Monday, May 16, 2011

The Finance Minister and the Chambermaid

George Simenon was a notorious rake, having purportedly had sex with thousands of women, including chambermaids. Simenon was almost as prolific in writing his Inspector Maigret novels and other works, but not quite. Now, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund and a prospective Socialist party presidential candidate, has been accused of raping a maid in his $3,000-a-night Times Square Sofitel suite. The Times reported that this was not the first time Strauss-Kahn, who is married to "Anne Sinclair, an American-born French journalist," has gotten into trouble as a result of his desires for employees (“I.M.F. Chief, Apprehended at Airport, Is Accused of Sexual Attack,” NYT, 5/15/11). At the I.M.F., he’d gotten involved with Piroska Nagy, “a Hungarian economist who was a subordinate there.” “The economist…left the fund as part of a buyout of nearly 600 employees instituted by Mr. Strauss-Kahn to cut costs.” Would that the solution for Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who was arrested in the first-class section of an Air France jet, were as neat or simple this time around. The Times quoted Paul J. Browne, spokesman for the NYPD, as saying Strauss-Kahn “came out of the bathroom, fully naked…. He grabs her, according to her account, and pulls her into the bedroom and onto the bed…. She fights him off and he then drags her down the hallway to the bathroom….” The French are noted for an easy-going attitude towards sex, and jumping into bed with chambermaids is a routine part of French farce. It’s also a reflection of a more universal law, which is that everybody wants to fuck everybody (in both the amorous and aggressive connotations of the word). If Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers were alive, they might have even used this in a Pink Panther sequel in which Clouseau is on the trail of a randy finance minister—only this isn’t a farce.

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