America's Fascination With Vice

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

We don't know the details of what New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer did or didn't do, but we know that he apologized yesterday: "I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong." Somewhere in that sense of right and wrong live many of the conversations people are having today... about what he did, why he did it, how he got caught, etc, etc. At the heart of it, it's about vices. Something our own Peter Sagal has thought a lot about (his book is called, The Book of Vice after all). We'll get a chance to talk with Peter at the end of the first hour today about people's fascination with vice, on the front page and in our own lives.

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what really bothers me is these people who do such things and then get up there in front of the camera with their wife beside them. How humiliating and why do the wive's go along with it!!!

Sent by Bev Beam | 2:25 PM | 3-11-2008

Here Here, Bev Beam your comment is right on! One of those wives is running for President at this very moment, she's posing as a feminist; but she more resembles the lyrics of Tammy Wynettes' "Stand By Your Man." Hillary wouldn't be where she is today without her alley cat husband...that's why they stand there, Bev.

Sent by Mo | 2:52 PM | 3-11-2008

spitzer's whole life is about connections. college, law firms, government. i'd wager he learned of this service from an old friend...perhaps someone between client 1 and client 8.

Sent by IMHO | 2:55 PM | 3-11-2008

The only time that sex lifestyles should be in the public domain is when the sex is not consentual, and there is some kind of opression, or damage inflicted on others.

Sent by Manuel Laureano | 2:57 PM | 3-11-2008

The "folks" who trapped Spitzer play very rough. What will they do to someone
like Hillary or Barak if they are elected? Can either of them survive four
years of attacks as they launched on
Bill?

Sent by L. P. | 3:01 PM | 3-11-2008

If you have an affair, you can at least claim passion: "I was carried away," "it was true love," etc.

That doesn't apply to hiring a prostitute. It's not something you do in the heat of the moment, even though you know it's wrong -- it's deliberately setting out to do wrong.

Sent by janet | 3:06 PM | 3-11-2008

Why is prostitution is illegal? Sexual slavery should be illegal; battery should be illegal; bate and switch should be illegal. All of those hurt the parties involved. Who is the crime against during prostitution?

Since it is illegal, Gov. Spitzer clearly must be held accountable for breaking the law - and he should receive significant consequences given his duty to uphold the law.

However, all this talk about his morality is hypocritical given our society's focus on objectifying women and on glamorizing sex.

Sent by Kelly Orr | 3:08 PM | 3-11-2008

Now that the Eliot Spitzer situation has unfolded, I can't help but think about the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton. I do have a big problem with Hilary Clinton as President Hilary Clinton since her presidency will include Bill Clinton, who was impeached. To have Bill Clinton back in the White House as First Gentleman sends a message to many of us, especially young people, that Clinton's impeachment and conduct while President is something that can be overlooked. I'm sorry that it's worked out this way for Hilary Clinton, but I think Bill Clinton needs to go away quietly. He was impeached. I don't care to hear 4 more years of late night jokes about the Clintons. Bill does not belong in the White House.

Sent by Ann | 3:17 PM | 3-11-2008

Nazerath 2000 some years ago. I'd love to meet a guy that went by the name Jesus, but I'd want to meet him before he became famous. I'd want to meet him in the carpenter shop that his father ran. And to see the man for real. Obviously he wouldn't look like the pictures hung in churches today

Sent by Zebulun Waterbury | 3:21 PM | 3-11-2008

I'm not sure why Peter assumed Spitzer's behavior is something that started recently.

The current headline on the NY Post website is "A History of Hookers" and it is reporting that he has been doing this for at least six years, perhaps more than a decade.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/03112008/news/regionalnews/spitzer_has_used_hookers_for_6_years__so_101444.htm

Sent by Steve Rhodes | 3:39 PM | 3-11-2008

I smell the scent of Ivey league education in the Sagal interview. However, comparing the prostitution industry to the manufacturing industry is a leap that even Harvard wouldn't attempt. If a man says he is not an expert on a topic then NPR should take his word for it and let him keep his mouth shut.

Sent by Chris Shadwell | 7:32 PM | 3-11-2008

Ignorance is the problem in this country, Clinton went through Impeachment hearings, he was not impeached! So yeah what he did was not Impeachable behavior.....

Sent by Manuel Laureano | 8:26 PM | 3-11-2008

I was very disappointed with the sniggering, winking attitude taken towards prostitution and adultery in the Sagal interview. There is nothing funny about adultery; It has ruined the lives of many men, women and their innocent children, and its wounds often carry over into future generations.

There is nothing cutsey or humorous about it, and yet the host and guest seemingly could not stop laughing towards the end of the interview.

In regard to legalizing protitution, does it not give anyone pause to think that many of the men that visit prostitutes are married?

Sent by Melissa Taylor | 4:18 PM | 3-12-2008

Quite true. However Clinton WAS impeached. He was not, on the other hand, found guilty and removed from office.

Sent by Waldo Zimmer | 8:37 PM | 3-12-2008