Three Scandals

#1  I don't often have the feeling of being "proud to be an American"--in fact, I feel compelled to put that phrase in quotation marks, just to create some ironic distance.  Yet (blush) I am proud to be an American, when I think about the fact that the head of the IMF was charged with rape and other crimes on the word of a hotel housekeeper--a single mother, a widow, an Islamic immigrant, a woman of color, no less.  With liberty and justice for all - HURRAY!  It was consensual, his lawyer says.  Ohhhh, I see.  (Nauseating footnote--he had lunch with his daughter afterwards!)

#2  The Synthese business.  I have trouble getting on board with the claim that the Editors-in-Chief owe the philosophy world an abject apology, because of their disclaimer (long story--some of it told here).  While the disclaimer was an awkward fix, it does seem to me that there was a problem.  The special issue on intelligent design did involve a level of personal invective that is seldom seen in philosophy journals. 

#3  Dear Arnie, I'm very disappointed in you.  I'm glad you're just an ass, and not a rapist (see above), but still. 


Josh Rosenau said...

"a level of invective that is seldom seen in philosophy journals." But perhaps not undeserved invective, given the nature of ID creationist attacks on science, philosophy, and education.

Jean Kazez said...

Josh, Look at this comment on the whole affair from philosopher of science Larry Laudan--


If it's OK to be personally hostile toward ID-sympathizers (questionable!), surely it's not OK to be personally hostile to respected philosophers of science. It seems to me there was a problem with this issue, and not just with the one article by Barbara Forrest. The editors didn't demand the level of civility that is standard for philosophy journals. So I can see why the E-I-Cs were disturbed. Their error, I would say, was stepping in too late and aiming their fire too broadly. That doesn't strike me as a huge sin, so I find the reaction (calls for boycotting, etc) disproportionate.

ʉʯɡʨɪʕɝʏɬʢɛʎɨʙʪɛɖʏɷɼ said...

Why do you assume that a "hotel housekeeper, a single mother, a widow, an Islamic immigrant, a woman of color" would not want to have a sexual encounter why a rich, powerful, white, "not bad looking", mature man?

Maybe yes, maybe not. The facts to be judged are others (and it looks like he's likely guilty, from what has come out so far ...)

Why should there be any correlation between the parameters you quoted and the sexual encounter? Such assumption sounds a bit "racist" to me.

The opposite correlation could also seem weaker: why would a white rich and successful man rape a "hotel housekeeper ..."?

Jean Kazez said...

I would have thought this was obvious. The huge difference in status is what makes it impressive that the police listened to her and arrested him. Who said it had any relevance to whether the encounter was consensual? I think it's ludicrous to suggest it was consensual, but that's for tons of other reasons, not because of the difference in status. I didn't bother giving the reasons because they would be obvious to anyone following this story.

s. wallerstein said...

The U.S. international image scores points with the arrest of DSK in the circumstances you cite.

The Chilean media, which were very critical of the U.S. because of the killing (without trial) of Osama Bin Laden, suddenly have become very pro-American, not because they assume DSK is guilty, but because in no other society that I know of would such a powerful man be arrested for allegedly raping a maid.

The question was asked in the Chilean media if this is a New York City thing, not an American thing, if an African maid would have would have the same access to justice in the deep south of the U.S.

I wonder. That is a real question, not a rhetorical one.

ʉʯɡʨɪʕɝʏɬʢɛʎɨʙʪɛɖʏɷɼ said...

ah, ok. I think I see your point now.

It is of course relevant for the whole story to know if it was consensual or not, but you were not discussing that.

Yes, it's good to see that sometimes the "little man" (or woman) has a chance against the rich and powerful.

"La giustizia è uguale per tutti" as they say (but don't practice) in Italy ("but for some it's more equal than for others" replied Berlusconi).

In any case I think Sarkozy is having a laugh now. He couldn't have mounted a better case against his opponent.

Jean Kazez said...

Yes--you can't blame Sarkozy if he's privately laughing his head off. In public, though, I'd like to see anger on behalf of the victim (alleged). First she's raped, then she's accused in front of the whole world of being a person who doles out oral and anal sex to complete strangers. I hear French newspapers have even published her name. And all that for just trying to clean his room!

Amos, Re: the reputation of the US. I find it odd that people would be so worked up about the killing of bin Laden, when on the same day (as I recall) there was news that NATO forces dropped a bomb on Qaddafi's house, killing his son and 3 grandchildren. By comparison, the attack on bin Laden was carried out with great sensitivity.

Justice for the little guy in the south--I don't think it's impossible, but can't come up with any good examples at the moment.

s. wallerstein said...

The Chilean media, on the left and on the right, have also been critical of the attempts to kill Gaddafi.

However, they are very very favorably impressed by the fact that a man as powerful as DSK was arrested and jailed for raping a maid.

I would imagine that DSK is also impressed, although not favorably, to learn that he is not above the law and that powerless women are not fair game for him.

Here the whole incident would have been hushed up, with a considerable sum of money being deposited in the woman's bank account together with the refusal of the public prosecutor to investigate the case and of the media to make it public.

Anonymous said...

Arnie also has a long history of groping, and now he is admitting he had sex with his housekeeper. There is a huge difference in status there as well. Arnie's history seems parallel to DSK's.

How do we know Arnie's just an ass and not a rapist? He could be both.

-- Anna

Aeolus said...

At least Chile and other South American countries are prepared to arrest and try alleged war criminals, including their own citizens, while the U.S. -- not so much, at least if you're rich and powerful (e.g., Pinochet's buddy Henry Kissinger). And the U.S. refuses to recognize the authority of the ICC, because it doesn't want any of its politicians held to account by the international community.

On the other hand, yes, it's good to see DSK not being able to use his status as a get-out-of-jail-free card. I notice that while the French are properly shocked at the "perp walk" -- the point of which seems to be in each case to tar and humiliate someone who has not been tried -- they (or at least the French media) have no problem with doing something similar to alleged victims.