The New Puritanicalism


It seems that everywhere I look this week people are using attacks on sex to replace true political discourse. Earlier this week Pamela Leavey and Ginny Cotts of The Democratic Daily used the fact that I have incluced magazine covers such as the Harper’s Bazaar cover of Britney Spears above in blog posts on popular culture and the media as some sort of “justification” for their defense of Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitism and for preventing me from condemning Gibson’s anti-Semitism when I was a writer on that blog. At the time I thought it was a totally irrational and irrelevant argument. Apparently I missed something. Pamela and Ginny have turned out to be trend setters as a new Puritanicalism has become the “in technique” of character assassination being used by Republicans.

One prominent example was George Allen quoting sexually graphic passages from Jim Webb’s novels. These included passages such as this one from Lost Soldiers:

“A shirtless man walked toward them along a mud pathway. His muscles were young and hard, but his face was devastated with wrinkles. His eyes were so red that they appeared to be burned by fire. A naked boy ran happily toward him from a little plot of dirt. The man grabbed his young son in his arms, turned him upside down, and put the boy’s penis in his mouth.”

This book is clearly shocking to Republicans, except to John McCain, who Publishers Weekly reports endorsed the book: “Webb (Fields of Fire) is no stranger to the bestseller lists; endorsements from heavy hitters like Sen. John McCain will help put him there once again.” Hotline reports McCain also had a blurb on the back cover of the book. Presumably this will be the main issue in the 2008 race should McCain enter it.

Maureen Dowd sums up the Virginia race by writing, “So the Old Dominion race now comes down to one guy denying he’s a racist and the other denying he’s a sexist, and the supposed sexist attacking the supposed racist as a sexist.” She notes the change in Republican political strategy:

The Republicans’ usual trick — having Dick Cheney terrify women into thinking that terrorists will kill their children if they vote for girly Democrats — isn’t flying this year, so now the G.O.P. is resorting to more personal, and goofy, attacks.

Republicans have also launched commercials against Harold Ford accusing him of attending “parties with lingerie-clad Playboy Playmates while he also films political ads in a church.” One of the ads ends with a scantily clad woman saying, “Harold, call me!”

Fortunately the Democrats are on top of these attacks. It might have taken the party five years to respond to the false Republican claims of keeping the country safe after 9/11, but the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is firm in their defense on this one. They sent out the following talking points:

  • In 1981, Vice President Dick Cheney’s wife Lynne wrote a book called Sisters, which featured a lesbian love affair, brothels and attempted rapes. In 1988, Lynne Cheney wrote about a Republican vice president who dies of a heart attack while having sex with his mistress.
  • Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich co-wrote a thriller called 1945, featuring such titillations as biting foreplay, “pouting sex kitten,” “exotic mistress” and “after-bout inhalation.” At one point, the mistress of the president’s chief of staff sits “athwart” her lover’s chest and hisses that he must tell her a secret “or I will make you do terrible things.”
  • In 1996, former Cheney Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby wrote The Apprentice, a novel that includes references to bestiality, pedophilia and rape.
  • In 1999, former GOP Governor William Weld said of his book, Big Ugly, “I think of the theme of this book is sex and money meets the great outdoors.” Weld’s thriller included sex, bribery and murder.
  • This week, it was discovered that a Republican statewide candidate in Texas, Susan Combs, wrote a romance novel “full of steamy sex scenes.” The book’s heroine is “a freckle-faced brunette” who is drawn to “the gray-eyed bodyguard” and his “powerful, strong arms,” and desires him to “fill the aching void at her center,” where a “deep heaviness throbbed in her belly.”

Personally I find it a relief to find that those Republicans aren’t all that Puritanical after all. As for America, all I can say is that the Britney Spears cover above is the number one search engine hit on this blog. Make that not just America but the world as this picture regularly receives hits from virtually everywhere, including those countries where women are expected to wear burkas and this type of cover would never be allowed. Review of search engine hits also confirms that America is still trying to figure out what Britney Spears meant by “poodle balling” on her appearance on Will and Grace. Of course such searches receive an exaggerated prominence as they are popular searches for a unique term, while there are hundreds of variations of searches for various political issues, with each individual one having a relatively low percentage of hits.

Update: It’s been brought to my attention that The Democratic Daily repeated their attack with a rather hypocritical post in which any sexual reference in a book by a Democratic politician is acceptable as while any sexual reference or photo in my posts on popular culture, the media, or what drives the blogoshere is somehow not acceptable. You cannot have it both ways, but somehow Pamela believes she is the judge of when it is right and when it is not right to report on matters involving sex.

It is also worth repeating that these attacks from The Democratic Daily remain a warped response to my criticism of their defense of anti-Semitic comments. Pamela Leavey never complained about any of these posts in the past, but suddently she thought that raising these personal attacks on me would distract from the support given to anti-Semitism on her blog. As she has no defense for her actions, she is playing the Republican attack game.

Be Sociable, Share!

7 Comments

  1. 1
    kj says:

    Heading out in a few minutes for a day-long adventure in KC. Poetry reading, bookstore browsing, and the highlight– chocolate raspberry truffles at Andres teahouse.

    You know what they say about chocolate. 😉

  2. 2
    PoliticalCritic says:

    This is how the Republicans always win. They get down in the mud and sling as much BS as they can. Unfortunately, the left will have to get in there and fight back if they expect to win. I’m not holding my breath.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    kj,

    I hope you enjoyed the chocolate truffles!

    Political Critic,

    Yes, Republicans are disgusting for the manner in which the sling mud and BS, however (as this post notes) the are some on theloonie left, such as The Democratic Daily, which are no better.

    It’s been brought to my attention that they have repeated this attack with a rather hypocritical post in which any sexual reference in a book by a Democratic politician is acceptable while any such reference or photo in my posts on popular culture, the media, or what drives the blogoshere is somehow not acceptable. You cannot have it both ways.

    It is also worth repeating that these attacks from The Democratic Daily remain a warped response to my criticism of their defense of anti-Semitic comments. Pamela never complained about any of these posts in the past, but suddently she thought that raising these personal attacks on me would distract from the support given to anti-Semitism on her blog.

  4. 4
    Marjorie G says:

    Ron, please cease and desist. I value you, KJ, as well as Dem Daily, and what you offer to the political dialogue, too much not to say that whatever started this tit for tat no longer has merit, regardless of who won and who is right.

    We have important work to do.

    Be well.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    Marjorie,

    Despite her claims of being the innocent victim, it is Pamela who started this and Pamela who has been taking pot shots at me ever since. Enough is enough. What Pamela obviously forgot is that I don’t play the half-assed passive aggressive games she plays. When I respond, I go all out. If Pamela wants to put an end to this she will need to cease and to acknowledge her actions.

  6. 6
    Christopher says:

    For any liberal, let alone any member of the reality based community to defend anti-semitism, is unethical blogger behavior.

    I have removed The Democratic Daily from my blogroll.

    Thanks for the headsup, Ron and keep up the fight and your excellent work.

  7. 7
    MG says:

    We can expand upon this theme and note that such Puritanicalism has become a trend across the board in the United States. For example, when Reebok ran an ad with a naked woman dressed in nothing but sneakers a few years ago, perfectly liberal people (mainly young women, it seemed, in a magazine catering to New York City events) created an uproar over such “pornography.” And have you noticed back around the 1960s, when non-sexual nudity was called for to illustrate an article (say, for example, a health concern in a woman’s magazine, or with a topic such as streaking), mainstram magazines would not shy away from featuring nudity, whereas today such examples are nearly nonexistent. I noticed an article in a woman’s magazine about exhibitionists, and the photograph illustrating the article had the “naughty parts” (like nipples) blocked out. Most of this has to do with fear; chains like Walmart do not wish to be subjected to moralists’ protest campaigns. But because publishers have become so cowardly, such childish attitudes have become the rule. On the other hand, people have become so conditioned to the nudity=pornography morality play, even young people can be up in arms over the slightest assault to their prurient senses, regardless of political indoctrination.

2 Trackbacks

Leave a comment