It’d be a shame if something were to happen…

Over the weekend, I found out, a step behind the new cycle, of the death of Deborah Jean Palfrey, the “DC Madam” – a rather hastily arrived at “suicide by hanging” was the finding.  Interestingly enough, the main person championing this finding – the only one to whom she seems to have said she was going to kill herself – was Dan Moldea, who’s been saying, “Nothing to see here, citizens…move along!” for many years now, explaining away the deaths of Bobby Kennedy, Jimmy Hoffa, and Vince Foster among others.  In Moldea’s world, covertly despondent people cap themselves in the back of the head from twenty-five yards all the time, don’tcha know*, and he seems to have been trotted out once again in this case.

Literary criticism has its “pre-critical response”; our trivia team at the pub has its rule of “the first answer is the one you go with”…I don’t know all the particulars of the case, and I’m not sure it’s germane to the real story**, but this certainly has a particular “feel” to it, to the point that some commonfolk called it in advance – and when that’s the case, someone – someone – should sit up and take notice.

* Being a subject of Dan Moldea’s writing must be similar to being a friend of Jessica Fletcher’s. If she arrives in town to catch up with an old friend and have a cup of tea, run, do not walk outta that town. You don’t want to be the latest subject for her investigation…

** You can study a tree right down to each crag in the bark, but that’ll never tell you where it is in the forest.


6 Responses

  1. I think this one prob. was a suicide.

    I think she was caught up in her own myth, the she was “the high end madam to the movers and shakers of DC.” She published her records, and a bunch of people ran them through the grist mill and only came up with a handful of small fry public figures. I think she believed her own PR and believed that she had enough highly placed customers that she was safe. And the truth is she wasn’t the high end, not even close. The high end doesn’t advertise, and isn’t reviewed, and ‘regular people’ don’t get in the door even if the do find out about it. [And then there is the Wonkette story that probably gives an even better picture of how the ‘high end’ works.]

    While she probably had a few quasi-prestigous clients (probably a few county gov’t level-ish – she stayed in business long after Doug “deserves a kick in the nuts” Duncan tried to ride into the statehouse on the backs of out-of-work working girls) the bulk of her business was clearly the usual upper middle class customers – too fastidious for street walkers, not well-heeled enough for a mistress.

    When she found out that she wasn’t protected, and that her highly placed customers were in fact virtual-nobodies, and her threats of outing them had no effect, I can see how the shock/disillusionment would take a major toll: Plan A “Don’t get caught”, Plan B “use my customers as a bargining chip” … oops – there is no plan C, game over.

  2. Some more on this story, which I just discovered:

    A quote from the DC Madam: “If taken into custody, my physical safety and most probably my very life would be jeopardized. Rape, beating, maiming, disfigurement and more than likely murder disguised in the form of just another jailhouse accident or suicide would await me…”

    Of course that was in 1991, after an attempt to arrest her in San Diego. More recently:

    “No, I’m not planning to commit suicide. I’m planning on going into court and defending myself vigorously and exposing the government.” This was in a radio interview last month. It was with Alex Jones, granted, and by all means ignore him…but what she said was pretty clear, though not conclusive.

    As for how high-end she was, how about a U.S. Senator? I agree about advertising and such, but let’s not buy too heavily into the myth of “those who can pay more will”; this was plenty high-end enough for some.

    Again, not saying this is what happened, because frankly, it’s too early to say what happened. But boy howdy, that’s not stopping the “coincidence theorists”. The speed at which they want this woman buried is getting to be as suspicious as the deed itself.

  3. flip side I’ve seen transcripts of documents purporting to part of her harassment filings vs. the ’91 arrest where she said the persecution by officer what’s his name trying to find evidence to ‘get her’ had her feeling depressed and suicidal. The other recent HoCo lady that comitted suicide worked for Palfrey when she started out, and Palfrey had some unkind words re: her suicide, that is also feeding the consipiracy contingent – “if she said that she couldn’t possibly do it” sorts.

    One Senator doesn’t make a high end service, it means a clueless or out-of favor senator (see also Dick Morris).

    Let’s face it if *I’m* not seeing a conspiracy, then it must be built on pretty thin speculation.

    And yes they want it over with. It’s pulling too much coverage and it’s election year, they need to have a news day clear of slaciousness so they can arrest some more dangerous whores to prove how tough they are on crime.

  4. For what it’s worth, the autopsy results confirm that she hanged herself, and her mother and sister both verified the handwriting in her suicide notes. See:

    I’m not sure quite how much more evidence there could be.

  5. The “unkind words” were that she was “made of stronger stuff”…

    So lessee. She predicts she’ll be “suicided” by the gubmint, she is, and the only guy who heard it beforehand was the guy who wrote a book defending the cops guarding Bobby Kennedy and saying that Jimmy Hoffa just happened to step in some wet cement by accident. The WashPost trumpets it to high heaven, because a newspaper wouldn’t want to print anything salacious, and…well, that’s that, I suppose.

    Boy, you must be tired lately. Voting for McCain, I guess? How’s American Idol going? :-J

  6. @Free: I’m not saying that she didn’t. I am saying, however, that there is also ample evidence to investigate this further – and the rush to get everyone in line saying that she hanged herself and there was no other explanation even remotely possible; toxicology reports hadn’t even been returned before the verdict was made and the (Post) article was printed.

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