Today’s award for best public slipperiness goes, as it probably should it matters of licentiousness, to a Frenchman, Henri Leclerc. M. Leclerc is the lawyer for Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the IMF and one-time front-runner for the presidency of France who is now juggling sex scandals on both sides of the Atlantic.
Presently M. Strauss-Kahn, or DSK as he’s commonly called, is facing charges involving the procurement of prostitues for group orgies. The crux of the issue isn’t the orgies: DSK admits to having sex with multiple women at these events (pause here for one second and contrast this with our own politics, where careers are ruined over sexting images of wieners or tapping shoes in public bathrooms), nor the fact that the women were prostitues (paying for sex in France is not illegal). Rather, the question is how the women got to the parties as the procurement of prostitutes is illegal in France.
If this legal two-step sounds confusing it’s because it is. My understanding of the French laws surrounding this is: paying a prostitute for sex is not illegal, but procuring a prostitute to pay for sex is. In other words: inviting a sex worker into your bed is bad, but if you should happen to find a prostitute already in your bed, then by all means do pay her for sex.
You can take what side you wish on the charges facing DSK, either in France or here in America (though cleared of criminal charges of rape in New York, DSK still awaits trial on civil charges in a case involving a hotel maid)—he did, he didn’t, it was consensual, he didn’t know they were prostitutes, etc.
In cases such as this I generally presume that there’s more information at play than what I know from reading the papers, and I prefer to presume innocence until guilt is demonstrated. That said, I’d take the same line with DSK that I’d take with Herman Cain, Ben Roethlisberger or any other public figure charged with multiple occurrences of making Sexy No-No’s. To quote the immortal words of former President G.W. Bush:
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me…you can’t get fooled again.
Readers are invited to pause and once again see the contrast between French and American politicians’ snafus: a known and admitted philanderer and a man who could not complete a common aphorism. ((I realize that this juxtaposition is a red herring, or a canard, or some other colorful animal species with an exotic sounding name. Obviously there is no such simple reductionistic Either/Or here, and there are plenty of politicians capable of being aphorists and philanderers (a thought which probably goes a long way towards explaining why Bill Clinton was so successful.))
But let us return to M. Leclerc, who, while defending DSK at an earlier hearing made the following comment to a French newspaper in explanation of his client’s innocence:
“He (DSK) could easily not have known because, as you can imagine, at these kinds of parties you’re not always dressed, and I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman.”
A valid point, M. Leclerc. After all, how is one to tell a prostitute from a non-sex worker unless the former is wearing her state-issued “Ask me: I’m a prostitute” pinnie?, an item of clothing which, it must be acknowledge, once removed renders such distinctions impossible.
In honor of the lightness of your logic, M. Leclerc, our staff here at And Why Not? tips our collective hat and voices a nodding and well-deserved, Touché.