Friday, March 14, 2008

Eliot Spitzer: A true American hypocrite.

The word hypocrite is thrown about a lot these days. Usually it's applied improperly, and usually it's only applied to Christians and other fallen figures of the political right. Rare is the occasion when we the public have a singularly perfect example of a through-and-through hypocrite, but this day we do, and his name is Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer, in case you didn't know, spent a lot of money on prostitutes. He also spent a lot of money on the people who find and indenture these prostitutes. He also spent a lot money making sure everyone involved kept his identity secret. He lied about his name, he lied to his wife, he lied to the public, and he lied to his three teenage daughters.

To make the grade as a hypocrite, a person needs to be actively duplicitous. He must make sure people think he is against the very sin he is committing, by actively championing a position against the sin while happily and willfully committing it. This is a point that most people forget when they call out what they think is a real example of hypocrisy. The Enron and Worldcom CEO's were thus hypocrites, whereas Dr. Martin Luther King was not. Sure, this makes it very hard to actually call someone a hypocrite, but then again, there aren't really that many anyway.

Enter Eliot Spitzer, who as governor passed into law a bill that cracked down on sex trafficking, which is exactly what we know now the Emperor's Club specializes in. As an attorney, Spitzer crusaded against the very same financial corruption he was in fact concurrently engaging in. In Spitzer's resignation speech, there was preciously little repentance or contrition, but a lot of petulance. Listening to him pathetically speak of 'what could have been', I couldn't really escape the feeling that Spitzer just seemed bummed that he was caught. There was no emotion, just disappointment. The gig was up and it was time to go home.

::postscript:: I think the press picked up on Spitzer's attitude, and as such switched the focus to the prostitute, whose personal life story should make anyone who thinks prostitution should be normalized stop and think.

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