Friday, October 27, 2006

Democrats and Bangkok sex acts

Nathan Burchfiel:

In an interview on Washington Post Radio Friday morning, Jim Webb, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Virginia, said excerpts of his novels are "a little bit inappropriate" to be read on news radio.

"I don't know why you're reading that on WTOP," Webb told host Mark Plotkin. "I think it's a little bit inappropriate."

Plotkin was reading an excerpt from Webb's novel "Something to Die For," in which Webb describes a female stripper performing sexual acts with a banana.

"I don't think that's appropriate for you to read on WTOP," Webb said again as Plotkin finished the excerpt. (Washington Post Radio is WTOP's sister station.)

The campaign of Republican Sen. George Allen on Thursday released excerpts from some of the war novels Webb wrote between 1978 and 2002. The books include some graphic sexual passages, as well as frequent uses of a racial slur for blacks and descriptions of Vietnamese women as "monkey-faced."

Among the excerpts is a scene from the 2002 novel "Lost Soldiers," in which a man embraces his four-year-old son and places the boy's penis in his mouth.

Webb said the release of the excerpts was "a Karl Rove campaign tactic" and a "classic example of the way this campaign has worked. It's smear after smear."

He defended his fiction as "illuminative."

"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.

The article quotes an office manager for the Cambodian Association of America, who described the act as a sign of respect or love.

"It's an exception," Thira Srey told the Review-Journal of the practice. According to the report, the act is usually performed by a mother or caretaker on a child who is one year old or younger. In Webb's novel, the child is four years old.

Jim Webb's Books 'Racist, Misogynistic,' Conservative Critic Says

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Cambodian woman faces sexual assault charge

2 Comments:

At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Cambodia, it is normal for friends to hold hands in public, even if they are of the same sex. My friend did it when she was young but stopped when she came here as a refugee in the '80's. The culture is totally different there. They have different customs for everything. I think it unfair for people to make such ethnocentric judgements about this man's books, which are based on real experience. It seems he (I didn't know who he was and I still don't) was describing his environment from a purely objective point of view. Possibly he was biased, as everyone is to some degree, but at least he tried to write what he saw. In some cultures, we are ridiculed for kissing. Apparently it's learned behavior. People (not you personally) shouldn't make judgements about a culture they don't understand or an honest account of it.

That said, thanks for your article. I came across it completely randomly while searching for something else. I didn't know the author was a politician,and that gives him an interesting slant.

 
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