Gracious sakes!

Via Andrew Sullivan, I found quite a book review by Gary Indiana. The following is just an excerpt:

[I]t's impossible to actually read this book without missing Clinton, for unlike his predecessor and his successor, the Spook and the Born-Again Cokehead/Booze Hound, he isn't mean-spirited, homophobic, racist, or idiotic, never confuses himself with Jesus Christ, and even when putting annoying people in their place, does it with a light touch. "Unfortunately, my relationship with Bill Bennett didn't fare well after I became President and he began promoting virtue for a living." "Vice-President Dan Quayle said he intended to be the 'pit bull terrier' of the election campaign. When asked about it, I said Quayle's claim would strike terror into the heart of every fire hydrant in America." Clinton is even gracious to Barbara Bush, a vicious old bag in pearl sets who could've given Angela Lansbury notes for her role in The Manchurian Candidate.

I will leave it to others to parse whether it is preferable, given the systemic and implacable evils of maintaining an empire that is inherently vampiric and suicidal, to have its declining years managed by Rapture-hungry mental dwarves, cretinous judges flapping about in Iolanthe-inspired Inquisition costumes of their own design, and megalomaniacs of indeterminable species such as Richard Perle; or by a plain-talking arriviste who can't resist a Big Mac and a strawberry milk shake, and once in a while needs a blowjob from somebody he isn't married to. I happen to think it does make a difference what kind of arse sits in the Oval Office and whether he governs with a sense of his own transience and imperfection or uses fear and intimidation to whip the population into line with whatever brand of pious bullshit makes him feel like Superman. For people who truly believe the Bush coup d'Útat has "restored honor to the Presidency," or however that tired tune goes, I recommend Bill Clinton's book as a good strong dose of the reality principle. Honorable people don't waste any time proclaiming how honorable they are, and sometimes honor consists in admitting you fucked up.

Yow! I fucked up too, and I have written about it in this blog. It's nice to know how honorable I am.

Normally, I hesitate to "parse" the thoughts of other people, but I just can't seem to take "the systemic and implacable evils of maintaining an empire that is inherently vampiric and suicidal" as a "given." Might as well parse out a sentence begining with "given that you are a child-molesting crack addict...."

I have never seen so many unsupported ad hominem attacks in a book review.

But perhaps he pulled a few punches, for the reviewer didn't accuse Bush of torturing children at parties. ("Gary Indiana", it should be noted, authored the famous fascist-erotic child torture film, Sal˛.)

Plus, he was fair enough to chide Bill Clinton -- if only for being gracious to Barbara Bush, the new queen of evil.

Are things getting nasty or what?

UPDATE: Mea culpa! As I previously acknowledged in a comment below, I mistakenly identified Gary Indiana as the author of Salo. (Hurried writing is the explanation, but not an excuse. If it matters, I did see Salo years ago and knew it was a Pasolini film.)

As the author was kind enough to write to me, I thought this deserved an additional notation, and an apology to Gary Indiana, who is NOT the author of Salo the film, but of this book about the film. The book is titled Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom.

Here's his email:

> Sweetie,
>
> I think you should go back to school for a while:
> Pier Paolo Pasolini
> made the film "Salo," a landmark of film history, in
> 1975, not me.
> Before you start faulting other people's logic,
> perhaps you should have
> a more direct encounter with the world of facts than
> you seem to have
> had thusfar.
>
> Best,
>
> Gary Indiana

Again, my apologies! I would certainly love to go back to school for a while. But I'm not sure that even that would prevent me from making such factual errors. All I can do is note them as I become aware of them.

MORE (10-4-04): Because this post is so old, I have updated the blog with a new post in response to the author's email.

posted by Eric on 06.30.04 at 08:42 AM







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Comments

Hmmm.... Interesting.... The _style_ of it. Sometimes, occasionally, a writer on the Left does have style. Most interesting that reference to angela Lansbury's role in "The Manchurian Candidate".

Yes, Clinton was a very gracious and likeable fellow, regardless of his policies. He reminds me of a young man I once shared a room with. Likeable and fascinating, also a thief. I liked him even while I never trusted him.

But I must remind you that the Queen of All Evil is Rosemary Esmay.

Gary is not the author of Salo. The film is by Passolini based on a novel by Marquis de Sade. He is the author of a critique of the film (this fact is apparent on the first link that you provided.) The "children" in the film are all young adults. And, further, it's not a pro-torture porny film, but an anti-torture "art" film critical of fascist power and critical of the sexual obessiveness of the political Right. (Passolini was a Marxist, BTW. Therefore, of course, he was pure evil.) Interesting remark for someone complaining about ad hominem attacks. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

SixFootPole   ·  July 1, 2004 9:14 PM

That accurately describes me in many ways. I'm on the Right on most spectrums, and I'm sexually obsessed -- proudly. I've always admired the Marquis de Sade, though I wouldn't necessarily read him too close before dinner. I also admire and identify with Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. He was an Austrian nobleman and was probably on the Right.

Thanks for pointing out my error; a good summary is here,

Eric Scheie   ·  July 2, 2004 6:37 AM

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