The title of this post came from an Economist article and puts the very common view that French politicians’ private lives were kept private by the French decades ago – we meet that viewpoint in the non-French media all the time.
The French used to consider that the public interest stopped at the bedroom door. Various previous presidents had affairs; one, François Mitterrand, kept a mistress and a daughter for years at the taxpayer’s expense with media self-censorship guarding the information from the public for years. Unlike in Britain or America, few in France argue that a leader’s political judgment is called into question by his breaking marriage vows.
And France has strict privacy laws that have protected public figures from the sort of tabloid scrutiny their British and American peers receive. Indeed, the French themselves seem to have greeted this latest allegation with a collective Gallic shrug. According to a poll for Journal du Dimanche, a Sunday newspaper, fully 77% of the French think that it is a private matter of no public consequence.
Yet in the the past decade and a bit, if there were such a thing in France, it’s been well and truly overturned with the DSK and Hollande affairs.
When the press went into the DSK matter, a stitch up to be sure with the IMF presidency up for grabs, it naturally began with the lovely looking Tristane Banon, who broke the unwritten rule and brought charges.
This turned the thing on its head but she was persuaded to drop it for reasons which are still speculated on – the idea was to do for DSK’s presidential bid, not to open up a can of worms about what they all got up to.
For what turned up with the delectable Tristane were photos of her, herself, at typical parties where young men were groping the young women in less than innocent ways in the preliminary stages and other details emerged about swinging, French style.
Further investigation brought to light the promiscuous doings of her mother, so what chance did the daughter have? None of them had the slightest commitment to fidelity to their spouses, not one of them, at any time.
Then it moved on to Hollande and Valerie Rottweiler who herself had ‘stolen’ Hollande from Ms Royal who herself was no model for French family life and then it got onto Julie Gayet … and so it went on.
I quoted from a book The Secret Life of France, by Lucy Wadham, Faber and Faber, 2009, in which she described one of these so-called parties, where various wives were being ‘serviced’ by various husbands and it seemed the thing was rampant.
At least it was in those circles she was in – the chic, leftwing circles of Paris, precisely the circles in which all the aforementioned occurred as well. These were not private one-on-one affairs but public sex, albeit within four walls.
Before cutting to the next piece, a few words from someone yesterday who shall not be named for privacy reasons, on a musician’s wife and why they’d divorced:
I’d tell you if I knew.
In many ways I disagree with you; if they both wanted to keep it private, so be it.
Two diametrically opposed views it would seem, and yet not. In the first, he might tell me privately, in the second, it is fair game publicly.
I myself here, as many reading this can attest, know quite a few details which many have shared over time and those details would never see the light of day, never, because my whole modus operandi in public, that is via the blogs, depends entirely on discretion, including no suggestiveness, no dropping hints – absolutely nothing can get out about those close to me.
I must do that to survive as a blogger, let alone as a friend, and therefore the “I disagree with you” comment on privacy has little meaning in this context.
However, some things are up for grabs IMHO and these are where someone had already put something into the public sphere or where they’re making out they are one thing, e.g. Catherine Zeta Jones [allegedly], when other behaviour has gone on [allegedly]. To me, that is humbug and if you look at the mission statement at my blog, humbug is going to be exposed, that’s the whole reason I’m here.
This element of “humbug” first being present is a most necessary precondition, in my view, for exposure.
I know many naughty people or people having done naughty things but they do not publicly try to make out they’re angels, therefore, it is private. And you’ve noticed I’ve never said I was a saint myself, just a reformed sinner. There are many things I’ve done over time which would not look all that good exposed to the light of day.
So, into this context, come Mr. and Mrs. Knowles.
Nick Knowles’ estranged wife Jessica Rose Moor has retaliated against her ex husband’s response to her ‘open letter about my divorce’ posted on Twitter on Friday.
In the long diatribe, she alleged ‘years of emotional cruelty, physical abuse’ by her husband as well as reportedly withdrawing their three year-old son Eddie from private education, but sources close to the DIY SOS presenter, 55, denied the allegations – saying he ‘only wants the best for his son’.
However, Jessica, who split from her husband last year, has hit back at his reaction in a new statement on the micro-blogging site on Sunday, where she denounced his denials of ‘cruelty’ and continued to suggest that he has withdrawn his financial support for their son.
I personally found her delectable until recent times when she’d become a little fatty, something someone that height and shape cannot afford to do, but that’s by the by.
And because they decided to go public, that, to me, is the trigger, the signal that all is fair game.
You can’t play this game of “I’ll release certain controlled details favourable to me but all the others are private” – it doesn’t work that way. If you go public with private and you put yourselves in the hands of the pundits, e.g. me, then you are fair game, within the letter of the law.
On the other hand, as various people who’ve emailed me know and I’ve already mentioned, not one word would ever come out were it communicated to me privately, not even under duress, certainly not to any authority. If I wanted to use something in general for a post, I would ask that person – there are many reading this now who know that to be so and if it were not, they would debunk me, albeit gently and chidingly. Our crew at N.O. know to say “not for publication” on this or that and if it did not work that way, we’d have no blog.
One tactic which a few who have violently disagreed with me over the years have tried is to go to my friends who have blogs and comment about me on those blogs and yes, I am then in the hands of those friends.
For me, that’s fine – they can deal with it as they see fit but I also reserve the right, in response to their “WTF is going on here?” to then give my put-upon blogfriends chapter and verse on those detractors – the whole history so to speak – just to put it in context so that my friends can make a fully informed decision.
Once again, the guiding factor if those detractors have decided to go public and character assassinate me with my friends is – did they go public first? All’s fair is it not, once they have?
In the case of Mr. and Mrs. Knowles, they have gone public.
So many commenters at the Wail, particularly women, are saying to her, “Keep it private, love, say no more.” Yet these very people have clickbaited into this Wail article, have they not?
There is a certain interest, is their not, in reading what people care to release?
There’s a certain hypocrisy, is there not, in telling her to keep it private when they themselves have wallowed in the public dirty linen washing?
For what it’s worth, I don’t buy the opinion against her. I think she’s been a silly girl for sure and she is very much into this game of read my truth only and agree with me, plus all the rest of the appalling behaviour of young women today to contend with and yet … and yet … why do I buy her story over his this time?
I’m afraid I see him as a sleazebucket and I’d say that what is outraging her the most is that she came in as the femme-fatale and now, as the incumbent “mum”, is being femme-fataled by a supposedly devoted hubby, actually a cad chasing young skirt.
Despite my very caustic tone in general with snowflakes today, in common with my colleague’s views on same, I also have a historical “down” on sleazebuckets who egotistically cheat on their ladies, providing those ladies are virtuous themselves of course.
This is from my book – shan’t explain the context, you’ll get the general idea:
‘You knew Philippe was in Paris and didn’t tell me?’
‘What right did I have to tell you? I decided to raise it obliquely at the cafe instead.’
‘Because something he said when he visited me struck a chord, it was almost exactly what one of my clients in Russia once said.’
‘I’ll tell you what the Russian said first, shall I? One day when he came for his regular consultation, he brought his girl with him – she was from another town. She had charm more than physical looks, she was cute.’
‘Yes, Hugh, are you coming to the point?’
He smiled. ‘The girl was devoted to him and it showed. Well, the next time he appeared – hair groomed, dressed to kill, I chuckled, ‘Ah, out to impress the beautiful Karina, da?’
He chuckled back and said, ‘I’m meeting someone after this.’
Over the next few sessions, I had no right to, but I urged him not to do this to Karina – she was obviously crazy for him, I just wondered why a man and a woman couldn’t simply be satisfied with one another – why did they have to go and put it about with others?’
Geneviève smiled. ‘Not unlike someone who won’t be named and a girl called Anaïs, yes?’
‘We were looking at making a life together, it wasn’t an affair.’
‘Maybe, maybe not. And were we exactly faithful ourselves, at the Lodge?’ She gazed at him. ‘I think there’s more that this man said.’
‘He gave me a lecture, told me women are forever complaining about where all the good men are or why men don’t respect them but the truth is that they love the game – they try to tame the wolf and make him their little pet. That’s what they’re all about.
Once you’re docile, you’re no fun any more to a woman. Pay attention to them, take them out, give them a good time but don’t believe anything they say, especially about devotion and all that rubbish – they’re as faithless as any man but they want you to think they’re saints, and they’re seriously not interested in nice guys – nice guys end up either with no one or else second class citizens in a marriage, behind the children and her.’
‘So you’ll never be alone then,’ she wrily smiled. He didn’t respond, so she asked, ‘And Philippe said this too?’
‘If I say ‘more or less’, I’m betraying my sex and shafting Philippe too. His reaction was to ask why I was trying to take his woman. I told him because of what he’d said, his attitude to women and especially to you. He said not to act the saint and that I agreed with him deep down anyway, that I was as bad as he was.’
‘And are you? Are you as bad as he was? It looked that way with Anaïs.’
She poured the coffee and repeated, ‘Well Hugh – are you as bad as Philippe?’
‘Look, I agree that women aren’t saints and good men get absolutely nowhere – three years, a deadline which passed before you finally decided. I know that women forever waste their time trying to make bad men good and end up in a mix of sex and tears for their pains but using that as a justification to go behind the back of someone who’s besotted with him – that’s just wrong. No, I don’t do that.
Everyone makes mistakes or suddenly falls – happens all the time but to turn it into a system to assuage your ego – no, I can’t accept that from either a man or a woman. If you don’t want a person, then for crying out loud – stop playing with them!’
‘Someone really hurt you in the past … didn’t she?’
‘I do hear you.’
And this seems very much to me Mr. Knowles. This was my personal view but I note a few comments from people claiming acquaintance with him and I’m afraid my sympathy then, for all her myriad faults and little strategies, is with her. Just on this one matter.
However, this is getting completely away from the main theme of this post – public privacy. In a nutshell, once they start putting it out there, then it is fair game.
What about the one at the top of this post and this below?
Watch the last minute of this one because some quite valid points are made about privacy, albeit by Hislop, the [alleged] globalist Metro luvvy. And the whole question of parliamentary privilege also comes up.
Whither then privacy? I’ll have to ask Babs Streisand what she thinks on’t.
[Presumably the image, not the house]
The stretcher affair
Downunder now, there is a football show and “the stretcher affair” explains itself in this clip:
What those outside Australia might not know is that that man made fun of there for his porkies about his courage and the “all’s fair” reaction to it – what many out here still don’t know is that he is a crybully with history, which also led to him being outed over having an affair with his best mate’s wife.
And what did he then do? Went off and had a “mental health crisis” so that the media turned around and was all sympathetic to him, the “victim” of this supposed mental health crisis, caused by the nasty public, Australia-wide, being disgusted by his behaviour.
Thus he’d effectively turned outright guilt into victimhood, which he could now wallow in. The left would be delighted at the tactic. Jordan Peterson would have a field day.
And where is this paragon of virtue now? Drummed out of the sports media?
Not a bit of it – he’s right back there bossing people around on footy shows again.
IMHO, that stinks. Yes, I’ll forgive, I’ll forgive once he steps down and acknowledges exactly what he’s done. Then I’ll forgive him, not before.
Privacy? How much privacy should anyone have been extended for that?
This post has touched on just a few aspects of very public privacy – and asks just how cut and dried are the principles governing this?