Dominique Strauss-Kahn has resigned as the head of the International Monetary Fund. He would like to spend more time with his family.
But that's not why he resigned. He'd like to spend more time with his family because he's in jail, charged with the sexual assault and attempted rape of an African-immigrant hotel maid.
"DSK," as he's known in France, is socialist royalty and was the presumed shoo-in to beat Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's presidential race.
I had planned on taking the easy route and mocking the debauched and depraved (im)morality of the French, the arrogant and asinine sophistry of DSK's defenders, and the probability of his guilt.
For instance, Bernard-Henri Levy, the open-shirted "philosopher-activist," came out swinging, writing a defense of his friend for Tina Brown's website, The Daily Beast (of course). His case for DSK was the sort of thing a French villain might say in a screwball comedy, it was so incandescently stupid and offensive.
The gist of his brief: Who is this lowly woman to accuse a great man of such base acts? And how dare America's courts take her accusations seriously when it's her word against the great Strauss-Kahn's? According to Levy, the New York judge should be ashamed because he "pretended to take (DSK) for a subject of justice like any other." Translation: Do you Americans know who he is?
I hadn't realized there was an escape clause at the end of the French motto: "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité (for the little people)!"
"If I try transposing the situation in New York on Sunday to France, I just can't do it," A French diversity expert tells Time magazine. "Not only because the woman is black and apparently an immigrant. But also because she's a housekeeper. Perhaps even more than her race, her station in society would probably prevent authorities (in France) from taking her accusations against a rich and powerful man seriously. Racism is on the rise here again, but class discrimination has never gone away."
And while I count myself blessed to live in a country where a poor maid from Guinea can have the head of the IMF dragged off a plane "simply" because she offered credible evidence she was sexually assaulted, I am not sure Americans should be congratulating themselves as much they are.