I was a bit appalled to read several times yesterday that I had ‘supported’ DSK from the outset. All I did was criticise the situation into which he had been put, and question the motives behind it; but the comments made me focus on something important. The fact is, Dominic Strauss-Kahn’s ordeal looks like it won’t really challenge all those social assumptions that are almost Biblical in their perceived cultural correctness both here and in the United States. Even worse, exoneration in this case may turn him into some kind of hero.
After the DSK saga there will be PSK – the Post Strauss-Kahn world. This shouldn’t be one in which arrogant plonkers launch themselves onto whomsoever they might find desirable among the lower orders. Were the assumptive, quasi-religious nature of the main isms – feminism, denialism, islamism, anti-Semitism and EU socialism – to be now challenged much more vigorously, that’d be wonderful. But I have my doubts.
24 hours into PSK the signs are not looking that good. The comment threads in most mainstream media suggest that denialism has if anything been energised by this latest twist in the tale; and sadly, anti-Semitism is out in force too. The Sisters are still spitting something or other which they think is feminism, and – outside of the threads in the real world – Strauss-Kahn must now be plotting his revenge against those on the econo-political Right who may well have been behind his arrest and incarceration in the first place. I’d love to see Sarkozy booted out, because I feel he lacks either dignity or direction. But DSK as President of France? That really would be the Bilderberger set running things.
Equally notable is that the maid Nafissatou Diallo’s ‘brother’, Mamoudou the Motor-Mouth, is still at it. Somehow he’s back in Guinea again (this guy does get around) but the nature of the creepy drivel is unchanged:
“I deny categorically the charges against my sister on alleged involvement in drug selling stories and money laundering,” he told French reporters. We know that it is a battle between David and Goliath, between the rich of the earth and the poor young woman from a poor family, a poor country, but the truth will come out one day.”
The last time I read something on a par with this for hypocritical bollocks, it was Andrei Gromyko, the Russian ambassador in Washington, denying the existence of Soviet missiles on Cuba in 1962. Very little has changed in the syntax of the guilty accuser over the last half-century.
Looking slightly further out, whether he runs for President or not next year, Strauss-Kahn is going to be a powerful counterweight to Sarkozy-Merkel-Lagarde thinking in the lending sector. This could be a very good (refreshing) thing opening minds about debt forgiveness….or a very bad (divisive) thing making the Troika decision-making process even slower. Again, what we mustn’t allow ourselves to forget is that DSK is a fully paid-up member of exactly the elite The Slog would like to demolish: the Strauss-Kahn genes are riddled with banking genius, and a stupendous instinct for how powerful business cartels can be, shall we say, useful. All his various brothers and half-brothers, cousins and nephews are in pretty much the same field.
The difference now might be that suddenly out of a blue sky, Dominic Strauss-Kahn has been on the receiving end of what the Establishment does to get its own way. That Establishment was (I fancy) Anglo-Saxon Franco-American rather than Gallic – but DSK also knows that the Sorbonne elite represents an equally powerful Establishment….and one that comes more naturally to the French voter. There is a faint possibility that the former IMF Head’s attitudes to the world outside Bildeberger and Paris may have been changed by the experience: we shall see.
More interesting to me – but impossible to predict – is what effect if any this turn of events (and there’ll be more before we’re through, I’ve no doubt at all) will have on the American liberal Establishment. What looked to them like an open and shut case of ‘bad white rapist soils innocent poor Muslim girl’ has now turned out to be anything but that. But the liberal world view is a remarkably blinkered one: indeed, the blinkers explain why most of those holding that Weltanschauung have noticed so little about those world places where life is real and raw. Johann Hari’s exposure as a writer who tells ‘good lies’ has had zero effect on his fans; but then, umpteen exposures of Harriet Harman and Jon Pilger have had no effect on theirs either.
So perhaps the bottom line is that, while events will clearly be very different in the PSK world, attitudes to them won’t. I find this both worrying, and profoundly depressing.