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The Noblest Profession
Whoremongers of the World, Unite!

It’s a terrible shame that the thousands of high-powered clients the so-called DC Madam promises to name as she faces charges of running a $300-an-hour prostitution service inside the nation’s beltway don’t band up together (bander, in French) and wear the branding of whoremonger with pride: it would honor the whores, who are least to blame and most to revere. Between politics and prostitution, there’s only one truly noble profession, and it isn’t politics. The story of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the madam in question, reminds me of something Bertrand Russell wrote in “Marriage and Morals,” in 1929 (it was the sort of thing that got him banned from CCNY and other places then rich in Babbittry):

The prostitute has the advantage, not only that she is available at a moment’s notice, but that, having no life outside her profession, she can remain hidden without difficulty, and the man who has been with her can return to his wife, his family and his church, with unimpaired dignity. She, however, poor woman, in spite of the undoubted service she performs, in spite of the fact that she safeguards the virtues of wives and daughters and the apparent virtue of churchwardens, is universally despised, thought to be an outcast, and not allowed to associate with ordinary people except in the way of business. This blazing injustice began with the victory of the Christian religion and has been continued ever since. The real offense of the prostitute is that she shows up the hollowness of moralistic professions.

Like, for instance, the media. AFP reports that “On Friday, the head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Randall Tobias, resigned for personal reasons, but ABC news said he stepped down after the network contacted him about using the service. ‘Deputy Secretary of State Randall L Tobias was a customer of my previous business, Pamela Martin & Associates,’ Palfrey confirmed today. ‘Allow me to say how genuinely sorry I am for Mr Tobias, his family and his friends.’” USAID, of course, with its different kind of whoremongering and fellating corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan, isn’t exactly the sort of place that evokes pity. To conclude with Russell: “… the total amount of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution.”

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