Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

DSK Affair: Conspiracy Theories

One of the most enjoyable (and truly unexpected) delights to be found in the Hexagone are the many carefully constructed conspiracy theories that one can savor over a demi and a cigarette with friends and colleagues at the local bistro.   My personal favorite (and I've heard several variations) is the theory that 911 was not committed by actual terrorists but was either perpetrated by the U.S. government itself (in collusion with Israel, of course) or was staged (like the moon landing) to set up an eventual invasion of Irak.   "Look at who benefitted and you'll find the real culprits,"  my friends say knowingly, chiding me for my innocence.  I usually reply by thanking them for attributing so much cunning and intelligence to my government - more intelligence, frankly, than I have ever given it credit for - and I will, as a vote-casting citizen of the government in question, take it as a compliment.

The recent DSK affair was a veritable godsend for those who love to speculate about who did what to whom and why, and it has spawned some remarkably creative and sometimes truly brilliant conspiracy theories.  Slate.fr recently did us all a service in this article, "Quel Complot pour DSK?" which lists some of the main theories being discussed on the internet, in bars, bistros and even in fairly respectable mainstream media:  le socialiste, le patron du FMI, le "juif", le "riche."  All of them are a good read and I recommend them to you.

Here is one from the Slate article that I particularly enjoyed:

Le patron du FMI/The boss of the IMF

"Un complot international qui se décline en plusieurs possibilités et qui a été relayé par de nombreuses personnalités"

An international conspiracy with many variations which has been put forward by many well-known personalities.

«Je suis convaincue d'un complot international. C'est le FMI qu'on a voulu décapiter et pas tant le candidat à la primaire socialiste [...] C'est l'homme le plus puissant après Obama [...] c'est une nouvelle forme d'attentat politique», déclarait Michèle Sabban, vice-présidente du conseil régional d’Ile-de-France, ajoutant: «Tout le monde sait que sa fragilité, c’est la séduction, les femmes. Ils l’ont pris par cela.»

"'I am convinced of an international plot.  It was the IMF they wanted to destroy and not so much the candidate for the socialist primary,' declared Michèle Sabban, vice-president of the regional council for the Ile-de-France, adding: ' Everyone knew his weakness was seduction, women.  That is how they got him.'"

Starting from this main theme there are several variations naming the usual suspect (the United States).  It was the variation concerning the Russians that caught my eye.  Here it is:

La piste russe/The Russian Angle

"Pourquoi: Pour remplacer DSK au sein du FMI. Las que l’organe soit dirigé par des Européens, les Russes auraient décidé de discréditer un des économistes les plus respectés du vieux continent... et proposer un nouveau directeur à sa place. Les «alliés français» de Poutine, eux, voudraient empêcher sa candidature en 2012."

"Why:  to replace DSK at the IMF.  Angry that the organization was managed by Europeans, the Russians decided to discredit one of the most respected economists of the Old Continent... and to propose a new director in his place.  The 'French allies" of Putin wanted to prevent his (DSK's) candidacy in 2012."

Again, read them all - you will find them highly entertaining.  Hopefully Slate will provide translations for non-Francophones.

And, just for fun, I must confess that I voted for the "Sarkozy's Michavellian Plan."  Quite honestly when I got the news in Germany, my first thought was that this was a diabolical plot by the current President of the Republic. I was sure that he had something to do with it and I was not alone in thinking this.  I take this as a sign that I have indeed achieved a good level of integration into this culture though I doubt that the Front National would agree.

Bon weekend. 

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