Monday, May 07, 2007

Idle threat of the week

As a blogger not averse to dealing in sex, scandal and great personal embarrassment I was very excited about the case of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the alleged DC madam.

Palfrey's threat to out prominent members of the Washington establishment as customers of her 300 dollars an hour escort service sounded like the kind of news happening that could could net me three to six interesting blog posts. Which is a big deal -- these posts don't write themselves.

Little did I know -- in this day and age of G-list celebrities and 15-minutes of fame for everyone -- there can still be such a thing as a 46 pound stack of DC-area phone records without a single name of note. ABC, the network poised to ride the Madam's client list to ratings victory, conceded this, and, given their interest, I'm inclined to believe them.

As sex scandals go, the Palfrey affair did have structural flaws from the beginning. Since it was based in our dreary nation's capital all the players involved were sure to be far homelier than if it was set in any other comparative city of power. Then there was the issue of Palfrey denying sex took place at all. (Although having bold-faced names forced to define sex in a court of law was going to be part of the fun.) Add the late developing fact Palfrey's clients were actually a bunch of faceless workaday schmoes, and I'm staring right at the embarrassing reality that I bought into a scandal where anonymous ugly people paid each other not to have sex. Not so different than what goes on in the checkout line at the grocery store, it turns out.

The panel of judges agreed, and Deborah Jeane Palfrey's threat to bring sex scandal back to DC has massaged idle threat of the week for April 30 to May 6. Which serves as an important reminder: Sometimes an idle threat comes in a valid threat's clothing. So be on the look out for fraudulent threats and, as always, send nominations for idle threat of the week to this space.

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