Monday, January 29, 2007
Brandy Britton, RIP
According to the Baltimore Sun, former University of Maryland Baltimore County professor and alleged prostitute Brandy Britton died over the weekend, apparently of suicide. A relative, presumably one of her daughters, found the body.
Since her arrest for soliciting a little over a year ago, the HoCo Hooker, as I have called Brandy on this blog, was the subject of intermittent press attention, much of it generated by her. The novelty of her situation, a middle-aged PhD turning tricks out of a quiet suburban neighborhood, made her an enigmatic case study in the sex trade. Every time a court date loomed close, a newspaper article with a few new slivers of information about her past appeared.
I chronicled these media mini-circuses with an ironic and sarcastic tone. My three posts about her case over the last year have made me the “I feel lucky” hit for “Brandy Britton”. When I read the preliminary online article about her death this morning, I couldn’t help but wonder if I had played some minor role in the misery that made her decide life was no longer worth living. I hope not. I have never met Brandy Britton or Alexis Angel, her hooker alterego, in person or online. We have no connection except as a topic on my blog.
To the best of my knowledge, Brandy never knew of my blog, but people that knew Brandy did. Many of them posted anonymous comments revealing details about the scandal at her last day job and about her troubled past. From context it was even possible to figure out who a few of them were. In the eight months since my Brandy’s Back post, over 250 comments turned the article into a virtual chatroom about her past, present, and future.
My blog never got any mainstream press attention, but within a day of me posting a link to a site rumored to be Brandy working under a new name, the site vanished from redirected traffic. That is more power than I ever imagined my blog to have. I don’t want that responsibility.
Suicide has always struck me as a particularly drastic option. Brandy was looking at misdemeanor charges with little chance of jail time. Her constant legal maneuvering seemed to be excessive in light of the pettiness of the charges. In some ways her arrest seemed the least of her troubles. Her second marriage was abusive and her scandal-tinged tenure at UMBC made her a pariah in her field. Without a steady income, legal or otherwise, the residence which served as her suburban bordello was foreclosed on. It was in this house that she ended her pain.
She had been scheduled for a new court date in February. She won’t ever face trial, but that doesn’t mean the ordeal is over. Death is never closure because it leaves behind all the other lives that have intersected with the deceased. Those demanding justice for Brandy having ruined their life or marriage will have to settle for this.
Prurient Google® searches for Brandy are a staple of my blog traffic. This latest development is bound to only make it worse. What started as a tawdry story with a local twist is no longer funny. I had no way of knowing that a year ago. I wish I had.