Sacré bleu! The Mail's interest in France is essentially about sex. Whether raising a wry eyebrow or more explicitly critical, the Mail's angle is: the Frenchies do it differently from us and, in the end, our way is better.
Stephen Glover is the latest Mail columnist to give his opinion of the DSK affair
. He portrays it as quintessentially
French, taking care to mark the differences:
A word should be said about his (third) wife, Anne Sinclair, who is even richer than him. If she were English she would long ago have cut off his suit sleeves, if not something much more important to him. As a French woman she tolerates his serial and sometimes brutal infidelities because that is what French women of her class and background are usually supposed to do.
Lady Archer was unavailable for comment, apparently. And from what I've read, Strauss-Kahn and Sinclair had agreed
to a kind of open marriage. Sinclair is a feminist, famous for taking a principled stance (she refused to interview Jean-Marie Le Pen because of offensive comments he made about the holocaust). Isn't it patronising to assume she is being a doormat here? And if that's typical of French women "of her class and background" (I don't know what this means: Sinclair was born in the US to rich Jewish parents who'd fled the Nazis), how come Cécilia Sarkozy divorced her husband? Why are the best-known women in French politics — Ségolène Royal and Marine Le Pen — both divorcees?
Here we come to the nub of the argument. The supposedly sophisticated French elite regards Anglo-Saxon attitudes to sex as repressed and judgmental, and our newspapers in particular as prurient. The French believe themselves to be liberated, and far more advanced.
But isn’t it the French who are in fact more primitive, indulging and even encouraging chauvinist monsters such as Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who treats women as though they were chattels, to be consumed, despoiled and discarded?
So here we have Glover, who defended the sexist banter of football pundit Andy Gray on the basis that "He was not addressing the vicar’s wife
", writing in the not-at-all-prurient Daily Mail, which regularly questions the testimony
of women who say they have been raped, attacking a whole nation on the basis that it's not feminist enough. Hmm.
It turns out that the main point of the article is to warn against the "accommodating and compliant" French media. To which I refer you to this article, penned by one Stephen Glover: 'The BBC has conspired with The Guardian to heat up an old story and attack Murdoch
'. Where would this country be without the freedom to stick a lens up a woman's skirt and print stories about unfaithful footballers, eh?