Yesterday, conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham tried hard to get Natalie Dylan to feel bad about auctioning her virginity. Ms. Dylan made Ms. Ingraham look dumb — and made us feel a little dirty.
Ingraham kicked things off with a little plug for her book, then encouraged Dylan to think about "eternity" and "the legacy you're gonna leave behind." When that didn't work, she tried to make Dylan feel guilty about treating her body like "a commodity." Ingraham asked, "you don't think God helped create the human form and that God has a special plan for you?" And Dylan responded, "we all use our bodies for work."
Ingraham then accused Dylan of being lazy, asking "do you ever plan on getting a real job?" She plowed right on through with the laziness argument, even though Dylan said she currently has two jobs. When she asked what would happen if a bunch of people got together and paid Dylan to stay a virgin, Dylan said, "there's so many more places people should donate their money."
Perhaps the most telling segment of the show, however, was when Dylan's MySpace friend Raquel called in to offer her support. Raquel talked about her sex change, then asked why Ingraham was spending time harping on Dylan when she should be asking Alan Greenspan "where the $531 trillion worth of derivatives went." Ingraham first insisted on referring to Raquel by her birth name of Bruce, and then told her that "there are some things more important than money." To which Dylan responded, "virginity's not one of them to me."
The truth is, Alan Greenspan's choices are more important to Americans than Natalie Dylan's, and Ingraham didn't have Dylan on the show because she cares about morality. She cares about ratings, and Dylan's media ubiquity (today's Daily News has her girl-crushing on Kim Kardashian) demonstrates that ratings are something she can provide. Dylan's very smart, and she seems to have better values than her interviewer (even conservative blog Hot Air mocks Ingraham, calling the interview "just 15 minutes of Ingraham trying to shame this woman into regret. And failing utterly.") But Dylan also comes off as extremely mercenary. Ingraham speculates that she won't actually go through with the virginity sale, and that she'll instead use her newfound notoriety to make money on books and TV appearances. This seems likely. Dylan looks poised to become more fame-whore than real whore — a path unfortunately not open to the many, many prostitutes in the world with fewer resources than her.