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The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street: May 20


5. Dominique Strauss-Kahn: A Story With No Winners

To say that the actions of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the disgraced former managing director of the International Monetary Fund now sitting in a Rikers Island cell, are dumb is a massive insult to the word "dumb."

Could Strauss-Kahn possibly have thought, if the charges against him hold true, that sexually assaulting a woman in a $3,000 hotel room reserved and paid for in his name, leaving a DNA trail, then calling Sofitel because he might have left his phone in the room were the actions of a smart man? Or a sane one?

How could one of the most powerful men in the world, a potential president of France and a central figure in preventing another global financial crisis be such a fool -- if not a monster?

But let's apply the dumbness beyond the obvious, low-hanging fruit of a lecherous Frenchman. The media -- here and abroad -- inspires further head-shaking. Have Mr. & Mrs. America learned anything about how the IMF works or what it does? Do we better understand the importance of its efforts in Greece and Portugal or why they matter? Do we get a sense as to who will replace Pepé Le Predator and whether globally important policies will change?

To paraphrase Barbie: "Economics is hard." So, instead, we get Strauss-Kahn treated as though he is Charlie Sheen and Gary Busey rolled into one and the sordid details played out like an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

We've seen how interconnected the global marketplace is and how, as one country falters, Main Street's portfolios and retirement plans are impacted. But we're not hearing about that. We're hearing about whether or not there are pictures of a Strauss-Kahn orgy (probably more gruesome a sight than Osama's exploded eyeball could ever be). We're finding out that he and Elliot Spitzer both rented their hookers from the same place.

We've also got the New York Post claiming (though disputed) that the victim might suffer from AIDS -- an unnecessary and damaging revelation for the woman. To look across the pond, the French media, while whining about Strauss-Kahn's "perp walk," had no problem publishing her name, thereby exposing it to anyone who wants to seek it online.

TheStreet Says: The temptation when stories such as these break is to ask ourselves, "What have we learned?" The answer -- as is often the case these days -- is nothing that we wanted to learn, and nothing that we need to learn.

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