Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Insane Novelist Threatens Critics With Baseless Accusations of Child Rape

We here at The New Libertine have long had our suspicions, but this week we've got confirmation: Michael Crichton is bat-shit crazy.

On the cover of this week's New Republic we were promised an article pithily plugged as: "Michael Crichton, Jurassic Prick." After searching through the magazine, we discovered it was actually the back-page "Washington Diarist" column. Here's how it starts:

There is an obscure publishing doctrine known as "the small penis rule." As described in a 1998 New York Times article, it is a sly trick employed by authors who have defamed someone to discourage their targets from filing lawsuits. As libel lawyer Leon Friedman explained to the Times, "No male is going to come forward and say, 'That character with a very small penis, 'That's me!'"

Got you hooked? Wondering how this related to Michael Crichton? Well, read this passage from his new "novel," Next (as reprinted from TNR:

Alex Burnet was in the middle of the most difficult trial of her career, a rape case involving the sexual assault of a two-year-old boy in Malibu. The defendant, thirty-year-old Mick Crowley, was a Washington-based political columnist who was visiting his sister-in-law when he experienced an overwhelming urge to have anal sex with her young son, still in diapers. Crowley was a wealthy, spoiled Yale graduate and heir to a pharmaceutical fortune. ...

It turned out Crowley's taste in love objects was well known in Washington, but [his lawyer]--as was his custom--tried the case vigorously in the press months before the trial, repeatedly characterizing Alex and the child's mother as "fantasizing feminist fundamentalists" who had made up the whole thing from "their sick, twisted imaginations." This, despite a well-documented hospital examination of the child. (Crowley's penis was small, but he had still caused significant tears to the toddler's rectum.)

Wow! Jesus Christ! Bonus points for the detail on the rectal damage caused by child-rape you sick fuck. But that's not really the point. The writer in The New Republic goes on:

The next page contains fleeting references to Crowley as a "weasel" and a "dickhead," and, later, "that political reporter who likes little boys." But that's it--Crowley comes and goes without affecting the plot. He is not a character so much as a voodoo doll. Knowing that Crichton had used prior books to attack very real-seeming people, I was suspicious. Who was this Mick Crowley? A Google search turned up an Irish Workers Party politician in Knocknaheeny, Ireland. But Crowley's tireless advocacy for County Cork's disabled seemed to make him an unlikely target of Crichton's ire.

It was at this point we stopped reading, scratched our heads, and said, "Huh?" Why was the author doing Google searches on the name? Surely whoever was the ire of Crichton's wrath wouldn't share the same name. I glanced down at the bottom of the page to see what sort of rhetorical half-wit had written this thing, and then-- Well, I'll let the author explain:

And that's when it dawned on me: I happen to be a Washington political journalist. And, yes, I did attend Yale University. And, come to think of it, I had recently written a critical 3,700-word cover story about Crichton. In lieu of a letter to the editor, Crichton had fictionalized me as a child rapist. And, perhaps worse, falsely branded me a pharmaceutical-industry profiteer.

Yes, Michael Crowley, a senior editor at The New Republic, had indeed written a brilliantly devastating feature on Crichton back in the March 20th edition ("Jurassic President: Michael Crichton's Scariest Creation"). The subject was Crichton's State of Fear, a 2004 novel that posited (if a novel can truly posit an idea) that global warming was a ruse concocted by a conspiracy of leftists radicals to terrorize the planet. Or something. Honestly, we can't be expected to read this crap. But we have it on good sources that this is the subject of said novel.

"Although 'State of Fear' comes dressed as an airport-bookstore thriller," begins Bruce Barcott's Jan. 30, 2005 review in The New York Times, "Crichton's readers will discover halfway through their flight that the novel more closely resembles one of those Ann Coulter 'Liberals Are Stupid' jobs. Liberals, environmentalists and many other straw men endure a stern thrashing in 'State of Fear,' but Crichton's primary target is the theory of global warming, which he believes is a scientific delusion."

This was actually our first clue that Crichton was bat-shit crazy; later, we received further clues when in Feb., 2006, the Times noted that George W. Bush was a huge fan of Crichton's, and had invited him to the White House to discuss the novel. Then came Crowley's original New Republic piece, which seemed to confirm that Crichton had become a full-on political hack of the most pathetic variety.

"In a 1995 interview with Time magazine," wrote Crowley, "Crichton hinted at an agenda beyond dazzling people with roller-coaster plots and astounding Hollywood special effects. Somewhat ostentatiously citing Jean Cocteau's The Difficulty of Being, Crichton explained that the French writer 'said what I've always believed about myself. He didn't care about being noticed for his style. He only wanted to be noticed for his ideas. And even better for the influence of the ideas.'"

The gist of Crowley's article, if we recall correctly, is that Crichton--a man in love with his own sense of genius--frequently attacks academics, scholars, intellectuals and any other sort of "expert" in his novels. Such people are too girly, too self-satisfied, and too comfortable in their own little worlds to possibly be correct about anything. That's why they get eaten by dinosaurs. Or don't understand the Japanese are going to take over the country. Or can't bring themselves to believe that women all really wanna fuck their coworkers. You know, they're pretentious.

So Crichton tried to play gadfly to all our preconceived notions about global warming in State of Fear, ultimately (in his afterword) comparing it to pseudoscience of eugenics caliber. That position won him a number of friends in D.C. In February, 2006, Crichton's novel was awarded the American Association of Petroleum Geologists' truth in journalism award, despite being, well, not-journalism.

But Crichton had powerful allies. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), widely considered the dumbest member of the US Senate, and who has referred to global warming as "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," called Crichton to speak before the committee he chaired (until the last election): the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

"I'm excited about this hearing," Inhofe old the Times. "I think I've read most of his books; I think I've read them all. I enjoyed most 'State of Fear' and made it required reading for this committee."

(For more on James Inhofe's own bat-shit crazy rantings, see Michael Crowley's "Ill Natured" from the Jan. 20, 2003 New Republic.)

And finally, the smoking gun: Turning Michael Crowley into a kiddie rapist. "It's impossible not to be grossed out on some level," writes Crowley, "particularly by the creepy image of the smoldering Crichton, alone in his darkened study, imagining in pornographic detail the rape of a small child." But what else do you expect from such an avid imagination, one which conceives of thousands of scientists and concerned citizens all getting together to form a global cabal for the exclusive purpose of terrorizing the poor energy sector (as if they weren't having a hard enough time as it is)?

Well, we're not surprised, at least. Not that we saw it coming in the form of accusations of child-rape and penis envy, but we saw it coming: it was inevitable that Crichton's bat-shit insanity would make itself known eventually.

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