What infinite delight -- one of my least-favorite New York Democrats, former prosecutor and merit-class megalomaniac Gov. Eliot Spitzer, appears to have been caught with his hand in the, erm, cookie jar, making a date with a hooker for a hotel assignation in DC -- drolly enough, on the eve of St Valentine's Day.
There is so much to like in this story it's hard to know where to start. For one thing, it's yet another data point for
one of Smith's (many) Laws Of Life, to wit, scratch a prosecutor, find a perv. People
don't become prosecutors unless they're overcompensating for something
that makes them feel dirty and ashamed, in a way that they just can't live with.
Spitzer's fairly unremarkable dalliances with top-drawer professional sack artists
wouldn't seem so very dirty to a normal person, of course, if it weren't for the
hysterical hand-washing hyper-cleanliness that the guy has always projected.
His toilet training must have been something right out of Bergen-Belsen.
Then of course nobody would have investigated him or gotten the goods on him
or revealed them if they had, were it not for his having made so many people really
mad at him with that holy-Joe act of his. Chalk this one up to Joe Bruno and the Washington strings he knows how to pull.
But the best part, really, is his Act of Contrition. Usually these boil down to a two-part
proposition: 1) I'm a bad, dirty person; 2) But please don't stop loving me!
Now there's a lot to be said for taking this double stance from time to
time. Confession, they say -- and they say rightly -- is good for the soul.
Dirt is the tie that binds. Acknowledge it. Join the rest of the dirty human race.
And it's good to ask for continued love, recognizing right out that it's undeserved -- good to stop expecting it, or demanding it as of right. It's good to acknowledge that love is more even than a gift; it's an act of grace.
Eliot, however, just couldn't make a good A of C. He doesn't have it in him, either
the realism and resilience to understand that he's just a dirty guy, like the rest
of us, or the childlike hopeful capacity to imagine that love undeserved might
yet be granted.
Here's his preachy, truculent, stiff-necked version, an Act of Uncontrition
contrived to show just how good, how un-dirty, how deserving, he really is:
I have acted in a way that violated the obligations to my family and that violates my — or any — sense of right and wrong. I apologize first, and most importantly, to my family. I apologize to the public, to whom I promised better.... I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard that I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family. I will not be taking questions.... I will report back to you in short order.
Man! The guy just can't help telling us what to think and feel, even when
he's supposed to be wearing the hairshirt and beating his breast. Consider that parenthetical "any". Here's a fella who just got caught paying for a BJ, laying down the
law about what "any" sense of right and wrong ought to contain. So those of you
who think it's perfectly OK to pay for a BJ -- consider yourselves knuckle-rapped by
Sister Eliot. Maculate she may be, but her ruler is still poised like a comet.
Then he importantly informs us that he has "failed to live up to the standards
I expected of myself" -- as if anybody gave a hoot in hell what he expected of
himself. Whatever it was, we collectively expected a lot less -- and probably would
have been happier with a less close approximation than what we got.
And of course he's going to "regain the trust of his family." What a fool. He may well
retain the love of his family; he may even obtain their forgiveness, God knows how;
but he will never "regain" their trust. And why should he? Is he not a miserable unreliable untrustworthy frail human sinner, like the rest of us?
But the best part: he'll "report back." Breathtaking. I don't know about you, but
I do not want to see his "report". Paid BJs: down 99%. Uncompensated BJs, marital: up 10%. Uncompensated BJs, non-marital: No change.
Do we care about his improvement? Who does he think we are, the editors of the Harvard Law Review? Does he think he can change his opinion of us? He can't. We'll
always think of him as that poor schlub purchasing the over-emphatic moans of a
top-drawer sex worker -- a person, in fact, who is to the BJ what Eliot is to the
Personally, I'll take the BJ virtuoso over the LSAT virtuoso, any day of the week.