Ever feel you’ve been beamed up to the planet Whacko? Or that we do live in a nation that Baltimore talk-radio show host Ron Smith has dubbed “Absurdistan?”
There I was Saturday night, watching those despicable Dallas Cowboys put the kibosh on the New Orleans Saints’ hopes of an undefeated season, when I got a text message from a friend.
“Geraldo is interviewing Spitzer’s mistress,” it read.
The Spitzer in question is former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. He got nailed — OK, perhaps that’s a really bad choice of words — Spitzer had to resign from office after it transpired that he paid over $4,000 to “date” — wink, wink — a way overpriced hooker.
Notice I didn’t use the euphemisms “call girl” or “escort.” Prostitutes are prostitutes.
I’m not going to call some poor lass from a working-class or poor neighborhood who gets about 20 bucks a john for her services a hooker while the ones who get paid $4,000 to do the same thing are considered “escorts” or “call girls.” Hookers are hookers, no matter what they charge.
The hooker in Spitzer’s case is named Ashley Dupre. Oh, she’s a hooker no longer, courtesy of my journalistic colleagues at the New York Post. Dupre’s new job is as a “love, sex and relationships” columnist for the paper.
Yes, you read that correctly: the woman who was in the business of lust and wrecking relationships is giving advice on love and how to save relationships. And she’s doing it in what I thought, until recently, was a mainstream newspaper.
“I used to be on the front pages of the New York Post. Now I’m writing for it. Ask me anything about love, sex and relationships,” Ms. Dupre said in a promotional video on the paper’s Web site. The irony here is that the woman doesn’t know a darned thing about love and relationships. That’s why she was turning tricks.
And sex? OK, I’ll probably have to give her that one. But that’s why she should be doing the advice column for Hustler magazine, not the New York Post, whose editors deserve to be publicly skewered for their decision.
At a time when newspapers are closing and columnists trained in the craft of journalism are struggling to find work, the New York Post’s editors decide to give a columnist job to a former hooker. Yes, I know times are bad, and the moral climate in this country being what it is, the move to make Dupre a “love, sex and relationships” columnist will make money for the NYP, not lose it.
But NYP editors would do well to heed the warning of Edward R. Murrow, who many years ago chided those who are in the business for the almighty buck, as opposed to the higher calling of journalism. If they persisted in choosing money over journalistic integrity, Murrow said, “retribution will not limp in catching up to us.”
That advice could apply to the entire nation as well. This episode with Ms. Dupre is quite instructive on how the moral climate of America continues to decline.
Imagine this was 1959, not 2009. The governor of New York — or any other state for that matter — has to resign from office because it’s been discovered that he paid an outrageous sum of money to have sex with a hooker.
Could that former governor subsequently announce that he plans to return to politics, as Spitzer has done? Could the hooker then land a job as a “love, sex and relationships” advice columnist at a major, mainstream newspaper in the nation’s largest city?
The answers are “No” and “Absolutely not.” And the hooker wouldn’t get interviewed on television, either. As I looked at Geraldo Rivera interviewing Ms. Dupre — and asking her to become a columnist for him as well — I couldn’t help but think “Et tu, Fox News?” The folks at Fox were the very ones I was hoping would put this Dupre matter in its proper perspective.
Some will chide me as being old-fashioned or unrealistic for yearning for 1950s mores and values in matters of sex. I’m just trying to keep this nation from turning into France. Why is that a bad thing?
“What do you, as a black conservative, want to conserve?” people often ask me.
“How much time you got to hear my answer?” I usually respond.
Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.