Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The Spitzer Shocker
Eliot Spitzer, the governor of the State of New York, has been linked to a prostitution ring as a client. I don't know why, but I am quite shocked about this. As the state attorney general (and before that, a district attorney), Spitzer built a reputation of going after crooked politicians, businesspeople, and other assorted white-collar criminals. I have always admired his work, which seemed to be built upon a strong moral conviction that it's wrong to ignore the law and/or profit illegally. It's now apparent in today's news that Spitzer had developed a fairly sophisticated way of using this prostitution service, complete with code names ("Client 9") and booking hotel rooms using one of his friend's names (unbeknownst to the friend). As a social psychologist I am usually quick to come up with situational explanations for a person's behaviour. This time I think I will have to resort to some personal causes in understanding what happened. And, after the shock wears off, I suppose I will just end up even more jaded about politicians and others in power. How disappointing.