The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

27 October 2006

Webb sight

Try as I may, I can't get worked up over James Webb's fictional sex scenes. George Allen's people, who apparently didn't have to try, came up with this:

Webb’s novels disturbingly and consistently — indeed, almost uniformly — portray women as servile, subordinate, inept, incompetent, promiscuous, perverted, or some combination of these. In novel after novel, Webb assigns his female characters base, negative characteristics. In thousands of pages of fiction penned by Webb, there are few if any strong, admirable women or positive female role models.

Why does Jim Webb refuse to portray women in a respectful, positive light, whether in his non-fiction concerning their role in the military, or in his provocative novels? How can women trust him to represent their views in the Senate when chauvinistic attitudes and sexually exploitive references run throughout his fiction and non-fiction writings?

Inasmuch as no one is actually talking about Webb's non-fiction, the Allen campaign apparently threw that in as part of the standard late-October kitchen-sink approach. As for the fiction, it can be dismissed simply because it's fiction. The idea that responsible people just don't think things like this is a crock: every last one of us has a Dark Side, a repository for the things that cross our minds no matter how much they may conflict with what we've been taught or with what we profess. (Good old Original Sin. Where would we be without it?)

Based on what I've read — and I can't think of any good reason to spend money on the actual books — if I'm going to fault Jim Webb for anything, it's for being an uninteresting, repetitive writer. The idea that this disqualifies him for the Senate is ludicrous: if anything, it suggests that he'd fit right in with the rest of the microcephalics. The fact that George Allen would come up with an attack this absurd, however, demonstrates that he is no less qualified. In a world where karma was both perfect and timely, both these guys would lose and we'd end up with Meryl Yourish in the Senate. Poor Virginia. The Birthplace of Presidents seems to be turning into a breeding ground for schmucks.

Posted at 9:52 AM to Political Science Fiction

It may not surprise you to know that a front-pager at Daily Kos completely disagrees with you.

Posted by: Matt at 12:07 PM on 27 October 2006

Webb didn't help himself by complaining that it was "inappropriate" for a radio host to read from one of his books.

Really, he ought to have inoculated himself somehow against this kind of thing.

Posted by: McGehee at 12:27 PM on 27 October 2006

If a Republican had written a book with passages like these in them (grapic depictions of adults having sex with children) you can be sure the Dems would use it...especially in the current political climate.

Do the passages mean Webb is a sick pup? No. But I can't agree that it doesn't matter because it's fiction. Fiction is about reality as much, maybe more so, than what we call non-fiction... though the path to truth may be a little more oblique, though far more reliable, than say The New York Times.

Webb was trying to make some kind of a point, perhaps about the typical relaxing of moral standards in wartime. Had he been planning to run for office, doubtless he would have been less direct.

Allen's in deep trouble, if I read the political tea leaves right. This is some ways is a good thoing, because it allows the GOP to eliminate a faux contender for 2008.

Posted by: John Salmon at 3:18 PM on 27 October 2006

And, if you think about it, isn't most porn (if not pictures) fiction? It's something that never happened, but that the reader wishes would happen...which is the truth behind it.

Posted by: John Salmon at 4:00 PM on 27 October 2006

"Why does Jim Webb refuse to portray women in a respectful, positive light"

Probably for the same reason porn sites don't show pictures of June Cleaver. (And believe me, I've looked.)

Posted by: Mister Snitch! at 6:21 PM on 27 October 2006