The State of Responsibility in the 21st Century
Tl;dr: If you take and send out nudes of yourself, you must expect them to leak online, a thing for which you need to take full responsibility.
Do you know who Benjamin Griveaux is?
Probably not, and let me tell you, you haven’t missed much.
For the sake of contextualization, I’ll summarize here after the recent story involving him, a girl, a phone (I presume it was a phone), a Russian activist, and the absence of responsibility for all parties.
In theater in 2023.
Sex and Responsibility
This story is a sex story and it is happening in France, Paris to be precise, which is not surprising considering it involves politicians, girls, and cameras.
End of 2019, Benjamin Griveaux, spokesman of the French government, was designated as France’s main political party LREM to run for Paris’ mayorship.
He quit his job and started campaigning.
Nothing extraordinary so far until some months later, namely mid-February, Griveaux announced he’d quit running for mayor after videos of him masturbating appeared online.
It all started when a young lady called Alexandra de Taddeo (today aged 29) followed Griveaux on social media.
In April 2018, probably scrolling through his audience, Griveaux, a married man with three children, added Alexandra on Facebook messenger and started talking to her.
Later on, they met, had sex and Griveaux started sending her videos of him jerking off like a 13-year-old.
De Taddeo, to protect herself, kept some videos.
The story could have ended there if de Taddeo wasn’t already dating someone, Piotr Pavlenski, a Russian artist/activist refuged in France, founder of a website denouncing politics to be a pornographic show and therefore broadcasting pornographic images of politicians to illustrate his sayings.
He’s the one who leaked the videos that led to Griveaux’s quitting.
About Political Responsibility
While the story is not really interesting and rather dull, its analysis tells a lot about these times emptied of any value and focused on the pursuit of selfish pleasure.
Let’s deconstruct the decisions each of the protagonists have made to reach this point.
1. Cheating: when Griveaux contacted de Taddeo, he knew what he had in mind and it was already off to a bad start. You shouldn’t cheat on your partner, period.
You should cheat even less if you are married, even less if you have kids, and even less if you are a married public figure with kids.
By cheating, you broke the trust of your partner, hurt people, and decrease your quality, reputation, and ethic as a person.
Should it be found out (and it will), you expose yourself and your family to public shame and social annihilation.
2. Taping yourself: even though it can be exciting, taping yourself is as dangerous as cheating because of piracy and revenge porn, a phenomenon so widespread that many Western countries made it illegal.
Let’s not even speak of sending videos and photos of yourself to someone else, which now has an instrument to manipulate and pressure you.
3. Publishing intimate videos and pictures: it is not so much about the life of the person you are about to destroy, but the life of their family (children included) which are entirely innocent in this story.
Furthermore, it is also illegal.
4. Not taking responsibility: whatever you do in this life, you should take responsibility for it.
By denouncing the “disgusting accusations” and quitting “to protect my family”, Griveaux takes no responsibility for the actions he engineered.
Considering he contacted de Taddeo himself, took the videos, and send them to his initiative, the man is a victim of his own making and yet refused to assume the consequences of his actions, hence making him a powerless victim of…his own choices.
This type of story happens every day with rock stars, athletes, actors, and reality TV people.
But that is to be expected because these guys get paid to provide cheap and empty entertainment.
The fact that out of all people, to have a politician (job whose responsibilities are among the most important in the world) being the object of this story is an indication of how decadent Western society has become.
In a world where everything bad that happens is the fault of someone else, in a world where we’re running away from our responsibilities, we can’t be surprised to see this type of politicians reaching the top of society.
This “laissez-aller” mentality manifests itself when businessmen with zero political experience become presidents, when stubborn teenagers spread flows of lies and ideologies in front of worldwide cameras, when companies cheat to pass pollution tests or when spoiled princes demand money and privacy while providing nothing in return.
After all, Pavlenski may not be entirely wrong.
Politics and worldwide “responsible” leaders have indeed become a porn show.
But the public starts getting tired of the performance.
Seats are emptying.
There is a rumor spreading saying that a better, newer show has arrived in town: the populist show, the one that came to Italy in 1922 and Germany in the 1930s.
What was Grandma always saying about that show? Oh, we forgot, it probably wasn’t too important, was it.
The lack of responsibility, which starts on the individual level for you and me, prolongs itself to the collective level for the business owner, extends to the municipal level for the mayor, grows to the national level for the head of state, and ends up at the worldwide level for Marshmello (I love that guy) risks to deprive the world of a direction.
And in these times of crisis, a plan, a goal, and a good leader may never have been so important for the lasting of our ailing society.