It's a hoot that George Allen's campaign has justified distributing its anthology of the naughty bits in Jim Webb's novels as a defense of damsels. If Allen were really concerned about women, he might demonstrate it by protecting their right to control their own bodies, or he might try helping the women whose lives are families are being ravaged by the war in Iraq, or he might even wonder why Virginia's single women and single mothers are falling farther and farther behind despite the Bush corporate boom. But no, George Allen has decided that the best way to protect southern belles is to join that great tradition, stretching from Rev Arthur Dimmesdale to Rev Elmer Gantry, of unctuous hypocrites.
Unfortunately for Allen, the attack on Webb provides an irresistible opportunity to revisit the history of Republican soft porn. As Lauren Collins pointed out in The New Yorker, citing a Spy Magazine piece from 1988, bluestockings have always been good at being blue.
There's the scene in Scooter Libby's 1996 novel, The Apprentice, in which the author has little girls coupling with a bear to train for prostitution, and men fucking a dead deer. There's Lynne Cheney's 1981 novel, Sisters, whose lesbian heroines show more than Janet Jackson did. The Collins piece reminds us of dirty parts from noted Republican litterateurs like William Safire ("[She] finally came to him in the bed and shouted 'Arragghrrorwr!' in his ear, bit his neck, plunged her head between his legs and devoured him"), William Buckley ("I'd rather do this with you than play cards"), G. Gordon Liddy ("T'sa Li froze, her lips still enclosing Rand's glans . . ."), John Ehrlichman (" 'It felt like a little tongue' ") and Bill O'Reilly ("Okay, Shannon Michaels, off with those pants").
You can just imagine what it must have been like for those shocked! shocked! Allen staffers to assemble the Webb anthology. Luckily, they probably have learned to type with one hand.
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