A Washington Post columnist has ripped Democratic Senatorial candidate and comedian Al Franken for his “Porn-O-Rama!” article in Playboy magazine, calling him a “vulgarian at the gate.”
Michael Gerson, George Bush’s former chief speechwriter, declares in his Post column that “Porn-O-Rama!” is “a modern campaign document every voter should read — the Federalist Papers of lifestyle liberalism.
“It has the literary sensibilities and moral seriousness of an awkward adolescent nerd publishing an underground newspaper to shock his way into campus popularity. But, in this case, the article was written in 2000 by a 48-year-old man.”
In his article, Franken wrote that it is an "exciting time for pornographers and for us, the consumers of pornography."
The Internet, he stated, is a "terrific learning tool. For example, a couple of years ago, when he was 12, my son used the Internet for a sixth-grade report on bestiality. Joe was able to download some effective visual aids, which the other students in his class just loved."
Franken also used several crude or X-rated words in his Playboy piece.
But the article is far from the only instance in which Franken resorted to vulgarity or bad taste. He once proposed a television sketch about a female CBS reporter being drugged and raped, Gerson noted.
At an event hosted by the Feminist Majority Foundation in 1999, Franken said: "Why don't we focus on what Afghan women can do? They can cook, bear children and pray. As I recall, that was fine for our grandmothers."
Gerson equates Franken’s political “satire” with the “vulgarity” of “The Jerry Springer Show” or misogynous rap music, saying it “generally expresses contempt and cruelty.”
And he observes: “Franken is not content to disagree with Karl Rove; he calls him ‘human filth.’ He is not satisfied to criticize Ari Fleischer; Franken terms him a ‘chimp.’ The objects of Franken's humor — including political opponents and women — are not merely mocked but dehumanized. His trashiness is also nastiness.
“Rather than lampooning the emptiness and viciousness of our political discourse — a proper role for satire — Franken has powerfully reinforced those failures.”
The flap over Franken’s Playboy article and other disclosures evidently does not sit well with voters in Minnesota, where Franken is matched up against incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.
A SurveyUSA poll taken last week after press reports about the Playboy article found Coleman leading Franken by a margin of 52 percent to 40 percent — the largest lead Coleman has held in any recent poll.
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