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March 13, 2008

Spitzer Bits

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

A few stray things that have caught my attention during the Client 9 -- er, the Eliot Spitzer -- scandals:

* I don't personally know why prostitution is illegal, and I think Americans make far too much of it when public people are caught straying. Gosh: Ambitious, power-driven men tend to have strong sex drives and a taste for conquering women -- now who could have imagined that? All that said, the whole "crusading moralist caught with his own pants down" thing makes for a pretty irresistable news story.

* Until his resignation, the NY Post was referring to Spitzer as the "governor erect."

* Alex Tabarrook thinks that it's worth thinking about Spitzer's actions in terms of trade-offs.

* Kirsten Mortensen figures out how much Spitzer owes in sales taxes.

* Mark Brener, the man who allegedly ran the online callgirl ring that Spitzer patronized, once worked as a tax preparer. Brener, who is 62, dyes his hair black and when arrested was living with a 23-year-old woman.

* Cindy Adams has some almost European-style advice for Spitzer's wife. It's startling to find this kind of thing in an American newspaper, isn't it?:

I want to tell her -- so what. She may no longer be New York's first lady, but a husband hooking up with a hooker is not reason enough to no longer be a married lady.

Sex, a primal need, outpoints fear, hunger and love as mankind's No. 1 driving force. Unless you're a pig or a monk, many an able-bodied -- and I use that term deliberately -- 48-year-old husband of 21 years has grazed. I'm not advocating it. I'm merely saying, so what? It's like takeout food. Less work for mother.

* The Daily News reports that many guys have been with prostitutes. "Variety is sweet," says one of them.

* Married 50-something Philip Weiss confesses that he feels sympathy for Spitzer's need to stray, and marvels at Spitzer's hooker-of-choice's "amazing rack." She's a cutie, that's for sure.

* Read more about Ashley -- who wants to be a singer -- here. Ashley's mom says that she was “shell-shocked” when her daughter called mid-last week and told her she had been working as an escort and was now in trouble with the law. I'll bet she was. "Hi, Mom. Um, you know those headlines you've been seeing about Eliot Spitzer being caught spending time with a hooker? Well ..."

* Tameka Lewis, who may have booked the Spitzer-Ashley assignation, is described by her family as "a church-going honor student who graduated from a prestigious school."

* Steve Sailer guesses that NY's new First Lady will soon be getting a raise.

* Steve Malanga reports that New York State has a $4 billion deficit, that nine of the U.S.'s ten most heavily-taxed counties are in New York, and that during Spitzer's brief tenure "the state's budget grew sharply."



posted by Michael at March 13, 2008


The Washington Post has an interesting piece about the Emperors Club VIP service. For all its upscale hype it was basically a slipshod operation and one which probably took in a lot less revenues than everyone thinks.

Posted by: Peter on March 13, 2008 1:50 PM

For once an American politician is caught in a sex scandal with a girl who is hot enough to (maybe) be worth it. I lost respect for Clinton not because he cheated but who he cheated with. He's no Jack Kennedy that's for sure.

That said, Spitzer deserves everything he gets. Prostitution should be legal, but he doesn't seem to have thought so.

Posted by: Todd Fletcher on March 13, 2008 2:21 PM

Re Cindy Adams' article.

I'm not advocating it. I'm merely saying, so what? It's like takeout food. Less work for mother.

It shouldn't be work for mother. Mother should enjoy doing it.

Posted by: Slumlord on March 13, 2008 4:39 PM

Some points:

1) When a man patronizes a prostitute, he is not making a "conquest". He is buying a service. There is a difference.

2) Prostitution is not technically illegal in either Canada or Britain (it is illegal to be the inhabitant of a "common bawdy house"; illegal to solicit; illegal to live off the avails of prostitution - i.e. to pimp), but that doesn't mean it's any less scandalous here, or there, when a man gets caught with a prostitute. It's something that many people react against on a visceral level.

3) The reason why Europeans have such a different attitude to marriage is that divorce was for centuries nearly impossible both in Britain and on the Continent: expensive and socially ruinous where it was legal, and of course illegal in all Catholic countries until at least the early 19th century. It's not that they are so advanced; it's that they were so "backward", by modern American standards.

4) I suspect that most Europeans don't think sex is the "strongest drive", and that's one of the reasons why they don't break up marriages over it. It's post-Freudian America that has made Good Sex the centre of human happiness, so that its absence justifies any bad behaviour.

And I don't necessarily think this unhappy couple should get a divorce. That part really is their business. I do think the man's wife has every right to be angry. Is it really so impossible for men to contain their "sex drives", or at least find more discrete outlets for them?

Posted by: alias clio on March 13, 2008 5:02 PM

at least we know spitzer has better taste in hookers than hugh grant.

the truly delicious hypocrisy of spitzer is that he is being brought down low by the very same strict prosecutions of the law he used during his tenure as states att gen to round up prostitution rings, of which he is remarked as having referred to these rings as "modern day slavery", which is just the sort of language the fembrigade employs in its zeal to paint prostitutes as "victims" of this or that patriarchal proxy.

spitzer is being beaten with the same baton he once picked up in service to the feminist agitators within his party.
this turnabout is so sweet my teeth hurt.

Posted by: roissy on March 13, 2008 5:09 PM

Hey, it's a movable feast. I feel like I just ran into the bunch of you over at Roissy's.

Here's the piece I think Peter is talking about. Interesting.

Todd, Roissy -- There *is* something delicious in Spitzer taking this particular kind of fall, isn't there? Live by the moral crusade, die by the moral crusade.

Slumlord -- You're probably right. Realistically though Mother often gets busy or tired.

A. Clio -- An alphaguy who pays a fortune for a couple of hours with a callgirl is almost certainly immensely pleased with himself. He's spent big dough, he's bonked a sexy young woman. It all spells "triumph" to him, no matter what it looks like to you. As for Euro vs American attitudes towards marriage, I defer to your knowledge of history but will insist that European marriage and sex arrangements often represent fairly realistic ways of accomodating the differences between the sexes, in terms of their interest in sex, in kids, and in terms of how they age. In Italy, for instance: Not rare for the successful patriarch to have a wife his own age (for the kids and family) to whom he is devoted and protective, as well as a young mistress (for the sex and the ego-boost). I don't advocate this, and I suspect that the aging wives aren't super-pleased about it. (Though, with the wisdom of generations, she tends to go along with it so long as hubby continues to take care of her.) But I do admire its inherent wisdom about how the sexes work. And yes I do think that expecting monogamy to be heaven for nearly everyone, and expecting that nearly all men should be able to rein their sex drives in and content themselves with monogamy, is wildly optimistic, if not naive. You wind up with what I suspect goes on in many contempo American marriages: unfufilled women, out of control kids, and castrated hubbies spending an hour surfing porn before joining the snoring wife in the sack. Which of course could be worse!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 13, 2008 5:28 PM

Well, I didn't exactly say that monogamy is enough for everyone, either here or at Roissy's site. (Although I think people ought to try a little harder to achieve it.) If a man or woman knows that he/she is unsuited to monogamy from the outset, the best course is not to marry at all.

I suspect that today Europeans are far less likely to have these wife+mistress arrangements, because most women would not tolerate being a mere mistress unless very poor. Historically, the women who became mistresses were either of much lower rank than their men, or else were married women themselves, and thus unable/unwilling to demand marriage from them. Having a girlfriend on the side - today's equivalent of having a mistress - is much riskier, because there is always the chance that she might demand that her lover divorce his wife and marry her. In the old system, that almost never happened.

Posted by: alias clio on March 13, 2008 7:18 PM

A.Clio -- I suspect you're right about Europeans, and I'd add that a big reason for the change is that more women have jobs or careers. Many aren't financially dependent in the old way. So they don't cut the traditional old deals. Which can be good in some ways, of course. On the other hand, these new arrangements don't seem to promote monogamy, do they?

As for your first graf ... Well, a lot of people simply have no idea how they're going to react to marriage, don't you think? Some take to it unexpectedly, some who you'd expect to love it don't so much. I dunno. Hard to predict the future and life is full of surprises, and then it isn't. Anyway, I have a hard time coming up with hard-and-fast, always-and-everywhere rules for living arrangements, except maybe of the most hyper-general and not-very-useful sort. Some people live their lives as roues or bachelors or lone wolves, and have a good-enough time. Others go into marriages, seem happy, then break out and turn into someone else entirely. What I don't tend to see happening is anyone being happy all the time. In a social-political sense .... ZZzzzzzz. Well, I guess respect and encouragement for traditional marriage and family is a good .... zzzzzzz .... thing ..... Oh, sorry. The whole "what should we do as a culture?" discussion tends to bore me, while the "how do we find life to be?" part interests me a lot. Handing out advice is kinda fun too, whenever I can find someone willing to tolerate me being pompous, which is all too rarely. Anyway, people live all kinds of different lives and arrangements, making all kinds of compromises. They have all kinds of pretty-good stretches and all kinds of pretty-bad stretches, they tolerate dissatisfactions and chase after "fulfillment," ... Then boom they're older and everything seems different, and they're off on new/different adventures ...

Hey, it's interesting!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 13, 2008 7:48 PM

I have heard conflicting reports on the hourly rate, and she definitely is very attractive, but 1K an hour (let alone 5k) seems crazy. I could see 2k for the evening and nice hotel room, I guess NY is expensive.

alias clio, I wouldn't dissmiss the conquest angle, people pay big money to go to spring training and pretend they are ball players for a week. Also if I could afford a 1k an hour hooker, I would feel like a I conquered the world.

Posted by: bp on March 13, 2008 9:24 PM

It'll be interesting to see if the Spitzers actually end up divorcing. My guess is that they won't, as many (most?) wives figure that infidelity with a hooker is less serious than infidelity with a girlfriend.

Posted by: Peter on March 13, 2008 11:30 PM

Sex, a primal need, outpoints fear, hunger and love as mankind's No. 1 driving force.

Baloney. Or bullshit, as we say in Texas. I'm going to give you love, however you define that. Noboby ever was making nookie priority #1 after a few days on the run from the bad guys, with an empty belly. What a ridiculous conjecture that could only be made by a 21st century woman.

1K an hour (let alone 5k) seems crazy

Ya think? A little tiny bit crazy?

And let's leave off the Euro point of view for once. We know they don't care about their leaders whoring it up, and by now, there's really little point in reminding Americans how enlightened they are in the ways of the twat. Excellent...kudos all round for their sexual genius...makes me wish I were a Belgian parliamentarian, it really does. But. Can they now start paying for their own defense, and let us dipstick Americans up a little tiny bit? If they've got any Euros left after paying off their chippies, that is.

Posted by: Scott on March 14, 2008 12:41 AM

Scott, I'm glad to hear a few words of common sense about this. That woman had clearly never experienced a moment's hunger in her life.

Posted by: alias clio on March 14, 2008 7:56 AM

And of course our most powerful urge isn't fear, hunger, or love, either, but sleep. (And breathing, I guess.)

Posted by: Noumenon on March 14, 2008 10:59 AM

I remember an amusing thing that happened to me once. I was flying from NY to SF and met a very interesting woman on the plane. We hit it off and went to my hotel room after we landed. By this time it was about 3 am or so and both she and I were exhaused and hungry. As it turns out the priority order of food, sleep, sex for me is:

1) food
2) sex
3) sleep

But that could just be because I was more hungry that usual ;)

Posted by: Steve Johnson on March 15, 2008 12:17 AM

Either I'm the only one to have heard of that Maslow guy and his heirarchy of needs, or you're all shining me on. But both are likely true.

Posted by: Scott on March 15, 2008 10:35 PM

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