When I woke up today, I thought today was going to be Monday, not “Eliot Spitzer paid four grand for a prostitute and got caught” day. But from the moment this morning, when Lisa, Grist’s Senior Editor, sent me an instant message with the New York Times link next to the question “Have you seen this?” to me info-dumping a whole days worth of information and innuendo to my half-bemused girlfriend a half hour ago, I’ve been as engaged in the scandal with the same perverse interest I would have if I witness the expensive act myself. It’s Eliot fucking Spizter!! You can’t dream this shit up! Yesterday, if I went up to you and said that Eliot Spitzer was caught in a prostitution sting, you would be looking to see where I put my crack pipe. Even today, if the New York Times just went to print with just the allegation of sexual solicitation, it wouldn’t of been believed by a hefty portion of New York state’s population. Even with the proof being part of an established FBI investigation and Spitzer pretty much admitted it in a brief press statement, I’m still have trouble just digesting the idea of it. And yet here we are. Guy fucked a prostitute. Wow.
Eliot always reminded me of Joe Friday from Dragnet (the old school show, not the shitty 80’s movie with Tom Hanks in it). By the Book. Professional to the point of being boring. But a justice seeker. Spitzer went after corrupt banks, corrupt stock brokers, even corrupt media companies (He was on the other end of two cases charged against the recording industry, one for royalty neglect by the companies to artists, the other for “payola”, the act of record companies paying DJ in money and gifts to get selected artists into heavy radio rotation). I was glad he became Governor, I respect the guy, still do.
I’m sure a lot of people out there feel the same way I do, which why today’s news flared up so wildly over the newsmedia landscape. Since I’ve spent half the day looking at the blog feeds on my Google reader light up like a Christmas tree, I like to just list some observations I had.
Observation #1: People find this more funny than aweful.
As far as reactions go, this isn’t Monica caliber. Sure there is a spectrum of people calling for his resignation (most from his opposing political party, the Republicans), people aren’t praying for his soul, or for the future of the state. In fact the general consensus it seems in the bloggersphere is that he shouldn’t resign.
A Post on Gawker.com (part of their Spitzer scandal post orgy), summed it up well.
As AG, Spitzer had prosecuted prostitution rings. He knows, especially with the classy ones, that the client lists are well-maintained, and they get out, eventually. So to head down to DC and hook up with a whore the night before a CNBC appearance (at 7 a.m.!) and a Congressional appearance is the height of abject stupidity. D.C. is quite boring, in Eliot’s defense, but still.
Now he’s maybe retiring, and everything in Albany will return to normal, and the Democrats probably won’t pick up that Senate seat they need to secure a majority and force reform bills through. But you know what? We think he should stick around. Not even just to piss off Joe Bruno.
Call it scandal fatigue, call it people just not wanting to waste a good politician, or just the absurdity of it all, but it seems to me that people are more laughing at this than anything else. It’s been twelve hours of pure comedy on sites like Wonkette and The Huffington Post . We at Grist got on the action too.
Perhaps we as a country are becoming more like Europe when it comes to our politicians involved in something sexual. Hell, the head of state in Italy can cheat on his wife, have the whole country know about it, have the wife curse him out in an op-ed piece in the national paper, and still don’t resign. Just saying.
Observation #2: Even if people aren’t going to care that much, he’s going to resign anyway.
At this point the bizarre clockwork of political protocol has already been clicking away. The script of public disgrace and honorable termination of one’s political career has been written and will be spoken by it’s newest actor tomorrow morning, Eastern Time. Even though his term barely started, a year and three months ago (he was suppose to be in term until 2010), even though he could just fight to make up for such a dumb mistake, still try to help out the people of New York until the very end, until they have to get the state troopers to get him out of the governors mansion, he’ll just, ironically enough, pussy out. What a fucking waste.
Observation #3: The hookers and Spitzer’s wife are not being seen as victims.
Of course it’s hard to feel sorry for anyone who gets paid $32,000 to have sex with somebody. I try to look at this a couple of ways, but every way I look at it I came to the same conclusion, you can’t feel sorry for a $4,000 an hour prostitute. I doubt girls who sell their body’s at that high a level do it under false pretenses, force, or desperation. They do it to get a new fur coat every Friday.
But still, people are going nuts with the “whores” shit, it’s like they found a non guilty way to saying “whore” or “ho'” every five words in a post. If you ask me, whatever girl can get four large off a guy for an hour of a little consensual sex, she’s the pimp and he’s the ho’.
Silda Wall Spitzer is the real tragedy here. She has more of a two-dimensional depiction in the media so far. People don’t even reference her directly, but rather as a example of the long suffering politician’s wife archetype. Strange strings of fates have twisted in this shit, considering the Spitzer endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, she herself having a cheating spouse. You know I bet when Clinton found out she probably went somewhere private and laughed her ass off. She’s far too intelligent a person not to appreciate the funny in the fucked up. You know, if prostitution was legal New York would still have a decent Governor, just one whose divorced.
Observation #4: If Spitzer resigns, New York gets first Black Governor… but like this.
David Paterson may well be the first African American governor of New York, the first legally blind governor in this country’s history, by tomorrow. I don’t know anything about this guy to be honest, but I’m a sucker for firsts. But man, who wants to be governor for this reason? It’s like getting a new car with a dent in it: Love the car, but first you have to take car of the freaking dent. Sudden personnel changes in high profile political spots always weirded me out, it always felt like an unexpected shift in the media current. And this one feels especially jarring due to my little knowledge of Paterson. Definitely need to look at this guy some more, but this may be the best thing to come out of this random stupidity.
Observation #5: At least Heidi Fleiss found a new use.
Yeah, that’s right Ms. Fleiss has been doing the talking head rounds. Just saw her cracked out ass on Nightline. She did bring up a good point though about how it’s hypocritcal for Spitzer to actively prosecute prostitution rings but then go ahead and participate in one, but then I think “why should I care what she thinks, it’s Heidi Fleiss!”.