Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Can Eliot Spitzer improve his obit with a stellar comeback?

My name is Joe Coscarelli and I'm a reporter for New York magazine. I'm writing to with hopes of gaining some (potentially light-hearted) insight about obituaries from professionals, specifically in reference to Eliot Spitzer's -- a long time from now, God willing.

When his prostitution scandal first broke in 2008, there was a mention from a friend in the Times about how the scandal did not have to lead his obituary:

“I told him that I think, in the end, this incident will be a footnote to a great life lived greatly, and that he still has the ability to make enormous contributions,” said Alan M. Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor, who once counted Mr. Spitzer as a student and now counts him as a friend. “One of his goals has to be to make this a footnote in his obituary, and not make it the lead.”

A year later, a similar subject was touched upon in Spitzer's interview with Vanity Fair:

“Do you think the scandal will ever go away?,” I asked.
“No. My obituary’s written,” [Spitzer] replied with shocking finality. “And that is a very hard thing to live with.”

My question is, in light of his comeback and campaign for NYC comptroller: What would Spitzer have to do to not have his misdeeds lead his obit? Would he have to win this seat? Become mayor? President? Is there any hope for him?

I'd love to chat with any obit writers or editors you might be able to connect me with, whether via email or by phone at 212 508 0593.

Any help would be much appreciated!

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