The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Friday, July 16, 2004  

Where Do Books Go When They Become Inconvenient?

PW: Philadelphia Weekly, one of this city’s alternative publications, fairly consistently offers interesting reading, including the paper’s cover stories, some offbeat but not weird feature stories, and its regular columnists (on this last point, I’m thinking here Jessica Pressler, among others, and not Solomon Jones, the Buppie James Lileks).

In this week’s issue (July 14-20), PW treads on what is, for most Rittenhouse readers, familiar ground. You see, Second Lady Lynne Cheney, English major turned amateur and childish historian, once wrote a lesbian-themed historical novel called Sisters, a book long since tucked away out of embarrassment -- literary or political, I’m not sure. Steve Volk, in “Throw the Book at `Em,” reveals a few new details (new to me, at least), includes excerpts from the banished book, and wins a pull quote for this passage:

While Cheney’s books get prominent play in her official White House biography, there’s no mention of Sisters, a decidedly feminist, pro-lesbian screed. When the Canadian book publisher announced plans to rerelease the book, which has long been out of print, it received a call from Lynne Cheney’s lawyer.

Alas, Sisters exists now only in used bookstores and on the Internet in excerpts posted to the White House parody website Whether Sisters also exists in Mrs. Cheney’s heart is an open question.

Cheney’s efforts to distance herself from a novel she presumably spent much time researching and writing casts a sad reflection on the state of modern American politics, where blood is evidently no thicker than water.

As is well known by now, the Cheneys have an openly lesbian daughter, Mary. Dick Cheney’s famous declaration during the 2000 election that he would not support a constitutional ban on gay marriage was seen as a demonstration of loyalty to her.

Then the world turned, and a political equation played itself out. […]

Suddenly Dick Cheney changed his mind: Gay marriage was no longer an issue for states to decide. Cheney was for an amendment. Over the weekend Lynne Cheney announced she still thinks states should make their own decisions on gay marriage, putting her in public disagreement with her husband. One can only wonder what conversation is like around the dinner table in the vice president’s household when Mary stops by for a visit.

But why does Mary need to stop by the house for a visit? She’s actively working for pop’s reelection. Presumably Mary runs into Dick at the office from time to time.

One more question: Strange as all this appears to normal people, is it possible Mary has been promised an ambassadorship for her cooperation in this farce?

[Post-publication addendum: Have you hit the Rittenhouse tip box lately? It’s sitting, awfully lonely, in the sidebar at right, under the heading “Summer Drive.” Thanks a million. No . . . thanks a few bucks.]


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