Sunday, June 08, 2008


There are two Minnesota-related articles in the A-section of the New York Times today -- one on Al Franken's senate bid and one on the 35W bridge construction. Both had me annoyed with how Minnesota is seen nationally and in New York.

In the Franken article, headlined "Despite Concerns, Democrats In Minnesota Back Franken," I learned that Minnesota Democrats and Republicans alike have been going through all of the articles he's written and interviews he's given, and found sinfulness.

Franken apparently wrote an essay called "Porn-O-Rama!" for Playboy in 2000. A group of Republican women responded with a letter of concern (read it on the GOP Minnesota website), part of which said:
This column shows flagrant disregard for women, and an extreme objectification of women as sex objects for your pleasure. While you may attempt to defend your writing as satire, we hardly find anything defensible about your finding humor in your desire to have sex with women or robots that look like women simply to give yourself a good time.
"denounce this article and apologize immediately," they suggest in conclusion.

This should come as no surprise from Republicans, but then Planned Parenthood got upset, and then Democrats Keith Ellison (known to Republicans as the Muslim infiltrator) and Betty McCollum got upset.

Meanwhile, conservative bloggers are giddy with delight, cheering Planned Parenthood and shouting about respecting women -- two things that must feel exhilaratingly transgressive to them.

This is nothing new, this politicians and porn thing, says the City Pages. The Minneapolis weekly pointed out that Vice President Dick Cheney's wife Lynne wrote a lesbian historical romance novel called Sisters and referred to a Slate article from 2006 that has a quiz where readers can "match the porn with the politician who wrote it." It includes Newt Gingrich, Wm. F. Buckley, Jimmy Carter and more.

I'm looking for the "Porn-O-Rama!" essay online, but I'm not having any luck. Sarah Janecek explains in Politics in Minnesota:
The most meaningful way to assess the political ramifications of the column is to read it in its entirety (which I did, thanks to several DFL friends who emailed it to me).

Unfortunately, the column is copyrighted and thus major media won't reprint it or link to it in a PDF. I have been sorely tempted to publish it here on PIM, but because we're now happily ensconced in the stable of publications owned by Dolan Media Company, instigating a copyright infringement lawsuit doesn't bode well for future payments on my mortgage.
And so, most of the indignant on the right and the left opine without the luxury of having read the offending essay. Playboy's website actually has a lot of magazine archive content, but not this essay. I wonder if they are keeping it off the Internet to avoid fanning the flames.

Here's my official line on the Franken essay: As a native Minnesotan, a resident of New York and a member of the liberal media, I have been instructed not to talk about the Franken essay by my advisors. They tell me I shouldn't say anything that might jeopardize a future run for office.


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