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As long as we're wanging it up today, we may as well mention the recent cockfight between The New Republic's Michael Crowley and famous author Michael Crichton, the novelist who writes all those shockingly believable stories about scary dinosaurs, scary Japanese people, and scary women who will sexually harass you. It seems that back in March, Crowley wrote a cover story about Crichton that irked the Flintstones scenarist; his revenge took the form of a character in his new novel named "Mick Crowley," an underendowed child rapist. Crowley (the real one, not the fictional baby-raper) quotes the following passage from the book, which we're putting after the jump because, well, it's a little disturbing, and not just for being badly written.

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. Crowley was a wealthy, spoiled Yale graduate and heir to a pharmaceutical fortune. ...

It turned out Crowley's taste in love objects was well known in Washington, but [his lawyer]—as was his custom—tried the case vigorously in the press months before the trial, repeatedly characterizing Alex and the child's mother as "fantasizing feminist fundamentalists" who had made up the whole thing from "their sick, twisted imaginations." This, despite a well-documented hospital examination of the child. (Crowley's penis was small, but he had still caused significant tears to the toddler's rectum.)

Crowley handles the whole thing with aplomb: He lays out his case with little bitterness and makes Crichton look like more of a penis than his earlier profile did, which is no small feat. The best part of the piece, though, is his reference to the "obscure publishing doctrine known as 'the small penis rule,'"

As described in a 1998 New York Times article, it is a sly trick employed by authors who have defamed someone to discourage their targets from filing lawsuits. As libel lawyer Leon Friedman explained to the Times, "No male is going to come forward and say, 'That character with a very small penis, 'That's me!'"

Jesus, when we think of all the time we've wasted altering significant details in an attempt to avoid problems; all we have to do is mention a diminutive dinkle and we're in the clear. Except maybe when it comes to Brad Pitt.

Cock and Bull
Jurassic President [TNR]
Writers as Plunderers; Why Do They Keep Giving Away Other People's Secrets? [NYT]