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Bernard-Henri Lévy Headshot

Strauss-Kahn and the Killers-by-Virtue

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An event has just occurred that should be marked with a black spot in the history of the society of spectacle.

It happened Friday morning, when virtually all the radio stations and news networks, most of the printed press (not only French, but worldwide), the most reputable news sites, the most respected columnists of America, Germany, New Zealand and Singapore, those with the widest audience, all announced, in concert, the separation of Anne Sinclair and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, citing as their sole source an article published by... the Parisian tabloid magazine Closer!

I shall not comment on the violence of this intrusion into the lives of a man and woman who are entitled, as we all are, to respect for their privacy.

And -- must I make it clear? -- I have no idea as to the accuracy of information in which, by the same token, I have the right to take no interest, and which I regret that my favorite news sites saw fit to inflict upon me, thereby violating my no less inalienable right to choose not to enter the bedrooms of others.

What I find interesting in this affair is, once again, its symptomatic aspect.

What is fascinating about the Times, Toronto Sun, Hindustan News, Irish Examiner, Chicago Tribune, Malaysian Insider and others announcing in unison, without bothering to check, let alone confirm, the facts of this supposed "divorce," promoted to the status of a "worldwide" event, "earlier reported by the weekly magazine Closer," is the compulsive and less unconscious desire concerning a man whom they have managed to portray, worldwide, as a monster or a demon, one whose every movement (attending a birthday party, missing a film premier, traveling) is scrutinized, over-analyzed, demonized.

This is not a desire to seek the truth: Since Dominique Strauss-Kahn is no longer a candidate for anything, nor the director of any organization whatsoever, this feigned "enlightening" of the "citizens" adds to the violence of this action an alibi of utterly pathetic hypocrisy.

It is not a desire for justice: Lawsuits are conducted in the courts, not in editorial offices, and moreover, since keeping company with prostitutes is not yet a criminal offense in France, no one can adequately say what is really involved in the incrimination we have been unwillingly compelled to witness.

It is not even the possible concern for the moral edification of his contemporaries: Morality is not moral order! The ideal of transparency, the injunction to tell all, show all, to reveal everything in detail -- this is immorality itself!

Nor is it the legitimate intention to further the cause of women. What feminist worthy of the name would find her thoughts expressed by these leagues of virtue or, better put, killers by virtue, applauding as a victory the fact that a prostitute goes to the police to denounce the sexual "harassment" to which she has been subject?

No.

The desire one senses behind this next-to-the-last phase of the interminable and nauseating Strauss-Kahn soap opera is, like it or not, a desire for a symbolic murder.

I am looking at the photos of the man in question that accompany most of these articles.

I imagine the predominating choice, the crafted photo cropping, the layout artist asked to chose an appropriately pathetic shot, where Strauss-Kahn is seen with five-o'clock shadow, alone at the terrace of a café, carrying his poor little grocery bag.

I imagine the jubilation behind the narration of the "descent into hell" [sic] of this "living dead man" [re-sic] who would have once become, to hear the modern clerks of the citizens' and social vice squad tell it, the master of the world.

And I see how the same individuals are finally thrilled at the idea of watching the severing of the last bond, thanks to a possible divorce, that, in their idiotic vision of the world, ties this phantom to life.

You can look at it any way you like.

The truth is that they want Strauss-Kahn not only down, but on the ground.

Not only on the ground, but, in the words of a commentator I will be charitable enough not to name, lower than the ground.

They want him dead.

They don't want to miss out on any part of the killing.

There is nothing else in this universal coverage that targets "the Strauss-Kahns" than the archaic desire to see one of our kind up against the wall, humiliated, executed on the public square, annihilated.

And this, added to the fact that the American courts already granted him a first acquittal in August, 2011, added to the possibility, by no means excluded, that French justice will find the former IMF director innocent of the crimes he is charged with (for which the Court of Public Opinion has already judged him) and pronounce a second acquittal, is the other reason I continue to defend him, as a matter of principle.

Baying for blood, going in for the kill disgusts me.

The pack is the expression of the human grimace.

When all join together against one, it is not rare that, one day or another and regardless of the faults he may have committed, justice is granted the individual.