Essays & Images on Cities, Travel and Contemporary Culture. A web journal of James A. Clapp, Ph.D., an UrbisMedia Ltd. Production

Vol.72.1: Tsk, tsk, DSK, DSK

Giambologna. Rape of the Sabine Women. 1581-83

Giambologna. Rape of the Sabine Women. 1581-83

Remember that “freedom fries” business and all the catcalls at the “froggies” for not jumping in on Bush’s (now Obama’s) stupid, useless, economy-busting wars? Have those impetuous Americaines delivered them a moment of pommes frites revenge even better than clogged arteries. For a few weeks the people who chuckled (nasally) over our silly snit over Bill Clinton and Monica’s consensual playing around, the same people who have had more than one president or prime minister openly consort with his mistress, or croak with a mile on his face during lunch, or during his cinque a sept, were on the ropes over the alleged sexual excesses of a little creep they call DSK. Dominque Strauss-Khan, a guy who likes a little honk before leaving his palatial suite for a first class flight back to one of his homes in France, is just the sort of monied foreign dude busted Americans like to see doing a perp walk in cuffs these days (despite the fact that our Wall Street criminals get to skate with their bonuses thanks to publicly provided bailouts).

Well the French are getting their moment. Flushed with its success in running a congressman a little to proud of his penis, out of office, American media was delivered another target. Not only was he one of those war-dodging French, but a socialist, and a Jew—wow, an American prejudice trifecta! Fresh from its Weiner roast the American public was luridly fantasizing on the poetic justice of DSK as some testosterone–fired up fellow hulking inmate’s ”bitch” in one of our wonderful American prisons. The image of a guy with a heck of an expense account forcing himself on a helpless femme de ménage, is like cat-nit to American media.

Now the rush to judgment, just as DSK was trying to wriggle out of his monitor cuff, seems to be unraveling. DSK just might have left a donation on the Second Empire dresser before limo-ing off to JFK, and the “consensual” maid might have figured there was more where that came from. The whole truth might never be known (“what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas”) but version No. 1 by our prostituted American media, might have gotten their facts confused with some Jodie Foster movie.

Now some of the French media have been gloating (to the consternation of some French women who know more about the DSK types than we do) that DSK could be resurrected (always better after a crucifixion) and yet bring down that other oily runt who has been running their country. Nobody seems to come out smelling of roses in these things (remember l’affaire Clinton?), now that that the “victim” might have done her legions of truly victimized sisters a huge disservice.

Many years ago, in the formative days of the so-call “women’s movement,” it was feminist Susan Brownmiller who (Against Our Will) characterized much of heterosexual intercourse as “rape.” Brownmiller’s thesis derives from the physiological and anthropological dimensions of human evolution. There might have been a time when human females had estrous cycles and, like their simian cousins, were estrogenically-driven to wiggle their behinds at any passing male. (Thankfully, American media were not there to screw up the reality of the time.) But that time went unrecorded and, since then, in humankind every day has been “dating season” rather than a cyclical “mating season.” Hence Brownmiller’s thesis that guys think it’s always “open season” on the ladies. You know: “I want what I want when I want it,” and a “guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do.” Nature seems to almost have set things up that way, with males bigger and stronger. Brownmiller is not that hyperbolic in alleging that rape was the default method of men from the beginning of humankind, with no Harlequin novels and to smooth the way with romantic sentiment.

Add to the gender entitlement a symbolic uses of rape among our species (and arguably some simian cousins) to achieve the deliberate destruction of communities through the ruination of marriages, practice engaged in by many “soldiers” with an AK47 and a penis in much if Africa. Rape, as a weapon of war, undoubtedly precedes even the Romans’ classically remembered “Rape of the Sabine Women.” Who (except chauvinistic Japanese) can forget the Rape of Nanking, the Russian rapethon of the women of Berlin (or pretty much anywhere), the capture and rape of women in Bosnia and, the current champions of political rape, several countries of Africa, perhaps taking it right back to the lands it all began.* Don’t expect rape to go away anytime soon. Politics is about power, and the use of power to control recourses, and women, for a longtime, and into the present, have been regarded as a resource.

But, since we have said that nobody comes out of this thing smelling sweet there is yet another ugly dimension stirred up by the DSK affair: human trafficking in women and girls is simply the organized crime of rape. One wonders where all those sanctimonious anti-abortion activists are when it comes to this monstrous international problem; One suspects that those biblical passages about wives being subordinate and submissive to their husbands is all about letting those guys “do what a guy’s gotta do.” But it gets even uglier; many of the perpetrators (as recruiters, mamasans, and operators of brothels) are women themselves, as complicit as the men involved in abduction, drugging, turning out, and sex enslavement of young women from all over the world.

And so, we come back to Mr. DSK, who just might have paid a lot more than he expected for his suite and the personal treatment. He will return to the arms of his third wife and perhaps be accorded something like a hero’s welcome from some if the French (although a French woman is filing an attempted rape charge against him from several years ago). Some of the Socialists are even claiming that DSK could unseat “Sarko.” A Socialist who stays in suites that cost $3000 a night. Tsk, tsk.
© 2011, James A. Clapp (UrbisMedia Ltd. Pub. 7.4.2011)
*I apologize for omitting mention of so many of you other rapacious countries. You know who you are.