Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

It's not like he's an idiot or a brutal medieval warlord. He's smart enough to be a likely head of state in a modern nation where everyone accepts the idea that all humans have basic rights. He's experienced in dealing with other people in the exaggeratedly civilized ways that statesmen interact with each other. And then -- assuming that the allegations are true -- he tries to rape a stranger who's cleaning his room.

This isn't an isolated event. Rumors are that he's been this way with women for a long time: "Thierry Ardisson, a French talk show host, tells the Mail that she had 14 female friends who spoke of instances when Strauss-Kahn attempted to "jump" them." (John Hudson, could we make this a separate item than his consensual relationships? It's no problem if he's having a promiscuous consensual sex life. That's something intelligent, civilized humans can do. Rape is not like that.)

I understand the race, gender, and class dynamics that go into the explanation, but only from the outside. They don't take me any further in putting together a coherent picture of what it's like to be Dominique Strauss-Kahn, see someone cleaning the room, and decide to rape her.


Raven Onthill said...

I take it that he is a compulsive rapist, or perhaps a simple sociopath.

Exactly why did the French let this go for so long, I wonder? He simply ought not be anywhere near real power.

Anonymous said...

Let's please leave the French-bashing aside, The Raven. Remember Moshe Katsav, anyone? This is a psychopathological phenomenon that has to do with power and control (and, ironically, lack of self-control), not nationality.

Charlene said...

I would guess that men in their late 60's who "jump" women have been jumping women for a long time. Heck he might jump men too! His having gotten away with it only supports his fetish.

I don't care how smart or rich he is, he is not a fit person to be in society.

DBake said...

He's smart enough to be a likely head of state in a modern nation where everyone accepts the idea that all humans have basic rights.

You mean where everyone pays lip service to the idea that all humans have basic rights, right?

I mean, the obvious explanation of how this happened is that intelligent psychopaths are better at acquiring power than most people and better at using their power to intimidate others into acquiescing, and even trying to hide, their abuses.

Neil Sinhababu said...

I think people actually do believe it, to some extent. At least, I think you can get a pretty big supermajority in most Western countries for the proposition "Women have a moral right to vote."

Yeah, DSK as psychopath seems like the way to go here. I'm surprised that he managed to have as good a run as he did, but I guess it'll happen with a few of them.

DBake said...

Voting does not strike me as the best test of the sincerity of someone's moral convictions.

Also, I think there's some evidence that psychopaths are actually more common in the top levels of politics and business than in the general population-- at least Ron Johnson said as much in his recent interview with Stewart. If this is right, it would suggest that it's not that surprising that DSK got away with it for so long. Presumably, a lot of people get away with it for a very long time, because they are in industries where psychopathy is seen as another human resources asset, like being bilingual.