Wednesday, November 29, 2006

COME, LET US TREASON TOGETHER. I seem to remember days when The West Wing was derided as a liberal fantasy. At least that fantasy was relatively benign; apparently some conservatives are dreaming of something a little more rough.

Behold Orson Scott Card's new novel, Empire, summarized thus by Publisher's Weekly:
When the president and vice-president are killed by domestic terrorists (of unknown political identity), a radical leftist army calling itself the Progressive Restoration takes over New York City and declares itself the rightful government of the United States. Other blue states officially recognize the legitimacy of the group, thus starting a second civil war. Card's heroic red-state protagonists, Maj. Reuben "Rube" Malek and Capt. Bartholomew "Cole" Coleman, draw on their Special Ops training to take down the extremist leftists and restore peace to the nation...
You can read the first five chapters here. I did, with great, great pleasure. The heroic Army Man action figures speak a dialect that's half Ralph Peters and half Sgt. Rock:
"You look pissed off," said Malich.

"Yeah," said Cole. "The terrorists are crazy and scary, but what really pisses me off is knowing that this will make a whole bunch of European intellectuals very happy."

"They won't be so happy when they see where it leads. They've already forgotten Sarajevo and the killing fields of Flanders."

"I bet they're already 'advising' Americans that this is where our military 'aggression' inevitably leads, so we should take this as a sign that we need to change our policies and retreat from the world."

"And maybe we will," said Malich. "A lot of Americans would love to slam the doors shut and let the rest of the world go hang."

"And if we did," said Cole, "who would save Europe then? How long before they find out that negotiations only work if the other guy is scared of the consequences of not negotiating? Everybody hates America till they need us to liberate them."

"You're forgetting that nobody cares what Europeans think except a handful of American intellectuals who are every bit as anti-American as the French," said Malich.
Sound kind of like bloggers, don't they? Also worth mentioning: Army Man #1's wife is a brilliant liberal, but "unlike the ersatz Left of the university, Cessy was a genuine old-fashioned liberal, a Democrat of the tradition that reached its peak with Truman and blew its last trumpet with Moynihan." We are let to know that she bakes cookies.

Pretense of Moral Superiority Disclosure: I would never judge a book by its cover story, five chapters is not enough for summary judgement, Card may have something up his sleeve, and I was not kidding when I said reading the excerpt gave me great pleasure. Hell, this could be my Novel of the Year. I mean, what's the competition?

But we can legitimately have fun with Mr. Card, who, again according to Publisher's Weekly, ends the novel with "an afterword decrying his own politically-motivated exclusion from various conventions and campuses, the 'national media elite' and the divisive excesses of both the right and the left." Like Cessy, Card considers himself a political moderate, though (as we have shown here) he is the sort of moderate who believes that Democrats are evil wimps and that homosexuality should be punished with jail time. Again reserving judgement, it would seem Card's fantasy of treacherously-used liberals finally brought to heel by Red State wolverines reflects this highly unusual definition of political moderation.

Even better, Card has been taken up by the Ole Perfesser, who perfesses to share the author's moderate views and hopes "that both the people and the press will make some conscious efforts to moderate the tone, and make that approach less effective." That's pretty funny coming from Mr. "Not Anti-War -- Just On The Other Side." But my favorite part is this:
I've noted before that one of the great American accomplishments was to get over the Civil War without the kind of lingering bitterness that often marks -- and reignites -- such conflicts elsewhere.
It is amazing that the Perfesser made it through Yale without hearing anything about Reconstruction, the Ku Klux Klan, the Civil Rights Movement, etc. Or maybe he sent nanobots into his brain to scrub this knowledge away. This blind spot gains an added layer of piquancy when you realize that Card's fantasy reeks a bit of Afro-6, Trespass, and other speculations of black power ascendant from the 60s and 70s. Once they feared Panthers, now they fear Donkeys. You may adjust your hilarity meters accordingly.

UPDATE. Didn't know but should have that Bradrocket got there firstest with the mostest.

UPDATE II. Nitpicker has some more recent-vintage OSC that helps clarify his moderate views.

No comments:

Post a Comment