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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mark Steyn: The Unzippered Princeling and the Serving Wench

By Mark Steyn


Back when he was still the officially designated Next President of France and not an accused rapist, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was glimpsed at the annual IMF soccer tournament wearing a T-shirt emblazoned "YES, WE KAHN!" (Monsieur le directeur was not participating in the game: The field he likes to play requires more horizontal exertions, as even the deferential and protective French media have begun belatedly to acknowledge.) In consciously mimicking the slogan of another and very successful presidential candidate, the IMF boss and Socialist Party candidate improved upon it – or, at any rate, made it more accurate. "Yes, We Can"? Er, no, actually, you can't. But yes, he Kahn!

A man is innocent until proven guilty, and it will be for a New York court to determine what happened in M Strauss-Kahn's suite at the Sofitel. It may well be that's he the hapless victim of a black Muslim widowed penniless refugee maid – although, if that's the defense my lawyer were proposing to put before a Manhattan jury, I'd be inclined to suggest he's the one who needs to plead insanity. Whatever the head of the IMF did or didn't do, the reaction of the French elites is most instructive. "We and the Americans do not belong to the same civilization," sniffed Jean Daniel, editor of Le Nouvel Observateur, insisting that the police should have known that Strauss-Kahn was "not like other men" and wondering why "this chambermaid was regarded as worthy and beyond any suspicion." Bernard-Henri Lévy, the open-shirted, hairy-chested Gallic intellectual who talked Sarkozy into talking Obama into launching the Libyan war, is furious at the lèse-majesté of this impertinent serving girl and the jackanapes of America's "absurd" justice system, not to mention this ghastly "American judge who, by delivering him to the crowd of photo hounds, pretended to take him for a subject of justice like any other."

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