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View Diary: Some Short thougths on Tom Clancy's Passing (63 comments)

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  •  Used to like Clancy (7+ / 0-)

    He had some incredibly wooden characters. I really couldn't care what happened to any of them, they were so wooden and unreal. And it's sad, because some of these characters had back stories so colorful that it really took some bad writing to make them so wooden. But what he could do with the technology and the scenarios he would dream up could keep me at the edge until the book was done. Yes, he was always to the right of center, and that was obvious, but he wasn't constantly up on the soapbox about it in his early novels.

    Clancy, from the beginning had a white black way of looking at the world that was quite discomforting. The adversaries were always irredeemably evil, and our side was set up to be a good guy by Clancy were not merely good, but so incredibly perfectly decent, they walked on water.

    As he became more bellicosely right wing in his novels, he came up with a character that was a Ted Kennedy clone, and was also a serial rapist. Nasty. In the begging, of the Ryanverse, he had a character who was clearly a Barney Frank clone - gay congressman from MA, who was depicted as irritating to the Republican side, but who was as ethical as he was intelligent, and was genuinely respected by the other side. Some books later, he comes up with a Ted Kennedy clone who was a sexual predator rapist. The early Clancy novels, written in the Reagan could show the Democrats has sometimes political adversaries, but not enemies. And sometimes deals could be made with them. But by "Debt of Honor," the Democrats were evil enemies to be crushed. It was probably no coincidence that it was now the Gingrich era, and Clancy was morphing along with his fellow Republicans. Clancy made this voyage to the Dark Side not as a solo voyage, but was traveling with his conservative constituency.

    Caution: spoiler alert.

    Clancy's novels really started coming from the dark side with the release of "Without Remorse. It takes us back to the early seventies with a younger version of John Clark going on a rampage against violent drug dealers, killing not just some high level people, but quite a few street level dealers, and even a wino who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The message seems to be that there's nothing our cities couldn't use more than a few good vigilante killers.

    Debt of honor was a great read, but the bizarre scenario of a war between the US and Japan in the 90's made no sense at all, but did set up the stage for a lone wolf terrorist attack by a Japanese Airlines pilot, made at Japan losing the war, crashing a fully fueled 747 into the Capitol right during the State of the Union Address as payback for the US winning the war against Japan. The government is wiped out except for his Jack Ryan character, who had been appointed VP to replace the Kennedy clone mentioned above. I suspect Ryan was Clancy's alter ego, the man he wished he was, so in a sense, Clancy blew up the government in his novel to make an America with himself as President, and remake the country in his image. No, he wouldn't have really done that, would he?

    Yes he did. "Executive Orders," was the next novel, and sure enough, President Ryan/Clancy was handpicking the next Congress, (most of the previous Congress had been killed.) defending his choice of corporate types with words that could have come out of the mouth of Newt Gingrich, who was the real life Speaker of the House at the time and trying to impeach Clinton over a blow job. So much of this book was an advertisement for the America that might be if only Newt could get rid of the Democrats. And I thought it was incredibly tasteless to have an albeit fictional terrorist attack to destroy the Democrats just so he could accomplish this. Tasteless. Sick Depraved. Writing about what a wonderful government we could have if something bad happened to Congress, and some Very Serious Person could appoint our government for us.

    I never read a Clancy novel after that.  

    Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

    by RhodeIslandAspie on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 05:35:58 PM PDT

    •  Och, Executive Orders as a Mary Sue, N/K (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, spacecadet1

      My sister bought a copy for her husband for Xmas one year because I'd commented favorably on some of Clancy's earlier novels; house sitting for them one weekend I tried to give it a go.  Frankly, even though I had a Canadian's knowledge of US government at the time I was pretty sure the whole "picking congress" was over the top.

      Didn't read very much of that one.

      It's funny though, I did remember the Barney Frank character when you mentioned it--not being political at that time I never made the connection later.  I never felt that his American heroes in the early books were angels--in fact I was always left pitying Clark's inability to connect with the living--perhaps subtext that was never meant?

      Cheers,

      Sean

      •  It wasn't just over the top, (4+ / 0-)

        It would be an unconstitutional violation of separation of powers. This scenario had been discussed during the cold war - what if WWIII wipes out DC? The consensus was that it would fall to the states to reconstitute the government, since the Federal government was created by the state. And since there is no power given to the Federal government to reconstitute itself, it is a power that would be reserved to the states. And the states would have to make up the process as it went along. Let's hope we never see that.

        Clark was Clancy's best character, I think, and it's a pity that he wasn't developed more deeply.

        Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

        by RhodeIslandAspie on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 06:56:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Executive Orders did it for me too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      I'd read a few Clancy novels, started EO but just didn't see the point.  He got too apocalyptic for me.

      I don't know what's been trickling down, but it hasn't been pleasant---N. Pelosi

      by Russycle on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 06:10:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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