With the world crashing down around Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the 62-year-old former IMF chief would probably cherish an opportunity to turn back the clock to before his May 14 arrest on allegations of sexual assault. Well thanks to Washingtonian magazine, he can do precisely that.
The DC lifestyle periodical has just published a fawning 3,000-plus-word profile of Strauss-Kahn with no mention of the rape allegations dominating world news every night. How come? The June issue, which just landed on newsstands this week, had already gone to print by the time of Strauss-Kahn's arrest. "We had no way to know that Strauss-Kahn would be front-page news by the time the issue arrived in the homes of subscribers and on newsstands," writes an editor on the Washingtonian's website Monday. So what do we make of this profile with a giant hole in the story? It's a fascinating window into how one singular encounter can transform someone's media identity from a celebrated politician to a manipulative, sex-crazed monster. Here's a chart from the magazine that gives a quick overview of how Strauss-Kahn was seen on both sides of the Atlantic before the scandal.
The article begins by calling Strauss-Kahn an "acclaimed finance minister," a "successful mayor" and an overall "well-regarded politician." But what's more, this genius of a man is in Washington's own backyard!
One of the oddities of life here is the relative anonymity of some of the very powerful people who work in official Washington. Dominique Strauss-Kahn is such a man. He's the leading candidate to become the next president of France, yet Strauss-Kahn and his wife can sit on the patio at Cafe Milano without a single paparazzo or gawker... They don't get a second glance in the checkout line at the Georgetown Whole Foods.
The anonymity of course didn't last long. Other moments in the profile just focus on how cool life is when you're Dominique Strauss-Kahn. "He travels 150 days a year across the globe," writes the magazine. "Heads of state call him on his BlackBerry." He's also an awesome chess player, which of course makes him an awesome politician. "As a chess player--some say he plays up to two or three hours a days on his iPad--Strauss-Kahn understood the value of having a key role on the world's chess board."