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Sunday, July 25, 2004
The Left's Next Best Seller?
On Aug. 10, Alfred A. Knopf, America's most distinguished publishing house, is bringing out a novel by Nicholson Baker, winner of the 2002 National Book Critics Circle Award and a darling of the New York intelligentsia. Baker's bestseller, "Vox," which Monica Lewinsky gave Bill Clinton as a gift in 1998, was about phone sex between two "obsessive, yuppie masturbators," according to Kirkus Reviews.
Baker's new book, called "Checkpoint," eschews kinky sex for political murder. It is a long conversation between two men about assassinating President Bush. Yes, killing the sitting president of the United States.
One of the characters, named Jay, says of Bush, "He is beyond the beyond. What he's done with this war. The murder of the innocent. And now the prisons. It's too much. It makes me angry…. I'm going to kill the bastard…. I'm going to assassinate the president."
Jay calls Bush "an unelected [expletive deleted] drunken oilman" who is "squatting" in the White House and "muttering over his prayer book each morning." He says Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have "fought their way back up out of the peat bogs where they've been lying, and they're stumbling around with grubs scurrying out of their noses."
Jay then describes methods of murdering the president, including radio-controlled flying saws that are "ultrasharp and they're totally deadly, really nasty." Other methods: a gun and a remote-controlled boulder.
Remember how conservatives supposedly had an irrational loathing for Bill Clinton in the 90s? I remember rumors to that effect, but what I don't recall is anyone proporting to be a conservative calling for the assassination of President Clinton, either in reality or fiction.
The reality of 2004 is that there is a segment of society that simply wants President Bush out of office, no matter what the cost. They have tried everything in their arsenal, and now it is the moviemakers and writers giving it their best yeoman's efforts. While I am all for protection of free speech, I am also a supporter of the rights of others to deplore speech that crosses the line. Nicholson Baker, like Michael Moore before him, has done just that.
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