Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Client #9 and Sexual Hypocrisy in Washington

"Adults doing adult things. This is a crime?" - BLAKE FLEETWOOD

First Larry Craig is busted in a Minnesota wash room for hitting on a undercover cop. Then the New York Times sits on a story about an alleged affair between GOP presidental candidate John McCain and lobbyist Vicki Iseman. And now New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has been implicated in a prostitution ring where he allegedly flew a hooker to Washington, DC for a hotel-room tryst (did they charge rent by the hour?) There is now talk that Spitzer himself may be prosecuted under the Mann Act for flying a prostitute in for sex. This is the same Mann Act that cultural puritans used to go after Chuck Berry in the late 1950's.

(Credit: Paul Szep)

Apparently, the MSM jumped all over this and all the lurid details that goes with the story. Now why would Eliot Spitzer's sex life concern us? It is highly relevant because he is an elected official, he is a public figure, and how he conducts his personal life and polticial affairs is a reflection of himself with regards to character. And now, a career that was devoted to bring the fear of God to misanthropes on Wall Street is now circling down the drain. And as Chris Kelly observes on AlterNet, "It took a rare combination of arrogance, amorality and shit for brains."

All this brings to mind the Greek fable of Icarus, who alongside his father built wings made of wax and feathers to escape the prison they were incarcerated in. But Icarus, so intoxicated with hubris and possessed of his own perceived onmipotence, flew too close to the sun and, as a consequence, the wax wings melted and he plummeted into the sea where he perished as his father helplessly looked on.

In reminding us that America is one of the few countries where prostitution is criminalized, Blake Fleetwood is quick to point out in the Huffington Post, "In France almost every president has a mistress. In Paris you can go to the red light district and pick out the girl you want by the type of car she in sitting in. In Amsterdam in the red light district, there are dozens of storefronts where the women show their wares." He goes on to add, "Sex is often a bartered service even within marriage or a relationship. Some women provide sex for love, money, security and material goods, while many men give love for sex."

Meanwhile, Alan M. Dershowitz laments on to add in the New York Times, "“I always thought he was somebody who would come down on crimes with real victims...Prostitutes aren’t victims — they’re getting paid a thousand dollars an hour, and the johns aren’t victims. What upset me the most was that they wiretapped thousands of e-mails and phone calls. In an age when terrorism needs to be stopped, they’re devoting these kinds of resources to a prostitution ring?”

This is not just about sex...and power...and pleasure...and financial transactions for the sake of that moment's pleasure. Just ask any of the countless "comfort women" who were coerced and intimidated into playing backgammon with their Japanese military captors. There is something about sex that turns it into a weapon to be used against others. When I say this, I think of a film from 1960, "Five Branded Women," where five women had their heads shaved bald as a form of humiliation for having "consorted" with a Nazi military official find their redemption in working underground for the resistance in bringing down their Nazi occupants.

And speaking of the wronged wife, Patt Morrison offers this word of sage advice to Silda Spitzer:

"Stick with the marriage if that's what you want, by all means -- but let him twist in the wind alone. Just once, as the husband takes his place at the confessional microphone, I'd like to see a wronged wife walk onstage with him -- and just keep on walking, suitcase in hand, exit stage right."

Morrison goes on to note, "YouTube has scored nearly a half-million hits for the recent video of a well-known Chinese broadcaster crashing a big Beijing Olympics press conference and, in front of those five big symbolic rings, accusing her husband -- an even better-known Chinese broadcaster -- of having an affair. She dodges and weaves like a champion welterweight, ducking and shaking off the musclemen who try to hustle her offstage, and manages to say her piece in front of the world's press."

Meanwhile, Gloria Feldt ponders this question:
"What was he thinking? What is is that makes men in high profile political positions think they can get away with this kind of thing, even after Bill and Monica, even after Larry Craig's toe tapping, even after...well, you can fill in the blanks. There are too many dozens of names and sex scandals to recount here....It is the rush of power that makes these guys think they are invincible? Testosterone run amok? Is the answer in the old joke about where men's brains are? And is there a correlation between amount of crusading for other people's morality a politician does and the likelihood that he will fall into illicit or immoral behavior patterns himself?"

And speaking of prostitution, consider this: What about the student athletes who perform their services for an athletic scholarship at a major college or university? Can you see USC forcing John David Booty and the rest of its football squad to sell their booties on Santa Monica Boulevard to raise some extra funds for their poverty-pimping university?

Disclosure: The sarcastic pun was purely intentional.

Now you know why prostitution is a victimless crime. There are no victims, only volunteers.

3/17/08 Update: Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace, and he'll be out of the New York Governor's Mansion even as Wall Street rejoices in his fall from grace.

For comedic takes on the scandal, let's look at these excerpts from last weekend's Saturday Night Live:

Now how could a man with so much potential for good can't keep his own libido under control?

Hillary Clinton must be smirking and muttering to herself, "See, I told you so."

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