Tuesday, 7 June 2011

the birds and the abeilles

I've let it go by for a couple weeks because I didn't really have much to say. And I probably still don't have much to say. But being a Franco-American, caught between two worlds, I feel it's my duty to say something about sex maniacs, the American judicial system and life in general.

There was an interesting article in the NYT a week or so ago about French people in NY who were forced to take a good look at their identity because of the DSK sex scandal thingy. And to me, it's all kind of funny (not funny haha but interesting) because I was in France during Monicagate when the entire French population was questioning American moral values which were judged to be too high, too puritan and too harsh on a man...who had needs! And now, the shoe is on the other foot.

Granted, if DSK really did do what he is accused of doing and if it really was not part of some big conspiracy started by Sarko's gang, then it's serious. But what's also very serious is that DSK's animal needs were a well known secret. But, in France, what goes on in the bedroom goes on in the bedroom.

During Monicagate, people would engage me in conversation about Clinton, American morals, etc. And the conclusion was always, "but is he doing a bad job? did he break any rules? is this going to affect his job?" The answers were all "no". Until now, whatever French politicians have done whether they have second families (see Mitterand) or are just sex-crazed (see DSK), it hasn't been a problem because it's their private life (note that when Mitterand's second family was revealed, people were pretty peeved not about his betrayal or illegitimate daughter but about the money they were receiving).

But there is a big difference between how women are treated in France and the US. In the US, everyone is equal. In France, women and men are different. There is both a positive and negative side to this. In France, women can be women without having to hide their feminity (I'm not exactly the archetype of feminitity myself). In the US, women have to be as strong as men. And, to be honest, it can be exhausting. Sometimes, not always, I find it refreshing to just let the differences between the two sexes be just that. And sometimes, like when I get whistled or honked at (usually when I'm running), I just flip people the bird.

Many French people I've spoken to recently were shocked about how DSK was being "treated". the one exception was Doctor R, the kissy doctor, who was really open minded about it all and we had a really interesting conversation about it all during my last visit. Unlike what would have happened in France, DSK is not getting preferential treatment; he's being treated like any other person who may have committed a sex crime. But in France, everything is done in secret. There are generally no juries and judges are civil servants and not elected officials. And there are definitely no photos of such a high profile person in handcuffs! But as my wise husband said, this is happening in the most democratic country in the world so if he is proven guilty, then he gets what he deserves.

So back to question of who cares where DSK or Clinton or Congressman Weiner dips his wick? In France, people care but don't talk about it. In the US, people talk about it but don't care.


Amber said...

I must be about 5 years old because the headline "Weiner sends bulging pants pics" made me laugh out loud.

L said...

There are some good articles in Télérama talking about the DSK scandal and they actually talk about real issues other people are missing. For example, the French were furious about the pictures of DSK handcuffed, saying it was against the principle of assumption of innocence. But the Télérama article brings up the fact that that was actually the only time when DSK was treated like a regular suspect. The real problem is that someone rich like him then leaves for his nice house after paying bail, while someone poor stays in jail because they can't post bail. I thought they were good articles to shine light on the areas of the scandal that other people are ignoring.

Reb said...

Amber, me too. You should see Jon Stewart's report on it. Then you'll really feel like a 9 year old.

L, interesting. I've been getting the Herald Tribune for free so have been getting my news from there mostly. But I will definitely check the Telerama articles. Reassuring that someone isn't completely negative about our system. PS I'll be in toulouse at the end of July. Maybe we can get together?

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