Friday, May 27, 2011

The DKS Affair

Some of you might have noticed news coverage about the European ‘Money Man’  (president of the International Monetary Fund) who was charged with attempted rape and sexual assault in New York a couple weeks back.  Yes, he is French.  Yes, he is well known around these parts (Although I had no idea who Dominique Strauss-Kahn was until this happened- Let’s just say I lack passion when it comes to politics- international or otherwise.)  In any case, it’s a pretty huge deal here- every day or night time broadcast includes something about DSK ever since his arrest.  (I’m actually kind of curious to know what kind of coverage it’s getting in the U.S.?  Do people even care?) 

Anyways, I was watching an abc news online broadcast and the journalists made a comment about DSK’s wife ‘standing by her man’ and how in France, DSK’s behavior isn’t as looked down upon as it is in theU.S.

I wouldn’t say that’s completely true.  The French do not turn a blind eye on rape or sexual assault.  However, a consenting affair is pretty much fair game in French politician-land.  All the great presidents of France were pretty well known ‘skirt chasers’- had private affairs or public ones and nobody batted an eye lash.   DSK is no exception- having had a public affair a few years back.    

I find this fascinating to tell you the truth.  In the U.S., an affair can break a political career.  I mean, Clinton came close to being impeached for his ‘non’ relations with Monica.   Why isn’t this the case in France?  I know there’s a stereotype about the French.  -Like when a marriage gets tough, the French get a lover.  But this hasn’t been necessarily true in my experience ( I don’t mean me, but the French couples I’ve come into contact with)  However, when it comes to people highlighted in the media- actors, singers, politicians, etc...the French seem to find adultery understandable. Any ideas on why this might be?

Have a great weekend everyone!

*CQG*

22 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

Societies accept certain "practices" differently. I don't think it's getting the press here so much. I do find behaviors fascinating. For example, his wife sticking by his side...appalling to me. I see that as a weakness on the womans behalf, whereas I know others accept it.

Jessica Bell said...

I'm not sure. They're like that here in Greece too. So many women here have husbands that have affairs, and the majority of them shrug and say, "Well, at least he comes home to me every night. I'm the one he LOVES." Ugh. If they really loved you they wouldn't need to sleep around!!! It's NUTS (hyperactive ones)!

Sarah said...

Different culture (oversimplification, I know). Cultures change over time, though, and this is a huge spotlight on France (probably not completely fairly) ... and yes, it's been big news here in the US, though not as much as in France, I'm sure.

salarsenッ said...

It's hard to answer this without sounding judgmental, because I'm not. Hmm...every place has its own set of invisible guidelines, I guess. Why? Not sure. (Yeah, lame answer, I know.)

Anne Gallagher said...

I'm sure the only reason the wife is sticking by her husband is because when he goes to jail, SHE gets to be in charge of all HIS money. Isn't he a multi gazillionaire? She's not stupid, only hedging her bets. And if he gets off scott free then she can divorce him and get half his money.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

My husband told me about this. I've been missing the news lately (beyond the tornados hitting the States). I told him if he did the same thing, I wouldn't be standing by his side. He'd be on his own. Cheating, rape, sexual assault, none of them are acceptable behaviors.

Tom M Franklin said...

a correction:

Bill Clinton was impeached "for perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with a scandal involving a White House intern, but was subsequently acquitted by the U.S. Senate and served his complete term of office." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton)

as for the whyfors of the cultural differences, i have no idea. none. it completely baffles me.


-- Tom

Talli Roland said...

Hm... no idea!

Wish I could say more, but it's Friday! Woooo! Have a great weekend. :)

Solvang Sherrie said...

I did hear about this and I like Anne's answer :) It is strange because people keep saying how we live in a global society, but we still have major differences in how we think about things.

Nicole L Rivera said...

I'm going to go with a no on the news front here. Then again I'm not big on keeping up with the news. I think it would be on more if not for all the tornado damage.

I think different cultures have different expectations. For instance, in Miami there is a large latin influence. Sometimes I feel like in the latin culture it is expected for a man to cheat (actually, I had a latin boyfriend tell me that...lets just say I got out of that one ASAP). Doesn't go over so well in a blended marriage where the woman is American. We have very different reactions **divorce** to such behavior. Good to establish expectations up front, lol.

Old Kitty said...

Different perception of what an affair is, I suppose and maybe such attitudes are rooted in all things european - and I guess it has to do with the puritans running off to america maybe?
But the DSK thing seems very sordid and murky to be all slap and tickle!

Take care
x

Cynthia Lee said...

I've wondered about this myself a few times. I always thought it was a cultural thing but I really have no idea.

Jen Daiker said...

'Invisible guidlines' I think Salsaren nailed it. Every culture and country is different.

Happy Friday Katie!

Nicole Zoltack said...

No idea but I definitely would not stand for it!

Carolyn V said...

We've heard about it here, but I have no idea why there is such a difference in views. That gives one something to think about!

Steph said...

I am Canadian, and I do know that our cultures are quite different. I think it has a lot to do with the type of Christianity that exists in the USA. Since the bible says adultry is wrong, American people don't want to hear of it happening in their governement!

Jennifer said...

I have seen some news coverage of it but honestly I have read more about it on blogs I follow. I follow a french woman's blog and I love to read her point of view on the whole thing....Here is my unbiased Pennsylvania opinion. If it is not forced and is between two consenting adults then I don't care....if it effects the job you are supposed to be doing then that is a different story. If a politician cheats on his wife well then honestly thats his wife's problem....after all she picked him as her partner.

Theresa Milstein said...

Yes, this has been getting coverage in the US + a few barbs on Facebook.

I don't know if affairs should break careers, but I'm not a big fan of the open relationship with mistresses that sometimes goes on in France. To me, marriage is a commitment to be faithful. But in the US, we put politicians on a pedestal though they clearly don't deserve it.

Raquel Byrnes said...

We get coverage here but nowhere near what you'e probably sitting through. America finds standing by your man so fascinating, we made a television series out of it. The Good Wife stands by her cheating politician hubby...sort of.

Meredith said...

How strange! I don't know why it would be so accepted in France--maybe because there's a long history of it? And they're not Puritan? Who knows.

The Kid In The Front Row said...

I think that, just like different people have different personalities, so do nations. The experiences, the achievements, the wars and the pains --- they make us all markedly different.

America tends to be righteous, to spout ideas of democracy and freedom and flag waving. And, for better or often worse, their relations with the rest of the world are affected accordingly.

And it's the same for France. They have different ideals. Life is about different things. I guess it's more about pleasure, and what works, that sticking rigidly to old-fashioned principles.

I have no idea which is better, I just know each nation and it's people are shaped differently.

Geoff Maritz said...

I was talking to my son about his visit to France recently and what he said was, " France is SO romantic, everyone is so sexy." That may explain it. Geoff.

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