(Tin House Books, 300 pages, $16.95) is a monstrous, Muhammad Ali-like jab square to the Republican groin. Win McCormack, publisher and editor of Portland's
literary magazine, has compiled an encyclopedia of 110 acts of sexual misconduct by Republican elected officials, upper-echelon appointees and activists who couldn't keep their pork swords in the deli case. The book is knee-slappingly hilarious at times (come on, bestiality is funny) but also downright depressing: Of the 110 incidents, "46 of them—nearly 42 percent of the total—[are] classifiable as pedophilia."
With its A-to-Z format, the book reads like a dictionary of sexual sins, and its arrangement lumps together some pretty interesting topics. Take, for instance, the letter B, which includes Bad Sex Writing, Battery, Bestiality and Blow Jobs. Or the letter H, which includes Harassment, Hilary Duff, Hypersexuality and HotMilitaryStud.com.
While many of the GOP perpetrators profiled by McCormack are low on the GOP totem pole (county commissioners, etc.), there are plenty of sexual missteps by the party's power elite. For instance, Rudy Giuliani's marriage to Regina Peruggi was annulled by the Catholic Church because the two were second cousins once removed. And "In his 2001 novel, The Apprentice, former Cheney Chief of Staff I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby graphically describes sex scenes between a young prostitute and animals."
What gives You Don't Know Me valuable context is McCormack's foreword, which explains psychological theories behind Republican sexual malfeasance. Hidden behind the Republican image of piety and religious conviction, he writes, is "the phenomenon of conservative sexual deviants legislating against their own past or future infractions." McCormack has also compiled an appendix chockablock with witness testimonies, copies of police reports, and other public documents if readers want to get gritty details on some of the saucier sex scandals.
You Don't Know Me takes you on a comedy tour through public Republican fuck-ups, but Democrats shouldn't feel entirely superior after reading the book. Remember, Dems, your own officials are not all sexually innocent cherubs. (Although, in all fairness, Elizabeth Edwards was in remission.) So while McCormack's book is like a battering ram to the balls of Republicans, Democrats should be ready for strong Republican rebuttal. Former Oregon Senator Wayne Morse cautioned, "Whenever you see a politician campaign with the Bible in one hand, watch out! Because the dagger of hypocrisy will surely lie in the other." If McCormack's research was bipartisan in scope, this word to the wise could easily have been applied to both sides of the political divide.
Win McCormack reads from
at 7:30 pm Friday, Aug. 22, at Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-0540. Free.