The corruption of the pure? Or the purity of corruption?

"Ruth Henderson" (pseudonymous name of a former booking agent for high-priced Manhattan call girls) has written a Pajamas Media piece about high-priced prostitution, and she explores the whys of prostitution:

...why would a rich, powerful and handsome man pay for extra-marital sex? Aren't there tons of women waiting to throw themselves at him for free? Yes, there are. But those women always want something: they want attention, intimacy and romance. They want to enjoy the high of sleeping with a powerful man. Escorts don't want or care about any of those things. At least one of the articles about the 22 year-old escort who slept with Spitzer implied that she didn't even know who he was. Based on my experience, I think it's highly unlikely that she knew or cared. She was in it for the money, and she had as much to hide as he did.
While it's too early to tell for sure, I'd be willing to bet that she's still in it for the money. Perhaps not sex for money, but to the extent she can, she'll still be selling herself for money -- in the form of interviews, book deals, perhaps a lucrative modeling career. What was a scandal for Eliot Spitzer could turn out to be a golden, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for "Kristen." I don't know whether she has an agent, but if not, it wouldn't surprise me if whoever is handling her criminal case is already looking for one. (After all, a good criminal defense doesn't come cheap.)

Of course, we don't call book deals or selling the film rights to a life story prostitution, any more than we'd call an agent a pimp. Nor do we consider it dishonest for a ghostwriter for a former prostitute to paint his client as a "victim" in a heart-rending "tell all" tearjerker. But I suppose if the book didn't sell well, another form of "conversion" might be in order -- written by a more moralistic ghostwriter, and marketed along different lines.

Would any of this be hypocrisy? I don't know. I guess that would depend on whether "Kristen" believed in the newfound sincerity she was trying to market, or whether her claim of "reform" was a pretense and a con game. Few would call a traditional prostitute in an arm's-length transaction a hypocrite, though. Because what's being sold is sex. Tit for tat. No moralistic misrepresentation or hidden political agenda.

In that respect, it's an honest profession.

Once the victim-for-profit mentality sets in, things get murky, and even honest prostitution can be corrupted.

Hey, it's only money.

MORE: Speaking of money, Rich Noyes demonstrates that the liberal media are doing their best not to label Spitzer as a "Democrat," and to not refer to his transactions as a "Democratic sex scandal." OTOH, in the case of David Vitter and Larry Craig, the "R" word was routinely and numbingly applied.

Might this mean that there's more money to be made by titillating the public with GOP sex scandals? If that's the case, then maybe Kristen's agent should take this into account, and try to spin the book as a feministic indictment of all powerful rich white men, making clear that most of her clients were Republicans. Otherwise, she might be stuck having to deal with publishers whose readers prefer the reformed sinner meme to the angry victim feminist meme, and who might insist on a convincing act.

For most people, it's easier to feign victimhood than reform.

Acting like you're a victim comes naturally, because most of us pity ourselves anyway. Acting like you're reformed, why, that's almost as tough as actually being reformed. And what if you have a slipup? If you're a victim, it goes with the turf. But if you're reformed (even if you only pretend to be reformed) a slipup makes you a lying hypocrite.

I know it sounds cynical, but if you have to lie your way out of a sordid past, claiming victimhood is usually the least painful path. Hence, many claims of "reform" in cases like this are accompanied by vehement assertions of victimhood.

(This is not to say that the truth is not also an option, but it won't always sell.)

posted by Eric on 03.14.08 at 08:20 AM










Comments

"Acting like you're a victim comes naturally, because most of us pity oursleves anyway. Acting like you're reformed, why, that's almost as tough as actually being reformed. And what if you have a slipup? If you're a victim, it goes with the turf. But if you're reformed (even if you only pretend to be reformed) a slipup makes you a lying hypocrite. "

A magnificent line. I'll be using it and linking to you.

Assistant Village Idiot   ·  March 14, 2008 11:00 AM

Thank you for the kind words and the link!

Eric Scheie   ·  March 14, 2008 11:12 AM

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