May 5, 2008

"I cannot live the next 6-8 years behind bars for what both you and I have come to regard as this 'modern day lynching,'..."

"... only to come out of prison in my late 50s a broken, penniless and very much alone woman."

Deborah Jeane Palfrey's suicide note.

35 comments:

Seven Machos said...

Did this person really kill herself? Her death is very convenient for a lot of powerful people.

Maguro said...

If you can't do the time...

Donald Douglas said...

She could have, actually.

Even outside of religious belief, suicide's never really okay. It's the easiest way out, making everyone else endure the pain the suicide victim couldn't handle, family especially. Writing a note doesn't make it any better.

American Power

Paul Snively said...

Yeah, a (valid) racketeering charge is equivalent to being hung without due process of law (lynching). Even when killing herself, Palfrey was a piece of work.

UWS guy said...

so far...4 posts by men calling this woman a pussy for not taking it like a man.

Seven Machos said...

I never said that.

Eli Blake said...

seven machos:

I've thought a lot about that myself. Keep in mind that she is the second woman in this case to be found hanging in an apparent suicide.

Her suicide note doesn't ring true at all because we all know that she would not have remained penniless, not with the things she knew and the ratings driven tabloids (and even 'mainstream' media) looking to deliver as much dirt as they can to a salivatory public. She'd have likely made more money peddling her stories than she ever made as a prostitute.

But there are many powerful people who knew that, many who got where they are because they are willing to do anything, and who would be willing to do anything to avoid being another Eliot Spitzer.

rhhardin said...

Imus speculated that Hillary was on her client list.

vbspurs said...

Conspiracy theories are for twats. There I said it.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ron said...

I certainly agree with Victoria on that one!

Palladian said...

Unfortunately there are a lot of twats in the world, Victoria.

Seven Machos said...

I do appreciate your style, Victoria, but I don't think this would be a conspiracy theory. This would be simply that Joe Powerful Guy hired someone to kill this person because he had used her professional services company in the past and does not wish to be named publicly.

I don't think that rises to several gunmen on the grassy knoll.

vbspurs said...

I don't think that rises to several gunmen on the grassy knoll.

I say this without any rancour, Seven Machos. I know where you're coming from. :)

But conspiracy theories needn't be grand to be ridiculous.

The Brazilian mesdames behind the infamous Elliot Spitzer Emperor's Club would've been offed months ago, if what people suggest is the case. That one was deported back to Brazil is certainly no reason for the long arm of revenge not to reach her. They have hit men in Brazil too, and "accidents" can befall her and other notorious Madams just as easily as this old gal.

For the record, I also don't believe Vince Foster was offed by the Clintons, that JFK Jr.'s plane was infiltrated by a rogue pilot who bailed before impact, or that anything and anyone connected to the Bilderburg Conference runs the world.

One of the saddest modern trends in our post-9/11 world has been to attribute conspiracies to everything.

I hated it when the Right-wingers did it, and I hate it today when the Left-wingers do it.

I just hope this lady rests in peace, and if someone helped her to reach her Maker sooner than later, give us proof. That's me viewpoint explained, so I wish you all...

Night night,
Victoria

Joe said...

Victoria, you don't have to have a conspiracy, just one pissed off and possibly unstable John. Still, odds are it was a suicide.

Ralph said...

Conspiracy theories are for dead twats. There I said it.

Didn't she know by now that 6-8 really means 4-6?

John Stodder said...

It's sad, the narrow construct in Ms. Palfrey's mind as to what makes life worth living. The line about emerging from prison in her 50s "penniless and alone" assumed, I guess, that there is nothing worse than missing your 40s. Or that starting over in your 50s is just impossible.

I just went to a memorial to a woman who made a huge change in her life at age 57 and went on to enjoy 20 challenging but happy years. The memorial was full of this woman's friends, 80 percent of them from her last 20 years.

I have no ethical problem with suicide as a response to deep depression or incredible pain, so long as the suicide has at least tried to fix it. But this woman gave up a little too easily, and it's sad that she didn't have the vision to see that her presumed prison stretch, while awful and painful if she believed it was unjust, did not have to end her quality of life.

John Lynch said...

Victoria pwns. Conspiracy theories are for losers. Facts!

If there's no evidence, then we don't know what happened. That's it. We don't know. Forming a narrative without facts is just making up a story.

So, we should not speculate that this woman was killed without facts. It should certainly be investigated, and it will be.

Again, conspiracy theories are for losers who can't deal with the real world and want a reason for everything. Sometimes there isn't one. Sometimes things just happen and people just do things.

blake said...

Hmmm. It's true that (for me, at least) 9/11 took a lot of the fun out of conspiracy theories for me.

On the other hand, what about the conspiracies that have been real? Certainly there are not shortages of cases that have gone from suicide to murder, nor government cover-ups.

If I were conspiracy-minded (heh), I might suggest that the various organizations that REALLY run things plant outrageous conspiracies theories in popular culture to provide cover for REAL conspiracies.

Like, say, walking out of a government facility with top secret documents stuffed down your pants and accidentally destroying them.

Hypothetically, I mean. I'm sure Berger was acting alone. And besides, the Clintons are way too low level to pull anything off by themselves....

Hey, anyone seen my copy of Catcher In The Rye.

Revenant said...

Yeah, a (valid) racketeering charge is equivalent to being hung without due process of law

Depends on what you mean by "valid", I guess. It may have been legally valid, but using racketeering laws to bust a bunch of people involved in consensual activity certainly doesn't constitute a valid use of government power in my opinion.

I'm just glad to hear that there's no terrorism problem anymore. I can't imagine another justification for diverting federal manpower to deal with this "crime".

Balfegor said...

This is all a rather sad and sordid story. I feel particularly sorry for her mother, reading her daughter's suicide note. But this struck me:

Palfrey's notes to her family said that she couldn't bear to go to prison. She served an 18-month term in California in the early 1990s for running a prostitution service.

I didn't realise she'd done this before and got caught at it. It makes me think she knew perfectly well what the risks were, and decided to do it anyway.

Ron said...

Reading the note itself (at least what they had in the Post) is saddening and touching. I find a bit appalling that some people here speak as glibly as they do about those who really do find it hard to go on.

Michael_H said...

"Again, conspiracy theories are for losers who can't deal with the real world and want a reason for everything. Sometimes there isn't one. Sometimes things just happen and people just do things."

Whaaaaa......? Are you telling me that my long-held belief that Titus is actually Ann's twin brother Sheckey Althouse is wrong? that I'm a loser who can't deal with the real world?

You and your friends who all think that I'm nuts are wrong. In fact, you all are delusional if you can't see that Titus=Sheckey Althouse. Come on, have you ever seen Ann and Titus together, even in a photo? No! They are twins and the similarity would be so glaringly obvious that the truth would have to come out!

Or is the reality that you all are in on it and have deliberately kept the truth from me? I think it looks that way. It's the conspiracy of the blog world, and I've finally broken it.

The dog helped. The dog in the back yard always speaks the truth. Screw all of you lying weasels. I know the truth. When I stay int he basement, your Alt-rays can't penetrate my head, and I see the truth. Your all after me.

Not anymore, I figured it out, and the Snowman will see that your are punished. Your last warning!

ballyfager said...

"Conspiracy theories are for twats". Wrong, Victoria. Conspiracy theories are for dummies and once they have reached that conclusion nothing on earth will sway them .

Pogo said...

Certainly a sad outcome.
Also a complete waste of time for government prosecution.

OTOH, I was heartened to see Steamroller Spitzer get smashed by his own tactics. Rough justice for him; too bad about the bystanders.

rhhardin said...

I always go by how many shots to the head she killed herself with.

If it's more than six, she'd have had to reload, and that's suspicious.

rhhardin said...

On the other hand, whining in a woman's suicide note suggests it's genuine.

Paul Snively said...

I did indeed mean "legally valid," Revenant.

As for "not taking it like a man," I was reflecting more on my belief that Palfrey knew perfectly well the risks of her business as well as the consequences of being caught. And yes, I do still have a problem with her comparing being prosecuted for racketeering with being lynched.

Having said that, I wouldn't wish the death by self-hanging of one's child on anyone.

jimbino said...

Suicide is a wasted gesture if you don't take out some fascist judge or politician with you.

Sir Archy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sir Archy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph said...

Good grief, this is the best joke I've made in years:
Didn't she know by now that 6-8 really means 4-6?

Didn't anyone get it? Titus?

Sir Archy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seven Machos said...

Ralph -- That's funny. Almost too subtle for the hoi polloi like me, though. I really had to think to get it.

Sir Archy said...

To Professor Althouse.

Madam,

As the Ghost of a Gentleman dead himself these 250 Years and more, you may imagine that I had seen Whoring enough in my Time.  I may say by way of moral Defence, that I had but little Resort to Ladies of Pleasure myself, despite many a Temptation.

I kept myself from such Vice for two Reasons:  Fear of Disease, and Inklings of Conscience.  I shall not play the Hypocrite and pretend to a State of Dispassion towards the Pleasures of the Flesh, but only aver that my baser Inclinations were check'd by my Reason.  Neither shall I Moralize too heavily upon those Men whose Passions were hotter, or whose Sense weaker, for we all sin in our Degree.

So 'twas with Mrs. Palfrey. Neither shall I Moralize much upon her Crimes, except to say that when we pass the Lychgate and our Life is subject to Review, 'twere better the Balance were not found so wanting as that of Mrs. Palfrey.  She had fill'd Life with passing Things of this World, which avail'd her nothing against the Fatal Hour.

This is altogether a sad and tragick Case.  Moreover, I cannot believe those who would have her murder'd by an Intrigue.  As much as some Gentlemen may have wish'd her dead, 'tis near to impossible to keep such a Secret, especially amongst Politicians, Solicitors, and the like, her Patrons; since Blabbing is their Business.  You may trust an ordinary Highway Robber to be more silent about his Fellows than a Politician in a Plot. Nay, Mrs. Palfrey hang'd herself of her own Volition.  She fathom'd the Depths of her remaining Life, and finding only a Sea of Troubles, oppos'd and so ended them.  We pray that the Lord may have mercy upon her Soul.

I cannot forbear to relate the Case of another famous Procuress of my Day, one Mother Needham.  You may see her here, welcoming the notorious Moll Hackabout to her Bawdy-House in Mr. Hogarth's famous Series, "The Harlot's Progress."  The Engraving by Mr. Hogarth is very like, for he had sketch'd both from Life.  You may also see that Moll Hackabout bears a surprising Resemblance to Mr. Spitzer's Whore.

For all that, Mother Needham's End was more gruesome than Mrs. Palfrey's.  I do not wish to run this to intolerable Length, but these News-Paper accounts of her History may yet interest your Audience:—

    Tuesday 21 July 1724   Yesterday morning the celebrated Mother
    Needham
and Mother Bird, two eminent Conservators of the
    Game of the Kingdom
, were committed to Newgate;
    their Houses being disturb’d the night before
    by the Constables, who disengaged the Gentlemen and Ladies
    to a great Number, and carried them to the Round-House.
    This being the first time Mrs. Needham ever received publick
    Correction, since her being at the Head of Venal Affairs
    in this Town, ’tis thought will be the ruin of her
    Houshold. (The Daily Journal)

    Wednesday 22 July 1724   Yesterday Mother Needham was bailed
    out of Newgate. (The Daily Journal)

    8 August 1724   Mother Needham being indicted in the Crown for
    keeping a disorderly Hosue, continues still in Newgate, and is to be
    try’d upon the same in Michaelmas Term next.
    (The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer)

Later that same Year, Mother Needham's House burnt to the Ground.  I shall forbear printing those Accounts.

The next Year she was back at her Game:

    10 April 1725   We hear that the infamous Mother Needham,
    alias Bird, alias Howard, alias Blewit, was again apprehended
    on Sunday last for keeping a disorderly House in Union-Street
    near Bond Street, and is in custody for want of Sureties.
    ’Tis said likewise that she has made a large Discovery of
    the several lewd Women who keep private disorderly
    Houses, and the names of several Gentlemen as well as
    Women, who frequent them; she apprehending herself to be
    in a fair way of being punished for her notorious Enormities,
    having many Years escaped the Lash of the Law.
    (The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer)

Finally, she met her Fate:

    6 May 1731   Saturday, May 1. Yesterday the noted Mother
    Needham
stood in the pillory in Park-place near
    S. James’s-street
; and was severely handled by the
    Populace. (Daily Journal)

    That notorious Woman Eliz. Needham stood, U&c. over against
    Park place, and was severely pelted. (Daily Post)

    The famous Mother Needham was set before the Pillory facing
    Park-place
.  She was so very ill, that she laid along under the
    Pillory, notwithstanding which she was severely pelted,
    and it is thought she will die in a Day or two. (Post-Boy)

    The infamous Mother Needham. Stood in the Pillory: she was
    screened by a Mob of hired Fellows, and lay all along on her
    Face on the Pillory, and so evaded the Law, which requires
    that her Face should be expos'd.  (Courant)

   
The sum of what my Brethren here relate is this:—
   
The noted, notorious, famous, infamous Mother Needham,
    stood in, was set before, and laid along under, on her Face,
    on the Pillory, in, and over against Park Place.
    A Boy getting upon a Lamp Post near the Pillory, fell from
    the same upon iron Spikes, and tore his Belly in so violent
    a manner, that his Bowels came out, and he expir'd
    in a few Hours in great Agonies. . . . (London Evening Post)

    Tuesday, May 4. Yesterday morning died Mother Needham.
    (Daily Post)

    The famous: at 9. (Post-Boy)  The noted: about 9. (Daily Journal)
    In the Gate-house. (Post-Boy & Daily Journal)
    Who stood in the pillory last Friday, and was to have stood again
    to-morrow. (Daily Journal)
   
    She declared in her last Words, that what most affected her
    was the Terror of standing in the Pillory to-morrow in
    New Palace-Yard, having been so ungratefully used by the
    Populace on Wednesday.  (Whitehall Evening Post)

    They acted very ungratefully, considering how much she had
    done to oblige them.  (Grub-street Journal)

Here is proclaimed the Evil of Prostitution, whose Wickedness has ever visited Misery, Disease & Death upon Mankind.

Behold those who suffer for its Depravity:—

See the infected Wife, sentenc'd to slow Death by her Husband's Corruption.
See the Orphan, depriv'd of a Parent by Disease or the Force of the Law.
See the Child whose Home & Fortune is lost by the Father's Whoring.
See the doom'd innocent Babe, infected with its helpless Mother by the Degeneracy of the Father.
See the poor Child of the Prostitute, likely to be infect'd, dragg'd from one Scene of Degradation to another until its poor Spirit is broken and its Mind corrupt'd.
See the Prostitute, her body the distemper'd Plaything of others, and her Spirit the tatter'd half-dead Semblance of a Soul.
See her Patron, so base as to imagine Pleasure from degen'rate Play-Acting.
See the Procuress, dead of the Pillory or hang'd by her own Hand, 275 Years were as a Moment, for thus have the Wages of Corruption ever been paid.

Feeling all the Freedom with which I have use'd this Stage in your Theatre of Topicks, I remain,

Madam,

Your most humble & obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

Peter Palladas said...

Suicide an 'exit strategy'?

MBA-speak in a suicide note?

Must be election year.

Is it over yet?

Has the Oven Chip won?