The fictional character, named Mick Crowley, is described by Crichton as a child molestor, a "weasel," a "dickhead," and (worst of all) a "professional political journalist." Somehow Crowley thinks this is a reference to him. He responds intemperately in New Republic Online, invoking the "little known... small penis rule" [here].
I confess to having mixed feelings about my sliver of literary immortality. It's impossible not to be grossed out on some level--particularly by the creepy image of the smoldering Crichton, alone in his darkened study, imagining in pornographic detail the rape of a small child. It's uplifting, however, to learn that Next's sales have proved disappointing by Crichton's standards, continuing what an industry newsletter dubs Crichton's "recent pattern of erosion." And I'm looking forward to the choice Crichton will have to make, when asked about the basis for Mick Crowley, between a comically dishonest denial and a confession of his shocking depravity.
Crichton launched his noxious attack from behind the shield of the small penis rule because, I'm sure, he's embarrassed by what he has done. In researching my article, I found a man who has long yearned for intellectual stature beyond the realm of killer dinosaurs and talking monkeys. And Crichton must know that turning a critic into a poorly endowed child rapist won't exactly aid his cause. Ultimately, then, I find myself strangely flattered. To explain why, let me propose a corollary to the small penis rule. Call it the small man rule: If someone offers substantive criticism of an author, and the author responds by hitting below the belt, as it were, then he's conceding that the critic has won.
My oh my! Touchy aren't we? TNR has been on a downward trajectory for several years now. I had attributed it to Beinart's ineptitude, but now the real source of journalistic crapulence has outed himself.There is help available for delusional creeps like Crowley -- I hope he avails himself of it soon.