So Sarko and Bruni are out, Hollande is in, and I’m off to the Actor’s Studio to brush up on my acting lessons. (Stanley Kowalski is reborn. Stel-LAAA!)
My friend Edward Jay Epstein has written a quickie book about Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s little problem last year here in the Bagel. Epstein reiterates the disgraced ex-IMF chief’s suspicions that his political enemies set him up. Epstein does not agree; he simply states Dominique’s case.
I was delighted when the frog was busted, and it wasn’t simple Schadenfreude, either. (I am neither English nor that Greek.) DSK was simply a man wearing a suicide vest waiting to explode. The word had been out for years. He was so arrogant, it never entered his mind that teaming up with a global prostitution ring could be leaked to the public. But as a hooker-stripper named Jade testified, “I did not sleep with Dominique Strauss-Kahn simply for pleasure. First of all he is old. And stout.”
Was DSK arrogant enough to believe those girls were sleeping with him for his looks? Has he looked in a mirror lately? Are some men deluded enough to think they’re princes rather than frogs? Not poor little Taki. When I was young and OK-looking I used hookers nonstop, but I wouldn’t go near them now. I feel too sorry for the girls to have to put up with my old bones.
DSK is too intelligent to fool himself to such a degree but not smart enough to stay away from the one thing he never managed to attract with his mental skills: Women. Sure, he used his three wives to get ahead—and he was one step away from the Elysée—but he was never a girl-puller. He’s vulnerable, easy prey, and a sucker where women are concerned.
Did DSK really believe no money was exchanged during les soirées libertine at hotels in Washington, Paris, and Lille? If he didn’t pay the ladies, he was being used by others. DSK has given men who love women a very bad name. Shame on him.
Back in old Athens, a man by the rather vulgar name of Akis Tsochatzopoulos—it means a Man of Cloth—has been languishing in a central Piraeus jail. His alleged crime, and I use the word “alleged” with a heavy salting of sarcasm—is corruption. As defense minister for Andreas Papandreou’s socialist regime, he’s accused of kindly accepting hundreds of millions of drachmas for procuring TOR M-1 missile systems from Russia and some submarines from Germany. The word in the Athens street was that he pocketed around 250 million euros at present rates. Both the Russians and the Germans agree that they paid kickbacks but say they thought it was to the Greek government. “Individuals do not buy submarines,” said one German diplomat. Well, he doesn’t know the Greeks very well.
The Man of Cloth seems to have made a DSK type of mistake. He arrogantly bought the most beautiful house near the Acropolis worth millions upon millions of euros and then got married in an astronomically lavish Parisian ceremony—all on a ministerial salary of less than 3,000 smackers per month. The Man of Cloth always hated the rich and made a big brouhaha about his lowly origins. He’s accused of laundering the money through Panama and had his new wife pay for the house. He apparently got his daughter involved, thus landing both women in jail as accomplices. No wonder the socialists took such a drubbing in the polls. People such as the Man of Cloth stole and stole and believed the party would never end. Well, it’s finished, and the Greeks are paying for it.
Tsochatzopoulos will get off on a technicality—the statute of limitations. The Greek government has been known to change the law in order to suit its purposes, but not this time. The trouble is that there are many others who are just as greedy and just as crooked. Some of these “gentlemen” have been reelected as I write. The Man of Cloth has threatened to open his personal records and name names. As JFK’s press secretary Pierre Salinger famously said when asked whether he would follow the Kennedy example and hike fifty miles: “I may be plucky, but I ain’t stupid.”
The new bunch of Greek politicians do not wish for open government because Greece is fun in the summer and obtaining a suntan inside Korrydallos Prison is impossible. The best we can hope is that the thieves will stop stealing. But when it comes to giving anything back or being punished for their crimes, fuggedaboutit.
DSK and the Man of Cloth are different but very much alike. They both thought they could get away with monstrous disregard for caution or restraint. A smaller house would have drawn less attention. A less glitzy wedding, ditto. Fewer hookers and more discretion would probably have seen DSK lording it over the French right now. Such are the follies of arrogance. The great moralist Taki has spoken yet again.
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