Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Let's talk about "linked," shall we.

When I first read the NYT headlines "Spitzer Linked to Prostitution Ring" I thought that he was materially involved with organizing the ring (hence the txt mssg, Oren). That would have been very, very bad; but he wasn't. He was a "client." I am not "linked" to Hiller's Market just because I buy kosher Munster there, nor am I linked to BP because I fill my car at a BP station. Consumers and distributors just have different levels of culpability and the article's syntax masked that. I am not going to get all philosophy of language at the moment, but the NYT was irresponsible, sensationalist and stupid. (Yes, Jeremy, you get a point.)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, what a bunch of whores.
-Oren

Yehuda said...

Last I checked, buying kosher Munster cheese at Hiller's market was still legal under United States law, as is buying gas at BP. As I understand it, the issue with your governor is that he was breaking the law.

Regarding semantic issues: if someone were buying automatic weapons illegally from Hizb-Allah, I believe we would say he was linked to Hizb-Allah.

Anonymous said...

I think the issue is the combination of "linked" with a reference to the "ring." It implied that he was "linked" to the ring in its ring-ness, that it, in an organizational capacity. But really, he was just "linked to prostitutes," not "linked to a prostitution ring." that's zev's distinction: between being linked to the business side and being a customer. Spitzer was only the latter. And while both are illegal, Yehuda, they are legally as well as morally distinct crimes...
-Miriam

Yehuda said...

Miriam, I did not mean to imply that arms trading and prostitution were at all similar. Also, these prostitutes, it seems, were part of a ring; thus one could not be linked to them and not to it.

Zev said...

I think by "both" Miriam meant the "supplier" and "consumer" of the sex industry.

I guess we aren't going to agree about the definition here (I do like Miriam's point about the ring-ness, though). Suffice it to say that, besides me, three people I know drew similar conclusions until examining the article further. A simple, "Spitzer Suspected of Soliciting Prostitution" would have been more clear, and not as sensationalist.

bachrach44 said...

I must admit I feel vindicated seeing you say that, because I said the same thing to Rebecca who dismissed me.