Late Thursday night, Republican Senator George Allen "unleashed" a press release containing excerpts from a novel written by his Democratic challenger James Webb that featured "graphic underage sex scenes," which The Drudge Report quickly pounced on, labelling it "Allen's revenge."
"The man grabbed his young son in his arms, turned him upside down, and put the boy’s penis in his mouth," Webb wrote in his 2001 book Lost Soldiers published by Bantam Books.
In response, liberal bloggers noted that Republican Senator John McCain had once given a glowing review to the former Navy Secretary's book.
"James Webb’s new novel paints a portrait of a modern Vietnam charged with hopes for the future but haunted by the ghosts of its war-torn past," McCain wrote. "It captures well the lingering scars of the war, and exposes the tension between the dynamism of a new generation and the invisible bondage of an older generation for whom wartime allegiances, and animosities, are rendered no less vivid by the passage of time."
Webb told Washington Post Radio this morning (audio at this link) that the scene in question did not depict a "sexual act."
"It's not a sexual act," Webb said. "I actually saw this happen in a slum in Bangkok when I was there as a journalist."
The conservative Web site CNS News cited a case in which a Cambodian woman was arrested in Nevada for a similiar situation.
"Coincidentally, a Cambodian woman in Las Vegas is facing sexual assault charges for performing a similar act on her young son, according to an Oct. 14 report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal," Nathan Burchfiel wrote. "The article quotes an office manager for the Cambodian Association of America, who described the act as a sign of respect or love."
"According to the report, the act is usually performed by a mother or caretaker on a child who is one year old or younger," Burchfiel added. "In Webb's novel, the child is four years old."
In Texas, the situation is reversed, as a Democrat running for state comptroller has attacked a Republican's out-of-print romance novel as "pornographic."
Texas agriculture commissioner Susan Combs, "a 61-year-old Republican who champions abstinence-based sex education and is a darling of Texas conservatives, is being portrayed by her Democratic opponent as a smutmonger and a hypocrite for writing a 1990 bodice-ripper titled A Perfect Match," reported the Associated Press on Wednesday.
"She is hardly the first conservative to reveal a bawdier side in print," the AP report continued. "Vice President Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne, published a novel in the early 1980s called Sisters, featuring a lesbian love affair. The Apprentice, a novel by former vice presidential aide Lewis Libby, has references to bestiality, pedophilia and rape."
MSNBC featured a segment on the latest campaign "mudslinging:"
Excerpts from Allen's press release:
WEBB’S WEIRD WORLD
The Author’s Disturbing Writings Show a Continued Pattern of Demeaning Women
· Some of Webb’s writings are very disturbing for a candidate hoping to represent the families of Virginians in the U.S. Senate.
· Many excellent books about the United States military and wartime service accomplish their purposes, and even win awards, without systematically demeaning women, and without dehumanizing women, men and even children.
· 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?
· 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:
– 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.”
Bantam Books, NY, 1st Edition, 2001, (hard cover), page 333.
Quote is from para. 10,.Chap. 34.
– Something to Die For: "Fogarty . . . watch[ed] a naked young stripper do the splits over a banana. She stood back up, her face smiling proudly and her round breasts glistening from a spotlight in the dim bar, and left the banana on the bar, cut in four equal sections by the muscles of her vagina."
William Morrow and Company, Inc., NY 1991, 1st Ed. (hardcover), p. 36.
Avon Books, New York, 1992 (Mass-Market paperback edition), p. 35
Quote is from para. 29, Chap. 2 “The South China Sea,”, Section 2