Two Facts

[Trigger warning for sexual violence.]

1. The New York Times is still inexplicably paying conservative spambot Ross Douthat to pen a column for them on a regular basis.

2. Conservative spambot Ross Douthat used this week's column to imagine who will play accused rapist Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a movie which uses his alleged rape of a hotel maid as a metaphor for the indulgences Douthat claims are responsible for "the potential collapse of the European Union."

"The movie might begin," Douthat suggests, "with a decorously edited (rather than NC-17) version of Strauss-Kahn's Sofitel encounter."

I'm not remotely surprised that editors of the same paper which continuously and spectacularly fails in its coverage of rape cases would allow that swill to be printed in their paper, but I nonetheless, despite my absence of shock, find it resoundingly contemptible that the New York Times considers it entirely acceptable for their columnists to minimize sexual violence as an "encounter" and wax imaginative about how a real event of sexual violence might be "decorously" represented on the big screen.

Douthat goes on to imagine the camera cutting "to the French presidential election, in which Strauss-Kahn was widely expected to be a leading candidate," "zeroing in on the rise of Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate who rode anti-immigration sentiment into a shocking lead in opinion polls this spring," providing "an intimate look at the latest wave of immigration, with scenes from a refugee camp in Italy, crowded with thousands of North Africans fleeing the violence in Tunisia and Libya," et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, all across Europe, until he imagines the camera finally returning "to Strauss-Kahn, formerly a key player in these negotiations, and suddenly just another New York City perp."
What binds all these plots together, with the former I.M.F. chief in a starring role, is the crisis of the European dream — the vision of a continent without borders or divisions, supervised by a benevolent and cosmopolitan elite.

...No screenwriter could have invented a better embodiment of this elite than the globe-trotting, presidency-aspiring Strauss-Kahn. ...Moreover, no creative mind could have dreamed up an allegation better calculated to vindicate the perception that today's Eurocrats are just a version of the old European aristocracy — exercising droit du seigneur in high-priced hotel rooms while they wait to catch a first-class flight to Paris.

Douthat goes on to note that "the only question is how the movie ends," but imagines that "a drama that involves so much hubris seems likely to finish in tragedy instead."

Rape allegations are apparently just drama, not tragedy in and of themselves.

The complainant who filed charges against Strauss-Kahn is reportedly extremely traumatized by the assault, which is of absolutely no concern to Douthat, who feels entitled to appropriate her experience, no less an act of sexual violence against her, for his own wildly inappropriate (and frankly nonsensical) metaphor for publication in an internationally-read newspaper. I daresay he did not even consider the woman at the center of the complaint, because, like so many prominent men with pens before him who helped themselves to stories of women's rape when in want of metaphor, he hasn't the merest capacity for empathy with a survivor of sexual violence.

Or perhaps he simply lacks the will to engage it.

And, hey, she may be lying anyway, amirite?

Email the Public Editor, Arthur Brisbane and/or submit a Letter to the Editor.

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