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December 18, 2009

Ashley Dupre – from infamy to fame

J0436414 Real life seems to mimic far-fetched SNL sketches more often these days. There have been so many outrageous media occurrences that we are involuntarily thrown into. They create an overloaded reality-show atmosphere to daily living. I can't help but be simultaneously amused and disturbed.

Case in point: Ashley Dupre becomes the NY Post's latest hire as 'advice columnist'. For those unfamiliar with her story, Ms. Dupre is the high class escort that was a key player in toppling former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer. Ironically, Mr. Spitzer's career was built on a holier-than-thou platform that included prosecuting individuals who operated adult prostitution businesses. The theory of glass houses took him crashing down hard and fast, with little sympathy from a public he was not all that popular with from the onset. Ms. Dupre, on the other hand, peaked their interest. She became a pseudo celebrity.

Although her climb to fame was on the ladder of infamy, the end result is still a sweet job with the NY Post. My first reaction to this news was one of disgust. With media outlets laying off droves of quality journalists on a daily basis, it is hard to swallow the likes of a high priced hooker on the payroll in a writing capacity.

But hey, who better to give advice on such topics as "How do I know if my daughter is getting in trouble?" and "Are there telltale signs a man isn't happy in his marriage?" than a women who has walked in her spike-heeled shoes? Think about it for a moment. She is authentic. So I decided to be open-minded and give her a chance. 

Her first column appeared this week complete with a terrible sexy librarian style photo and a poorly produced, equally awfully acted video soliciting questions. Not a great start. I went on to read her column and was surprised that the answers to most of the questions were well thought out, solid advice with both a sensible and sensitive voice. I have my doubts about whether she is actually writing this column, it surely does not seem to be written by a teenage runaway turned paid sexual companion, but that is not my focus here.

My point is that sometimes the climb out of the gutter lands you right at the top of the heap. Turn the page of the paper and find last season's scandal girl from the cover in the byline of the advice column. A cinderella story of sorts? 

This is surely no more outrageous than the infamous 1992 Amy Fisher story. Dubbed the Long Island Lolita, the then 17-year-old shot her lover's wife, Mary Jo Buttafouco, in the head in the doorway of her own home. In some twist of shameful injustice she pled guilty to first-degree aggravated assault instead of the initial first-degree murder charge and served only seven years in prison. After her parole she was hired as a columnist for the Long Island Press.

In that context, the Ashley Dupre hire doesn't seem all that bad, right?

These are hard times to raise a family and nurture a marriage. What were the givens of our childhood have gotten lost in the mess of these cartoonish headlines. Nothing is shocking. Everyone seems to be able to rationalize away even the most deplorable of behaviors by those who are truly famous and powerful. 

Why then, should those who come up from the embarrassing position of infamy not be given the chance to succeed? Maybe they are simply the third ring of the circus. Ashley Dupre pledged to be more than 'that woman'. She told the Post that she felt like 'the poster child for redemption'. Well, kudos to her then. She took that status all the way to the bank. 

Ok, I don't honestly subscribe to that school of thought. But I can surely see how it is rationalized by the media. If the public keeps coming to the table with a knife and fork, they are going to keep on serving it up with the most exotic side dishes they can think of to keep the interest up.

Just a thought.

Original 50-something Moms Blog post. Amy Zimmerman also blogs at i could cry but i don't have time and leaving the zip code.