Recently, a politician was in the news for having been dumped by his party. Now I’m not entirely sure why he was – sounds like maybe some in his party didn’t like him too much – but what was really eye-catching was the reporting on this. You see this guy wrote a novel some years ago, and apparently it had got sex in it. According to the tone of most of the reporting I saw, people in the media think that this is some kind of mark of foolishness or bad character.
Without linking to a bunch of articles and podcasts it’s a bit hard to express the tone of this reporting, but it left me with a sense that the journo’s thought some mixture of “serious people don’t write fiction”, “OMG sex!” and “how can you have faith in a politician who can write a descriptive sex scene”. Yes. (I particularly loved the sex scenes described as “erotic content”. Did all these people miss the fact it’s the 21C? Or do they just not read fiction?)
Now the book might be particularly racy. It might even be erotica. Maybe it’s bloody awful. But think about those messages. Who’d want a politician who has imagination, is an observer of people (most writers are), or who has the commitment to write a novel which as we all know is a marathon, not a sprint?
Of course none of this was what the guy had really done wrong. Apparently/allegedly he’d tried to “spruik” the novel on government letterhead, which is entirely inappropriate. So why wasn’t that the story?