Every good sex scandal eventually generates its share of fascinating legal questions, but first, the scandal needs a name. I'll reveal my own choice at the end of this entry (no peaking!) but first some general thoughts. "Spitzergate" is already making its way into the news but it's just sooooooo derivative, as is anything with "gate" in it. Indeed, at this point, calling any scandal a "gate" should be the equivalent of not giving the scandal a name at all, as "gate" has become a working synonym for "scandal."
What makes for a good scandal name? The name should be catchy, it should encapsulate what the scandal is all about, and if possible, it should have multiple layers of meaning. That's why I always favored "The Lewinsky Affair" back in the 1990s. The rhythm called to mind less comic episodes like "The Dreyfus Affair," even as "affair" had its clear double meaning.
The NY Post headline yesterday was "Ho No," which is both too low-brow for my audience and is not, in any event, a name for the scandal. The Village Voice, which refers to the matter accurately but uncreatively as "The Spitzer Sex Scandal," has an amusing wrap-up of the tabloid coverage here.
Okay, so now we come to the contest. In the comments section, you can pick a name for the scandal or vote for a name chosen by somebody else. There is no limit to the number of entries per reader, so go wild. And just to be a good sport, I'll open the bidding with my own choice: "Eliot Mess" or a variant such as "Eliot's Mess" or "the Eliot Mess." Although I came up with this on my own, I then googled it and got a ton of hits, so I can't claim any kind of originality.
Posted by Mike Dorf