Does Crime Pay For Classy Criminals?


It seems to be important that this drug bust, which tied relatively well-to-do Columbia students to low-class drug pushers, is labeled as an “Ivy League” bust.

If it is “high class,” does this make it less bad to violate the law? Somehow I think of a woman I recently met, Sydney Biddle Barrows, the Mayflower Madam. I received her recent book on marketing as a gift, and whatever her past, she seems to be an astute businesswoman.  In person she was exceedingly pleasant, and dressed a LOT more conservatively than would expect of a woman of her reputation. The idea is that people made a great deal of her past because she was a woman who made a profession of managing prostitutes, but did it with both business sense and panache. In America, where we often proudly say we are a classless society — but we aren’t.  It seems to me that there are few places where we value “class” more than breaking the law.

Our ideals, as evidenced by looking at an adult costuming page, tend to wanting to adopt the persona of such characters as a “classy gangster’s moll.” Even back many years ago, when my father of blessed memory was teaching music and band directing, he said junior high girls talked about being a classy gangster’s moll as if it were a career decision.

I’m not sure what the gangs of today’s cities call their female hangers-on, but I prefer the term “moll” to some of the less flattering names I’ve heard.

Of course, we also remember when the movie “Pretty Woman” came out, that all of the girls wanted to be wildly attractive prostitutes who married rich guys. Back to the Columbia U. guys caught in the New York bust — Knowing that you are from a privileged class, if you are young enough to still not know a lot about the rest of the world, can confer a sense of invulnerability, entitlement, denial.  My guess is these young guys just didn’t think this could happen. Reminds me a little of the girls at my very own alma mater, a classy Boston prep school.  It always seemed to be the quietest and most reserved girls who got pregnant and went with mom on “secret” (you can tell how secret) trips to the U.K. (before abortions became legal on this side of the pond). It is virtually impossible to mythologize the life of street crime for a lot of classy folks, like me. However, high class criminals who go to country club-like prisons and seem to fail upward.  It’s no surprise that the idea of living high on the hog with classy criminals must be in a lot of people’s fantasies.

These are the kinds of criminals we meet (and enjoy) on shows like The Mentalist.

This is obviously something best enjoyed in fantasy.  As a matter of fact, I never found anything like it in reality.  After years of doing prison work and waiting for someone as fascinatingly classy as, say Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis Prof. Moriarty, I find instead in my life mentally impaired criminals who don’t plan well, and usually disavow ownership of the trousers they happen to be wearing in an attempt to lie which doesn’t work.

Crime really does not seem to pay, at least not down here where I am.
Although up higher, many wonder.  I suppose the NYPD is delighted to have broken such a “high class” circle.

I wonder if anyone who reads about it will learn this.

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