A friend commented about the case: "I am gathering he's a pig. I am gathering she is not fully credible. It reminds me a little of the Duke case. The woman was a disaster, as was the prosecution, and a pox on all of them. But very much forgotten was the boys' behavior there, too: Nobody, or too few, pointed out the frat-house ethics they were engaging in, hiring strippers to come over, etc."
I realize that when Midwest housewives are bringing stripper poles into their family homes in order to exercise and/or arouse their husbands, what's inappropriate may be up for grabs. But that is part of the surrounding story. God help any woman who is raped and God help any man who is falsely accused of rape. But God help, too, anyone who isn't creeped out by what the lawyers have to say about any of it.
And sticking to war-of-the-sexes, class-warfare talking points here does not serve justice, either.
Harvey Mansfield, a professor of government at Harvard and author of "Manliness," points to the good news -- and it's not that Strauss-Kahn is innocent and headed back to his old workplace for a visit. It is, rather, that even though we are jaded citizens of a media-saturated world, fed on a daily diet of relativism, our capacity for outrage is not dead yet. Mansfield wrote earlier in the controversy that "old-fashioned home truths" were vindicated in the response to the initial accusations. Maybe this is true in the aftermath as well, in the lingering sense that something distasteful happened here, whatever else occurred.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn't work too far from that courtroom where charges against DSK were dropped. From City Hall, he has mandated a sex-ed curriculum in city public schools that, as a detailed report from the World Youth Alliance demonstrates, is utterly incoherent. Ultimately, the goal in approaching sexual expression at a young age is to avoid "the exchange of body fluids," as one of the recommended resources puts it. I suppose that advice would have helped DSK at his Sofitel suite, but it doesn't quite cut it. We want and need more -- to do our human dignity justice.
Mansfield tells me that, if he had to write his spring assessment of the DSK case all over again, he would add honesty to the list of moral truths that do have some sway over us, even in our weaknesses, even in our incoherence. We might consider honesty in how we educate our most innocent on matters of men and women and sex now, too.