March 28, 2008

From penetrating the world of prostitution to penetrating the prostitute.

Stephen Marche has this article in TNR rejecting the adjective "Shakespearean" as applied to the downfall of Eliot Spitzer:
Characters like Hamlet or Macbeth are destroyed by the virtues which lifted them to greatness in the first place. The most remarkable feature of the whole Spitzer debacle, his extreme hypocrisy, is maybe the one characteristic all Shakespearean tragic heroes lack. Macbeth may be a sociopath and Othello may be vicious, but they live out the consequences of their own characters with dignity. Exactly unlike Spitzer. His destruction is far more mundane--the guy who couldn't keep it in his pants.
Is Marche right? Think about it.

In this Bloggingheads clip, Bob Wright notes that the "average man" is deterred from using prostitutes out of morality, fear of discovery, or — and this is the most important — anxiety about entering "alien terrain." That is, you don't know how these things work, whether dangerous men might show up and hurt you and so forth. But because Spitzer prosecuted prostitution rings, he became "intimately familiar" with what this "alien terrain" is like. Moreover, in prosecuting these people, he probably gave a lot of thought to how they might have done things a little differently and gotten away with it. Being a smart, arrogant guy, he must have imagined how he would get away with it. It's not surprising, Bob says, that Spitzer behaved irrationally after he penetrated the world of prostitution, but what got him there in the first place? That's the difficult step that separates him from ordinary men. He got there by being a hardcore prosecutor.

Under Bob Wright's theory, doesn't Spitzer meet Marche's standard of Shakespeareanosity? Was he not destroyed by the virtues that lifted him to greatness in the first place?

By the way, at the end of the Bloggingheads clip, Mickey Kaus notes a Dick Morris connection. So if Spitzer really is a Shakespearean tragic hero, then Dick Morris seems to be Lady MacBeth or the ghost of Hamlet's father.

Big thanks to my son John Althouse Cohen for pointing to the way Bob Wright's theory undercuts Marche.

IN THE COMMENTS: Blake nails the Shakespearean point:
If Spitzer were a Shakespearean hero, a la Othello or Hamlet, his primary "virtue"--ruthless pursuit of the law--is what would be his undoing.

So, he'd end up having to prosecute his daughter for some wrongly perceived crime, and then she'd kill herself, and then his wife would go mad, and then he'd kill himself.

Take it back to Ancient Greece (where prostitution was the norm for men, though still disreputable for women), and he'd end up having slept with his daughter. Then Hera would blind him. Or something.

65 comments:

Richard Fagin said...

Gov. Spitzer was not undone by any greatness, unless you count great shamelessness, great grandstanding, great bullying and great abuse of office as "greatness" in the Shakespearean sense. Whatever good Spitzer did as New York Attorney General was undone and then some by acting as if the rules didn't apply to him, or worse, by acting as if the performance of his duties of office was only for self aggrandizement. If innocent people got crushed along the way, well, too bad. I'm not sure I understood Shakespeare's tragic heroes as being so lacking in integrity.

As was so well put elsewhere, tragedy first requires nobility of purpose. I think Dick Grasso and Hank Greenberg, among others, would argue Spitzer didn't have any of that.

downtownlad said...

The average man is deterred from using prostitutes?

Then why the hell are there so many of them and who the hell is sleeping with them.

I would bet a lot of money that the majority of men have paid for sex at some point in their lives.

Roger said...

Seems to me to be a bit of overanalysis. I think DTL is much closer to the mark given the extreme longevity of prostitution. Clearly there are not enough men deterred to make the occupation disappear.

ZPS said...

Very interesting.

But like others have said...Spitzer had no integrity or dignity to begin with...so I can't see him as tragically Shakespearean.

Even if his sole purpose for busting hooker rings was so he'd have an inside scoop on how not to get caught, you can't even call the story ironic. His arrogance overtook him in the end and he made sloppy mistakes.

As fun as it is to try and make something literary out of him, there's nothing there. Shakespeare wouldn't have wasted his time on such a douche.

PatCA said...

I imagine Spitzer thought he could get away with anything his whole life. He came from a family wealthy enough to buy anything and live by any moral or immoral code they chose. His "fall" happened because he made the mistake of entering a world where he actually had to answer to someone, namely, the voter.

Freder Frederson said...

I would bet a lot of money that the majority of men have paid for sex at some point in their lives.

I've paid for sex, but usually not with money and never with a prostitute.

But I'll take your bet. I bet the vast majority of men have never paid for sex with a prostitute. I would be surprised if it was 10%.

I personally don't know anyone who has ever had sex with a prostitute.

To say that "the "average man" is deterred from using prostitutes out of morality, fear of discovery, or — and this is the most important — anxiety about entering "alien terrain." " is one of the most misogynist things I have ever heard and complete nonsense. I hope Bob's wife keeps him on a short leash.

Kirby Olson said...

Angelo in Measure for Measure is apt : I think I mentioned it when the story first broke.

However, Marche tries to argue that Spitzer has nothing in common with Angelo because Angelo has morals, and is true to them.

That is just not so. Angelo, when he is caught trying to un-pants the virtuous novice nun Isabella, is only repentant when he is forced to be so. Otherwise, he is not only going to screw Isabella, but he is going to behead her fornicating brother and not even keep his promise that he will free the brother if she lets him do her.

It's only the Duke's return that forces Angelo to be honest. Like Angelo, when caught, Spitzer also turned to the law, and rather promptly resigned.

The parallel is quite exact. It could be said that Angelo is not one of Shakespeare's great heroes. The play is not very well-known (although it is one of my favorites), and it contains a bizarre problem.

Isabella sends a girl named Maria in her place to sleep with Angelo in the darkness of his rooms, and Angelo is caught red-handed with MAria, thinking that he is screwing Isabella.

The punishment is that he must marry Maria. This is quite odd, but it would be rather funny if the President or someone else could somehow force Spitzer to marry the whore Dupre.

Public justice just isn't what it was, even if the prosecuting attorneys "cum" governors ARE almost identical. The play should really be remounted as it were, it would be a big hit among the Wall Street crowd that suffered at the hands of Spitzer and fill the Broadway audiences for years.

MarkW said...

I would bet a lot of money that the majority of men have paid for sex at some point in their lives.

I doubt that (though maybe I'm making the mistake of thinking I'm typical), but I'd guess that it would vary widely from one society to another, depending on attitudes toward premarital sex and female sexuality.

In those societies where premarital sex is rare and even married women are sexually repressed, I'd expect rates of prostitute use to be much higher.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I would bet a lot of money that the majority of men have paid for sex at some point in their lives.

Well duh. A lot of us are married. You don't honestly think its free once we say our 'I Do's' do you?

Come to think of it, today is double coupon day for me.

Woooooohoooo!

Icepick said...

One can apply the tern Shakespearean without referencing the heroes. Take Richard III as an example. Spitzer might work quite well as a character in a historical play, which is more appropriate in any event.

john said...

Not to be nitpicky (yes, I guess it is to be nitpicky), but it's not a "Shakesperian tragic hero", its an Aristotlean one.

muddimo said...

"I would bet a lot of money that the majority of men have paid for sex at some point in their lives."

No. Single guys in their teens and early 20s are looking either for a potential girlfriend or a hookup and are quite hopeful they will meet her at the next party/night out at the club/etc. Plenty of guys in their late 20s early 30s are single and would be likely "clients" (a little more jaded about sex, a little more spending money on hand) but are deathly afraid of STDs. After that, you are talking married guys and/or guys well into their careers with too much to lose. This leaves the middle to late-middle-aged guy who either feels he has little to lose (failed or no marriage, career has plateaued) or has gotten so comfortable in his rut that he gets careless. Videos of stings that I have seen seem to confirm the type. Major outliers = bachelor parties and strip clubs. The group mentality leads to loss of inhibitions. I would guess that for the vast majority of men who have had any contact with a pros*, it's been in a group situation. Beyond that, it is very rare for the above reasons (and others), and to answer one of the earlier questions I think the industry relies very heavily on repeat customers for whom frequenting pros* is routine.

john said...

Hossier:

"today is double coupon day for me."

Is that code for, like, "getting to use the washing machine today"?

john said...

Should be "Hoosier"

Tibore said...

" Bob Wright notes that the "average man" is deterred from using prostitutes out of morality, fear of discovery, or — and this is the most important — anxiety about entering "alien terrain."

Pfff... whatever. How 'bout sheer expense? Five grand an hour?? Good God! What "average man" can afford that?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hossier:

"today is double coupon day for me."

Is that code for, like, "getting to use the washing machine today"?


No it means I'll at least get a 2-fer after which its back to once a week whether I need it or not.

john said...
Should be "Hoosier"


That's ok I understood. Just don't call me Hoser. My brother called me that once.

God rest his soul.

rcocean said...

A suppose you could make a case for Spitzer being a Falstaffian figure. But without the wit, warmth, or likability.

The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us.
The dark and vicious place where thee he got
Cost him his Governorship.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Bob Wright notes that the "average man" is deterred from using prostitutes out of.....or — and this is the most important — anxiety about entering "alien terrain."

WTF is this dingis talking about? Hell the alien terrain is the best damn part of it.

I mean not completely alien like green skin or pointy ears although that might be interesting. I'm talking alien like that teeth filled pit that Jabba the Hut was going to toss Han Solo in. Keep that shit away from me.

Trooper York said...

Bob Wright wouldn't know a prostitute if one came up and bit him on the ass....well, let me rephrase that.

Joe said...

There seems to be a bizarre assumption that Spitzer only recently started frequenting prostitutes. I say nonsense; that this behavior predates his prosecution of prostitutes. I'll even go the psychobabble route and suggest those prosecutions were BECAUSE he frequented prostitutes, in order to deflect suspicion he was sure others had (the man is very paranoid) and/or to assuage his own guilt.

ricpic said...

IMO muddimo's on target with the caveat that "the industry" relies as much if not more on the very young and very stupid as it does on late middle-aged men with no other outlet.

joe said...

I think the notion that his career as a prosecutor led him to frequent prostitutes is utter bullshit. Otherwise the entire spectrum of criminal activity would have significant participation by prosecutors. There is so much of a psychological component to sexuality that Wright's view is simplistic to the point of absurdity.

ricpic said...

"...once a week whether I need it or not."

You can always fake a headache.

Kirk Parker said...

Tibore,

No kidding about the expense. For $5,000/hr you'd really expect something along the lines of either (a) going supersonic at a low enough altitude to perceive it, or (b) being on the trigger end of some massive explosions (of the literal kind.)

Norman Rogers said...

Ann, you're brilliant as always. Only a woman can comment on the intentions of a whoremonger, and that's all Spitzer was.

A filthy, whoremongering jackass, if I may be so bold.

Are there liberals trying to defend Spitzer? Too bad! No matter how much they bleat about entrapment, the whoremongering governor probably shouldn't have been using thousands and thousands of dollars on these girls. And they are just girls, aren't they? I sent my daughter to school, I paid for her education, and she dresses in that "goth" manner on a daily basis. It basically means that I spent $120,000 to send her to a school that prepared her for a job at a Starbucks inside of a Target store. I guess they argue about Rilke between Caramel Macchiatos.

I explained how whores work to my children. I took them through the business aspects of it--the pimps, the madams and the johns. This is what they make, this is why they never have any money, etc. Ignore a "working girl" when she tells you how much she makes per year. I guarantee you--the one who claims she makes $150 large a year is the one who can't come up with twenty bucks.

I've never used a working girl. I've had a few use me, or at least try to, but that was to get into the investment banking industry. Some of us were just born lucky. And good-looking enough not to have to use a wire transfer scheme to get laid.

Sorry, but that's the truth.

rcocean said...

You must not watch a lot of blogging heads.

Bob Wright's ability (and connection to) the "average man" is severely limited and is mostly derived from his theoretical studies of evolutionary biology.

He went to Princeton and lives in DC and NYC.

Middle Class Guy said...

downtownlad said...
I would bet a lot of money that the majority of men have paid for sex at some point in their lives.


You base this on exactly what?

EnigmatiCore said...

I think another explanation fits why he is Shakesperian better.

He came to power specifically because of his extreme hypocrisy. Most, nearly all, politicians (and especially those who spout populist appeals) are extreme hypocrites. Think John Edwards. Think Eliot Spitzer.

Their hypocrisy is exactly what makes them able to rise to power. They have no compunction whatsoever to claim to be for the common man while enjoying spoils the common man can merely dream of.

John K. said...

I know my fans here are going to think less of me for this, but back in my doggie dog days I was chatting this girl up, and she asked me what I was looking for. I replied with something suave and clever, not knowing what I was dealing with, and she said "Sex?", and then overjoyed I said "Uh ... yeah!" and then she said "What's in it for me?" I didn't get it, thinking she was going to tell me how she wanted me to help her get her freak on, and said something like "What are you looking for?" I was still innocent enough to be pretty darn surprised when she said "Money!".

By that point I was in too deep. The price was right and I thought it would sound rude and cheap if I said no after just agreeing to have sex with her. So I paid for sex just that one time but it was totally by accident. I would never have entered "alien terrain" of my own volition, unless really drunk and in the wrong part of town.

Joe said...

DTL, almost all men who aren't virgins have paid for sex, just not in the way you suggest. (I've read that the about 20% of men have used a prostitute at some time in their lives.)

Norman Rogers said...

Think John Edwards. Think Eliot Spitzer.

Now, I'm no stranger to criticizing liberals and the like. But to try to infer that John Edwards has ever--ever--had to pay for sex in his life is just ludicrous to the point of absurdity.

What I wouldn't give to have his hairline! Could you imagine looking like John Edwards in your twenties? Good God, the man could attract women like flies to honey with just a flip of that $400 hair.

The price was right and I thought it would sound rude and cheap if I said no after just agreeing to have sex with her. So I paid for sex just that one time but it was totally by accident.

Oh, pardon me while I roll my eyes at that tall tale! Why can't you just be "man" enough to admit you paid her for a poke and a roll? Next you'll tell me you didn't "inhale" when she offered you a doobie.

I'm unable to be neutral on whoremongering. It's wrong and it's a GOOD thing Elliot Spitzer now has to sit in a room full of losers and explain his sex addictions. Karma! Karma can kick your ass when you're not looking. I understand why an ugly or fat man has to do it. I just wish it wasn't such a desperately sad waste of money.

Richard Dolan said...

Marche's article is better than this little squib makes it sound. Marche ends up by saying that the characters in Shakespeare's plays cover the entire spectrum of human potential, exhibiting (often to an extraordinary extent) the full gamut of ambiguities and contradictions that are the usual mix of virtues/vices in all of us. Thus "Shakespearian" is close to useless as a description in the way that some have applied it to Spitzer (and Marche quite rightly knocks down).

The least persuasive part of Marche's piece is the paragraph quoted by Ann. Does anyone really think that "Hamlet or Macbeth are destroyed by the virtues which lifted them to greatness in the first place"? The contention that "extreme hypocrisy is maybe the one characteristic all Shakespearean tragic heroes lack" seems equally odd. The plays offer many examples of dissemblers who could reasonably be described as hypocritical. In his dealings with Duncan and others, for example, Macbeth surely fits that category. Marche would have done better to stick to his main take on Shakespeare -- Hamlet, Macbeth and Othello are all too human and not very heroic, at least in the classical sense.
It would be closer to the mark to say that Hamlet, Macbeth and Othello present common traits projected on a grand scale -- they are extraordinary but not fundamentally different (unlike, for example, Odysseus, Achilles or Hector who in some ways are god-like).

I think Marche's conclusion was exactly right -- Spitzer's destruction was mundane, merely laughable in its ordinariness. Spitzer had risen to extraordinary heights, but in terms of his character, he was as run-of-the-mill as they come.

Nevertheless Ann asks: "Under Bob Wright's theory, doesn't Spitzer meet Marche's standard of Shakespeareanosity? Was he not destroyed by the virtues that lifted him to greatness in the first place?"

I think the answer is no. Wirght's theory is that Spitzer's prior job had given him sufficient experience with the world of prostitution to overcome the "anxiety about entering 'alien terrain'" that, according to Wright, makes most men steer clear. But "Marche's standard of Shakespeareanosity" isn't focused on one's experience or level of familiarity; it's a question of character. No one would describe experience obtained from on-the-job training as "the virtues which lifted them to greatness in the first place." Experience isn't a virtue (or a vice). It is, however, often helpful in knowing how to get things done. That was Wright's point.

Wright and Marche are talking about different things. So I don't see how "Bob Wright's theory undercuts Marche."

John Burgess said...

Mostly what Joe said...

On what evidence are we basing a conclusion that Spitzer 'turned to prostitutes' because of his work as a prosecutor?

I think it rather unlikely that the notion would have sprung into his head at such an advanced age. More likely, IMO, as a university student (perhaps a high school student) with so much time invested in studying that he had little to invest in a social life, he would have acquired the habit. A little bit of cash short circuits the social square dance by going straight to the sex.

Sex is available on the streets (with a wide range of risks) for as little as $10. Don't you guys watch COPS? Even high schoolers can pony up that kind of money...

rishigajria said...

Bob Wright notes that the "average man" is deterred from using prostitutes out of morality, fear of discovery, or — and this is the most important — anxiety about entering "alien terrain."

How about a lack of money.

Norman Rogers said...

Sex is available on the streets (with a wide range of risks) for as little as $10. Don't you guys watch COPS? Even high schoolers can pony up that kind of money...

To be fair on that front, you have to admit that whatever you're having sex with at that point could probably kill you with a disease or simply stab you in the groin with a screwdriver and steal your car.

Not a great analogy.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Sex is available on the streets (with a wide range of risks) for as little as $10.

Well I think prices have gone up. I mean that was the going rate for the horizontal mambo in Phukat in 1989.

So I had been told of course.

titusdance10looks3 said...

When is the whore in this mess coming out of hiding and collecting her money.

I want interviews, Playboy centerfolds, music videos, details of the sex, her sad life story, etc.

What is the slut waiting for?

blake said...

I would guess that prostitution is kept alive by a dedicated 10%. (I think that's true of pornography and probably gambling, as well.) But ever engaged in the practice of prostitution as commonly defined (avoiding the rather unseemly comparison of marriage to same)? I'd probably guess around 40%. I'm assuming that most, unlike John K, would not admit it.

blake said...

By the way, I totally agree with the "alien territory" thing. The very thought gives me the hoobity-joobities. And not in a good way. I'm Trooper's horn-rimmed four-eyed friend, except I probably wouldn't have sat still for a lap dance.

blake said...

If Spitzer were a Shakespearean hero, a la Othello or Hamlet, his primary "virtue"--ruthless pursuit of the law--is what would be his undoing.

So, he'd end up having to prosecute his daughter for some wrongly perceived crime, and then she'd kill herself, and then his wife would go mad, and then he'd kill himself.

Take it back to Ancient Greece (where prostitution was the norm for men, though still disreputable for women), and he'd end up having slept with his daughter. Then Hera would blind him. Or something.

EnigmatiCore said...

"But to try to infer that John Edwards has ever--ever--had to pay for sex in his life is just ludicrous to the point of absurdity."

Norman Rogers, are you mendacious or stupid, or careless?

Pick one of the above. Because I was inferring nothing more than what I directly said-- Edwards, with his populist rhetoric, was nothing more and nothing less than a hypocritical bastard, just like Spitzer is a hypocritical bastard.

I did not say they were hypocritical in the same regard. Anyone with above a 2nd grade reading comprehension would have understood that without needing an explanation. Unless said person was being mendacious, or recklessly careless in their reading.

So which was it in your case?

blake said...

Pssst. Enigmatic....

"Norman Rogers" is a sock puppet. A troll. A moby. A non-entity. He exists solely to yank chains.

george grady said...

I've never really thought of Shakespearean tragic figures as being brought down by their virtues, but rather by their flaws---e.g., Hamlet by his indecision, Othello by his jealousy, etc. This is different from Greek tragedy, where certain people's downfall is just fated, and there's nothing they can do about it. When I think of tragedy caused by a character's virtue, I think more on the lines of Thomas Hardy's Tess.

Trooper York said...

Does that mean when you hit New York for the next Althouse meet-up you won't be going to the Foxy Den for half price lap dance night? Middle Class Guy, Titus, Mort and the Professor are all in. Don't be a party pooper.

You'll be stuck sitting in the car with Simon and hd. And we won't roll down the window either!

Middle Class Guy said...

Trooper,
I'm in. Whats this about a lip dance?

Middle Class Guy said...

Oh, lap dance.

I have been accused of poor reading once today. I'm in, I'm in. As long as you and I can cook a real Italian meal.

Norman Rogers said...

"Norman Rogers" is a sock puppet. A troll. A moby. A non-entity. He exists solely to yank chains.

Uh huh. One you can google, for instance. One you can find commentary from on over thirty blogs all over the Internet going back five or six years. One that has done more to kick liberal ass than you could do in your entire life. I am a Republican and a conservative who doesn't give a damn what anyone thinks. You seem to think you know something--well, go ahead, sir. Tell us what you know.

And, by the way, what the deuce is a "Moby?"

Ever given a thin nickel to the Republican Party? Look me up sometime, poindexter. I will put myself up against any of you any day of any week.

The very thought gives me the hoobity-joobities.

That's a non-term. Grow up and perhaps you can comment on something interesting, okay?

Norman Rogers said...

I think the answer is no. Wirght's theory is that Spitzer's prior job had given him sufficient experience with the world of prostitution to overcome the "anxiety about entering 'alien terrain'" that, according to Wright, makes most men steer clear.

By that logic, then, why isn't Rudy Guiliani in the mafia?

The analogy doesn't hold up so well when you apply logic to it, does it?

Ralph said...

Davidson 73, Wisconsin 56
Go Wildcats!
As if I gave a crap about Davidson teams when I was a student there, or at any time since. I just wanted to rub it in. Davidson had all of 1400 students (900 men) when I went, but a couple hundred more now.

Ralph said...

Ever given a thin nickel to the Republican Party?
Despite disliking Dole, I sent them $100 in the spring of 96, and got 2-3 letters a week asking for more for 6 weeks, 'til I called them and told them to stop, which they did. Never again.

blake said...

You'll be stuck sitting in the car with Simon and hd. And we won't roll down the window either!

You know, it's not a religious objection. I can change! I swear it!

blake said...

Ralph,

Don't feed the troll. He's like the Republican Party: Respond to him and he'll never go away.

Norman Rogers said...

Despite disliking Dole, I sent them $100 in the spring of 96, and got 2-3 letters a week asking for more for 6 weeks, 'til I called them and told them to stop, which they did.

I disliked Dole from the outset. From 1976 on, I thought he was never really a party man and more of a Washington DC type personality, more accustomed to getting his way in the Senate and less interested in what was good for the party. If what was good for Dole meant a half dozen or more people lost close races because he would campaign in competing media markets that would cover him and not their events, so be it. I know one fellow who lost his race by a point and a half because the Dole campaign wouldn't even let Kemp's wife appear in his district because they had written it off--in early September!

Many of the people who propped him up during that run have signed on with McCain, I believe.

Neither warranted much in the way of the kind of bundling that I have done for candidates. I raised quite a bit for both Bushes, but never saw anything in return for it, other than a few trips here and there. People who raised less than myself for Bush in 2000 got Ambassadorships, I'm not ashamed to say.

Had they offered one to me, I probably would have turned it down.

But you better not feed me--blake might pee his little shorts and have a hissy fit.

Ralph said...

blake might pee his little shorts
Some people actually pay for "watersports"--so I've been told.

From Inwood said...

Blake

You said

"The very thought gives [you]the hoobity-joobities."

Joobities?

Egad, you are also cedarford!

From Inwood said...

This thread was effectively over when richard fagin wrote his great comment, tho Blake revived it!

I would, perhaps unnecessarily, elaborate on fagin's point.

I had many a discussion with my class-envy friends who were rewarded well for their labors but who begrudged their superiors at work & all CEOs who were rewarded really well, OK obscenely well, shall we say, for their labors, which labors did not, to my friends at least, seem as laborious as my friends' labors.

My friends thought that "there ought to be a law" or something about CEOs getting paid as well as entertainers were paid. I noted that greed was not per se illegal &, moreover, that if they thought that some bĂȘte noire had done something illegal, they should consider that Eliot never prosecuted any of these folks, not the sign of a great man. Or a courageous one.

Simon said...

Trooper, with all due respect, there is nothing on earth - not even Althouse - that will persuade me to come to New York. Sorry! :p

(Although I do think a meet up with Mort and HD would be fun.)

Simon said...

(I'll be at any Chicago meetup, though.)

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Spitzer is like Angelo in Measure for Measure.

blake said...

Joobities?

Egad, you are also cedarford!


lol

rightwingprof said...

"In this Bloggingheads clip, Bob Wright notes that the 'average man' is deterred from using prostitutes out of morality, fear of discovery, or — and this is the most important — anxiety about entering 'alien terrain.'"

How about morals, or disgust about having sex with something that has put out thousands of times for probably just as many men? Not politically correct, perhaps, but a whore is a whore. Then there's disease. Mr. Wright never thought of these things? Is it perhaps because he doesn't have much of a moral compass, and if so, why are we paying attention to him at all?

"I would bet a lot of money that the majority of men have paid for sex at some point in their lives."

Uh no, not all of us are attracted in real life to anonymous sex. There's that moral compass again, you see.

As for all this "misogynist" horse manure, I don't know many men who welcome the idea of their daughters screwing every Tom, Dick, and Harry that comes along, particularly for money. I guess if you do approve of your daughters being whores, then go right ahead and screech about so-called "sexism." Otherwise, you might not want to spout feminutty nonsense.

"What I wouldn't give to have his hairline! Could you imagine looking like John Edwards in your twenties? Good God, the man could attract women like flies to honey with just a flip of that $400 hair."

Many women love girly boys. How else do you explain Leonardo DiCaprio or Ryan Seacrest or most of the candidates on American Idol?

Trooper York said...

Simon, every party needs a party pooper. I thought you would want to see the professor do jello shots off the stomach of a stripper like she did at the last meet up, but hey what do I know?

Kirby Olson said...

Marche doesn't understand that there are "problem plays" in Shakespeare's career that are not so central to the oeuvre, and yet continue to fascinate for another reason. Angelo is very complex. He doesn't err once. He's got a history.

I sense that few have actually read this play carefully here. Buy it and read it carefully. It's his best play.

Kirby Olson said...

Well, maybe it's not his best play. It's not as powerful as MacBeth or Lear, or even R & J, but it's his most psychologically penetrating as it follows the twists and turns of the evangelical personality into its sinful root.

Nicholas said...

"In this Bloggingheads clip, Bob Wright notes that the 'average man' is deterred from using prostitutes out of morality, fear of discovery, or — and this is the most important — anxiety about entering 'alien terrain.' That is, you don't know how these things work, whether dangerous men might show up and hurt you and so forth."

Dumb, dumb, dumb! The average man has availed himself of the services of a prostitute at least once. There's nothing "alien" about the terrain.

"But because Spitzer prosecuted prostitution rings, he became 'intimately familiar' with what this 'alien terrain' is like. Moreover, in prosecuting these people, he probably gave a lot of thought to how they might have done things a little differently and gotten away with it. Being a smart, arrogant guy, he must have imagined how he would get away with it. It's not surprising, Bob says, that Spitzer behaved irrationally after he penetrated the world of prostitution, but what got him there in the first place? That's the difficult step that separates him from ordinary men. He got there by being a hardcore prosecutor.

"Under Bob Wright's theory, doesn't Spitzer meet Marche's standard of Shakespeareanosity? Was he not destroyed by the virtues that lifted him to greatness in the first place?"

Unlike 20 million other New Yorkers, Wright doesn't seem to know anything about Eliot Spitzer. Or did he feel constrained to spout nonsense about prostitutes, so as not to offend feminists, and the inoffensive but dishonest nonsense ruined everything that followed?

Eliot Spitzer is a sociopath. He didn't just frequent hookers, he violated the law in his abuse of the state police, and as a prosecutor terrorized people that he knew were innocent of any crimes. He supported illegal aliens, and gay marriage. He loved breaking the law and encouraging others to break it, and prostitution was just another crime for him. He wasn't a "hardnosed" prosecutor; he was a criminal who had lucked into gaining prosecutorial discretion and prosecutorial immunity.