Wednesday, October 26, 2005

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A very important post about.... Barbara Boxer's blue mind

Via Matt Welch, I found Anne-Marie O'Connor's story in the Los Angeles Times about Senator Barbara Boxer's new novel, A Time to Run (co-authored with Mary-Rose Hayes).

There's some fascinating information in O'Connor's piece about the motivations behind the troika of protagonists:

In "A Time to Run," the main characters from the reigning "blue states" Josh from California and Ellen from equally reassuring New York are liberal, altruistic, sane. Their affluent families are caring and sharing.

Their red state-born buddy, Greg, is the son of an emotionally abusive Ohio hardware seller former Marine who lost his favorite son in Vietnam. The red states that Greg heads to after graduation are interchangeably dull Siberias where Greg hangs out with the menfolk, bonding over beer, football and hunting.

Josh and Ellen become Left Coast do-gooders. Greg becomes a sociopathic neoconservative journalist, the go-to guy for character assassinations conjured by a right-wing California senator. Boxer said that although she didn't intend for the characters to represent the American political equation, "I hope people will understand the issues I raise about why people are blue or red or purple."

Her literary intrigues are not all political: There's also some bodice-ripping, with a love triangle between Greg, Ellen and Josh, and physical congress, tastefully suggested by euphemisms in which bodies "mesh." There's a whiff of scandal, too, when a youthful indiscretion comes back to haunt Josh....

Boxer said the novel explores "why people become liberals and conservatives. We explore the battle between liberals and conservatives at so many levels."

And it's not pretty. If you're looking for an inspirational story about someone who rose above a difficult background to champion the downtrodden, forget it.

In "A Time to Run," underprivileged Greg emerges as an opportunistic user an object lesson that does not seem particularly populist.

("We wanted to give Greg a very solid blue-collar background, and Ohio just seemed to be a good place for somebody like Greg to be from," said co-writer Hayes, who is the London-born author of such books as "The Winter Women." "I do believe that that is a fact, that generally speaking, large coastal cities have a more liberal bent.")

"It's so clear the relationship with (Greg's) dad and what happened to his brother in Vietnam, made a big impact on his life," Boxer said. "The fact that [Josh and Ellen] had loving families made a very big difference."

Greg, Boxer said, "didn't have that inner applause you get from your family. "It's terrible when someone with all his talent uses it to hurt people."

Insert your own joke about the Kennedys here.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go consult a therapist to determine which parent emotionally abused me so much as to drive to the right of the political spectrum.

[Wow, emotional abuse and early gender confusion. You're a psychological mess. No wonder you didn't get tenure!--ed. Hmmm... maybe I should take a closer look at the Americans With Disabilities Act!!]

posted by Dan on 10.26.05 at 04:03 PM




Comments:

It's worth pointing out that nearly all "novels" written by Washington figures are ghost written. It stands to reason when you think of it: a publisher sees a potential hot literary propery -- only problem, he/she can't write and has nothing sensible to say. So you get a hack to write something under the famous name.

If I were a reporter, I'd be asking Boxer how much of the book she wrote.

posted by: John Bruce on 10.26.05 at 04:03 PM [permalink]



I guess she forgot to add that Greg is evangelical and a repressed homosexual. His conservatism is merely the outward reflection of his self-hatred. He is a racist, because black popular culture represents a type of raw manliness to which he could never live up. The conservative 'discourse' about civilization therefore serves him well. Greg is not married, because he does not have the emotional maturity for intimate relationships (This is in addition to his repressed homosexuality). Instead, he and his Republican buddies drink beer and make misogynist remarks. Luckily Josh and Ellen are enlightened enough to vote for government programs to help Greg. Josh and Ellen are liberal democrats, after all. They are so enlightened, they understand Greg much better than he could ever understand himself. They're waiting for Greg to become violent to one of his occasional female dates: then they can contact the benign Democratic authorities. They will take care of Greg. He can wax his eyebrows, eat sushi and Come Out to his authoritarian father.

Ah, to be a liberal Democrat. The world is so simple. One's soul is so caring. One's mind is so enlightened.

posted by: puking on 10.26.05 at 04:03 PM [permalink]



I think Ms. Boxer saw The Deer Hunter and thought she knew the soul of the burning youth of Ohio. Wonder whether Ms. Boxer ever spent any quality time in places like Akron or Dayton or Cleveland. Well, we may now have the secret to her worldview. "Poor people grow up nasty and warped, so the government must eliminate poverty and make sure all the children are above average."

Yes, I am appalled. And faintly nauseous.

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 10.26.05 at 04:03 PM [permalink]



I think Ms. Boxer saw The Deer Hunter and thought she knew the soul of the burning youth of Ohio. Wonder whether Ms. Boxer ever spent any quality time in places like Akron or Dayton or Cleveland. Well, we may now have the secret to her worldview. "Poor people grow up nasty and warped, so the government must eliminate poverty and make sure all the children are above average."

Yes, I am appalled. And faintly nauseous.

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 10.26.05 at 04:03 PM [permalink]



...and accidentally repetative. Sorry

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 10.26.05 at 04:03 PM [permalink]



My Rolodex is full of Viet Nam vets born and raised in Ohio, and I would bet my life on most of them, same with their sons.

Most of them are stable, have successful work lifes and careers, long marriages and good kids. Many are now enjoying being grandparents. Pretty bad group, right?

Speaking on behalf of Ohio (I'm sixth generation here)Boxer is a poor excuse for a Senator and we are glad she is on the far left coast.

posted by: save_the_rustbelt on 10.26.05 at 04:03 PM [permalink]



This sounds like it'll be sure to heal the divides in the land. Well done, BB.

posted by: Kelli on 10.26.05 at 04:03 PM [permalink]



Lynn Cheney's book was much steamier.

posted by: erg on 10.26.05 at 04:03 PM [permalink]



And while we're at it, didn't Scooter Libby write something a while back -- how was that?

posted by: Taeyoung J. on 10.26.05 at 04:03 PM [permalink]



I think the ghost writer theory might have some legs. This thing seems almost too predictable to be true. If Boxer really did pen this tome doomed for the dustbin, then she has no political sense at all. Of course, I've seen some pretty absurd political novels from the right as well.

posted by: Rafique Tucker on 10.26.05 at 04:03 PM [permalink]



Red state, blue state, it's all so simple! I'm glad the media and politicians - and now novelists - break it down for us common Ohioans.

posted by: Brian on 10.26.05 at 04:03 PM [permalink]



The funny/sad thing is that most of California has some similarities to Ohio. For instance, Long Beach has been referred to as "Iowa by the sea". Only small parts of the state are in any way similar to the L.A. Times report.

Someone should take a copy of her book to the Inland Empire or the Central Valley and see what they think of "their" representative.

posted by: A Time To Run from Barbara Boxer on 10.26.05 at 04:03 PM [permalink]



How tragic it must be to be a conservative and get picked on so by those mean lefties. Much better to read the literature produced by one of those impecabble conservatives, like Bill O'Reilly, where the token liberal characters all live in trees with spotted owls wearing clothes made from hemp while the stock conservative manly men perform various acts of oral copulation upon breathless women. Now that's deep, reflective, serious reading!

That anyone would take this money-making boondoggle seriously speaks legions for the depths of the so-called "intellectual" conservative bench.

I used to be a Republican once. But I got better. Maybe it was dragging my liberal rear-end to the Mideast to fight GW's wars for him, while his co-religionists and adherents were apparently waiting for the lines to drop at the recruiting stations before signing up.

So what are you all waiting for now?

posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on 10.26.05 at 04:03 PM [permalink]






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