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Friday, November 3, 2006
By Steven L. Taylor

This is a couple of days old, but William F. Buckley has written a very good column on the whole “Webb wrote smutty novels, and is therefore unqualified to be elected to the Senate” business.

I can’t disagree with the first line of the piece:

The charge by assorted gentry that James Webb is not qualified to serve as a U.S. senator from Virginia because there are lewdnesses in his published fiction rattles one’s faith in democracy.

Further, Buckley is quite correct in the following passages:

More generally, the novelist writes to explore the human being. One did not need to await Freud to discern that the sexual drive is, if not the dominant impulse in human nature, at least a subdominant, making way for love, family, political allegiances, vocations, patriotism and treachery. In order to illustrate these human drives it is required that authors explore manifestations of sexual interest, and these involve scenes and thoughts that inform us, whether we are reading “Romeo and Juliet” or “The Merchant of
Venice.”

[...]

Some say that the mere publication of smutty, erotic, realistic passages from Webb’s fiction will undermine his claim to credentials to serve in the Senate. There are many reasons to vote for the Republican incumbent, but anyone who votes for him in protest against Webb’s fiction needs to — grow up.

The entire column is worth a read, especially if one thinks that the Webb excerpts are some damning bit of evidence about Webb himself.

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2 Responses to “WFB on Webb’s Novels”

  1. James Joyner Says:

    Quite right. One should add that anyone who has read one of Buckley’s Blackford Oakes spy novels would have expected this reaction, given that Buckley is not a hypocrite.

  2. Outside The Beltway | OTB Says:

    Buckley on Webb Sex Scenes

    William F. Buckley, Jr.: “The charge by assorted gentry that James Webb is not qualified to serve as a U.S. senator from Virginia because there are lewdnesses in his published fiction rattles one’s faith in democracy.”
    Indeed.
    Of co…


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