Jim Webb Fallout Continues

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MSNBC interview with party strategists.

Line of the day is delivered by the Democrat Sascha Burns: "Well that excerpt DOES sound sort of disgusting..."

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zimzo said:

And now the end of this one-day story:

"It's not a sexual act," Webb told Plotkin regarding the "Lost Soldiers" excerpt. "I actually saw this happen in a slum in Bangkok when I was there as a journalist."

"The duty of a writer is to illuminate the surroundings," he added.

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.

Webb criticized the Allen campaign for focusing on excerpts from his novels.

"The most important issue facing the country, he hasn't got a statement to make on it," Webb said of the Iraq war. "This country's been breaking into pieces economically ... they've got no position on that.


Next on the Joe and George Show: Banning Lolita and other classics that offend their delicate sensibilities.

"Breaking into pieces economically...?" Webb should stick with the stuff he knows, like exotic sexual customs. PS I doubt George Allen wants those books banned; I think he's trying to give them broader exposure.

zimzo said:

Sadly, I think now Webb is going to have to spend the last two weeks of the campaign talking about his service in Vietnam and all that he witnessed there. Unfortunately, this will just serve to remind people that he served in the military and won the Navy Cross while George Allen was riding around in his pickup truck with the Confederate flag bumper sticker palying humorous pranks on black people like stuffing deer heads in their mailboxes. Regrettably, Webb will be forced to recount the story of how he won the Navy Cross (from his citation):

"Observing the grenade land dangerously close to his companion, First Lieutenant Webb simultaneously fired his weapon at the enemy, pushed the Marine away from the grenade, and shielded him from the explosion with his own body. Although sustaining painful fragmentation wounds from the explosion, he managed to throw a grenade into the aperture and completely destroy the remaining bunker. By his courage, aggressive leadership, and selfless devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Webb upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service."

Yes, the Allen campaign has really backed him into a corner with their brilliant campaign tactic.

I have a feeling that's not how the public debate will play out, but I won't begrudge you the dream.

I'm thinking maybe we're talking past each other here, though. Of course Webb's service throughout his career has been admirable and the colorful cultural writings likely were intended to educate rather than disgust. The whole problem might just lie in lousy editing.

The original draft of Webb's manuscript for Lost Soldiers, I will wager, read as follows:

“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 then the sick f-ck put the boy’s p*nis in his mouth.”

zimzo said:

You've missed your calling, Joe. You should now start rewriting the classics:

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.
She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Am I a sick f-ck or what?"

It's too bad you weren't Nabokov's editor.

Jack said:

Cunningham was a decorated Viet Nam vet, too. Obviously, a person can change a lot in 35 years.

Now you're just talking silly .... although I approve of where you're trying to take this.

Not to be partisan, but aren't we doing Nabokov an injustice here? Leaving aside the fact that, were Nabokov to run for U.S. Senate he would have QUITE the uphill climb (Lolita was banned for 10 years here, right?), I admit he'd likely have made mincemeat of George Allen in a debate.

To speak of Jim Webb in the same sentence seems to put you on shaky lit-crit grounds.

But if I was an undergrad, I'd be considering the Lost Soldiers - Lolita term paper very seriously. "Youth and obsession in... Compare and contrast."

Ian said:

Writing a fiction book that contains references to sex is one thing. Writing a book that contains references to homosexual pedophilia is quite another. How is that in anyway related to service in the Vietnam War? How can that in anyway fit the context of a book about war? Is his argument that war suddenly turns people into homosexual pedophiles?

While it is fiction, you have to wonder what goes through the mind of an author who writes on this subject. I doubt he ws in anyway exposed to this in Vietnam. Furthermore, given the nastiness of the Webb campaign who basically have made this a close race by publicizing a stupid comment made on tape by Allen, they are not in a position to complain.

The Webb campaign could have run strictly on the issues, they chose not to. They chose to attack Allen as a closet racist.

The economy has been excellent. While the war in Iraq is not going well it would not be better if Webb was in the Senate. Furthermore, if Webb had his way in 1990, Saddam Hussein would still be in Kuwait and possibly other Arab countries now.

Webb has absolutely no grasp of domestic issues and really is not qualified to be a Senator. While I appreciate his heroic service to this country, my late grandfather was a highly decorated war hero during WWII, I hardly think that qualified him as an expert on international affairs or to be elected Senator. The same goes for Jim Webb.

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