Thursday, March 13, 2008

Follow The Money

Hey, my evening just opened up, because the Canadian buggers and their New York-based henchmen have been unable to fix my baby. Unfortunately it will probably be spent buying paint and calling Hong Kong-based CFOs.

Still, I do pause briefly to advert your attention to this from Slate. I always find the recklessly provocative Slate to be a good way of easing myself back into the blogging lark, sort of like digital Radox.

The headline screams "Did Eliot Spitzer get caught because he didn't spend enough on prostitutes?" It's a chance for the writer, sociaologist Sudhir Venkatesh, to revisit his research into the city's sex workers. It's an interesting read, highlighting one of the many weird and wonderful aspects of the Great New York City Clean-Up.

The author looks at the three tiers of home-based high-end sex workers, with the top tier serving essentially as polyamorous mistresses to millionaires. Spitzer, the apparent cheapskate, was stuck in the bottom tier, presumably my virtue of his unwillingness to contribute directly to Ms. Dupre's housing costs.

But it seems to me that the author is buying in to some of the mystique of the high-end prostitution industry, that discretion on the part of the service provider is the key to staying out of trouble:

They're also less likely to be targeted by cops, social workers, or clergy, all of whom work to get street-based prostitutes out of the profession.

Here's the thing. It wasn't the Emperor's Club that got Spitzer into trouble. It was Spitzer's sloshing around vast sums of money to pay for his ho habit. You can check out the timeline at Talking Points Memo.

Now was it the fact that Spitzer was paying so much money to a business rather than an individual that triggered the investigation, or was it the way he tried to stagger the payments? Either way, it seems that the risk was all to Emperor's Club for having such a high-profile client, rather than the other way round. In that respect, having an associate pick up whoever was still hanging around the Holland Tunnel may have been a better strategy.

Fish in a barrel...

In unrelated news, a twisted, rather incoherent, and premature eulogy to Magnetic Field is up at Sugarzine. Written on the plane at the same time as the much-linked earlier Spitzer post.


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