Bring Back the Hetaera

US Politics
on 12 Comments

My response to the pictures of Ashley Alexandra Dupre is the same as most other guys I know: beautiful chick, amazing rack. I’d apologize for my crudeness but everyone is saying, or pretending to say, "What was he thinking?" I know what he was thinking; I get it. And all the patronizing talk about men’s stupidity bothers me. God made me this way. Any smart wife knows there’s an upside.

My more cerebral response to Dupre is that she is the hetaera. That was the class of young women who served in Greek times as high-priced prostitutes. Courtesans, the demimonde, Webster’s offers those as terms from other ages. I don’t think that’s a bad idea. Again, this stuff should have a place in society. Not an honored place; yes, maybe a place of shame. But not an illegal place either. Leave Spitzer alone, you stinking hypocrites and wankers.

The word everyone is using for Spitzer is disgrace. True, he’s disgraced. Again I urge people to read Disgrace by Coetzee, his masterpiece about disgrace and redemption and moral valences. It begins with one of the frankest and most important descriptions of prostitution you will find in literature, about the arrangement that Coetzee’s narrator found for himself, that seemed to work for a while.

Speaking of Greeks, I believe Aristotle said that when he was 50 he got  over "the devil of my youth." Yes a devil. But I imagine he could go to the hetaera, without fear of prosecution.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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12 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    March 13, 2008, 11:45 am

    I think Spitzer did the right thing by resigning. His administration was untenable. His professional reputation and credibility were frankly thrown away.

    I am a man. I experience urges, fantasies.

    The discretion we have is what to act on and how.

    Spitzer was THE chief law enforcement officer in the state, and was in a compromised legal status. Even as governor, he has influence on prosecutions.

    Surely, you would have to describe that as a conflict of interest.

    How can he ask others to apply and enforce the law, when he doesn't.

    I know its confusing for us former hippie baby-boomers. I broke the law MANY times with recreational drugs in my teens and twenties. I resent the status of mandatory sentencing for recreational drug possession and even sale, and other punitive features like taking a child's right to federal student loans (arbitrarily by my book).

    The machinations of creating two or three phony entities to channel money, is farther along.

    He needs to heal his addiction if he wants to serve in any capacity involving the public trust.

    Its not sex thats the problem, its the corruption.

    Its far along to spend $80,000.

  2. Richard Witty
    March 13, 2008, 11:46 am

    Also,
    You can petition for changes in law, if you are so inclined.

  3. Jim Haygood
    March 13, 2008, 11:52 am

    Effectively, the hetairai can ply their trade in most of the rich world; hell, probably most of the poor world as well. The fact that call girls are tolerated even where prostitution is illegal, while streetwalkers are mercilessly harrassed, is probably more of a class prejudice thing.

    One should look back to the roots of this policy. I believe that closure of New Orleans' Storyville prostitution district related to World War I (more demand), and the rise of suffragettes and feminism. As with many moral crusades, the notion that laws would stamp out undesired behavior proved to be wrong. Less prostitution, more divorce? I don't know. But bad laws don't get repealed no more.

    Once a hetaira who had her legs wrapped around my neck slowly stroked her smooth, shapely calf against my cheek. It was such an unexpected, erotic rush that I almost fainted. But that's a story for another time …

  4. Scott
    March 13, 2008, 12:03 pm

    I agree with the praise of Coetzee's "Disgrace" and the interesting (to a middle aged man) arrangements in the first part of the novel. My wife recommended it to me. But, and it's a pretty huge but, the protagonist was divorced, no? It makes a pretty big difference, certainly in how a typical devoted wife might look at the question.

  5. Madrid
    March 13, 2008, 12:43 pm

    You're the greatest, Phil.

    Spitzer should have said he regretted having prosecuted victimless crimes like prostitution, and then he should have stayed on. He was one of the good guys for trying to clean up Wall Street. The country is just beginning a long road of suffering because of all the corruption on Wall Street.

    Sorry, but you're a twit, Richard.

  6. stevieb
    March 13, 2008, 1:36 pm

    I think the only real question here is whether Dupre responded in the affirmative to Spitzer's 'annalingus' fetish.

    I simply must know.

  7. Anonymous
    March 13, 2008, 1:49 pm

    Spitzer deserves hell because the girl he chose was not beautiful enough to justify his losses.

  8. Oarwell
    March 13, 2008, 2:31 pm

    Why did Barney Frank survive his male prostitute-live-in scandal? Why the double standard?

  9. Barney
    March 13, 2008, 2:39 pm

    Madrid – Please refrain calling Witty names. It only clarifies to everyone else that the twit is not witty, but rather…

    Philip,
    The issue is not that Spitzer (over)paid for hookers or was not honorable to his wife and daughters, the issue is that he agreed to be the governor of New York and to lead the State through very challenging times and then he put himself in a position to be blackmailed by who knows who because he needed to get his rocks off. In doing so he broke his promise to all of us New Yorkers. He was susceptible to blackmail because of the culture we live in and the law on the books. If he wanted to change that culture and those laws, fine, but in the absence of his doing so, they create the conditions for his being a compromised elected official, and that's not what I signed up for when I voted for him for Governor. If he were to overpay for a room full of tranny hookers the day after his term ends I would have no problem with it, assuming none of the she-males were coerced into the job.

  10. PaulO
    March 13, 2008, 3:04 pm

    I'm with Phil on this although I admit it's hard to present a water-tight case.
    There's a real mob mentality with situations like Spitzer's that always rubs me the wrong way.
    If your kid fell from a cliff after you'd spent your whole life teaching him to avoid such situations would you run up to his broken body screaming "I told you, I told you" or would you try and get him to a hospital first?

  11. Andy
    March 13, 2008, 11:03 pm

    Is the same everywhere. Isn't "America", this is the WORLD. Don't warry be happy !!!

  12. Leila
    March 14, 2008, 12:22 pm

    Jim wrote: "Once a hetaira who had her legs wrapped around my neck slowly stroked her smooth, shapely calf against my cheek. It was such an unexpected, erotic rush that I almost fainted…."

    Too bad Jim has to pay for such pleasures…(although maybe the financial transaction heightens the 'charge', one never knows with desire)

    Why does the planet assume that married women aren't erotic playmates for their husbands? Are there really that many boring marriages in America?

    And p.s. – some folk, female as well as male, get good hot sex at home and still go to whores, outside lovers, anonymous sex, whatever. It seems awfully naive to assume that a man who sees prostitutes is not getting good sex at home. This reality probably contributes to some of the stricken shock of a wife who discovers her husband's pecadillos. "But I thought we had great sex! Why wasn't I enough for him?" etc.

    Just read the stories of sex addicts which abound in the recovery-oriented press. And even among folk who are not "sex addicted" – there are some who just want more. Again, female as well as male. I have a close female friend who keeps telling me she can't understand marrying, because how could you promise to only have sex with one person for the rest of your life? She is aghast at the concept.

    Monogamy is not hard-wired in human DNA. Some people are monogamous, some are not. The non-monogamous, like many homosexuals I know, think that everybody secretly carries their preference but is faking it. However I think monogamy is like homosexuality – you fall along a continuum ranging from 100% one way to 100% the other, and if you could get the data, the population would sort itself out on a bell curve. Most of us fall somewhere along the curve, with a tendency toward one end or the other, which we emphasize through our social and emotional needs.

    Monogamous person married to non-monogamous person = misery. Monogamous person married to monogamous person, both interested in sex = happiness. The key is to know thyself. (and thy partner – if monogamy matters to you, try not to pick a polyamorous person who's trying to "pass").

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