I've always known that the New York Times is an elitist paper. Most national papers are pretty directed at the upper middle and upper classes. You can tell just by looking at their advertising. Million dollar studio apartments and thousand dollar watches are not for the masses, after all. And I learned from a beloved sociology instructor in college to recognize the significance of the fact that there is never a labor section but always a business section and that the Times has two "Style" sections a week where you can learn about the newest expensive trends. So it isn't like this is a revelation. But today's Metro Section really beats all:
...working for minimum wage? (And other problems of logic and evidence)
So according to Nicholas Kristof's op-ed today, Eliot Spitzer recently encouraged him to write a book about Spitzer's anti-sex-trafficking work. Perhaps he will. He certainly seems to buy the assumption that tightening penalties for johns will somehow help women who are victimized while working as prostitutes. Actually just the opposite is likely.
Yesterday I was too caught up in my own irritation about Eliot Spitzer's hypocrisy to point out some important threads from the forum we recently held on sex work, trafficking and human rights.
I particularly want to remind people of the thread that Chris began and that many contributed to called "What good is sex work?"
Consider these two responses (and read the whole thread if you haven't read it already):
Stacey Swimme wrote that "Sex workers not only teach people how to have safe sex. Sex workers teach people how to enjoy safe sex. I think that is a critical and effective contribution to pulic health."
Last night as we were standing at the baggage carousel at midnight waiting in vain for my bag to arrive from Austin Will turned to me and said, "Oh, did you hear the news today?" Somehow I had spent most of an entire day in the Austin Bergstrom International Airport and had not heard a thing. So Will preceded to tell me about the Eliot Spitzer/Emperor's Club investigation.
I was stunned, not so much because I thought Eliot Spitzer was such a straight arrow who would never break the law, but because Spitzer has made such clear statements about his disdain for prostution. I hadn't imagined it was one of his own habits. I should have, perhaps. It's not like he's the first politician to publicly advocate positions or laws that he knows he doesn't follow. In my cynical mind I'm actually pretty sure that politicians are most vocal about passing laws against the activities that represent their onw "vices" as a kind of misdirection. "See? I'm certainly not the kind of person who would do ____."
There are some news ledes that you never expect to read. Case in point:
Gov. Eliot Spitzer has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a person briefed on the federal investigation.
Generically, it's not that surprising to find a politician hiring call girls. But Spitzer always seemed to be a genuine straight arrow, or at least smart enough to not get caught up in a sordid scandal du jour. In a way, despite all the mistakes that Spitzer's made since he went from being Attorney General to Governor, it's a little disappointing to see him get caught in something so common.
Spitzer may be charged under the Mann Act, because he arranged for the prostitute to travel from NY to DC. This makes me sad. I hate the public outcry and tearful apologies for wrongdoing these sex scandals garner, and I supported Spitzer's ill-starred plan to give all NY residents driver's licenses. If only this were happening to John McCain.