Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s Lower Half Problem

Japanese newspapers call it a "lower half problem". Bill

Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, JFK

– there’s no shortage of prominent politicians who have it. And according

to Libération journalist Jean Quatremer, the next managing

director of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is no exception.

In a blog

entry earlier this month, brought to my attention by Chris Masse,

Quatremer said what most French journalists knew but few would publish. John

Lichfield translates:

"The only real problem with Strauss-Kahn is his attitude to women."

He is "too insistent," M. Quatremer wrote. "The IMF is an international

institution with Anglo-Saxon morals. One inappropriate gesture, one unfortunate

comment, and there will be a media hue and cry."

How bad is this problem? According to Masse, it’s very bad indeed:

A cable TV show ("93 Faubourg Saint Honoré", on Paris Premiere,

hosted by Thierry Ardisson) invited a young (and unknown to me) French actress.

I don’t remember her name. She said that she had a bad encounter with Dominique

Strauss-Kahn. Here’s what happened. She was asked to come in a little apartment

he had in Paris, and then the next thing, Strauss-Kahn jumped on her and tried

to undress her and more. She yelled, and told him that that was a rape, but

the word "rape" ("viol" in French) didn’t seem to perturb

him. She said that he was like "a gorille en rut" (a gorilla in


The transcript of this portion of the TV show was later published in the French

monthly "Entrevue", some time ago, maybe one year ago. This magazine

published the transcript, with a "beep" when she pronounced the

name of Strauss-Kahn. But the magazine added as an addendum that the TV host

(Thierry Ardisson) tells everybody in Paris that under the "beep"

is Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

And since we’re on the subject of MDB gossip, it’s also worth noting that Quatremer’s

blog entry answers my

question about what the real reason is that Rodrigo Rato

resigned, creating the IMF opening in the first place: he says it’s because

of Rato’s "acrimonious divorce" ("divorce agité").

Which isn’t the most obvious reason for quitting your job, but maybe there’s

an explanation in there somewhere.

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