Image: AP

The race for Virgina’s 5th Congressional District has become unexpectedly embroiled in a controversy over “Bigfoot erotica.” This is all deeply unfair..... to the noble art of writing about sexy monsters, aliens, and assorted cryptids, a genre which doesn’t deserve to be associated with some rightwing asshole.

This explainer from the New York Times lays the entire story out in painstakingly professional detail. Republican incumbent Tom Garrett declined earlier this year to run for reelection, and now Democrat Leslie Cockburn and Republican primary winner Denver Riggleman are vying for the seat. And things took a deeply weird turn Sunday.

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Really you need to see the tweet to get the full effect:

Riggleman, for his part, insists that it’s all part of a long-running joke with his military buddies.

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My take? This is all very rude.

While I would not be so vain as to label myself a “connoisseur,” I am a Kindle Unlimited subscriber who loves to watch somebody attempt what should be impossible. Hence I can confidently inform you that there is a subgenre thriving under the broader umbrella of erotic romance dedicated to characters who are, at minimum, Bigfoot-adjacent. For instance! One of the honest-to-God most unbelievable things I’ve ever read is this book called Ruth’s Bonded, which is about this Earth woman who gets stuck with and ultimately falls for a giant hairy jungle-dwelling ape alien man. While it’s not going on my bookshelf nestled up to Devil in Winter, it was strangely compelling, mostly because I couldn’t believe it was a premise anyone could ever pull off in a million years. Look—what’s not to love about a book that so self-confidently and good-naturedly just goes for it?

Image: Kindle

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This is an entirely different ecological niche than Bigfoot, but I also recently read one with a bunch of genetically engineered Kraken men—Treasure of the Abyss. (Kraken is an enormous mythical sea creature, as if I even need to tell you that.) Unfortunately, they live in an abandoned undersea base, which through no fault of the authors reminded me of Sealab 2021, but it was an entertaining summer afternoon read and the world building was pretty good.

And of course we cannot move on from this subject without mention of Ice Planet Barbarians, which is literally about a bunch of giant blue aliens on a frozen planet in outer space. It’s great!

In short, lots of writers are doing their absolute damnedest to take cryptid creatures and make them not just sexy but convincingly emotionally vulnerable, and they deserve better. There is also a lot of what I would consider to be outright Bigfoot porn, which looks somewhat perfunctory in terms of literary effort and lackadaisical in production and prose styling. But that doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with Riggleman, either, who as Vox explained has been wishy-washy about whether he would campaign with Senate candidate Corey Stewart:

Virginia Republicans, including their gubernatorial nominee last year, have largely defended Confederate statues. But Corey Stewart, whom Ed Gillespie defeated for the gubernatorial nomination but who emerged as the GOP’s nominee in this year’s Senate race against Tim Kaine, goes considerably further in his Confederate enthusiasm, describing himself as a “proud Southerner” (he is from Minnesota) and saying the Stars and Bars are “our heritage, it’s what makes us Virginia, and if you take that away, we lose our identity.”

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While Riggleman recently wrote an op-ed denouncing Unite the Right and calling Charlottesville a “wake-up call,” Vox added that, “He’s been equivocal and evasive on the question of whether Stewart will campaign with him, caught between the perception that Stewart is toxic and the reality that he can’t afford to alienate his party’s electoral base.”

Truly with all that’s going on in American politics right now it’s hard to imagine anything less worthy of a taboo than some light fantasizing about fucking Bigfoot or the Bigfoot-adjacent, whether part of a larger romantic arc or just, you know, for jollies. As long as you’re confident he doesn’t go Nazi and the man-beast sex is consensual, climb aboard with my best wishes for your personal happiness!