Horny Frenchman Rushes To Defend Horny Frenchman

05.17.11 6 years ago 2 Comments

When we last checked in on Bernard-Henri Lévy, the French intellectual was showing up late to a party at Tina Brown’s house accompanied by Daphne Guinness, his catsuit-wearing mistress, where he bragged about having just come from convincing Nicolas Sarkozy to go war with Libya.

Now he’s speaking out against the injustices being brought down upon his pal Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head international Monetary Fund, who, if the jaw-dropping charges against him hold true, stands to confirm every crude stereotype of French men since the beginning of time.

Undaunted, Levy penned a fierce defense of Strauss-Kahn for the Daily Beast, stopping just short of calling his accuser — a hotel maid who claims she was raped by the international banker when she entered his hotel room — a lying, loony, gold-digging slut.

He writes:

I do not know—but, on the other hand, it would be nice to know, and without delay—how a chambermaid could have walked in alone, contrary to the habitual practice of most of New York’s grand hotels of sending a “cleaning brigade” of two people, into the room of one of the most closely watched figures on the planet.

What I know as well is that nothing, no earthly law, should also allow another woman, his wife, admirable in her love and courage, to be exposed to the slime of a public opinion drunk on salacious gossip and driven by who knows what obscure vengeance.

And what I know even more is that the Strauss-Kahn I know, who has been my friend for 20 years and who will remain my friend, bears no resemblance to this monster, this caveman, this insatiable and malevolent beast now being described nearly everywhere. Charming, seductive, yes, certainly; a friend to women and, first of all, to his own woman, naturally, but this brutal and violent individual, this wild animal, this primate, obviously no, it’s absurd.

Levy’s defense of his pal provoked some strong rebuttals from media folk on Twitter last night. The Nation’s Chris Hayes, a frequent guest host on MSNBC, asked, “Is Bernard Henri-Levy some sort of elaborate piece of performance art?” And Mother Jones’ Clara Jeffrey blasted Tina Brown and the Daily Beast for thinking that “providing serial rape apologist Bernard-Henri-Levy a platform was good for business.”

When I first read Levy’s piece last night, I too was outraged. But after giving it some thought, I’m willing to give him a little bit of string. I thought about how I would react if someone I’d called a friend for two decades was suddenly charged with the crimes Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged with. Surely, as a person with a bit of a platform, I’d consider speaking out in his or her defense as well. But I’m not sure that I would do it so quickly. I think Levy would have served himself, and his friend, better if he’d taken some time to let everything sink in and did some true reflection on it all. Instead he sort of comes off, as my headline suggests, as a pompous horny Frenchman just rushing to defend the behavior of a fellow pompous horny Frenchman.

Regardless, this whole sordid affair is going to be interesting to watch play out.

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