I’m not sure I can remember a sillier election season than this one. (Or maybe I’m just repressing bad memories.) Hot on the heels of Fred Head, blasting his opponent as a pornographer for having written a romance novel years before, now comes George Allen, Republican Senator from Virginia, attacking his Democratic opponent, James Webb. Not for his position on the war in Iraq, or on the economy, or on any issue that the United States Senate might actually concern itself with. No, James Webb is a bad boy for having written novels that contain sex scenes that are supposedly demeaning toward women. Wailed Kay James, Allen’s former cabinet secretary, “What type of mind commits these thoughts to paper – in such graphic detail?”
Let’s see. Romance novelists, historical novelists, literary novelists, science fiction novelists, fantasy novelists, chick lit novelists, military novelists . . . Have I left anyone out?
I haven’t read Webb’s books, some of which are set during World War II and Vietnam and which have been critically praised by those on both sides of the political fence, but Allen seems to have lifted some graphic sexual passages out of context in the hope that unsophisticated voters will assume that having a male character watch a stripper do unseemly acts with a banana means that Webb regards all women as potential strippers. Either that, or Allen is so culturally limited that he has no idea that novelists don’t necessarily endorse everything their characters do or say. In that respect, it could be a lot worse for James Webb.
He could have written murder mysteries.