Ben Stein Watch, DSK edition

By Felix Salmon
May 17, 2011
Ben Stein's article on Dominique Strauss-Kahn:

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Without further ado, the top ten lines from Ben Stein’s article on Dominique Strauss-Kahn:

  1. If he is such a womanizer and violent guy with women, why didn’t he ever get charged until now?
  2. This is a case about the hatred of the have-nots for the haves, and that’s what it’s all about.
  3. So far, he’s innocent, and he’s being treated shamefully. If he’s found guilty, there will be plenty of time to criticize him.
  4. Can anyone tell me any economists who have been convicted of violent sex crimes?
  5. Maybe Mr. Strauss-Kahn is guilty but if so, he is one of a kind, and criminals are not usually one of a kind.
  6. He is one of the most recognizable people on the planet. Did he really have to be put in Riker’s Island?
  7. A man pays $3,000 a night for a hotel room? He’s got to be guilty of something. Bring out the guillotine.
  8. Was Riker’s Island really the place to put him on the allegations of one human being? Hadn’t he earned slightly better treatment than that?
  9. Can anyone tell me of any heads of nonprofit international economic entities who have ever been charged and convicted of violent sexual crimes?
  10. People accuse other people of crimes all of the time. What do we know about the complainant besides that she is a hotel maid?
33 comments so far

PLEASE tell us you are joking. I wouldn’t have put all ten of those in a Ben Stein Parody piece for fear of being accused of being over the top (at best).

Posted by klhoughton | Report as abusive

If you ranked the most recognizable people on the planet, where do you think DSK would land? Like 300,000th?

Posted by right | Report as abusive

If Ben Stein is so fond of this D. Strauss-Kahn bloke, why doesn’t he go stay with him on Riker’s Island? Is Ben Stein just merely some sort of armchair friend? Ben Stein is one of the most unrecognizable people on the planet. Why does he have to be afraid of going to Riker’s to keep his buddy company?

Posted by EricVincent | Report as abusive

If Ben Stein had simply said that DSK should be presumed innocent until found guilty, that would have passed for intelligent discourse. He has to go over the top with his rhetoric, and put out a bunch of non-sequiturs to make his points, which ruins the argument.

Posted by DavidMerkel | Report as abusive

@klhoughton, click on the link. It’s not a parody.

This is why political comedy is so easy these days, you just have to basically repeat what politicians actually say, and I guess it extends to whatever ben stein is.

Posted by KenG_CA | Report as abusive

This gem from #2 is killer:

“In life, events tend to follow patterns. People who commit crimes tend to be criminals, for example.”

The circular logic there boggles the mind.

Posted by oasisbob | Report as abusive

@KenG_CA: Life is too short to read Ben Stein. That’s the young, energetic Felix’s job.

But I think you have it backwards: good political comedy is bloody near impossible these days because Lewis Black makes more sense than Ben Stein. And there’s not even SEO to blame.

Posted by klhoughton | Report as abusive

I missed the Ben Stein Watch…

Posted by davew | Report as abusive

I second that, davew

Posted by ottorock | Report as abusive

I thought it was a parody from ye olde Spy Magazine, then I realized that Ben Stein is in fact a parody from Spy Magazine. That he doesn’t realize this is what makes it so great.

I believe Stein left out one inane point: that this is only a story because he’s important and no one cares when allegations are made against ordinary people.

Thanks for the link. Made my day.

Posted by jomiku | Report as abusive

“humble thoughts” indeed!

Why do people give this guy a podium?

Judging by his lack of logic and coherence, inane or insane?

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

Reading Stein’s column one knows immediately that this must exist.

Posted by MattF | Report as abusive

Edit above: ‘this’ was meant to be the link

Posted by MattF | Report as abusive

Over 30 years ago a very prominent man in my field assaulted me — he did stop when I resisted and thus I didn’t press charges or complain to his organization. Why? Because the person who makes such a charge (especially then) trashes her career against people of power. I was nobody; he was somebody; that would have been the end of any career I hoped to have. I know many women who had similar experiences.

The fact that ‘no one’ reported him to the police before doesn’t mean he never did it before.

I do agree that there ought to be more of a presumption of innocence until good evidence is presented of his criminality. It is a flaw in the US justice system that people are perp walked etc when charged.

Posted by ginny44 | Report as abusive

Is Ben Stein defending a Socialist? Really?

Posted by GRRR | Report as abusive

Stein’s rush to defend somebody while being utterly ignorant of the actual facts is interesting to me.

A few years back he bored an audience I was in, including time belittling the bimbos in some TV show he wasted his time with.

So I think I get it: Stein honors the powerful elite (no matter their politics), while sneering at the proles. It’s not that the chambermaid is untrustworthy; rather, Stein is incapable of tolerating any tiny crack in what must be a very brittle model where God rewards the good with power and money.

Posted by WaltFrench | Report as abusive

Stein is a bloody joke all around, but what I would say is that the NYPD should have made a bit more of a case rather than one person’s word before publicly disgracing this man. Now DSKs career is over, even if the charges turn out to be BS… I don’t see why they had to immediately go after him before making a case first.

Posted by CDN_Rebel | Report as abusive

Powerful Violent Jewish men who assault women? Tip of the iceberg. How many other victims are out there who don’t come forward? This case is an aberration.

Posted by murmur55 | Report as abusive

Please never stop your Ben Stein campaign. In fact, if there is any way I can help please let me know.

Posted by TinyTim1 | Report as abusive

Felix you are KILLING IT

Posted by johnhhaskell | Report as abusive

In contrast to Ben Stein, I am an actual economist, PhD included. Have worked for the World Bank, IMF’s sister institution. Until the last few days, I could not have picked DSK out of a three person lineup. Most recognizable person on the planet? Give me a break! (not that that is the silliest point on Stein’s list, just one that is particularly wrong on its face)

Posted by salestax | Report as abusive

This is great stuff. Thanks Felix.

And from “I don’t know any economists who are rapists, therefore he is not a rapist” to the French version: “He is civilised and charming, therefore he is not a rapist”. tories/2011-05-16/bernard-henri-lvy-the- dominique-strauss-kahn-i-know/p/

BHL has form for this – remember his support for Roman Polanski who is an artist, and therefore not a criminal.

Posted by Mostannoyed | Report as abusive

Ben does voice work, and one of his recurring roles is as the voices of all the Pixes on “The Fairly Oddparents”. Pixes are suit-wearing corporate drones trying to take over the (Fairy) world. I wonder if Ben gets the joke…

Posted by LittlePig | Report as abusive

It’s too bad you had to ruin an otherwise good post with this bit of context-crime worthy of Breitbart:

>This is a case about the hatred of the have-nots for the >haves, and that’s what it’s all about.

Read the original – this comment is clearly about the hoopla over the $3000/night hotel room, not the sex assault charges. (Still a pretty crazy way for Stein to phrase it, though…)

Posted by norchi | Report as abusive

Please tell me this is an Onion article

Posted by Boyinthedrain | Report as abusive

There is a whole of nonsense surrounding this story. And unfortunately the debate is falling back into cartoon fashion. I do believe that there are some questions about the allegations truth as a practical matter. However, this is not to say that they are necessarily false. On the other hand, innocence until proven guilty appears to be a difficult discipline for all sides of the political spectrum.

Here is some thoughts about this case. 1: Roman Polanski is probably somewhat to blame for how he being treated now, whether justified or not. 2: Don’t forget that the police have a local case for rape much in the news. I doubt they want to be seen as being “soft” on rape accusations right now, again– doesn’t mean they don’t have a good case. 3: We don’t have much sympathy for foreigners accused of crimes in US regardless of nationality, but how does this square with our feelings about the reverse– I distinctly got the impression that our media was a lot more sympathetic to the accused in that Italian murder case involving a young American women of recent trial history. Plus, he’s French & representing European banking(albeit as IMF chief) and that automatically goes into sympathy deficit.

There is no good outcome of this, so much the poorer are we. Still, if he is guilty by US laws of a crime, it doesn’t matter. Conversely, let’s not rush to judgement on either side.

Let’s all remember the tragedy of the Duke Lacrosse case. And to that end, I hope the authorities are as duly circumspect about protecting the rights of the accused and the alleged victim alike.

Posted by Observer-X | Report as abusive

Ben Stein is well known around Los Angeles for sexually inappropriate behavior. No surprise that he is taking this position.

Posted by abstract668 | Report as abusive

I love the rare news site where 90%+ of the comments are better than the actual written article.

It speaks well of both the news site and its followers!

Kuddos, gents and ladies! And “broads” since I don’t feel I appropriately fit into either of those two honorifics but love the “broad” honorific like Molly Ivans did.

This might be the best comment thread I’ve seen in months!

Posted by GlindatheGood | Report as abusive

You know you’re in trouble when a close friend of yours, who happens to be a graduate of Yale Law School, no less, is only able to defend your innocence by stating that economists don’t commit rape.

Posted by gt7185 | Report as abusive

CDN_Rebel: “I don’t see why they had to immediately go after him before making a case first.”

DSK was on a plane about to take off for a trans-Atlantic flight (to France). If the police hadn’t arrested him right then, they wouldn’t have had the opportunity later.

Posted by R.a.v.e.n | Report as abusive

Mr. Stein,

Because your above contribution is not funny at all and does not qualify as parody, I must conclude that you are an idiot incapable of sound reasoning.

Since you are a lawyer, I hope that, for your clients’ sake, you have long ago stopped practicing law and will never return to it.

Kindly advise if you are still an active member of the bar and in which jurisdiction you were admitted and, as my solemn civic duty, I will promptly move your disbarment.
Roland Thau

Posted by rolandthau | Report as abusive

1. There is no excuse for rape for someone guilty of it.
2. In the USA, a person is innocent until proven guilty. All those who have condemmed a person before all the facts are supplied are guilty of cruel crime against a possibly innocent man. Whatever the past actions of this man (legal or illegal) does not say that here and now he is guilty. If guilty of illegal doings previously, then a pattern is there but still he needs to have a fair trial of innocent until proven guilty for this crime. The man has been condemmed by many of the readers of this article. Just because rape is a hideous crime, the accused man may be innocent, as seen often enough in DNA proving a man innocent of rape. Let’s have a fair trial. It may come down to ‘he said, she said’ in which case a jury will have to determine the conclusion.
3. I must admit that there is much I do not understand in the information about the attack. If a maid enters a room and a guests appears, naked or not, male or female, the first thing the maid does is make to the door and excuse herself for entering an occupied room. If he first had her on the bed and she resisted, why go to the ‘extra troube’ of bringing her into the bathroom? There are just too many questions and unknown answers.
4. The French are flirtatous people, maybe even more willing to dare a ‘pick up’ but it does not mean rape. That he flirts with women does not make DSK a rapist. Having unwanted sex would make him a rapist. So let’s get the facts before we condem the man.

Posted by hste | Report as abusive

I’m amazed how many of even the people criticizing Stein have overlooked these two Neanderthal statements:

“The prosecutors say that Mr. Strauss-Kahn “forced” the complainant to have oral and other sex with him. How? Did he have a gun? Did he have a knife?”

“if he was so intimidating, why did she immediately feel un-intimidated enough to alert the authorities as to her story?”

Has this prominent journalist read ANYTHING about rape in the last few decades?

Posted by BrettTonaille | Report as abusive
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