“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Monday, September 19, 2011

DSK and his fantasies

Freud wrote that the system of the unconscious doesn’t contain a ‘no’. It uses, instead, contradiction to mark a negation – which is why, in dreams, seemingly inconsistent narratives will merrily unfold themselves, making it hard for the dreamer to tell the dream in waking language.

I thought about this watching DSK trying to explain the events of the morning of May 14, 2011 on TF1, where he was interviewed last night by his wife’s friend, newscaster Claire Chazel. The entire interview revolved around a negation: when asked to give his side of what transpired in the thirty some minutes he spent with Nafissa Diallo, DSK came up with no account whatsoever. Instead, he declared that what happened was a ‘moral error’ and that – bizarrely – he was not ‘proud’ of it.

That he was not ‘proud’ of what happened – a phrase he used at least twice – seems to be Strauss Kahn’s attempt to say that he was ashamed of it. But not being proud and being ashamed are, of course, two different things. The idea that something happened for which he had to disclaim ‘pride’ tells us much more about Strauss Kahn’s view of himself as a sexual ‘seducer’ than, perhaps, he might suppose.

Having chosen the famous politician’s strategy of the non-apology apology, Strauss-Kahn went on to heighten the contradictions by claiming that he used no violence and he used no money. In essence, then, what Strauss Kahn is not ‘proud’ of is the story that seems like a very common erotic fantasy. A maid comes to the hotel room, she glimpses Strauss Kahn in his mighty nudity, she swoons with sexual desire, and she offers to suck him off, which he graciously allows until he comes in her mouth, when she spits his semen out.

How plausible is this story? It is about as plausible as a dream. Strauss Kahn himself recognizes this – after telling us that no payment was made, he also tells us that Diallo made the accusations and created the entire storm on account of the fact that she wanted money. Now, of course, in this part of the narrative, we are to believe that as the memory of Strauss Kahn’s irresistible member faded, she decided to charge him with rape to make some money.

What is plausible and what is implausible was one of the great problems around which Aristotle’s Rhetoric turns. The plausible is from the beginning a class instrument – in Aristotle’s terms, it is what seems well to an educated male citizen. That is, to one of the ruling class in the city. And these stories of willing maids and hung males certainly circulate among this class. But outside of that context, the whole story, it seems to me, could be made so wildly implausible by a halfway decent prosecutor that DSK would choke on it in court. I was talking to a friend this morning who thought, after the first five minutes, that DSK did rape Diallo – something he hadn’t thought before – simply because he was the sort of man who got away with jumping women. Perhaps this is true. TF1, however, has done little to cast any light on the subject, and – with a format of questions that never followed up on DSK’s evasions – seems to conspire with his ‘rehabilitation’.
I think that project is fucked from the beginning. I hope so.

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