A recent Cal Tech study showed that when people think they are drinking an expensive wine, different areas of the brain are stimulated than if they are given the same wine and told it is cheap. The conclusion? Believing a wine is expensive truly makes it taste better.
Perhaps that in part accounts for Eliot Spitzer's taste for multi-diamond hookers. Paying $4,000 or more a pop was likely an important aspect of his fantasy, because the pleasure of such an experience is not wholly contained in the moment of culmination. Like most human pleasures, anticipation is a crucial part of the experience, and the buildup given these professional women by the marketing of the Emperor's Club was probably something that excited him for days before, as he worked himself into a state where he could make the call, that accompanied him on the plane to D.C., and titillated him all the way to his suite in a Washington hotel.
Sure, he could have picked up a 'one-club' prostitute on the streets of Albany, but that would have added nothing to the deluded fantasy world that existed in his mind.
When I was avidly bicycling, I was happy with my cheap Japanese bike until I found out about the Colnago, the epitome of Italian velo-art. For a while, a Colnago was all I could think about.
Perhaps Spitzer was similarly mesmerized by the concept of a "seven diamonds" hooker. A man accustomed to luxury goods, he probably derived a great deal of pleasure anticipating what unimaginable delights he might experience at the hands of a seven-diamonds prostitute.
I'm therefore convinced that his actions weren't about the friction of body parts. They served a need much deeper, and sadder. Within this powerful, successful, ostensibly family-loving man there must be another Spitzer. This Spitzer is a little man who, despite all his accomplishments, continues to demand more; more love, more power, more excitement. A little man that, if he isn't content by now, never will be. Who knows why his needs are unquenchable? This little man managed to grab the controls and, putting his foot on the throat of Spitzer's sense of right and wrong, dignity and intelligence, drove him into the wreck of his career and perhaps his family.
So why is news of Spitzer's fall so compelling to us? Perhaps it excites the little person inside each of us, who sees it as an indication that he too might some day be able to grab the controls and send us careening down the road to our own self-destruction.
Knowing the price of Spitzer's transgression makes it taste all the more foul. When the mighty fall, all the world becomes a little darker place, and the little men rejoice.