Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spitzer the Spectacle


Eliot Spitzer has been brought low by a sexual indiscretion. This fantastic tale of the Emperors Club VIP, however, can't be separated from the rest of Mr. Spitzer's life. It has been a disproportionate life.

Just as he went waaay over the top in his sex quest, he was over the top as a prosecutor and even as governor.

The office of public prosecutor by its nature carries with it extraordinary powers. People in other walks of life also hold great power over the lives of others -- policemen, CEOs, doctors, your boss. What anyone should bring to these powerful roles is a sense of balance and proportion. While he held the powers of prosecution, Mr. Spitzer displayed neither. He was a man unable to discern the existence and the need for limits -- on his authority or on his behavior.

Eliot Spitzer's prosecution of former AIG CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg is a case study of prosecutorial abuse.

Eliot Spitzer was a prosecutor on steroids. His audience cheered, until he got caught. Then, quite naturally, it leered.

In the spirit of the age, Eliot Spitzer pushed prosecution off its traditional moorings and turned it into a public spectacle. Bread and circuses, with his targets thrown to the lions. Now he's the circus. As spectacle, Eliot Spitzer's public resignation yesterday was as good as it gets, with Silda standing there to define the outer edge of the horror. We do what we've been trained to do: Show up and watch.

2 comments:

Jeff Kouba said...

Five lashes with a wet noodle for the photo...

jroosh said...

kudos for noticing my pictoral pun