Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
If a biopic were made based solely on 20/20′s exclusive interview with Ashley Dupré, former Governor Eliot Spitzer’s famed call girl, it might be called: “The Whore Next Door.” Diane Sawyer asked plenty of questions of Dupré during the special, which aired Friday night, but there was one question at its heart: How does a normal all-American girl end up selling her body for cash?
At the beginning of the special, we’re shown images of average young women — who, pssst, are actually call girls — walking around town and drinking wine in high-end restaurants, as Sawyer intones: “Most mystifying are the girls who came from nice homes, nice neighborhoods.” Sawyer later says of Dupré: “She started out in a neighborhood probably like many of ours.” In case you aren’t quite getting her point, she later asks Dupré, “Do you think it could be anybody’s daughter, anybody’s friend?” Her response: “Yes.”
Dupré’s story is a familiar one, and one we have come to expect from female sex workers (and symbols): Her father was absent during her childhood, and her older brother ran away from home when she was just 12. She explains, in a little-girl voice reminiscent of Britney Spears: “I think by not having my father and my brother around, I really … I felt like I missed something,” she says, choking up. “To have a certain level of respect for yourself, how to carry yourself. Have that father that, you know, if I’m dating a guy and he can’t stand him, you know, stick up for me and say, ‘What are you doing?’ The unconditional love feeling … I just couldn’t find it.” She turned to work as an escort as a way to “emotionally disconnect myself, rather than be in a relationship and get hurt and be vulnerable.” Sex with clients required being “emotionally disconnected — like from your heart to your head,” she says.
The most — OK, the only — riveting part of the short interview comes in a moment of courtroom style tension: Sawyer says, “You say ‘the work’ but you haven’t said the words …” With a grin, Dupré responds simply: “The work.” Sawyer offers a rebuttal: “Prostitution.” Dupré’s face is steel; she does not flinch at the utterance of the word. She pauses for a moment and then widens her eyes as she says: “Escort.” Sawyer: “What’s the difference?” She darts her eyes to the left and says through a smile: “Escort.” Again, Sawyer asks, “What’s the difference?” At this point I am half expecting Dupré to break her calm and storm out of the room. Instead, she utters an “um” and then pauses. “I think it’s um” — she closes her eyes — “the same.” Her eyes pop open and she adds: “Perhaps.” Sawyer asks Dupré whether there is a difference in her mind, and she responds, “Prostitution is only about sex whereas an escort is more … it’s time spent … and, you know, most of the time you go in and you’re just someone to talk to.” (Let’s be real: Sex is hardly ever “only about sex.” I’ve heard many accounts similar to Dupré’s of intensely emotional conversations with clients from self-proclaimed prostitutes who do not travel in high-class circles.)
The special’s intended take-away was clearly that any girl — your daughter, sister, friend or neighbor — could be, or become, a prostitute. There was every early indication that ABC would choose that narrative. In promoting the interview Friday on “Good Morning America,” Sawyer teased viewers: “Tonight, she talks about her choices and why she thinks it could have been any girl next door.” The subtext is not so far from the promise of a late-night “Girls Gone Wild” commercial: Watch a good girl go bad! The Web site also provided “Ashley Dupré’s Photo Album,” with family pictures of her as a baby, an innocent schoolgirl, an adolescent cheerleader and a “pretty popular” high school student. It’s an illustrated guide to Dupré’s journey from sweet little girl to call girl.
So, what was there to be learned from the 20/20 interview? Not much, considering that ABC leaked much of the goods in its weeklong promotion of the special — but they could afford to. I suspect that, more than the particulars of Dupré’s narrative, we wanted to hear, once again, the story of how good girls go bad.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.