What makes this scandal so delectable, of course, is that lies at the intersection of wealth, power and sex. Throw in a dollop of old European decadence, and we have a summer story with legs.
Here’s a gent most Americans never heard of before a couple of days ago. He’s head of the International Monetary Fund, one of the most powerful posts in the world. He’s a leading candidate for president of France. He has the very finest of call girls in the greatest city in the world at his disposal. Mon Dieu! What’s he doing, allegedly jumping a hotel maid?
That isn’t the only confusing aspect to this. For the French, it’s perplexing that we put him through a perp walk after he was apprehended. In France, they don’t treat the ruling class that way. They pay off the maid and discreetly sweep the whole affair sous le tapis. A simple misunderstanding, non? Remember, this is the country that didn’t even raise an eyebrow when both a former president’s widow and his mistress appeared side-by-side at his funeral. Along with the kids.
For us, it’s a heartwarming, satisfying reassertion of the old American principle of equal protection under the law. A power-player more used to the deluxe hostelries of Rio, Davos and Kyoto spent the night cheek-by-jowl with pimps and purse-snatchers at Riker’s Island because he tried (allegedly) to have his way with the least of us. On top of that, the judge refused to grant bail because the (alleged) weasel was apprehended at the last second in the first-class compartment of an Air France jet pushing back for Paris. Good luck prying a cheese that big out of French clutches if we’d ever let him get away to the motherland.
With the Donald out of politics and the long-form birth certificate released, M. Strauss-Kahn came along just in time to save us from summer’s ennui. Merci beaucoup, Monsieur!