These last few weeks have seen more than one fall from grace for prominent men. There is a serious competition for who has fallen the fastest! Under normal circumstances ex-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would grab the prize. In a unique script, Maria Shriver went on the Oprah show to tell her side of the drama – a story worthy of a Jackie Collins novel.
Yet, having been in Paris for the last few days, the Schwarzenegger story is totally overwhelmed by the Dominique Strauss-Kahn or DSK story. This is a scandal that reverberates well beyond just the $3000 hotel room in NYC: serious implications for the running of the IMF; the spillover of the debt crisis in Greece and other European countries; and the impact of one of the scandals on presidential politics in France.
The DSK story can be framed as an elite controversy, complete with a supportive wife (Anne Sinclair) who is a celebrity in France in her own right. But the controversy also reveals societal attitudes: whether described as an accusative or abuse of power theme; or a defensive – “he was framed by some unknown forces” – theme.
But in Europe these serious moral missteps have a competitor. This is the scandal of a Manchester United player who reputedly not only had an affair with a minor celebrity but tried to have his lawyers gag the UK media from publishing the allegations, only to be ‘outed’ by thousands of Twitter feeds – an interesting twist itself given the attention supposedly of the G8 on the Internet.
The magnitude of this story is enlarged by the fact that Manchester United is playing in the Champions League Final this weekend against Barcelona. What jumps out for this Celebrity blogger is the fundamental difference between the two teams in terms of image projection. Before turning to AON in 2009 – a large insurance company – Manchester United was sponsored by AIG – another large insurance company and one the biggest ‘stars’ of the 2008 financial crisis.
Barcelona by contrast has UNICEF on the team jersey. This has led to some jibes by other teams about the advantages of this ‘good guy’ status – an attitude most recently expressed by the Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho’s – who alleged that the UNICEF sponsorship led the European football association to favor Barcelona. This conspiracy view (no less that in the DSK case) appears to this Celebrity blogger as rather ridiculous! Support for a UN organization and worthy causes should be applauded. However, even Barcelona may suffer a fall from grace as its sponsorship by UNICEF runs out next year.