Gentle readers, sometimes we harpies come across displays of such howling stupidity that we feel honor-bound to share it with you, if for no other reason than to make you feel better about yourselves as you contrast your own native intelligence and common sense against that of the post’s author.
To wit: Rick Smith’s HuffPo article “On Martha Stewart and the Psychology of Prostitution” in which Mr. Smith challenges us:
Here’s a simple quiz.
Are married, well to do men more or less likely to practice unprotected sex with prostitutes than their less established counterparts?
The answer is surprising. According to a study by psychologist Dieter Kleiber, those men living the most stable and successful lives are significantly more likely to practice unprotected sex when patroning services from ladies of the night.
Upon first examination, this is completely irrational. These are the people with the most to lose. The risk/reward equation is clearly tipped in favor of playing it safe. And yet, stability is now known to increase the propensity to take on unnecessary risk. How can this be?
The reason, it turns out, is that stability and success over time lead us to falsely conclude that we are invincible. “The more secure and orderly a man’s life is, the more he believes in his own invulnerability,” Kleiner summarizes.
That answer is surprising to no one here at Harpyness, nor to women in general or Silda Spitzer, Hillary Clinton, Mrs. Larry Craig or Mrs. Ted Haggard in particular. It’s always the Masters of the Universe, the alpha dogs, the pillars of their community whose money and power lead them to falsely believe they can get away with murder, or, in this case “assignations with ladies of the night.” (Quoth sarah.of.a.lesser.god: “Ladies of the night? Really? They’re still using that one?”) It has ever been thus, and the fact that this seems counterintuitive to Rick Smith is only a reflection of how lousy Rick Smith’s intuition is.
But wait! It gets better! Because the next line is:
Which brings me to Martha Stewart.
O rly? Do go on…
Mr. Smith then explains how Martha suffered from the same overconfidence as those men who enjoy barebacking with “ladies of the night”, thus leading her to commit securities fraud. Never mind the obvious comparison fail: those condom-averse johns are almost never prosecuted, let alone convicted and jailed as Martha was. It was worth it for that one segue–perhaps the most ham-handed and giggle-inducing that I’ve ever read, even on the interwebs. Plus, you know ol’ Rick got a naughty thrill out of juxtaposing Martha and prostitution in the title–in fact, I suspect the entire article was crafted so he could have the excuse to do just that.
Thanks for the lulz, Rick. And the boost in my self-esteem–I feel smarter already.
*Special thanks to the wit of fellow Jezebel commenters westvillagegirl and nessalicious for the title.