Sunday, October 29th, 2006 • No Comments on So That’s What They Mean By Dirty Politics
There is a heated political battle going on here in the state of Virginia and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. As reported in the Washington Post:
“Virginia Sen. George Allen (R) has accused his Democratic opponent, James Webb, of writing inappropriate sex scenes and demeaning descriptions of women in his fictional books, the latest character attack in a close and nasty campaign.”
Just so we’re clear, politicians can now be judged by:
—What they say and do in the political arena
—What they say and do in their private life
—What they said and did in their private life prior to becoming a politician
—What they write about in fictional novels.
You have got to be kidding me.
The Drudge Report has posted the press release from the Allen camp along with the offending excerpts, which are taken out of context and misrepresented as including “graphic underage sex scenes.” The term “graphic” is, obviously, in the eye of the beholder. If we’re going strictly by the excerpts, Webb’s fiction is no more graphic than the Washington Post. In fact, there isn’t a word in those excerpts that couldn’t be published in a newspaper. As for the reference to underage sex scenes—no American publisher is going to publish anything resembling an underage sex scene. A Nabokov wannabe would have a hard time getting an American editor to even read his Lolita-esque novel no matter how highbrow and literary it might be, given the current censoring political climate. There might be underage characters and there might be references to sexuality in the same scene, but those scenes are going to be presented in a non-sexual, non-arousing, non-graphic way—if they’re allowed to go to print at all.
I also take serious issue with the Allen campaign’s statement: “Most Virginians and Americans would find passages such as those below shocking, especially coming from the pen of someone who seeks the privilege of serving in the United States Senate, one of the highest offices in the land.”
Hello? I’m an American and I live in Virginia and I don’t find anything shocking about Webb’s writing. Some of the excerpts make me cringe because they’re taken out of context and seem poorly written because of it (giving the guy the benefit of the doubt here), but that’s it. I am—as I would imagine most Virginians are—able to distinguish between Jim Webb, politician, and Jim Webb, novelist. Granted, they did say most Virginians and Americans, so I suppose that leaves me and the kinky, perverted few to scratch our heads and wonder what all the fuss is about.
Again, I say, you have got to be kidding me.
Speaking as a writer—this stuff scares the crap out of me. If I ever had any political aspirations, they’ve gone out the window because, unlike Jim Webb, I have written graphic sex scenes (between legal, consenting adults, I feel compelled to add). To the Allen camp, as well as to some Virginians and Americans—hell, maybe even to most Virginians and Americans, for all I know—some of my writing might be labeled smut, trash or porn. Never mind that the publisher markets it as “erotica,” because that word doesn’t garner any more respect than the others. Never mind that some bookstores classify it as “literature”—Nabokov is considered literature, too.
I guess, based on what I write, I’m unfit for political office. Darn. It seems like such a fun, rewarding job.
Don’t even get me started on the marriage ban amendment.