Everything you need to know about DC is in the history of K Street. K Street is now the domain of the high and the mighty: former politicians, former diplomats, retired military brass. Folks who skim the cream off the top. Kingmakers and deciders. But back in the day, K Street was not so glamorous, populated not by skyscrapers but by run down shacks. Back then, K Street was bars, funeral parlors and whore houses. Low feeders all.
What’s up everybody!
Joseph, Sam is telling us about the K Street whore houses of yesteryear.
Sounds like juicy stuff!
Back then K Street was the Washington DC microcosm. Still is. Back then, funeral parlors and whore houses lined the streets. Still do. Oh, and did I leave out the bars? Oh yeah, the bars.
(Sam gets that twinkle in his eyes that he sometimes gets.)
Y’all ever read Iceberg Slim? (Pause.) Don’t answer. I sneaked and read Iceberg Slim novels when I was a teenager. His real name was Robert Beck and he was a storyteller’s storyteller.
Anyway, in Iceberg Slim’s world, there were three personality types: Pimps, Whores and Tricks. I’ve extended those types to K Street and to Washington, DC overall. Everybody’s either a pimp, a whore, or a trick. Sorta like Myers Briggs. Of course, present company is excepted as none of y’all are part of any of this.
In it but not of it, I always say.
Pimps are the bosses, the managers, the rainmakers. They arrange the factors of production. Tricks are the consumers, the Johns who ply the sex trade. But in their minds they don’t produce anything. Whores are the resource, the site of production, and the bottom of the food chain, except without them, there would be no food chain. That is K Street in a nutshell, and that is Washington, DC in microcosm.
(Another pause. Another eye twinkle.)
It all boils down to that painting by Carracci, The Choice of Hercules.
Let me pull that up on my iPad. (Pause.) Got it.
Whoa, Sam! You got me real confused.
And you know I have some issues with your interpretations of paintings!
Maha has the painting on her iPad. You see Hercules has two choices in the painting. There is the woman of vice and earthly pleasures seeking to entice Hercules, and there is the woman of virtue, pointing him to the path of glory through hardships. And in the corner there is the scribe, keeping the record. We can’t all be Hercules or the beautiful women between whom he must choose. And somebody’s gotta be the scribe.
Is that it? That’s the end of the story?
That’s only the beginning of the story. The first level of analysis. We will save the iconography and the iconology discussions for the next time.
(Pause.) (Sam sips his coffee.)