First, it's not the prostitution that pisses me off. As long as the world contains human females, evolved to mate selectively, and human males, evolved to mate indiscriminately, money will change hands for nookie. Criminalizing the exchange just ensures that the industry will be run by criminals.
I wouldn't go to a prostitute myself; partly because I am married, which I interpret to preclude all extracurricular schtupping, whether fee-based or charitable, and partly because I don't find barely concealed contempt all that sexy. But I don't think it should be illegal, and if the same testosterone that fueled Spitzer's ambitious rise to power fuels multi-thousand-dollar sessions as "Client-9" at the Mayflower Hotel, that should concern no one but Mrs. Spitzer. It certainly should not concern the U.S. Attorney's Office.
But if it's going to be illegal, Spitzer ought to have had at least the decency to refrain from the very conduct for which he sent people to jail as New York's Attorney General. So as I say, it's not the prostitution, it's the hypocrisy that gets me exercised.
With that out of the way I want, second, to direct your attention to the criminal Complaint in the Emperors Club investigation. According to the Complaint, the website www.emperorsclubvip.com
ranked the prostitutes using a ranking system from one to seven diamonds, and charged hourly rates according to the assigned ranking. For example, according to the Website, the Emperors Club charged $1,000 per hour for a three-diamond prostitute, and $3,100 per hour for a seven-diamond prostitute.The question that comes to mind is whether one could really articulate seven meaningfully distinct strata of prostitutes to justify such a granular rating system. Given a double-blind presentation, could a connoisseur accurately distinguish a four-diamond hooker from a five?
The Complaint goes on to inform us that emperorsclubvip.com
offered the Emperors Club's most valued clients "membership" in the "Icon Club," a status which allowed the clients to access restricted areas of the Website and permitted them to schedule appointments for illegal prostitution services with the most highly-ranked prostitutes whose fees started at $5,500 per hour.So in fact there were at least eight Emperors Club prostitute ranks, and quite possibly more, given that the fees of the most highly-ranked prostitutes "started" at $5,500. This raises the same question as before, but, more fundamentally... fifty-five hundred dollars an hour?
Now, don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of sex. On the list of things I like, it's right up there with chocolate ice cream and amusement parks, and I dare say it even beats out the fantasy of owning my own Slurpee machine. But (ignoring for the moment my above disclaimer) there is no one-hour act, no matter how skillful, original, or debased, for which you could convince me to pay $5,500. Not to two women. Not even to identical twins.
What on earth could possibly justify such a fee, Eliot? Do these women have a second vagina or something? Jesus Christ, Alan Dershowitz doesn't charge that much.