Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

The Giggle Box Comes Back

April 21st, 2011 · 3 Comments

I recently watched Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, which I can best describe as surprisingly awesome. As a resident of the Empire State, I thought I had a pretty good handle on our former governor’s self-destruction, but the flick gave me a whole new perspective on the affair. It’s shamelessly pro-Spitzer, and thus glosses over some of his more notable political failings, but it does make a convincing case that he probably deserved a break. His big mistake wasn’t cheating on his wife with call girls, the movie argues; it was being so aggressive on Wall Street and in Albany that the knives were out for him as soon as he slipped up.

What really makes the movie work is the assortment of characters that director Alex Gibney convinced to get in front of his camera. My favorite might be Cecil Suwal, the madam of the escort service that provided Spitzer with his temporary paramours. The New York Times‘ David Carr aptly describes her as “a giggle box of truth”—there’s a great scene (and possible Poncho nominee) in which she bursts out laughing while describing how she calculated the overnight rates for her escorts by simply adding a zero to their hourly rates. It takes you a moment to realize that she’s talking about a sophisticated, multinational call girl ring, rather than the time she and her sorority sisters got drunk and did karaoke in Atlantic City.

Curious khan that I am, I naturally had to know what Suwal was up to these days. She’s out of prison, as is her husband and business partner, Mark Brener (who also happens to be about four decades her senior). The couple is no longer peddling flesh, but rather “success.” Their dodgy-sounding product is called “The Achievers’ System for Finding Joy, Fulfillment and Meaning in Success,” and it’s all described here:

This program contains the key to Creative Genius and the wealth it brings. It is the most Advanced, Complete System for Achievement, Success, Peace of Mind and Happiness. While course registration is yours at $25,000 USD our income is derived primarily from the success you gain after having taken this course.

This 15-week seminar course will change your life. It will enable you to rise to even higher levels of success than ever before. Gain access to the Supreme Powers inside you to structure and create your life according to your most important ideals…

This the first course to make public (largely buried) ancient knowledge and its direct relationship to leading Frontier Science. In the long chain of human evolution, access to such relevant information has never been so timely. Strictly for those accustomed to excellence, this course is that which the best of the best have long needed to reach their newly undiscovered heights…

During the period spent in the “desert” we were able to experience previously unknown facets of life, do personal research and learn from both contemporary and ancient teachers such as M. M. Schneerson, Eckhart Tolle, David Hawkins, Jesus Christ, Eric Kandel, Steven (sic) Hawking and many other beautiful people who in their own, unique ways pierced a few “layers” of, what Kabbalah and other writings call, universal wisdom.

If you read the fine print, you’ll note that the $25,000 course fee is only the beginning of an attendee’s financial commitment to Suwal and Brener. They will also owe the couple 10 percent of the gross profits on every $1 million they earn henceforth.

Personally, I’m skeptical that anyone who gets a “Property of Mark Brener” tattoo by their privates has a firm understanding of the mysteries of human existence. But if any Microkhan readers do take the plunge, please report back.


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3 Comments so far ↓

  • scottstev

    It was an excellent film, but the implication that Spitzer was set up was pretty weak. I’ve seen more logic in UFO docs. What law-enforcement agency is going to drop the issue when they find out a very powerful politician is up to shenanigans after the Bank reports a suspicious transaction? I could see them after-the-fact deciding it’s a waste, but until you prove that no donated money was used, you looking at more serious crimes than solicitation.

    I loved Suwal’s description of the raid. It was refreshing to see someone take ownership of the decision to break the law and accept the consequences with equanimity.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @scottstev: Yeah, agreed, Gibney definitely failed to prove his case. All he does is suggest that it seems suspicious that Spitzer’s bank transaction would get red-flagged, when there are so many hundreds or thousands of such suspect transactions made every day. But he gives no sense of how many suspicious banking reports get followed up on, nor how many similar transactions Spitzer made while he was patronizing the Emperor’s Club. It certainly seems that he used the service many times, so it’s possible that his transfers produced many reports over the months.

    The thing I don’t get about Suwal and Brener is why they kept $1 million in cash in a bedroom safe. The Cayman Islands are there for a reason, folks.

    I also loved the monologue by the painter about humans being half animal, half angel. Wish I could find that clip online to post here.

  • Jordan

    Eh, at least Spitzer wasn’t quite as bad as Jerry Springer. Paying for a prostitute with a cheque is pretty far up there in terms of stupid, embarrassing mistakes that politicians have made when it comes to sex.

    I wonder whether or not Suwal and Brener would actually be able to enforce the 10% contract.