Tuesday, March 11

He Paid Up, Right? And She's Not Dead? Okay, So What's The Problem?

I KNOW I speak for most Americans this morning when I convey my profound shock upon learning, yesterday, that there's only one "L" in "Eliot Spitzer".

This sort of thing, however, can't possibly surprise anyone: Christopher Beam in Slate's We-Put-The-'Conventional'-In-Conventional Wisdom snoozefest, the "Trailhead":
One problem, though: Addressing the Spitzer flap raises the ghosts of scandals past, namely Monica Lewinsky. Clinton has so far managed during this campaign to avoid public mention of her husband’s diddling. If the Spitzer controversy drags out, it could become a painful reminder of the final White House years. (Of course, you could argue that it would make people sympathize with her all over again.)

Once again, the mind would reel, if the mind hadn't long since shut down and begun consuming its own proteins.

Okay, fine, it's news. If you live in New York it's even real news. If you're a Republican, and you've been a consistent voice against corruption, public misconduct and private miscreancy, and if you've never uttered the phrase "limousine liberal", "class warfare", or remarked on the size of John Edwards' home or the price of his haircuts, have at it. In other words, if you're a Republican, shut up. You ceded Sex to the Democratic party long ago in exchange for the right to stuff yourselves at the public trough. If Spitzer had been caught manipulating the futures market you'd have something. If he'd dedicated his gubernatorial campaign to eliminating prostitution, or to bringing down high prices, you'd have something. As it is, he's a horndog who got caught.

All three nets ran the story first last night (I didn't actually check; my Poor Wife was at the controls, so three channels in ten seconds was something approaching slow motion), and we settled on ABC, which executed a toss about three minutes in (after the entire story had been laid out, and after they'd aired Spitzer's comments) apparently in order to show a picture that included Spitzer and Hillary Clinton. The were part of a line. They might have been marching for Breast Cancer Awareness or taking part in an amateur production of A Chorus Line for all I know. Or for all ABC cared. It was obvious they were in their element.

Still, it's an ill wind that blows any politician no good and doesn't provide me with a least a bitter chuckle, so here's mine. The wine store down the street from me used to be owned by a husband and wife team. They were each third-or-fourth generation money and acted like it, and they'd bought the place--formerly a neighborhood package store--in late middle age because they thought it would be "fun". They began turning it into a wine specialty shop on the grounds that this would keep the riff-raff out. They were, indeed, the sort of people who used "riff-raff" without irony, and who referred to their intended client base as "The Quality".

This was the late 70s, and the beginning of my wine collecting phase, so I frequented the place, because the nascent wine boom was not due to hit Indianapolis for another eight years and it was one of the few local spots where "Wine Section" didn't mean "Where do you keep the Gallo jugs?" The wife was the Expert, while the husband watched the books, and it was obvious even in my fairly green connoisseurship that she didn't know what th' fuck she was talking about and had turned a pastime of bullshitting about stuff she didn't know with other clueless snobs into a second career. So I took to coming in at times when she wouldn't be there, and I got to know the staff pretty well, and they loved to relay tales of their evil inbred masters.

Now, the husband--you might want to sit down--was a rock-ribbed Republican, goddamned-Democrats-steal-my-money type who once made a major production out of removing the appliance bulb from the EXIT sign when he learned he wasn't covered by regulations requiring it be lit. And one day the major story in the Indianapolis Racist Star concerns a local grocery magnate who's been caught by the feds skimming proceeds from his pop machines. And he was caught because he'd opened two accounts for his gilt and he put more than $10,000 in each.

(Sorry to interrupt the hilarity, but we would like to note that Spitzer didn't run afoul of the law, unless you, like ABC News, believe we're still enforcing the Mann Act; he ran afoul of financial institutions being "encouraged" to report whatever they consider to be attempts to skirt the law. Aaron Nimzowitsch, the great chess Grandmaster, once complained to officials about his opponent's smoking. He came back ten minutes later to complain again. "But he stopped smoking," they said. "Yes," Nimzowitsch replied, "but he looks as if he wants to.")

So the guy at the register is astonished when the Boss starts talking about the deal with one of the Quality who'd stopped by, and seems really critical of it, repeating, "How could he have done it?" over and over.

"I thought, jeez, this is a side of him I'd never seen," the register guy tells me. "Maybe he'd turned over a new leaf or this scared the shit out of him. And then he says, 'He had to know you only put $9000 in a single account.' "

6 comments:

scott said...

I'm very interested in the store employees stories about their asshat bosses.

aimai said...

I think we should call you shaggy-doghouse riley because your stories allways end up inthe right place, even as I'm wondering all the while where you are going with them. Its a great, great, riff.

aimai

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ignobility said...

I agree with what anonymous said, except for the part about the sheep.

D. Sidhe said...

Nah. My partner's father's name is Eliot with one L. And ignobility, really? I thought the hyena stuff was pretty far beyond the pale.

Leah said...

Yunno, I just love this blog. I've been too shy to comment, but I just gotta say, it's one of my daily stops just to keep my eyes from popping out onto my desk, and my brains from either exploding, or melting into my scalp.

Thank-you Doghouse for saving my sanity. And your commentators, too.
"ignobility" and d.sidhe gave me my first laugh of the day, and it's mid-afternoon.

Also, what aimai said about your shaggy doggedness.