Gather ‘round, folks, and listen to a tale of Bigfoot erotica, political adversaries named Cockburn and Riggleman, and what it all weirdly has to do with the Jews.
Say it all together now: Oy vey.
OK, here goes.
Denver Riggleman sounds like the name of a pornstar, and maybe it is; Riggleman, the GOP candidate for Representative of Virginia’s 5th district, is also busy writing a book called “Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him.” Here, take a look at the cover art, why don’t you:
My opponent Denver Riggleman, running mate of Corey Stewart, was caught on camera campaigning with a white supremacist. Now he has been exposed as a devotee of Bigfoot erotica. This is not what we need on Capitol Hill. pic.twitter.com/0eBvxFd6sG— Leslie Cockburn (@LeslieCockburn) July 29, 2018
That crude drawing gamboled into the public eye via the tweet above, written by Riggleman’s Democratic opponent in the race. That would be the even more gloriously-named Leslie Cockburn — apparently pronounced ‘Co-burn’ — who is, wildly, also the mother of Hollywood A-lister Olivia Wilde.
Now the weary American public is tasked with deciding whether or not authoring soft-core pornography about folklore characters is indicative of an inability to be a credit to one’s state.
“I hope that candidate’s love of Bigfoot porn doesn’t distract from his being a white supremacist” is now a thing that can be said out loud— Jess Dweck (@TheDweck) July 30, 2018
And if that weren’t enough, lets bring in the Jews.
Cockburn’s dirt-digging might be a response to a hit her campaign took two months ago, also surrounding a controversial publication: “Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship,” the book Cockburn co-authored with her husband Andrew Cockburn. GOP detractors say the book, published 27 years ago, is anti-Semitic, with John Findlay, the executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia, going so far as to label Cockburn an anti-Semite. Cockburn has attempted to diffuse the situation by meeting with rabbis and other Jewish leaders. Riggleman has accused her of using the Bigfoot scandal to redirect the conversation surrounding the Virginia race; “Let’s stick to the issues and Leslie’s book,” he wrote in a tweet.
In its 1991 review of “Dangerous Liaison,” The New York Times wrote that a central idea of the book is that “the Israeli-American connection is somewhere behind just about everything that ails us.” While criticism of Israel is not inherently anti-Semitic, the notion that Israel is the cause of all trouble is at very least a gray area; “Israel,” in such situations, often serves as a euphemism for “Jews.” On the other hand, attempts by the GOP to alienate liberal candidates from voters by claiming anti-Semitism can be an insidious way to prey upon Jewish fears for votes.
Here’s the thing:
Cockburn, a journalist of 35-years, wrote “Dangerous Liaison” with her journalist husband Andrew Cockburn, who is of Jewish descent. Attributing a label of anti-Semitism to their book should be done carefully if at all. Riggleman, on the other hand, has campaigned with white nationalist Isaac Smith and rabid racist Corey Stewart.
So who would be worse for the Jews? A liberal woman journalist who is harshly and perhaps inanely critical of Israel? Or a friend-of-racists who publishes mythical monster smut?
Your call, America.
Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny