Yes, the French deserve to be mocked. A clear majority of French citizens believe this is all a conspiracy. Yet every day, it becomes ever more clear that the French -- particularly the French socialists who counted DSK as their leader -- turned a blind eye to the man's ever more risky and appalling behavior. According to mounting accounts, they wrote off assault as playful "seduction" or forgave it out of some kind of solidarity. (In one case an alleged DSK victim was talked out of pressing charges by her socialist-politician mother.)
And yes, the French left's attempt to turn this into a story of "American Puritanism" run amok is beyond absurd. Strauss-Kahn was arrested after fleeing his Times Square hotel, not a mega-church in Alabama. And, last I checked, the NYPD Special Victims Unit was not a hotbed of Amish and Mennonites.
But America is hardly so righteous. As blogger Will Collier notes, if you replaced "socialist" with "Democrat" in many of these stories, and "Dominique Strauss-Kahn" with "Ted Kennedy," the results would be pretty illuminating.
After Chappaquiddick, the liberal establishment did its best to cover up a potential homicide by the "liberal lion." It offered something close to a Gallic shrug when Sens. Kennedy and Chris Dodd made a "waitress sandwich" out of an unsuspecting restaurant server. And as Christopher Hitchens recalls in Slate, Teddy's priapic brother John was such a "seducer" he imported "a Mafia gun-moll into the White House sleeping quarters."
If memory serves, Bill Clinton had to deal with a large number of "bimbo eruptions," as one of his aides put it. He was accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment. And the same feminists who once insisted that women never make such things up suddenly responded by calling the president's accusers liars or by simply abandoning the very standards they had established.
Gloria Steinem, the feminist icon and founder of Ms. Magazine, took to the pages of the New York Times to establish what has become known as the "one free grope" rule. Susan Faludi, author of the feminist bible "Backlash," suddenly took a more laissez-faire attitude toward sexual aggression, requiring "nuanced" responses "in scale to the offense." A reporter for Time magazine insisted she'd be happy to pleasure the president just for keeping abortion legal.
So yes, the French should be ashamed. But they're not the only ones.
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