The Rapture is not quite the End of the World, however. As I understand the concept, The Rapture describes the event when all humans are judged and those found worthy go to Heaven. Some believers envision the process as involving people disappearing as they go about their everyday lives. (If it happens on Saturday, it won’t be a good time to be out driving.) Then, after The Rapture occurs, the rest of us apparently get to stay on Earth to deal with a period of disaster and chaos and turmoil before the world eventually ends.
Wouldn’t you know it? Russell is supposed to graduate on Sunday!
Americans have always been interested in the lives of the rich and famous — particularly when the story involves their misdeeds. The arrest for sexual assault of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the now-former head of the International Monetary Fund, and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s belated confession to fathering an out-of-wedlock child are just two of a long line of tawdry scandals that have captivated American audiences.
The sordid tale of Strauss-Kahn provides an especially rich trove of detail. He was staying in a $3,000-a-night hotel room when the incident occurred. He flies first-class on Air France whenever he wants. He jets around the world, passing judgment on the economies of sovereign nations and spending other people’s money. He’s French, and a Socialist. And, according to the hotel housekeeper who is his accuser, when she entered what she thought was an empty room he burst out of the bathroom like some Gallic satyr, assaulted her, and engaged in forced sexual contact. His apparent defense is that the encounter was consensual. And, to complete the required story line, his resignation statement professes his innocence but says he is giving up his post for the good of his wife, whom he loves “more than anything,” and the IMF.
One point that distinguishes the Strauss-Kahn tale from the others is that he is French, and therefore people from both sides of the Atlantic are reacting to his arrest. Initially, many in France seemed to blame his arrest on American prudishness and to complain that he wasn’t being treated in a deferential way that acknowledged his lofty position in the world. More recently, the prevailing view seems to be shifting away from reflexive sympathy for Strauss-Kahn having to deal with the unsophisticated, benighted Americans to a realization that the conduct of which he is being accused is, in fact, criminal and is properly treated as such. If this incident causes the French to be a bit more concerned about sexual assault crimes, and a bit less willing to give a pass to the misconduct of the high and mighty, that would be a good thing.