Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Lower Half Problem

(Felix Salmon on August 2, 2007!) Japanese newspapers call it a "lower half problem". Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, JFK – there's no shortage of prominent politicians who have it. And according to Libération journalist Jean Quatremer, the next managing director of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is no exception. In a blog entry earlier this month, brought to my attention by Chris Masse, Quatremer said what most French journalists knew but few would publish. John Lichfield translates:

"The only real problem with Strauss-Kahn is his attitude to women." He is "too insistent," M. Quatremer wrote. "The IMF is an international institution with Anglo-Saxon morals. One inappropriate gesture, one unfortunate comment, and there will be a media hue and cry."

How bad is this problem? According to Masse, it's very bad indeed:

A cable TV show ("93 Faubourg Saint Honoré", on Paris Premiere, hosted by Thierry Ardisson) invited a young (and unknown to me) French actress. I don't remember her name. She said that she had a bad encounter with Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Here's what happened. She was asked to come in a little apartment he had in Paris, and then the next thing, Strauss-Kahn jumped on her and tried to undress her and more. She yelled, and told him that that was a rape, but the word "rape" ("viol" in French) didn't seem to perturb him. She said that he was like "a gorille en rut" (a gorilla in rut).
The transcript of this portion of the TV show was later published in the French monthly "Entrevue", some time ago, maybe one year ago. This magazine published the transcript, with a "beep" when she pronounced the name of Strauss-Kahn. But the magazine added as an addendum that the TV host (Thierry Ardisson) tells everybody in Paris that under the "beep" is Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

And since we're on the subject of MDB gossip, it's also worth noting that Quatremer's blog entry answers my question about what the real reason is that Rodrigo Rato resigned, creating the IMF opening in the first place: he says it's because of Rato's "acrimonious divorce" ("divorce agité"). Which isn't the most obvious reason for quitting your job, but maybe there's an explanation in there somewhere.

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