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Are you suffering from the heartbreak of psoriasis?

If you are, you shouldn't worry. Help is on the way. At least, I think so. I can only assume that personal health problems such as these will be next on New York Attorney General/gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer's agenda.

Certainly, crime is no longer a problem in the state of New York. After all, a few weeks ago he took time from his busy campaign schedule to save us from the scourge of bad music on the radio, leading to this Onionesqe quote:

As a result, Mr. Spitzer said in the settlement documents, "Sony BMG and the other record labels present the public with a skewed picture of the country's 'best' and 'most popular' recorded music."
(They did? The bastards! I am so disillusioned. I honestly thought Ashlee Simpson was one of the country's best singers. Next you're going to tell me that America's Next Top Model may not actually be America's next top model.)

And for an encore, he decided to protect us from the horror of tasteless radio sketches.

The New York State attorney general's office, which usually busies itself with white-collar crime, took the time yesterday to announce a crackdown on a face-slapping contest.
(Yes, you read that correctly.)
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said at a news conference that the parent company of a New York radio station, WQHT-FM, known as Hot 97, had agreed to pay $240,000 in penalties for its "Smackfest" competition, in which two contestants, usually young women, slap each other while standing several feet apart in the station's studio in Greenwich Village. The station also agreed to end the contests.

At the news conference, Mr. Spitzer played a clip that the station had posted on its Web site. It showed a man in a sweatshirt standing on the side between the two young women, their faces blurred out, and directing them in a loud voice.

"Queens, go!" he said, using one woman's competition name. She then smacked the other woman across the face. When they were not slapping each other, they stood with their hands behind their backs. The winner was the one who delivered the loudest slap.

I can think of less interesting things to listen to on the radio... like static. But it would be a close call. Of course, my solution would be to turn the dial -- which I guess explains why I'm not running for governor. I would assume it's just boring and pointless; fortunately, I have Eliot Spitzer to set me straight:
Mr. Spitzer said: "You can see how disturbing this is, how appalling. We'd like to think that we've advanced beyond the days of the Roman Colosseum."
Ah, yes. We clearly haven't. I distinctly remember reading the works of the great Roman historian Tacitus, describing the classic face-slapping contests between the Christians and the lions. Who won those, by the way?

And can we feed Eliot Spitzer to the lions? Where on earth does the Attorney General of New York get the authority to fine radio stations for tasteless (or even "disturbing" or "appalling") material? The article doesn't say; the New York Times spent three paragraphs giving us the history of face-slapping (I'm not making this up, folks -- read the article), but provided just this one cryptic comment on the legal issue:

The station crossed a legal line by advertising and profiting from the contest, said Francine James, the deputy attorney general who led the investigation.
Yes, there was an "investigation." ("Hey, Francine, what did you do at work today?" "Listened to the radio.") Your tax dollars at work, folks.


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Comments (1)

You're not the only asking these questions, David:


A Debate Featuring:

Richard Epstein,who is the James Parker Hall Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1972, and where he served as Interim Dean from February to June 2001. He has also been the Peter and Kirstin Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution since 2000, and he is currently visiting NYU Law School for a few weeks. Professor Epstein received bachelors degrees from Columbia College and Oxford University, and a law degree from Yale University. He has published numerous books and articles on a wide range of legal and interdisciplinary topics, the most recent being "Skepticism and Freedom: A Modern Case for Classical Liberalism" (University of Chicago, 2003).


James E. Tierney,who served as the Attorney General of Maine from 1980 until 1990. He is now the Director of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School, where he has also taught as a Lecturer-in-Law since the fall of 2000. He has held a variety of special appointments, including serving as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of Florida during the contested 2000 Presidential election. During the Spring of 2005 he will also be teaching at Northeastern Law School. He currently practices as a consultant to attorneys general and others regarding state regulatory structures and multi-state initiatives. Tierney is a graduate of the University of Maine and its School of Law.

moderated by:

Mark W. Smith,who is a partner at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP New York, New York and author of The New York Times Best-Seller, "The Official Handbook of the Vast Right- Wing Conspiracy," published by Regnery Books in 2004.

DATE: Thursday, September 8, 2005

TIME: Reception will begin at 6 p.m. with the debate to follow at 7 p.m.

LOCATION:The Cornell Club, 6 East 44th Street, New York, NY 10017

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:Refreshments will be served. The event is free of charge and open to the public. Reservations are not required. For more information, telephone Mark Schuman at (212) 578-9043 or e-mail: mschuman18@yahoo.com


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