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The Prostitute and the Moderators -- A Suggestion

Christopher Brauchli

Was this the face that launched a thousand ships, And burnt the topless towers of Ilium? Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss. Her lips suck forth my soul; see, where it flies! Christopher Marlowe, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus [1604]

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Lowest common denominator. That's what George Stephanopolous and Charles Gibson of ABC news were appealing to during the first half of the debate for which they recently served as moderators. That explains the reason for the really dumb questions they not only posed but pursued with remarkable, if mindless, persistency about lapel pins, helicopter landings, bitter people and sermons, none of which has the slightest relevance to determining which of the debaters would be a better president. (George Bush never appears in public without his American flag lapel pin and few believe he was a good president. Hillary Clinton never appears in public with a lapel pin and that does not suggest she would be a bad president). Since appealing to the lowest common denominator was the goal of Messrs. Gibson and Stephanopolous, I have a suggestion for a future program that will draw even more viewers than did the debate and will appeal to an even lower common denominator. They should interview Ashley Youmans for an hour and a half.

Ashley Youmans, now known as Ashley Alexandra Dupré is the woman whose face, metaphorically speaking, brought down an empire. Or at least a governorship. Ashley is the young woman at the center of the Eliot Spitzer scandal.

Without casting aspersions on either of the two presidential candidates who debated (each of whom is well dressed and attractive) all would agree that to the extent anything interesting was elicited from the candidates by their inquisitors, it was unrelated to what they were wearing. It is safe to assume, on the other hand, that no matter how pathetic the questioning, Ashley would have made a better visual impression than either of the candidates, especially if she had been counseled to attire herself in such a way as to display those attributes that make her both interesting and successful. Furthermore, she could provide information that would be of interest to lots of viewers, especially those with mildly prurient interests that encompasses more viewers than the viewers would like to admit.

Since the economy is undeniably in a slump, she could have explained how competitive pricing works in the industry in which she is employed, thus introducing transparency to a profession that frequently operates in the dark. It would almost certainly be of interest to the viewer to know and understand why, for example, radio executive, Tom Athans, of Michigan, who is married to U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and was recently arrested in a Residence Inn near Big Beaver and Interstate 75 (no double entendre intended and apologies to Kurt Vonnegut) paid a woman engaged in Ashley's line of work only $150 whereas Mr. Spitzer reportedly paid Ashley $4300. It is not adequate to attribute the difference in price to depressed economic conditions in Michigan nor can it be attributed solely to the length of the encounter. As an examination of the rate structure of Ashley's company set out below demonstrates, for $150 at her employer one would get little more than a cup of water with which to down a Viagra pill.

It would be interesting to hear Ashley explain, in response to questions from the ABC team, the details of the price list formerly displayed on the Emperors Club Website. (The site uses the apostrophe sparingly and inconsistently.) The quality of the services are, as restrooms at gas stations were in days gone by, measured by diamonds and, conveniently, (as gas stations were not) in dollars, euros and pounds so that prospective customers know what to expect. The rates are either hourly or by the day. A 3 diamond encounter of one hour's duration costs $1000 or 700 Euros whereas a 7 diamond encounter of the same length costs $3,100 or 2200 Euros. (Based on today's exchange rates it makes more sense to pay in dollars.) Day rates that are described as "dawn to dawn" range from $10,000 to $31,000.

Ashley could have discussed competitive pricing, variation in pricing depending on locales, and how income is shared between Emperors and its subjects.

There will be readers who suggest that such a program would be a waste of time since only those of prurient interest would want to watch. To them I can only say Gibson and Stephanopolous offered so little worthwhile in their one and a half hours that any subject, no matter how trivial, would be an improvement. Would it were otherwise.

Christopher Brauchli; For political commentary see

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