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4 July 2011updated 09 Feb 2015 2:34pm

The blame game: the Telegraph cartoon making light of DSK rape claims

In this interpretation, as in most modern justice systems, it's always the 'bitch's' fault.

By Laurie Penny

Today, as the testimony of the room attendant who says that the former chief of the IMF tried to rape her is trashed across the press, the Telegraph carries the following cartoon.

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This picture says more than words ever could about how some people understand power. In the image, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the “rutting chimpanzee,” as a second alleged victim describes him, pants and drools with lust as he chases a chambermaid with ‘presidency’ scrawled across her skirts. Note that whilst ‘Presidency’ may be running away, she is looking back and pouting with a kitchy moue of sexual invitation reminiscent of a Carry On film – her cleavage heaves, her stocking-tops flash under the frills. Presidency is a cheeky little tart. Presidency wants to be held down and fucked by world finance. Presidency is asking for it.

Strauss-Kahn’s ambition for the Presidency of France is well-known, and since the charge of attempted rape was made, there have been many knowing jibes suggesting that what the former IMF chief may or may not have done to a poor, non-white domestic in a hotel bathroom is no different to what his organisation has been doing to poor, non-white nations for a number of years. Rarely, however, has the power rut of the business elite been phrased so explicitly, or with such glib acceptance, as rape: cartoon rape, pantomime rape, the sort of rape that swaggering mustachioed seducers visit upon squawking chamber maids in crass made-for-telly movies from the 1970s. You know – funny rape. Funny, funny rape.

It’s age old, this image of a powerful men using and abusing the democratic settlement in the manner in which one might abuse a woman for which one has nothing but contempt. I am inescapably reminded of the words attributed to Strauss-Kahn’s fellow Frenchman, Louis Antoine de Saint-Just: “Liberty is a bitch to be bedded on a mattress of corpses.”

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In this interpretation, as in most modern justice systems, it’s always the ‘bitch’s’ fault. ‘Presidency,’ in this picture, is all of us getting screwed by global finance and secretly liking it. Well, tell that to the striking workers of Europe. The slogan of this summer’s Slut Walks – “we are all chambermaids” – has never seemed more prescient.