Monday, March 24, 2008

How Could He Get It So Wrong?

No, Mitch, that's not it. At all.
Mitch Albom's moralizing about the Elliot Spitzer scandal at the Jewish WorldReview is a reflex that is trying to palm itself off as serious contrarian thinking. He is upset that, in his words, "he's out on his butt, ...she's selling hers." He is upset that Spitzer had to lose his job, and that the hooker is reaping some sort of benefit.

First of all, what she is benefiting from is not a double standard, just capitalism doing its thing. She has been offered a lot of money to take off her clothes, not because we approve of her, but simply it's the easiest way to get a peek of her naked. This is profitable right now because many of us have a burning curiosity about what Spitzer was paying over 4 grand (and his job and marriage) for. I bet that many frat brothers will look at those pictures and think, "Damn, I did better than that Saturday night. And all I had to pay for was my share of the keg." Furthermore, her nakedness lost a lot of its value when it turns out that she had displayed it for free previously. Again, this was not influenced by moral judgments at work, just capitalism doing its thing. On the other hand, his commodity was his honesty and public trust. He knocked that down the sewer, and lost his job. Sorry, but if you are the governor of a large state, that's the commodity you can't afford to lose. Game over.

And who has made her out to be a tragic victim, as Albom claimed? Nobody that I read. They talked about her past, but that's standard operating procedures for anybody in a public scandal. And, by all accounts, Spitzer was cast as an "arrogant bully" because he is one, and has been one for a long time before anyone found out he was a whore chaser as well.

Then Albom pulls out the standard outrage tactic: good, honest women like cleaning ladies and waitresses could have been making that money, but NOOOOOO...we are handing it over to a hooker. How terrible! Also, how common! That's why dope dealers make more than honest cops, and strip club owners make more than most preachers. Capitalism strikes again.

Albom is all outraged that the woman doing an illegal deed will probably not be prosecuted. This is the complete opposite of 99% of prostitution activity, where women bear the brunt of the prosecution. In truth, "Kristen" will be a star for a New York nanosecond, then she will be a rapidly depreciating freak show exhibit. Spitzer will keep his mouth shut for a couple of years, and his friends will get him a cushy job in a think tank, and he will be a sort of rehabbed elder statesmen type, like the Richard Nixon of New York state. Life will go on till the next sex scandal. Then conventional wisdom peddlers will dig their Angry Lightning Bolt of Predictable Morality out of the attic again.

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