Fred Head vs. Romance Novels: aka Head v. Porn

I was really enjoying my morning glee, and along came a heaping cup of what-the-fuck to make me glare and seethe. Although we mentioned this issue in passing back in August, the reminder made me growl enough to rant about it.

Seems a man named Fred Head is running for State Comptroller in the state of Texas. His website accuses his Republican opponent, Susan Combs, currently the state agriculture commissioner, is a writer of pornography.

Guess what she wrote? You get one guess. Seriously.

Oh, the joy of reading romance. I had no idea it was so powerful. It makes me stupid AND it makes me a prurient partaker of pornography. Perhaps I should feel guilty about enjoying the genre so much, but somehow, I feel sexually empowered, confident, and more intelligent.

Head’s website is kind enough to offer “extraxts” (sic) should you wish to examine how Combs’ “pornographic book”
disputes her claim of being a “person of high moral standards” and is a “two faced hyprocrite who was obviously more concerned with her literary career and seeing her name in print than the morals of the young People of Texas.”

My personal jaw-dropping favorite part of this nonsense is where he accuses her of having an “insatiable ego” because her name appears at the top of every other page.

I have to wonder if this man has ever read a book.

I shouldn’t be shocked or surprised about this kind of absolute crap, and should just shake my head (or pound it on the nearest hard surface) when Head “challenges Susan Combs to fully explain to the People of Texas why she wrote a pornographic book, apologize to the People and withdraw from the race for Comptroller of Public Accounts.”

Combs’ responses, detailed in the press coverage regarding Head’s accusations dismiss the attempts to malign her as “irrelevant and ill-advised.” I’d say. Her attempts to turn the discussion back to state issues is also pointed.

As one wise person I spoke with said, “If that’s all he’s got, he doesn’t have much.”

Perhaps it’s time for me to develop, with my outstanding knowledge of the intricacies of chemistry, a Smart Bitch Valium, which will render me impervious to continued insults and snide remarks as to my choice of reading materials.

Or, just stick my nose in a romance novel, where I belong.

Comments are Closed

  1. Rosemary says:

    On behalf of my state, I apologize for all the fucking idiots running around and making the rest of us look bad.

    Vote Kinky on November 7th!

  2. J-me says:

    if the voters of texas (why is alway texas) cannot understand the differnce between porn and popular fiction and what exactly the ‘young people’ are reading these days, they deserve Head.  i mean, these same people voted Jr into office and still supported him when he went for the oval office. if they haven’t learned from their mistakes by now, maybe they should annex from the states and become their little black hole of ‘morals.’

  3. AnimeJune says:

    Might I suggest a Googlebomb? Fred Head = “Pornagrapher”?

  4. Jewell says:

    I suppose he also thinks female circumsion a valid safe-guard against promiscuity.

    If sex is no longer pleasurable, then it will only be used for procreation, right?

    This is another example of a blow-hard who can’t understand a woman uses her brain, not just her body for sex. Romance novels incorporate all the senses, and a range of human emotions certain individuals cannot, and will never, grasp.

    So what if some novels are steamy? Blazing, even. I find them far better than the old Penthouse and Playboy letters columns where guys drooled over the fact another guy wrote in about “banging these two chicks at the same time”.

    If this guy can’t differentiate between the two, then how can he be capable of making other critical decisions?


  5. Summer says:

    Obviously this guy doesn’t have a clue.  I got curious and checked out his site and found that the entire book can be viewed at Fred Head’s office in Athens, Texas.  You know, why do these things always have to turn into mud slinging contests?  Who gives a rat’s ass that she wrote a romance novel?  In fact I think more power to Ms. Combs… she should write another after she wins the election!  Makes me want to drive over and read the whole book in front of him.

  6. SB Sarah says:

    I’ve tried to talk Hubby into moving to Texas for the following reasons:

    1. The opportunity to buy often and easily the Best Beer in the Universe, Shiner Bock. Not available in NJ, much to my sadness.

    2. The opportunity to sample often and easily Tex-Mex cuisine, and really freaking good BBQ.

    3. The opportunity to vote early and often for Kinky Friedman, especially because if he appoints his band, the Texas Jewboys, to positions in the cabinet, I’ll expire from paroxysms of joy.

  7. Stef says:

    Bear in mind, this is a state where, by statute in the Texas Penal Code, sodomy is against the law.  By anyone.  If the hubster talks me into a bit of backward bumping, we could be arrested.  According to the esteemed Representative from Pampa, Texas, ‘where I live, we hang people for this.’

    It is against the law to sell dildos, so instead, we sell ‘educational models’.  Vibrators are also not allowed – but one can sell personal massagers, so long as they do not look like a penis.  They can be penis shaped, but there must be a little happy face painted on it, and some other appendage, like a cute dinosaur, or a bunny, for the device to be considered within the law.

    If you’re having a slow day and need a laugh, check out this clip from The Dildo Diaries.  The last 30 seconds are the best part, so watch the whole thing.

    I love Texas, I really do.  Just as I’m certain South Dakotans love their state.  We just seem to have an abundance of nutjobs here.  Kinky’s got my vote.

  8. Susan says:

    All texans should unite and keep Fred Head out of office.

  9. AngieZ says:

    It is against the law to sell dildos, so instead, we sell ‘educational models’.  Vibrators are also not allowed – but one can sell personal massagers, so long as they do not look like a penis.  They can be penis shaped, but there must be a little happy face painted on it, and some other appendage, like a cute dinosaur, or a bunny, for the device to be considered within the law.

    That explains so much.  Thank you for the enlightment, because I could never figure out why sex toys features cute little animals on them.  It always sqeaked me out to look at these toys shaped like little animals. It really ruins the mood when imaging a wittle bunny crawling around you know where. 

    Back on topic, Head is one of those good ole boys that I used encounter when I worked in a the corporate world, you know the ones who called the girls darling and expected you to make the coffee even though you had the same job as they did.  To them women are only good for their use. —Cook me dinner, woman.

  10. rascoagogo says:

    The Bitchery will no doubt be glad to hear that in Austin, Susan Combs signs abound but I haven’t seen one for Fred Head. And I would remember seeing that because I’m immature enough to giggle about his name. Maybe someone named Fred Head shouldn’t run around kvetching about sex.

    And since when do the comptroller’s morals have any bearing on their job abilities? It’s not like they’re making laws and handing down sentances.

    Oh—and I understand that when you buy an “educational model” you have to sign papers that you are using it for educational purposes and not *ahem* doing anything the Southern Baptist Convention wouldn’t approve of. One day, I’m going to move far, far away from the Baptists.

  11. DebH says:

    My first thought was, Well, what do you expect from a guy named Fred Head??

    Now take Fred Head, add in “extraxts” and the author having the ego to put her name on the top of every other page?  I have a hard time believing that this guy knows how to SPELL Comptroller.  Maybe that’s why there are no signs?

  12. --E says:

    I think that when Ms. Combs wins the election, she should follow it up with another steamy novel with a secondary character who thinks he’s really a stud but is a total doofus. His name is “Fred Jones” but he calls himself “Fred Head” and is just pitiful in his delusions.

    And this made me laugh: My personal jaw-dropping favorite part of this nonsense is where he accuses her of having an “insatiable ego” because her name appears at the top of every other page.

    —>Wow. I just designed a Christian romance novel yesterday, and we’re putting the author’s name at the top of every other page. Oh, noes! Are we making her look bad?

  13. Candy says:

    Bear in mind, this is a state where, by statute in the Texas Penal Code, sodomy is against the law.  By anyone.

    I’m pretty sure Lawrence v. Texas overturned those buttsecks laws, though by all means please sk00l me if I have that wrong.

    (For those of you wanting a good laugh [or a good weep], read Scalia’s dissent for Lawrence—the dude actually uses the term “gay agenda” without irony. Ahhh, Scalia. I can only second Stephen Colbert’s greeting to him at the White House Press Corps dinner.)

  14. AnimeJune says:

    Regarding: “My personal jaw-dropping favorite part of this nonsense is where he accuses her of having an “insatiable ego” because her name appears at the top of every other page.”

    I bet if he’d had more press time, he would have added that she “flaunts her numerical intelligence” by numbering every page as well. ^_~

  15. Monica Burns says:

    Stef,  THANK YOU!! for that delightful interview with Molly Ivins!! I’ve always loved her column, but this YouTube was AWESOME!  The last 30 seconds was to die for!!

    Rosemary, Never apologize for idiots you can’t control. I’m sure as hell not apologizing for Cowboy George Allen, who’s making VA look like we’re still stuck in the 50s. I think we need to improvise and find another use for those butt plugs Molly Ivins mentioned and stick ‘em in these guys mouths.


  16. Was he holding a copy of Plato Republic when he gave his speech?

  17. Mel-O-Drama says:


    That video is absolutely awesome. Thank you!

  18. Mel-O-Drama says:

    PS: The best line in the video”

    “What if it just slipped?”

    ROFLMAO! That’s a legitimate concern, I’d say…

  19. I wrote him a nasty email.  Couldn’t help it.  Of course, I used a few big words.  He might not understand it…  *cackle*

  20. Stef says:

    Candy, I’m sure you’re right.  My copy of the Texas Penal Code does, in fact, have homosexual conduct listed as an offense, but this is an older copyright, outdated, no doubt.  I wonder if they repealed any of the Public Lewdness laws?  According to Section 21.07(4) act involving contact between the person’s mouth or genitals and the anus or genitals of an animal or fowl, if done in a public place, or if not public, done in the presence of one who will be offended or alarmed, is a Class A misdemeanor.  Key here is to screw the chicken in the privacy of your own home, without anyone present who will be offended or alarmed – not counting the chicken.  I daresay she would be very alarmed.  And offended.

  21. What really chaps me is that thought I am a registered Democratic in TX, I’ll have to vote Republican just to make sure this idiot stays out of office.

    I emailed him as well.  You know—us egotistic writers who have our name on every other page are like that. 🙂

  22. Robin says:

    Candy, you’re right about Lawrence, but Stef, because that case utilized a right to privacy argument, I’m thinking that lots of other conduct that is associated with sex but not connected to the Lawrence parameters might still be criminally civilly sanctionable (the Court just declined to hear the Texas “dildo” case, for example). 

    As for Scalia, check out his dissent in Hamdi (the habeas/enemy combatant case) and weep with surprised relief instead of horror:

    I so love that it’s the Republican women who are writing the Romances, though.  First Lynne Cheney and then Susan Combs.  Can anyone dig up more examples like this?  Has anyone read either of these authors?

  23. Marlys says:

    To be sung to the tune of “The Beverly Hillbillies:”

    The Ballad of Fred ‘n’ Sue

    Come and listen to my story ‘bout a man named Fred,
    A good ol’ Texan boy with the last name o’ Head.
    Seems one day he was fixin’ to be elected
    When he heard about a book that could get a man erected.
    Porn, that is…evil…a one-hand read.

    Well it turns out, you see, that this filthy book was writ
    By gal named Sue who he called a hypocrite,
    ‘Cause she was runnin’ for that Texas post as well
    But page one-oh-two sez she’s goin’ straight to Hell.
    Sex, that is…nekkidness…doin’ it.

    But if y’all take a look, you will find to yer surprise
    What looks purty raw to our saintly Freddie’s eyes
    Turns out to be an ol’ fashioned kind o’ read
    A sweet li’l tale that won’t make yer eyes bleed.
    Romance, that is…makin’ love…commitment!

    Why would he tell everyone she wrote a porn?
    Are voters down there dumber than the newly born?
    Or maybe lit’rate folks are poor Freddie’s greatest fear
    Bein’ that he posted “Read an Extraxt here.”

    So you figure ol’ Fred is a good Republican
    A fine upstanding conservative gen’leman,
    Turns out instead she’s the GOP’s lass
    It’s her opponent who’s the real jackass.
    C’mon Texas…don’t fall for this…bull-hockey!

    Ticked off? Write to:
    Fred Head: fredhead @
    Susan Combs: susan @
    The Democratic National Committee:

  24. Rosemary says:

    I am a registered Democratic in TX

    I’m registered as republican because I voted in the primaries for McCain just to piss off my dad.  I swear, you vote republican ONE TIME, and you’re labeled for life.

    And all didos in Texas have to be sold with a label on them that say “Novelty Item”.  A lot of the ones I’ve seen say “Cake Topper.”

  25. SB Sarah says:

    Maryls, that was just inspired. And CRACKED my UP like you would not believe.

    Now I have the Beverly Hillbillies stuck in my head.

    “Proofread… Spellcheck… Idjit!”

  26. Maryls…BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! at the Beverly Hillbillies song.  That’s priceless—needs to be a skit at a luncheon.  Love it!


  27. Katie Ann says:

    And all didos in Texas have to be sold with a label on them that say “Novelty Item”.  A lot of the ones I’ve seen say “Cake Topper.”

    Heh, no birthday cake is complete with an 18” double dong.

  28. Concerned Citizen says:

    I think everyone is missing the bigger picture, Susan
    wrote a book with sex and then Susan
    took a public position during debate on a sex education (ABSENCE ONLY)
    bill while she served as a State Representative. The point, Susan
    is a hypocrite. Fred Head is clearly stating the facts. Please argue how you can write a book of this nature and then took a public position of sex education (ABSENCE ONLY) bill. Can’t have it both ways.

  29. Monica Burns says:

    Do me ABSTINENCE (abstaining from sex) or ABSENCE (which means sex is not present). To use Mr. Head’s comments that she’s a hypocrite is illogical. If you wish to prove Ms. Comb’s position is hypocritical, then you must provide links to fact not political rhetoric written by her opponent.

    As an erotic romance writer, it is quite easy to write fiction for women, and not present it to one’s children. I have a 9-yr-old and a 16-yr-old. They are not allowed to read my books, and they know the penalty if they try. My daughters are taught what my expectations are for them.

    Additionally, Ms. Combs’ book was about two consenting adults over the age of 21. Sex education is focused on children. Again two different target audiences. Your arguements are illogical.

    This is clearly a tactic of Mr. Fred’s to try and degrade his opponent. Mudslinging is something that all politicians do, which I abhor. It’s also important to note that Mr. Head is most likely violating the Child Online Protection Act, which prohibits any type of explict sexual information without some sort of age verification on the pages he’s posted on his site.

    This more than anything proves to me he could care less about Ms. Combs’ book, he’s simply one more politician seeking to use romance as a stepping stone to further his political career.

  30. Wow, Anon really made the rounds last night, lol. Out of curiousity, I looked it up.

    I already stated my response to anon’s “debate request” on my blog. BTW, someone tracked where the comments were coming from, lol.

  31. Robin says:

    I personally find it astonishing that any Democrat would risk alienating women, when it’s our vote that’s been so critical to the party’s success. 

    I don’t think that Head’s own hypocritical stance is best rebutted by defending Romance fiction; instead, I think the real issue is the message he’s delivering to women voters ABOUT women and the political implications of those overt and covert messages. Cause they’re not pretty, and they don’t serve the social, intellectual, economic, and political welfare of women, including those who don’t read or write Romance.

    The DNC must just be itching for this whole debacle to be over.

  32. Robin says:

    I just want to clarify that I’m not referring to the points or comments or letters anyone has written to Head et al—just musing on the larger political issues that are at stake here, and still stinging a bit from the persistent dismissal of us tetchy Romance-reading women (I’m half-suprised there were no official references to ‘that time of the month’).

  33. little light says:

    Damn, I was gonna send you guys this link last night, because I couldn’t wait for your reaction.

    Also, Oh em gee!  You guys got linked by Making Light!  You get famouser every day!

  34. Lia says:

    What is it with the Republican women writing sex?  Not that it isn’t preferable to propositioning underage kids, but it seems like all the party’s repressions are coming unstuck…  First Combs (and I’m sorry, a race with Head vs Combs), then this *cough* “feisty” sixty-something woman in Wisconsin who’s running for office apparently on the strength of having been a groupie for the Green Bay Packers—which I guess says something for her stamina, but I keep wondering, when does the Monty Python news reader walk on camera? 

    Seriously, I can’t believe Combs stuck her own name on that book.  Something hot yet tasteful, like Yellow Rose Savage…

  35. Lia says:

    After reading the article… there is a third candidate, a Libertarian, who sounds like he might actually have some kind of qualifications for the post, so voters really do have the chance to pick somebody who’s neither a Writer of Sexy Stories nor a retired tantrum-thrower who can’t spell.  It’s a pity he doesn’t have a name like Brush or Wigge.

  36. sgtted says:

    heh. Fred Head. But he has a point, aside from the one on his head. You girls ARE reading porn. If pretending it’s more “artsy” than a Penthouse Letters compilation makes you feel better you go girl!

  37. Monica Burns says:


    Look up the Webster’s definition of porn, then read those Penthouse letters, then read a romance and THEN make an informed statement and/or judgment. If you’ve already done this, and you choose to believe the comparison you’ve listed. Fine. No sense arguing over subjectivity.

    Comparing a romance book to the letters found in Penthouse (I’ve read both) shows an utter lack of understanding about the difference between writing a letter and writing a book. Two completely different animals.

    Heavens! The next thing I read about will be people lining up to edit another bestselling book for pornographic content. The Bible.

    Check out the Song of Solomon, an incredibly EROTIC passage about a man’s desire for a woman. Incredibly beautiful, moving, passionate, loving and sexy. Can’t beat that bestseller list!


  38. AngieZ says:

    Sgtted – if romance books were true porn men would be primary buyers of romance books. 

    Men are not afraid to admit they read penthouse letters, buy playgirl (for the articles surely) and watch porn movies.  How many would admit to regularly enjoying a typical romance book?

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