You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Well, they say, "Write what you know..."

...This however is getting a bit ridiculous: Senator Barbara Boxer has written a novel.

Now before you get your knickers in a wad and start screaming "DOUI has jumped off the apolitical bandwagon!" (For all the good it will do know how many readers we have! It would be like a hamster complaining about the sunrise) please understand that I'd be just as bemused if Tom DeLay or Orrin Hatch has announced the release of a sordid page-turner. I wrote about this phenomenon on my private blog some time ago (cue plug for private blog, which badly needs updating) pointing out that such authors are rarely chosen for any talent they may have, but instead are chosen because they happen, luckily for their nascent writing careers, to be famous politicians. I strongly suspect that Boxer and DeLay don't even know the meaning of the word "nascent." (Hatch probably does, but only from thousands of misspent hours of playing Scrabble.)

Boxer is at least following the old writing teachers mantra of writing about what she knows: Her book is about "a feisty left-wing senator from California faced with a vexing decision: What to do about a conservative Supreme Court nominee who appears headed for confirmation?" Hmmm... sound like anyone we know? All right, replaced "feisty" with "crotchety". How about now?

There are a couple of major differences between Boxer and the character in her book, "The Woman Who Ripped George W. Bush's Heart Out and Stomped on It While Wearing Football Cleats" (I'm just kidding, it's really called "A Time to Run". I just assumed that's what she would secretly like to title a book.) For example, Boxer's character is 15 years younger than the California senator, and also has no children.

If Bill Clinton were the author, I'd say it was pure fantasizing on his part. However, I'll give Senator Boxer the benefit of a doubt and suggest she was merely embellishing her character a bit. Especially the passage where she describes the senator as " Venus de Milo, only with a briefcase and arms to carry it with."

No word on how many sex scenes are in the novel (my guess: 22) but there is a rumour (started here, and right now) that Julia Roberts or Ashley Judd are being lined up for the inevitable movie role. Realism prevails, eh?

I have to imagine though, given the average Seantor's speeches and prose (and to be fair, Boxer runs about average) that this will be a fairly turgid and dry read. It probably doesn't help that advance copies of the book have the author starting off every chapter with the words, "I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks." Who does she think she is, J.K. Rowling?

Truth to tell, I can only imagine two current or former senators pulling off a really good book: Former Senator Fred Thompson, whose tome would include plenty of good movie star anecdotes from his body of film work and his role on NBC;s Law and Order. The one downside would be that it would likely be "co-written with Chris Kreski." The other one would be Ted Kennedy, who I'm confident would deliver reams of entertainingly incomprehensible passages, and immense amounts of dirt on his more admired brothers Robert and John.

John McCain might come up with something good, but when I imagine a work of fiction by him, one word comes to mind: gritty.

You'd think though that of all non-literary professions, that politicians would be quite good at fiction, given the reams of it they produce every day.

(The above remark provided by Cynical Citizens on Politics, Politicians, and Things Beginning with the Letter "P".)

Unfortunately, I suspect a trend is forthcoming. Soon to be released! John Kerry's tale of wartime intrigue, "The President Who Was in Cambodia (I Tell You!)" and Bill Frist's hospital potboiler, "Dr. Animal Magnetism." The funny thing is that every one of them ends with the protaganist in the White House. Imagine that.


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