Saturday, October 28, 2006

On novels ...

Being a moderately successful author, I guess I should put in my two cents on the issue of James Webb's sexually explicit scenes in his novels.

Here it is: So-fucking-what. It's a story, idiots.

I've dealt with gay sex, S&M sex, and a host of other proclivities that aren't my cup of tea, but my characters participate in. Do these people think sex is performed in the missionary position only, by everyone? How boring would a novel be if every character had heterosexual sex, or 'non-deviant' sex?

Or do they feel explicit sex scenes have no place in a novel?

Jim Webb writes about the military experience. As one who lived it, I've been privy to things that would probably offend most people, but that's the way it is. If you're going to set a scene, you have to show just what is going on. A buncha GIs blowing off steam in a strip joint in some Third World toilet are gonna see some strange shit (I've seen stuff I wouldn't share here or in mixed company and I'm sure the other GIs who stop here have stories of their own). For the novel to be authentic, these experiences have to be recounted for the reader to understand the situation.

I do it in Special Operations, fiction but partly autobiographical, many scenes taking place in a strip joint in Osan and an underground gay bar in Taegu, South Korea. I use ethnic slurs and language that would also offend most people, but that's the way it is. It's not what I do in life, but you can't write a scene of a conversation between two redneck assholes and make them PC at the same time. If I wrote Cletus and Jimmy Joe speaking with anger toward 'Afro-Americans' instead of 'niggers', my readers would laugh at me. When I wrote a scene between two gay men in love, unleashing their passion after having to put up with the 'dont ask, don't tell' policy of the military when they're not alone, I had to give details of their lovemaking; the reader needs it to understand the depths of the love between them. I write about characters' infidelity to their significant others, yet I don't cheat on my wife.

But the bottom line is this. It's fiction. Jim Webb's books are fiction. And authors of fiction do not necessarily engage in the behavior they write about. I'm sure the Rethugs understand this, though hypocrites like Lynne Cheney yell and scream. Turnabout would demand I believe she has her face in another woman's lap on a regular basis. Fuck 'em. After I post this, I'm going to Amazon and buy all of Jim's books and hopefully he'll return the favor. Heh ...

Virginians, vote for Jim Webb because George Allen uses the word 'nigger' all the time, and he means it.

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