The horror before us.
Hunter Biden’s Beautiful Things is an ugly piece of fiction
Only in America — and banana republics and one-party dictatorships — can naked nepotism be converted into virtu
Written by: Dominic Green, The Spectator,
Hunter Biden promotes his new book Beautiful Things in an interview (CBS)
Biden is dishonest. His memory is shot. He’s an influence-peddler pretending to be a victim, a lifelong exploiter of his public position who hides behind the lowest forms of sentimentality.
Hunter Biden, of course. You’d have to be on the wrong end of a three-day crack binge to confuse Hunter Biden with the impeccably honest, mentally agile and profoundly principled multimillionaire career politician Joe Biden.
Hunter has written an autobiography. Or rather, some desperate and shameless mercenary has ghosted it for him. It belongs to the most execrable category of literature, the political memoir — the sort of book written to launch a political career (Dreams From My Father) or, as in this case, to end one (Ten Percent for the Big Guy).
The book is called Beautiful Things and has a picture of Hunter as a child on its cover. NPR calls it ‘harrowing’ and compares it to ‘degradation porn’. Perhaps this is supposed to dissuade NPR listeners from looking too closely: NPR prefers ethical porn. But we should look closely, because Hunter Biden’s business dealings are a matter of national interest. So is the ongoing effort by a mostly pro-Democratic media to kill the story around him.
A president’s family are public figures because the president has no privacy. But there’s a difference between being a public figure and becoming a figure of public interest. As Hunter has said many times, there’s a line. Chelsea Clinton, the Bush twins and the Obama girls never crossed it: they remained private, and there was nothing to justify journalists going through their trash. Ron Reagan Jr didn’t even cross it on tiptoes when he pursued a career as a ballet dancer.
Billy Carter crossed that line when he tried to cash in on Jimmy’s fame by launching a brand of beer. Roger Clinton crossed it by dealing in cocaine. Hunter Biden, a connoisseur of Billy and Roger’s gear, has made more illicit crossings than a Bahamian speedboat.
There are uglier things than peddling watery beer and cheap coke. Selling influence to companies with connections to dubious or hostile governments, for a start. There’s also tax evasion and money-laundering.
Addicts are the most accomplished liars and con artists. Such a waste of talent: if not for his habits, Hunter could have worked for the White House press office or a hedge fund. Then again, he still managed to make it onto the board of Amtrak. He’s done, as he says in his memoir ‘serious work’. He admits that his father opened doors for him but still thinks his ‘success’ was his own. Only in America — and banana republics and one-party dictatorships — can naked nepotism be converted into virtue.
Hunter Biden denies that he did anything wrong when he convinced a Ukrainian energy company to put him on its board and pay him a $50,000 a month — and persuaded a Chinese billionaire to give him $10 million a year for ‘introductions’. Despite Hunter’s inability to speak Ukrainian, Russian or Mandarin. Despite his comprehensive ignorance of the oil and gas business. Despite the documentary evidence that Hunter introduced some of these foreign contacts to political contacts in this country, including the President.
Hunter Biden thinks a ‘pipeline’ is when people line up to get high at a party. The only words of Chinese he knows are ‘chicken lo mein’. Why else would these companies have thrown their money at this runny-nosed whoremonger? They expected their money would buy influence or access to Joe Biden or, at the very least, give them some personal leverage over a vice president and potential future president of the United States.
There’s no evidence that Hunter tried to disabuse his foreign patrons of these disgraceful notions. His reply, it seems, was ‘10 percent held by H. for the Big Guy’. Even if Joe hadn’t run for the White House, this would have been a matter of public interest. In fact, if Joe had done the sensible thing and retired in 2016, the media would be more likely to have investigated the story.
Instead, the Big Guy ran for the presidency, and most of America’s media and social media covered for him. Truly, it was magical that a laptop crammed full of incriminating emails and embarrassing emails turned up just before the elections. But that didn’t mean its contents were fake, which is what Joe Biden’s campaign said — until it was obliged to admit that yes, Biden may well have met some of Hunter’s contacts unofficially, and yes, the laptop might well be Hunter’s.
When the New York Post published material from the laptop about Hunter’s influence-peddling, Twitter suspended the Post’s account and stopped users from retweeting its story. Facebook slowed its distribution and marked it as fake news. The Guardian called the story ‘almost-certainly-false’. NPR still calls it false.
On April Fool’s Day, Ron Elvin, a senior editor at NPR, described the laptop story as ‘discredited by US intelligence and independent investigations by news organizations’. NPR had to remove the reference to US intelligence agencies: to its credit, the FBI had never claimed that the laptop was, as the Democrats claimed, ‘Russian disinformation’.
And now, on TV to promote his book, Hunter says that the laptop ‘certainly’ could have been his. It might, he says, have been ‘stolen’ or ‘hacked’. But he doesn’t deny the veracity of the emails and photos that were on it. We are, of course, parsing the words of a liar here, but there is less and less reason to doubt the veracity of the emails on the laptop.
The Post was right to publish. The rest of the media, with notable exceptions like The Spectator, mostly failed to do its duty. The interference of the social media companies was downright chilling, an attempt to hack the elections.
All this makes Beautiful Things more than a celebrity addict’s confession. It’s a whitewash, an attempt to spin Hunter Biden’s story back onto the familiar rails of pity and redemption – and yet another attempt by Hunter to spin some cash out of his famous last name while the media cover for him. There’s nothing of public interest in any of this, is there?
Dominic Green, PhD, FRHistS is a critic, historian and the deputy editor of The Spectator’s US edition. The author of four books, he writes widely on the arts and current affairs, and contributes regularly to the Wall Street Journal and the New Criterion. His next book, The Religious Revolution, is forthcoming with Farrar, Strauss & Giroux.
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