““Next,” Michael Crichon’s new novel about the perils of biotechnology, has not proved as polarizing as his previous thriller, “State of Fear,” which dismisses global warming But one of the new book’s minor characters — Mick Crowley, a Washington political columnist who rapes a baby — may be a literary dagger aimed at Michael Crowley, a Washington political reporter who wrote an unflattering article about Mr. Crichton this year.
Certainly Mr. Crowley thinks so.
In a “Washington Diarist” feature that was to be posted last night on The New Republic’s Web site, and published in the magazine’s Dec. 25 issue, Mr. Crowley says he is the victim of “a literary hit-and-run” because of a 3,700-word article in The New Republic in March.
In that article he accused Mr. Crichton of being “a menacing figure” because he uses his “potboiler prose” to advance causes now dear to Republicans Mr. Crowley is a senior editor at The New Republic and writes primarily about politics.
“In lieu of a letter to the editor, Crichton had fictionalized me as a child rapist,” Mr. Crowley writes.
Mr. Crichton could not be reached yesterday for comment, and a publicist at his publisher, HarperCollins, did not return calls.”
No surprise there. But it gets better. For not only does Crichton call Crowley a babper-raper (shades of the Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’ Restaurant Masacree) but one posessed of a small penis!
“The March article that Mr. Crowley referred to concluded: “And now, like a mighty t-rex that has escaped from Jurassic Park, Crichton stomps across the public policy landscape, finally claiming the influence that he has always sought. In this sense, he himself is like an experiment gone wrong — a creation of the publishing industry and Hollywood who has unexpectedly mutated into a menacing figure haunting think tanks, policy forums, hearing rooms and even the Oval Office.”
Mr. Crowley, 34, reached by telephone yesterday before the article was posted on the Web site, declined to expand on what he wrote. “I want to let the piece speak for itself,” he said.
The character that Mr. Crowley says he believes is modeled on him mostly appears on two pages in Mr. Crichton’s 431-page novel.
On Page 227 Mr. Crichton writes: “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.”
Mick Crowley is described as a “wealthy, spoiled Yale graduate” with a small penis that nonetheless “caused significant tears to the toddler’s rectum.”
Mr. Crowley writes that Mr. Crichton’s Mick Crowley not only has a similar name but is also a graduate of Yale and a Washington political journalist. Mr. Crowley contends that Mr. Crichton has tried to escape public censure for his literary attack by hiding behind what has become known as “the small penis rule.”
There’s a rule?
The rule, Mr. Crowley writes, is described in a 1998 article in The New York Times in which the libel lawyer Leon Friedman said it is a trick used by authors who have defamed someone to discourage lawsuits. “No male is going to come forward and say, ‘That character with a very small penis — that’s me!’ ” Mr. Friedman explained.
Although he writes that no one seems to have drawn the connection between Mick Crowley and Michael Crowley, Mr. Crowley concludes that he is “strangely flattered” by his 15 minutes of fame in Mr. Crichton’s novel.
“To explain why, let me propose a corollary to the small penis rule,” he writes. “Call it the small man rule: If someone offers substantive criticism of an author and the author responds by hitting below the belt, as it were, then he’s conceding that the critic has won.”
How clever! But this in turn conjures up another scenario. As “Conservative”/Republican/ “Fundamentalist’s” are always guilty of what they accuse their enemies of doing (ie. William Bennett, Ted Haggard) it’s fairly certain that Michael Crichton has used his small penis to rape babies.
“BOB Dylan wants to send “Factory Girl” to the glue factory – charging the upcoming Edie Sedgwick biopic falsely suggests he was responsible for the Andy Warhol ingenue’s suicide.
The famed folkie’s pit bull lawyers have fired off a letter to producers Bob Yari and Holly Wiersma, and screenwriter Aaron Richard Golub, demanding the flick not be released – or even screened – until they see it to determine if Dylan, who they say has “deep concerns,” has been defamed.
Sedgwick, played by Sienna Miller, was Warhol’s brightest young star before spiraling into drug abuse and killing herself with an overdose of barbiturates in 1971. She got to know Dylan while living at the Chelsea Hotel, and legend has it they hooked up.
The original screenplay depicted the alleged relationship using Dylan’s name, and suggested he dumped Sedgwick – which led to “her tragic decline into heroin addiction and eventual suicide,” Dylan’s lawyer, Orin Snyder, writes.
Although Dylan’s name has been changed to “Danny Quinn” and the character is reportedly a composite of Dylan, Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger, Snyder says critics who’ve seen screenings say it’s unmistakably Dylan. A trailer shows Quinn, played by Hayden Christensen, wearing Dylan’s trademark harmonica brace and cap as he performs.
Snyder warns the filmmakers: “You appear to be laboring under the misunderstanding that merely changing the name of a character or making him a purported fictional composite will immunize you from suit. That is not so. Even though Mr. Dylan’s name is not used, the portrayal remains both defamatory and a violation of Mr. Dylan’s right of publicity . . .
“Until we are given an opportunity to view the film, we hereby demand that all distribution and screenings . . . immediately be ceased.” The Weinstein Company, which is releasing the picture Dec. 27, had no comment. Neither did Yari or Golub.”
Having seen this abomination my only counsel to Mr. Snyder is “Let ‘em have it!” The film not only defames Dylan (as if any adept wouldn’t guess the reference to “The Mighty Quinn”) it holds Andy responsible for Edie’s descent into drugs (well underway before she set instep one into the Factory) , portraying the most soigne fag-hag Boston ever knew as an “innocent” corrupt by Those Big Bad New York Homos. Sienna Miller does her best, but Amanda Peet nailed it already in Igby Goes Down. As for Hayden Christiansen, he looks like he’s auditioning for the lead in The James Franco Story.
All in all A Sad Commentary on Our Times.
(Pass the popcorn!)