The "Rape Case Against DSK Falls Apart" story is a few days old, but I didn't want to neglect mentioning that Free Will - along with the motley crew of Stogie, Ben Stein (who wrote a precient and much-mocked piece early on), and Bernard Henri-Levi - expressed skepticism about the whole thing:
Much as I would like to believe that the "socialist" (as if he could survive 5 minutes under real socialism) head of the IMF actually sodomized a hotel maid yesterday...I find it hard to believe....DSK is no stranger to sex-capades, which I have discussed before. That's the magic of being a "socialist." You can live like an old-fashioned potentate, so long as you mouth the right words about equality and justice.Still, a rape accusation is a harsh thing, something that has already ended DSK's career at the IMF and likely ended his political career as well. The details are so bizarre - supposedly a naked DSK entered the room, found the maid, and ordered her to give him a BJ (what, no teabagging?) - as to be almost incredible. If he really did do this, it can't have been the first time.
My basic rule of thumb is this: rape accusations against famous people - even when their "fame" is that of BMOC at Duke - are always bogus. Always. I would have sooner believed DSK killed the maid, rather than believe that he raped her.
That doesn't mean he didn't have sex with her, but it was Kobe Bryant-style, consensual sex with the woman deciding after the fact that she would use her (double entende alert) brush with fame to her advantage. The whole thing reeked of a set-up, but whether DSK was the object of an old-fashioned shake-down by petty thieves, or was the target of darker forces (French secret service? Goldman Sachs? Irene LaGarde?) remains to be seen. I suppose the wealthy DSK could have bought off the maid, but I find that to be as incredible as the original rape charge.
Whoever set him up knew that DSK already had a reputation as a roue who liked to rough-up women, so it wouldn't take much to convince many people that DSK had forced himself on a poor hotel maid who was a devout Muslim (with a little prostitution on the side). I doubt this will change his habits, but he really ought to consider whether shagging the help is really in the best interests of his political career, no matter how much the French are willing to look the other way.
And let's not forget a basic fact long obscured in the murky world of the war between the sexes: for every outraged feminist writing about "power imbalances," and the like, there are a dozen women for whom the idea of rough sex with a powerful man is a real turn on. The reptillian DSK had a lot of willing partners over the years, after all.
In a way, the system "worked." DSK was originally accused of a serious crime by a hotel maid. Prosecutors and the police investigated it seriously. And when doubts set it about the credibility of the accusation, they investigated that, disclosing everything along the way. There's something admirable in that.
On the other hand, there's nothing admirable in how DSK was handled. Haul him off the plane at LaGuardia? Sure, he was an obvious flight risk. A perp walk? Unseemly under the circumstances. A rape accusation is an instant reputation destroyer and should be treated as such. And two weeks on Riker's Island instead of house arrest? Totally gratuitous. For the short time DSK was in the clutches of the justice system, he was abused for no better reason than to show that, hey, we treat everyone equally around here. Equally shi**y, I guess. Never mind the presumption of innocence.
The fact is that there is something seriously wrong with the way rape accusations are handled in the United States. The man is publicly displayed like an animal while the woman remains anonymous. Supposedly this is to make up for the Bad Old Days when a woman would find her reputation under assault from defense attorneys. But, rape arises from the often hidden world of sexual politics where miscues and regrets often hold sway. A woman walking down the street who is raped at knife-point is not "asking for it," but those sorts of stranger rapes are relatively rare. Mostly, we seem to deal with the dreaded "acquaintance rape" where the woman's motivation and consent are very much at issue, no matter what Katha Pollit and Susan Estrich might say otherwise.
None of this is to defend DSK's "lifestyle," if you want to call it that. The man's a pig. But, we don't put pigs in prison. And we don't ruin men's lives to satisfy the crocodile tears of the feminist mob.