A shonda for the Religious Society of Friends?

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
March 10 2008 10:09 PM

A Shonda for the Quakers?

What does Eliot Spitzer have against George Fox?

Read more of Slate's coverage of the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal.

Silda and Eliot Spitzer. Click image to expand.
Silda and Eliot Spitzer

Eliot Spitzer is known as "Client 9" to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. To prostitutes, though, he was known by the alias "George Fox." If the "companions" available via Emperors' Club VIP were anywhere near as sophisticated as its Web site promised, then they likely recognized New York's high-profile governor. Even if they didn't, Spitzer's choice of pseudonym was kind of rude. The real George Fox is a somewhat hallowed figure in the annals of Christian faith. He founded the Religious Society of Friends (aka the Quakers) in England during the mid-17th century.

Fox was imprisoned repeatedly for his beliefs. Then his faith was dragooned into selling oatmeal. Then Jimmy Stewart made fun of the way Quakers talk in The Philadelphia Story ("Dost thou have a washroom?"). Then Richard Nixon, one of their own, spurned their pacifism by ordering  the Christmas bombings. Now this indignity is visited upon the long-suffering Quakers. In considering his political options, Spitzer may still have friends. But I doubt he has any Friends.


Update, March 11, 2008: George Fox, the New York Times reports, is the name of a donor and friend of Spitzer's. Told that the governor registered under his name at the Mayflower, this George Fox said, "That is the first I have heard of it." George Fox, the founding Quaker, who died 317 years ago, was unavailable for comment.

In other news, Spitzer lent his name  five years ago to a special citation "for academic and personal excellence" at ... Brooklyn Friends School!

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.



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