Monday, February 25, 2019

The Wages of Sin Are Usually Ridicule

When the high and mighty walk into open manholes, everyone else laughs. The immediate reaction, also the continuing reaction to the news that Patriots owner Robert Kraft was busted for soliciting prostitution was a barrage of off-color jokes, some quite funny. When it was known the bust involved Orchids of Asia, a very low-rent south Florida strip mall massage parlor, the barrage grew heavier, dirtier, and I have to admit, funnier.

I have no cannons of my own to join the barrage. Sure I laughed, but the whole affair makes me depressed, a sadness that grows the more I think about it. I feel bad about Bob Kraft, about wealth, about human males, of which I am one. Kraft's bust is pure yuck all the way down.

Start with Kraft himself. Let me confess I've always kind of liked him, ever since I covered the Pats' Wars of the Sullivan Succession back in the '80s when Kraft showed the real way to a reporter's heart by returning my phone calls. He has been a model sports franchise owner, learning through trial and error that football is not like regular business, and that the path to success is to hire football people you think are good at it, while focusing the owner's energy on his skill -- making money. He's made oodles of money and the Pats have won six Super Bowls. That's as fair a bargain as fans can expect.

And this is what he does for fun? Is the quest for fame and fortune so empty that it ends at the Orchids of Asia? Don't the Lombardi Trophies he can use for office doorstops provide enough of an inner glow that at age 77 he doesn't feel the need for a rub and tug in a joint no prudent man would enter without wearing a Hazmat suit?

Evidently not. Evidently great wealth breeds a sense he can do what he wants whenever he wants, and personal dignity be damned.

Also personal decency. Like any other business, prostitution comes in many forms, and the reason Orchids of Asia became a Jupiter police department priority is that its form was pretty close to slavery, with immigrant young women held against their will, helpless by their inability to make contact with the outside world that isn't all horny old men. That's not just yuck. That's an outrage that ought to shame all of us.

Why did Bob Kraft wind up there? Is he just a cheap bastard, unwilling to pay for the top-shelf courtesans he can afford to set up in their own mansions if he wishes? Maybe. I hope so anyway. It's the most flattering explanation.

The other explanation for Kraft bust is a damning one, literally so for the religious among us. It's possible Kraft knew perfectly well what the setup was at Orchids of Asia and that's why he was there. The youth and vulnerability of its sex workers were a turn-on. Degrading himself was a turn-on.

That's beyond yuck to pure disgusting.  I hope it's not so. Maybe Kraft was just horny and as stupid as that condition generally makes the human male. If that's the case, then the only punishment he will really suffer, a subsequent lifetime of being laughed at by millions, will fit his crime. I mean, I'm gonna laugh next fall when CBS gives its obligatory shots of Kraft in the owner's box at Gillette and Jim Nantz has to say something. How could anyone not?

Behind my laughter, however, will remain the dark suspicion something very much darker was going on when Kraft visited that massage parlor, a darkness for which society has never found a punishment. Worst of all, society's never even tried.


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