassment when it is one of their elite doing the harassing.
    And it could not be more clear that all the major parties are tarred with the same brush.....'how dare some cleaning woman bring down such an important man'.
    And how could any justice system encourage her.

    They'd better buy a load of whitewash to get rid of the word 'egalite' over the doors of public buildings.

  3. A reluctance to question authority is a common evil - we have it in the UK too though perhaps in different form - in our idiotic deference to the media for example.

  4. I've been thinking maybe it was my tenuous grasp of the language, that the focus of the press seems to be "we don't do it that way here" regarding the photos of DSK in custody - today I've read more and more (in English) to make me feel aghast and ashamed. And even the New York Times, with its Franco-worship no doubt fueled in part by advertising, joined in, asking if French women were perhaps "more tolerant"! Equating marital infidelity with attempted rape. Shudder...and get me out of here.

  5. The people at the top really do believe they are above the law, and disgracefully, this is often the case.

    The word justice in France has no meaning for most sections of the population - either you can twist it to your own ends, or you have no hope of getting it. If you're a woman against a man, you have little chance of obtaining it. Egalité? - hell no.

    And the media colludes like mad in a cesspit of nauseating double standards.

  6. Mark, yes it is a common evil...and one dumbing down education does nothing to correct.
    The situation with the French press sometimes made me wish for a British tabloid to start spreading a bit of fear and despondency among the elite!

    Amy...makes you cringe, doesn't it?

    I wish they wouldn't lump all French women together, though.

    A bit on the side for my last neighbour in France and he'd soon be feeling the impact of a slab of frozen fish from Argel descending on him...his wife wielding it!

    But, seriously conflating the two notions is obscene, and it is this blindness to decency which appalls me.

    Good luck with your departure!

  7. When I saw a photograph of Dominique Strauss-Kahn on TV this evening I thought the press had deliberately gone out of their way to find one that made him look deeply seedy and repulsive. But then they showe some others and I realized that, no, that is just the way he looks. Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.

  8. I would call him a cochon, but that would be to insult the cochon.

    So I guess she "asked for it"? It must have come as quite a shock when they came and took him off the plane.

    I can't help feeling that, in the war against women, this is one in the "win" column for us!

  9. Sarah, how right you are...might is right in France and the 'droit de cuissage' is stll with us.

    Steve, but like the emperor's clothes, you're not supposed to notice!
    The French papers aren't allowed to show him in handcuffs any more....

    Melody j Haislip, I damn sure hope so ...and to adapt an English ditty

    'You can tell a man who partouzes
    By the company he chooses...
    And the pig got up and slowly walked away.'

  10. Ooooh…DSK3. Very fairly serious ‘Fly Droppings’ then, and it hasn’t even got to trial yet. You’re gonna need a bigger Blog. Bet his wife’s chuffed. No more invasive carnal duty to endure on a Sunday morn. Just the ‘other femmes’ husbands and the odd available young Gigolo, or two. Parfait. It’s about time we put Marie Antoinette on the stand, headless or not, she’s got a lot to answer for. As does her celeb obsessed Mother. God, how I loathe the Austrians of times gone past. They’ve been directly responsible for so much genocide, as history has proven over the last 1100 years, yet they still get to waltz away and eat Apfelstrudel while everyone else becomes embroiled in war and mass destruction thanks to their plague like contributions and activities from one century or so to another.

    Desperate times are oft born out of slightly less desperate circumstances…in histories hind sight. When will we finally learn, as grown ups, to heed the warning signs. Or am I just being incredibly naïve. A rhetorical question I know, but it’s a weakness of mine…and it’s all I’ve got to hit back with right now.

  11. Marine Le Pen is scary and smart. Her painting of the Left and Right together as representing the same old tired (and corrupt) way of thinking is not far from the truth.

    We are reassured that in a presidential run-off she will "only" get 30% of the vote.

  12. Phil,about time we learned something from the Arab Spring and got out there to force a change....

    Mark in Mayenne, I agree. She is much smarter than Dad...and the times are much more propitious for her.

  13. I'm just so happy that the American maid had the guts to go to the police. Good for her.
    I'm not at all for Marine Le Pen, but I did like her comments about DSK on the very first day of his arrest. She said that she wasn't surprised...
    Better than Jack Lange's "au moins, il n'y avait pas mort d'hommes." Idiot!
    But should his shenanigans surprise any of us after seeing the mighty and powerful get off time after time?

  14. Dedene, and how sad that if it had happened in France she wouldn't have dared complain!

    No, I'm not a fan of the NF either but she played a blinder with her comments right from the start and a lot of my left leaning friends think so too..they are so disappointed with the PS leadership and their lack of thought for the maid.

    Did you see Valls doing his nut at 'those who want to drive a wedge between the people and the governing class'?
    I thought the governing class had done that all on their own!

    We need to get rid of this breed of politician...and not only in France.

  15. And another thing... To quote part of an article by Angelique Chrisafis in The Guardian yesterday:

    “If he is found guilty, some suggested an unconscious drive to self-sabotage by a man who couldn't bear the power that had been foisted on him – his wife and all around him so wanted to see him become French president next year that he might have been unable to cope…Strauss-Kahn's attitude to women continued to be dissected by journalists. The French news weekly Le Point claimed that shortly before he was detained by police who boarded an Air France plane at JFK airport, he had said to a flight attendant: "Nice arse."“
    So now we know then. He wrestled the poor chambermaid to the bed and pinned her arms down because he…just wanted someone to talk to. An ear to sob and slobber into. A shoulder to lean on, with all his weight. It wasn’t a lust thing at all, it was just a good old simple ‘stress attack’, thickly veiled as a desperate plea for help. And he only had five minutes to relieve himself of his woefully pent up burdens cos he had a plane to catch.

    But ‘a plea for help’ from which part precisely – the grandiose aspirations of his wife and cronies or the irritating pressures and duties that go with having to be one of the most powerful bankers in the world. I can see the sympathy vote indicator swinging earnestly in his favour already. How Clintonesque. Except maybe this time around they’ll defiantly swing it so he can simply retire into the French Presidency as a demonstration of clemency from a loyal French nation too shocked and shamed at this untimely yet symbolic exposure of their own inherent complicity.

    “Nice swansong too Dominique (says the Sheriff of N.Y.City) – now…would you mind getting the hell off this plane…”

  16. Anonymous, I'd like to have posted your comment, but thanks to a particularly unpleasant person I can't accept anonymous postings.