I was in Mannheim when I received an SMS from a friend in Paris giving the news about DSK.

Since I’ve been reading the French, British and American papers and last night my girls and I listened to Marine Le Pen’s commentary on the radio.

Regardless of how all this shakes out, this is one of those moments where two cultures closely intersect - passion, collision and conflict are all possible. I also think of it as a chance to learn something about the prism through which each culture views this event. Thanks to the Net, we have a limited number of facts and an unlimited amount of interpretation of those facts.

So for those who might be interested I propose we exchange links to some of the most intelligent and/or interesting commentary on-line and discuss.

I’ll throw out the first one. This is from the New Yorker:


The cat is well and truly out of the bag!

We’ve gone from a situation where no one was talking to one where accusations are all over the media.

George Tron is OUT after he was accused of sexual harassment against former employees. If that weren’t bad enough he’s decided to tangle with Marine Le Pen. My money is on Marine.

Now Jack Lang, former minister, is suspected of pedophilia. I don’t like Jack Lang very much and all I can say is that it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

Frankly, I am in a state of shock. I would never have predicted that this would happen in France. French politics will never be the same.

THIS is absolutely amazing. Denise Bombardier is not at all shy about saying exactly what she thinks about the French reaction to the DSK affair and on French soil too.


I agree, Jon Stewart is wonderful!

Here’s another good one I found http://blogs.mediapart.fr/blog/eric-fassin/190511/etats-unis-les-avatars-du-scandale-sexuel

I got this from a very good site authored by Arthur Goldhammer called French Politics. Good commentary and many more great links including one to a skit from Saturday Night Live


God love Jon Stewart! What would we do without comedians? I loved the Nicolas Canteloupe piece as well.
Thanks for the laughs!

The French and American humourists are having a field day with the DSK affair. Some of these are rather raw so if you are easily annoyed do yourself and your blood pressure a favor and don’t follow the links :slight_smile:

The Daily Show "La Cage aux fools"

France Inter, Europe 1

This is from Le Monde and it’s an attempt to explain some aspects of the American judicial system to the French>


What I’m hearing (overheard a passionate discussion in a bar this morning) is the the French are completely lost when it comes to how the system works in the U.S. and I think that scares them more than anything. It’s the unknown and they are not sure how to interpret what they see and hear since they don’t have the context. Great example of this is Harlem Desir’s (Socialist Party) request to Sarkozy that he intervene on DSK’s behalf. How do you explain that that isn’t going to fly and may even be counter-productive?

To my shame (I’ve been living here for years) I realized that I don’t know anything about the French system either. Never had any trouble here (knock on wood) so I just never had any need to know.:slight_smile:

And this was, I thought, an interesting take on things…


Well, I’m very surprised to see “Jack Lange” and “intelligent” in the same sentence. :slight_smile: I am not one of his fans and his comment is beyond stupid.

That said, I feel for the French. DSK was one of their best hopes for getting Sarko out of power. They were genuinely proud of him and had such high hopes that have been cruelly dashed by this affair. Whether any of us like it or not when we go abroad we represent our country to the people we meet and our behaviour (for good or ill) will be interpreted in the light of our origins. This is an incredible and very public shame that has a direct impact on the honor of France. I saw one article where the author said that this could have an impact on whether or not French men get future positions of power at the international level. So I can understand ( I don’t excuse it) all attempts to minimize the affair or defend him. They’re not really defending DSK - they are defending themselves, the honor of their country, and they are hoping against hope that this is all some sort of tragic horrible mistake. Their reaction is human. My .02.

What did you think about Jack Lange’s intelligent comment: “au moins, il n’y avait pas mort d’hommes.” ???

I finally got irritated enough by some of the idiocy I was reading the on the Net that I decided to write about it in the blog. If anyone is interested, my comments are here: http://thefranco-americanflophouse.blogspot.com/

What a mess. I guess what finally set me off was reading (and listening to) all of the really trite and stupid stereotypes that folks haul out every time the U.S. and France have a spat. I’m also really starting to despise the NY Post. I was equally irritated by BHL’s piece in the Daily Beast. I actually liked his book American Vertigo and was surprised that someone who was paid to travel in and write about the U.S. could be so ignorant.

I think this one from the Atlantic is right on.


None of us know if he’s guilty or innocent - the DNA test results are critical. I’m trying to keep an open mind here but if his DNA is found that would definitely sway my opinion.

@Dedene - you asked if women in France put up with sexual harassment. Depends on your definition of sexual harassment. My experience in the French workplace is that a lot of things are allowed and even enjoyed that would not be acceptable in an American place of business. Touching, for example. Overt flirting is another. Fairly frank offers to spend a “bon moment” together somewhere. And to be honest when it is done graciously and with a certain style, it is fun. But, the dark side is when it isn’t welcome (or turns sour) and it becomes a nightmare. The laws make it difficult to prove if you decide to complain. If the man in question is powerful it is dangerous to complain. Since there are so few women in upper management or in positions of power you won’t find many allies. Even the mother of the young writer who was assaulted who is an elected official told her daughter not to say anything. She was absolutely right. The result of all this, in my opinion, is that the predators are freer to play here and get away with it. They hide behind the game of seduction that is played out every day in every office I’ve ever worked in. My .02.

Why would anyone in his high visibility position dare to do this outrageous act to a perfect stranger in a foreign land. The man was destined to be the next President of France if the polls can be believed. He is married to the lovely, intelligent and successful journalist Anne Sinclair. The man must be sick (sexual perversion) or have delusions of grandure (he thinks he is above the law). Given his past history of sexual aggression, he definitively looks to be both. It’s just incredible. He will learn how fast the mightly can fall.

I just read this article in Jezebel. I like their feminist approach to this topic and to rape in general.

Why would Nicolas Sarkozy warn DSK, when he took the position at the IMF, not to touch American women because they are quicker to complain? Does this mean that French women will put up with sexual harrassement?


And this one. Steve Clemons The Washington Note. Very well-written blog piece about DSK the influential economist.


Thanks, Julie. Here’s one I liked because it talks about the impact this will have on negotiations to bailout Greece and other European countries with debt problems. From the Harvard Business Review


I’m a little surprised that the New Yorker has such a sensationalistic tone.

This article is more matter-of-fact, and talks a bit more about the fall-out.