Monday, March 10, 2008

Who Cares About Spitzer's Hooker?

Ok, ok, so Eliot Spitzer hired a prostitute.

---
First, an interlude. Numerous feminist scholars read this blog, who are far better informed about this than I am. My understanding is that he hired a "high-class" (i.e. expensive) prostitute, and my intuition is that expensive prostitution is going to be fairly non-exploitative. Please correct me if that intuition is wrong. Here's the basis of the intuition: if you're a prostitute charging five thousand bucks an hour (or however much it was), presumably, you're not being kept in a cage and hooked on crack by some pimp who beats you. If nothing else, you have access to fairly powerful johns -- like the governor of New York! -- who probably would care if you're being enslaved (or, more to the point, they're willing to pay more for non-enslaved prostitutes, since the political, etc. fallout from getting caught with an enslaved prostitute is much higher than a non-enslaved prostitute). Also, there's a good chance you're carrying around more cash, and so have a better chance to escape if you are enslaved. But that's just an intuition, and if the data is to the contrary, then the following argument is misguided and wrong.
---

Right. As I was saying. So Eliot Spitzer hired a prostitute. Who cares?

The first thing to note is that everyone is describing his behavior as "being linked to a prostitution ring," or, even worse, "engaged in a prostitution ring," or "tied to" or "involved in" a prostitution ring. This seems to be the fault of the NYT.

What the hell? He's not "involved in a prostitution ring," at least not so far as we've been told. Pimps are involved in a prostitution ring. He's not a pimp. He hired a hooker. Big deal. Stop making it sound like he's keeping a stable of prostitutes.

So what did he do? Let's see. 1. He cheated on his wife. 2. He committed a victimless crime.

How about Bill Clinton? Well... 1. He cheated on his wife (numerous times). 2. He committed a victimless crime (albeit a different one, and, ahem, he didn't inhale).

For just the same reasons that we shouldn't give a good goddamn about Bill Clinton's interns and weed, we shouldn't give a good goddamn about Eliot Spitzer's hooker.

And prostitution should be legalized. (Although pimps should probably still be banned.)

(For some prostitute and pimp-related amusement/horror, check out this court of appeals case (pdf) and this Salon article. I also recommend the movie I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.)

|

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home