Thursday, February 15, 2007

PandaGate and anti-male bigotry

I'm coming a little late to the farewell party for Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte as blog coordinator for the Edwards campaign. Now, Marcotte's sister-in-arms, Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare's Sister, has stepped down as well. Over on the New York Times political blog, The Caucus, Katie Philips avers that she takes no sides in the matter but sounds quite sympathetic to the two beleaguered bloggers:

Well, both women — whose feminist writings were deemed anti-Catholic by Mr. Donohue and at times offensive by others and many not (sic) — at first allowed Mr. Edwards’s campaign to publish statements by them saying their personal views or past writings would not color their work on the campaign. And they both asserted they were not denigrating any faith or any person of faith.

That didn’t stop conservative bloggers from flogging the issue. And that didn’t stop bloggers on all sides from posturing on one side or the other. And it didn’t stop even our readers from objecting on one side or the other, sometimes to the point where we couldn’t publish their obscene remarks.

The epilogue to this? I’m not sure. Some will indeed claim victory; some will counsel that political campaigns have to vet and vet and vet any staff; others will feel doomed in defeat of what was seen as an arm around new — especially rare female — voices in the blogosphere by politicians.

That's some convoluted prose, but is Philips saying that Marcotte and McEwan's assertion that they weren't denigrating faith should have been sufficient to shut up the bloggers and others? Besides, deploring "obscene remarks" and incivility in the blogosphere -- as Philips does in her post -- is richly ironic in a discussion of Amanda Marcotte, who once penned a post-Katrina Pandagon post titled, "Dear racist fucks who complained about the looting..."

Some, such as my Reason colleague David Weigel, are concerned that the Marcotte/McEwan brouhaha may backfire against all bloggers who "dared not to write like a political hack all the time." I think the worry is misplaced; outspoken bloggers have nothing to fear unless they aspire to actually become paid political hacks. (Andrew Sullivan has a good comment on this, adding that he finds "the whole idea of bloggers as an integral part of political campaigns a little creepy.") What I find more troubling is that the criticism of Marcotte has focused so much on her swipes at Catholicism and Christianity in general, and so little on her brand of feminism -- a cult of female victimhood rife with militant anti-male bigotry.

A number of publications have quoted her sarcastic comment on the Duke alleged sexual assault case: "Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair." But it's hard to appreciate the full flavor of that comment without its full context:

Naturally, my flight out of Atlanta has been delayed. Let’s hope it takes off when they say it will so I don’t miss my connecting flight home.

In the meantime, I’ve been sort of casually listening to CNN blaring throughout the waiting area and good fucking god is that channel pure evil. For awhile, I had to listen to how the poor dear lacrosse players at Duke are being persecuted just because they held someone down and fucked her against her will—not rape, of course, because the charges have been thrown out.

Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it?

So unfair.

This is the post that Marcotte scrubbed from her blog after it attracted unwanted attention in the wake of her new job with the Edwards campaign. It seems she also deleted some of her comments in the thread, preserved here. Even with Marcotte's posts gone, the thread remains quite revealing: Marcotte's like-minded regulars (particularly ginmar) verbally assault, insult, and mock anyone who dares question what one commenter called their "apparent religious belief in the guilt of anyone accused of a specific crime, regardless of circumstances." (That's exactly what it is.) At one point, responding to a feminist blogger who says she is a survivor of sexual assault herself but questions the guilt of the accused Duke lacrosse players and is concerned about fair treatment for them, ginmar offers this gem:

Natalia, I don’t think anybody cares if you’re a rape victim and you toe the party line when it comes to “But what about the menz!”

(Yes, I know that ginmar is not Amanda Marcotte, but ideologically they're pretty much peas in a pod.)

As one commenter in the thread wryly noted,

I do not think that a malevolent knuckle-dragging reactionary seeking to promote a Limbaughesque, strawman vision of feminism could have penned a more effective weapon than this thread.

A sampling of Marcotte's other posts on the Duke case can be found on this page. Anyone who questions the guilt of the accused players, in her book, is a "rape apologist." In this post, she fumes:

Kathleen Parker has been writing about almost nothing else, but instead building a long case that unless the victim is 9 years old and a virgin and white and blonde and her attacker kills her and he mutiliates her body, then rape isn’t so much a crime as a feminist plot to put all men in jail so that we can, I don’t know, wear sweatpants more or something.

Here are three Kathleen Parker columns on the case, discussing the "rush to judgment" in the Duke case and the hasty presumption of guilt toward the players. In the last of these columns, Parker actually expresses concern that the alleged victim may be seen as less deserving because she's not a paragon of chastity:

A disturbing portion of the American public -- at least judging from my mail and some commentators -- doesn't believe the Duke stripper deserves our sympathy or even our suspension of judgment. She's a stripper after all. A radio interviewer put it to me just that way.

I'm sorry, but I can't go there. A woman raped is a woman raped, no matter what her ill-chosen profession.

Marcotte's crude "satire" is far worse than a caricature of Parker's views. A caricature is an exaggeration of truth. Marcotte's summary of Parker's position is an outright, slanderous lie.

I should add here that I have been on the receiving end of the Marcotte method of polemics myself. On July 25, 2005, Marcotte made a post at Pandagon titled, Cathy Young to battered wives–”Stop hitting yourself!” This in reference to my Boston Globe column on the Violence Against Women Act. Marcotte quotes this paragraph as "the most putrid part of the op-ed":

In fact, some aspects of the act promote covert gender bias. For instance, the legislation requires states and jurisdictions eligible for federal domestic violence grants not only to encourage arrests in domestic assault cases, but also to ‘’discourage dual arrest of the offender and the victim.” This provision is based on the false belief that in cases of mutual violence, one can nearly always draw a clear line between the aggressor and the victim striking back in self-defense. While the language is ostensibly gender-neutral, the assumption is that the aggressor is male; the feminist groups which pushed for this clause made no secret of the fact that its goal was to curb arrests of women.

Marcotte's translation:

Won’t someone have sympathy for the wife-beaters? My god, do you know how hard it is to bruise your knuckles on someone’s face and then see that person being treated like a victim or something by those man-hating cops and EMS workers? And some victims actually fight back, which is class A man-hating behavior. So, women, if someone starts hitting you, don’t flail or scratch and bite to try to get him off you. Just take it and hope that he doesn’t kill you or else you’re just as guilty as he is.

Since Marcotte includes the full text of my actual words in her post before proceeding with her bizarre reading of them, I have to conclude that she's not a liar; she's delusional.

Marcotte also weighs in with a comment about the same Globe column here at Feministing:

She is an apologist for abusers, as long as they are male. She has written articles complaining that men are arrested when they commit violence she finds to be acceptable methods of fighting/control of their women. Basically, if it doesn't leave a bruise or if he doesn't ball his fist, she thinks the government should stay out of it.
While she tolerates a certain amount of violence from men, however, there is no amount of violence for women that she will tolerate for any reason. In this article, for instance, she calls for arresting women who act in self-defense, even if it's just flailing around to escape someone who is beating them.

Presumably, Marcotte refers to this 1998 article in Reason discussing overzealous domestic violence prosecutions -- for instance, in cases where the "assault" consisted of a man grabbing a woman's arm during an argument, or where the man physically restrained a woman who was violently lashing out at him, or where the couple was involved in a mutual scuffle. Actually, in my book Ceasefire on page 132, I discuss the fact that women have been targets of overzealous "zero tolerance" domestic policies as well (e.g., a Milwaukee case in which a middle-aged woman with a heart condition was jailed for slapping her teenage son). Where Marcotte gets the idea that I think battered women should be prosecuted for "flailing around to escape someone who is beating them," I don't know. Somewhere off the planet, probably. Ultimately, whehter she is delusional or a liar doesn't matter; the effect is the same.

And finally, best for last: an October 19, 2006 post in which Marcotte explains that there's no such thing as man-hating feminists. She's particularly unhappy with the "made-up word 'misandry.'" (Actually, the word "misandry," or "hatred of males," appears in the Webster's Encyclopaedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language [1996] and its origins are traced to 1945-50. That patriarchal conspiracy sure is insidious!) Sayeth Marcotte:

This is a word that was made up by men on a victim trip because they don’t get to abuse and oppress women as much as they’d really like to, and it’s an attempt to pretend there’s a tradition of man-hating so severe it deserves a word of its own. It just doesn’t seem fair that there’s an actual word for woman-hating just because misogyny is a very real thing.

I agree. I wish misogyny wasn’t a social problem that required a name of its own. As it stands, of course, attempts to create a false equivalence are about the worst sort of victim tripping imaginable. It wasn’t the girls that were sent out of the room so boys could be raped and killed in recent school shootings.

Marcotte, I assume, is referring to these two cases that took place last fall. The horrific actions of two severely disturbed men become her paradigm for male attitudes toward women in our society. (Was serial killer John Wayne Gacy a self-hating misandrist male because he killed only boys?)

Marcotte also notes that the Dixie Chicks' song Goodbye Earl, about a woman who kills her abusive husband with help from her best friend, is often accused of "man-hating" when it's really "wife-beater-hating": the only way it can be seen as anti-male, she reasons, if you think all men are batterers. Fair enough, but would feminists see misogyny in angry male songs about unfaithful or gold-digging girlfriends? Sure they would, as this Pandagon commenter points out (though the same commenter also thinks that "'Goodbye Earl' isn’t problematic is because we live in a profoundly patriarchal/kyriarchal society," dontch'a know). And, considering the lyrics say, "Wanda looked all around this town and all she found was Earl," I don't think it's all that far-fetched to suggest that the song contains some negative stereotyping of men.

Marcotte's conclusion:

The phrase “man-hater” is more an insult to men than to feminists. Anyone who uses it generally means that the person thus accused is a rapist-hater, abuser-hater, sexist-hater. And when you call someone a “man-hater” who is actually hating on sexists, abusers, and rapists, you imply all men are these things. And they are not. So who are really the man-haters when that phrase is being wielded? It’s not the feminists; it’s the men implying that hating rape or hating abuse is the same thing as hating men.

Or maybe the person using the phrase "man-hater" means that the person thus accused is ready to presume any man to be a rapist or abuser at the drop of an accusation, no matter how non-existent the evidence. For a stark demonstration of such bigotry, look no further than the Marcotte/ginmar lynch-mob mentality in the Duke case.

(Shorter version cross-posted at Hit & Run.)


Anonymous said...

The parallels between Amanda's situation and that of Joan of Arc are eerily similar.

Joan of Arc was a teenager.
Amanda writes like a teenager.

Joan of Arc went into to battle, led troops, was betrayed, tried, and burned at the stake for the beliefs from which she never waivered, by men.

Amanda was offered a paying gig at a man's national presidential campaign, caught some flack for her writings which reflected her beliefs, apologized, quit, and is now complaining about her treatment on the blog she acquired from a guy all in the space of two weeks.

Like I said: eerily.similar.

Mumblix Grumph said...

Whenever I read opinions from people like Marcotte, I wonder just what kind of a world would make them happy.

I also hope that I'm never forced to live in such a place.

Tom said...

The more and more I read of Marcotte's writing, the more I have to wonder: what are they paying their hiring staff over at the Edwards campaign? Can anyone over there use the internet to find past writings before they hired (or even suggested hiring) her? Or, did they read her stuff and figure that no one would notice?

I'm thinking it's probably a combination of the latter and some overly-wishful thinking. There are still way too many people in the upper-echelons of politics (the kinds that would be the first-round picks for a presidential campaign) who don't really understand the blogging universe and how it works. The constant reading, checking, fact-checking and cross-checking that goes on are a total mystery to them, and they're still living in a world where it would take some serious digging to gather this kind of information.

Either way, they're being paid waaay too much.

Joel said...

Well-written, and carefully-argued, as usual. I'm particularly fond of your focus on the specifics.

Orthogonally: Marcotte's writings on abuse are informed by the false but manifestly unshakable belief that women can never be physical abusers . . . at least of men. (I think it would be safe to predict that evidence of any domestic abuse between lesbians would put her mind into vapor-lock.) It's eerily similar to her unshakable notion that a false claim of rape (at least by a woman) isn't merely unlikely or rare, but utterly unthinkable.

It's not a faith that somebody accused of a crime must be guilty -- it's faith that a man accused by a woman of a crime must be guilty. Her infamous post on the supposed guilt of the Duke lacrosse players isn't from the spring of last year, when a sane outside observer might have thought that the accuser's initial accusations might well be true -- it was from January of this year, long after it had been clearly established that the rape accusations were clearly false.

Anonymous said...

As far as Marcotte's man-hating identity politics go, I'm content to let her fulminate at Pandagon, preaching to her like-minded choir.

The worrisome part is how any person with his or her eye on the White House would see someone like Marcotte as just the sort of person he needed to front the internet portion of his campaign. All I can say is that I'm hoping Marcotte was chosen at random and not because Edwards or someone he employs read Pandagon and believed these foul-mouthed, hate-stuffed tirades were just what they needed to reach out to the electorate.

Cat said...

Great post Cathy.

You would think that the Edwards campaign could do a little reasearch on their writing before hiring them. As someone said above, she writes like teenager, a foul-mouthed teenager with a narrow view of the world.

Anonymous said...

(I'm different from the anonymous who posted above)

Cathy, I'm relieved that someone else could see that Marcotte, one of the most popular fixtures of the Liberal blogosphere, is in fact intellectually-dishonest and hate-filled.

In fact, how can anyone NOT notice it?

The reaction to her firing among Liberals seem to studiously avoid the fact that she actually DID say the things that she said. There was no smearing going on, she was quoted in-context and accurately. And she's been hammering-out literally reams of that stuff non-stop.

Her reactions to the reactions have not at all betrayed a single glimmer of introspection. Her public apology was complete nonsense because she went straight back to doing what she did before she got picked-up by the Edwards team. This whole experience has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that she's either a complete liar or incapable of rational thought. (Or, I suspect, she has some kind of personality disorder but I'm not qualified to make such a call.)

This is something that I've never been able to comprehend: Why are so many Liberals unable to acknowledge the obvious in this case? Aren't they supposed to be super-sensitive to bigotry? Is it really that hard for them to notice the elephant in the drawing room? That the empress has no clothes?

Richard Aubrey said...

I have posted on several feminist blogs and noted something Ms. Young mentions:
That is, the blogger or another commenter misrepresents another's statement and then reacts to the misrepresentation as if it were a good example of what was said.
It would be one thing if the perp were misrepresenting what I, for example, said to a third party who has no way of knowing what I actually said.
What is odd is the way that the misrepresentation is made to me, as if I didn't know what I said, and to other commenters who can read what I said.
Ms. Marcotte is not, by far, the sole example of such confusion.

It does have the utility of forcing anybody with a reasoned argument to simply quit. Which I suppose they consider a victory of sorts.

Anonymous said...

Well done, Cathy. Bravo. What's most telling about Amanda, at least, was that she KNEW she crossed some line, and deleted posts. She then had the temerity to complain that she had been 'censored', even after she felt the need to self-censor – and hide the evidence.

(I'm also posting anonymously, only because Google has changed the rules of ID and made it impossible for me to log on with my usual info.)

Anonymous said...

You've written "1996" for "2006" on the date of the last best quote.

Joe Dees said...

Joel wrote that:

Orthogonally: Marcotte's writings on abuse are informed by the false but manifestly unshakable belief that women can never be physical abusers...

This is an instance of a wider belief: that thoss in the minority or in positions of relative powerlessness can never be transgressors, but must always be transgressees.

Other examples would include the beliefs that members of racial minorities can never be prejudiced or bigoted, and that gays can never be heterophobes.

Anonymous said...

Re Edwards hiring the nasty bloggers:

It's been posited that the "hirer" must either not have been aware of the drivel those two had written or thought no one else would know.

There is a much more likely explanation: The hirer knew, agreed with the writing and hired them *because* of it. A good question might be, "Who exactly was the staffer responsible for bringing them into the campaign?" That doofus is probably still around, and still holding on to her crazy views. (Big bucks say it's a "her" that either recommended or actually hired the two twits. Any takers?.)

Helen said...

Anonymous 10:31:

That "doofus" is speculated to be Mrs. Edwards who used to be a Kos diarist.

rightwingprof said...

Philips says:

"That didn’t stop conservative bloggers from flogging the issue."

I don't agree with her implication, but I do agree with what she says. I didn't blog about it, and I was mystified that every conservative on the blogosphere was. Why draw attention to something that could only work in our favor?

I still don't get it.

ss said...

"It's eerily similar to her unshakable notion that a false claim of rape (at least by a woman) isn't merely unlikely or rare, but utterly unthinkable.

It's not a faith that somebody accused of a crime must be guilty -- it's faith that a man accused by a woman of a crime must be guilty."

I don't even think this quite captures it. I don't believe Marcotte believes women to be incapable of making false accusations. It's just that she finds questioning the veracity of women's accusations abhorent, because THAT'S NOT THE POINT! The point is that women are victims, men are oppressors, and false accusations are a legitmate power play to level the playing field against the patriarchy.

megapotamus said...

On the question of why the anti-Cahtolic aspects of Marcotte's lunacy were pivotal; I think it's obvious. Donahue, of whom I was scarcely aware before this, is an experienced media operator and represented a constituency that can be ID'd electorally. Insulting "men" or that nasty ol' patriarchy is just too vague. There is no lobby for humanity. Maybe there should be if there could be. Not too optimistic on that one.

The Aardvark said...

what are they paying their hiring staff over at the Edwards campaign?--Tom

Probably involves some Very Special Brownies...

B Moe said...

"...whose feminist writings were deemed anti-Catholic by Mr. Donohue..."

They were also deemed anti-Catholic by Marcotte, she has been quite specific in her intent. She just fails to see that as bigotry or understand how any reasonable person could be offended by it.

Vladimir said...

I think MRA's should join together and erect a statue to this charming woman Amanda and her follower ginmar. The things that you read under that
Somebody on the Gop got to put that girl to help Hillary and Barack too.

Anonymous said...

"...a much more likely explanation: The hirer knew, agreed with the writing and hired them *because* of it. A good question might be, "Who exactly was the staffer responsible for bringing them into the campaign?" That doofus is probably still around...

Helen said...

That "doofus" is speculated to be Mrs. Edwards who used to be a Kos diarist."

Wow, that's quite a piece of insight. Haven't seen that anywhere else. Glad I stopped in again to check.

Anonymous said...

It just looks to me like Marcotte is simply a very angry, unhappy person. There seems to be a lot of that on the fringes of both the Left and the Right. People like that can really never fit into the mainstream because they are just too angry and volatile, and thus are unable to play well with others. The blogosphere is where they will likely always remain.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 09:58 said...
(I'm different from the anonymous who posted above)

Cathy, I'm relieved that someone else could see that Marcotte, one of the most popular fixtures of the Liberal blogosphere, is in fact intellectually-dishonest and hate-filled.

This is something that I've never been able to comprehend: Why are so many Liberals unable to acknowledge the obvious in this case? Aren't they supposed to be super-sensitive to bigotry?

They cannot see this bigotry precisely because they are so sensitive to other kinds of bigotry.

The easiest way to be sure of not discriminating against group A is to discriminate against group not-A.

If the goal of feminism is to ensure that women are not disadvantaged, the most certain way to do this is to disadvantage men instead.

Ms Marcotte is the logical conclusion of people all attempting to prove themselves more-feminist-than-thou.

People like her have probably done more to encourage misogyny than all the genuine misogynists in history.

protein wisdom said...

I posted quite a bit on this during the whole dustup -- though my concern was never really with Marcotte's "potty mouth" per se (just with how uncreative she is in using it), nor was it with her anti-Catholic bigotry or her heterodoxical views (against all evidence to the contrary) on the guilt of the Duke 3 -- though naturally, all of those things played a part.

But for anyone familiar with Marcotte's online writing, none of this was particularly surprising. Which made her hiring by the Edwards campaign almost surreal.

On the day of her announcement, I posted a few questions to the Edward's blog -- namely, I wondered how Marcottes's views on Iran jibed with what Edwards had just got done saying that very morning, and if her recent indictment of such views, when she was ascribing them to Bushco, would color her impressions of the campaign for which she had chosen to work (I juxtaposed her characterization of Rethuglican deathmerchants with Edwards' own muscular statements, which he later tried to walk back). I also wondered if she thought it wise to insist on the guilt of the Duke 3 while working for a North Carolina candidate, or if she regretted noting that the people of North Carolina treat women and minorities as subhuman. After all, she was now to be part of the community, and had spent the morning writing about how she is staunch defender of social justice.

So it seemed naturally to seize on what might be a problem with selection bias.

I didn't find these questions beyond the pale -- after all, she was hired to be the web presence of John Edwards, and she came to that task with a well-known set of biases -- and I was curious to know how she was going to reconcile her beliefs with the official message of the campaign, or if she thought the question of reconciliation between her personal beliefs and those of the campaign even a legitimate one to ask.

For my troubles, I was accused of "stalking" Marcotte, and her boyfriend even showed up on my site to accuse me of wanting to bed her down. Which is about as far from reality as you can get without licking a mess of Colorado River toads.

Later, Amanda herself showed up to scold me. The temerity! Asking questions when I should have been celebrating the ascension of a woman to a position of power and influence (which, we heard when the going started getting tough, was not a position of power or influence at all, and so we shouldn't be picking on such a low level staffer).

Not only that, but Marcotte, or one of her underlings (if she had any) deleted my post from the public Edwards blog -- just as she routinely deletes dissenting views on Pandagon, leaving behind only vicious rejoinders while preventing the people she is attacking from answering back.

Hers is a hermetically sealed world of hyperbolic victim politics and perverse views on social justice (which typically involve constraining the "institutionalized" power of men), and I found it rather astounding that she was being mainstreamed by a man who came within OHIO VOTER FRAUD from being the VP of the United States.

So when Edwards accepted their apologies once the anti-Catholic writings were widely quoted, I found it insulting that he concluded his statement by talking about how this country needs a debate on the issues -- even as his webmistress was busy scrubbing away dissenting views.

And this was the real outrage of the Marcotte hire, as far as I'm concerned. After all, the blogosphere is filled with ideologues who occasionally engage in salty language (I do it myself from time to time); but what we were witnessing was a presidential candidate who hired -- then defended -- two women who are not only openly hostile to Catholicism and the idea of equality before the law, but who likewise were willing to openly shape the terms of the debate by weeding out any inconvenient rejoinders to their cliched feminist / progressive boilerplate.

And lest we forget, Marcotte was also willing to dismiss as practically subhuman large portions of the electorate with whom she disagreed.

For instance, here is one of her more pointed posts:

I’m not an idiot. I’m a twat. Get it straight.

I’m a hot, moist, inviting twat. Warm, wet, inviting. But not to you or your friends. Even if I were single, these nubile thighs do not wrap around the hips of Republicans. You can fuck yourselves or the dry twats of the self-hating misogynists who will allow you tiny penis to penetrate them. Have fun! Um, the wounds you get from rubbing you un-lubricated dick repeatedly into your heartless, soulless woman–iodine is your best friend, my be-scarred friend.

And now she complains of hate mail -- and tries to get us to believe it is all coming from wannabe theocrats.

But the truth is, Marcotte has made a career out of trashing everyone with whom she disagrees, and she uses dishonesty and a tightly controlled comment section to do so.

That these women, who are both illiberal and averse to genuine public debate, are now being defended, celebrated, and proffered as "Free Speech" martyrs by many progressives (though I don't believe they actually believe this to be the case, just that they believe it a useful rhetorical counter meant to rally the troops and to deflect attention away from the fact that critics cited Marcotte and McEwan's own words, in an effort to turn that unmasking into a grand conspiracy by rightwing smear merchants), shows either a depth of cynical opportunism or denial that is staggering in its presumtuousness; or else a worldview that has become so twisted by ideological hatreds that it is a wonder it hasn't yet imploded under the weight of its own incoherent baggage.

(cross-posted at Hit & Run)

Mike said...

I don't even think this quite captures it. I don't believe Marcotte believes women to be incapable of making false accusations. It's just that she finds questioning the veracity of women's accusations abhorent, because THAT'S NOT THE POINT! The point is that women are victims, men are oppressors, and false accusations are a legitmate power play to level the playing field against the patriarchy.

I agree completely. I actually don't think Amanda is delusional in the slightest. I think this is much more of a case of someone having staked out an extreme position early on in the formation of her political identity (when we are all susceptible to extremes), and now being unable or unwilling to back down from it.

To me at least, that fits with her behavior pattern. She doesn't just disagree with those who challenge her; she calls her opponents' basic motives into question at every opportunity. She presents men (who are her de facto enemies) in such a cartoonish way ("they can't abuse and oppress women as much as they'd like") that it can only be taken seriously by those who willingly participate in her kind of shared self-deception.

These don't strike me as the beliefs of someone who is mentally ill; nothing expressed by Amanda or those like her goes outside the realm of sanity in the same way as, for example, a serial killer who believes he is killing to please extraterrestrials. Rather, her belief system makes complete sense from the perspective of a child who really does not understand how interpersonal relationships work.

None of which is intended in any way to excuse her behavior; while I do think her beliefs were formed at a young age, as I said before, she is now an adult and should be capable of swallowing her pride and acting like an adult.

Drew W said...

I consider myself a reasonably erudite guy -- with a Linguistics degree no less -- but I'll have to admit that the word "kyriarchal" threw me for a loop.

If you Google "kyriarchy," you will find this: "'Kyriarchy' is a neologism promoted by feminist theologian Elisabeth Schuessler Fiorenza . . . 'Kyriarchy' means the domination of the lord, slave master, husband, the elite freeborn educated and propertied man over all wo/men and subaltern men. It is to be distinguished from kyriocentrism, which has the ideological function of naturalizing and legitimating not just gender but all forms of domination." (Okay, I'll admit it: I had to look up "subaltern" too. This post may have been tough on my intellectual self-esteem, but it has expanded my vocabulary.)

No etymological slouch, Fiorenza clearly knew better than to blend Latin and Greek roots. Rather than using the Latinate deus to denote God, she uses the Greek-based kyrie to better accompany the likewise Hellenic archy suffix. (I am a bit confused as to why the Greek the, -- the root of "theology" and "theocracy" -- wouldn't do, but we soldier on.)

Incidentally, "kyriarchy" would be the last dictionary entry under "K," if Merriam-Webster would concede that it was an actual word, which they don't. And also if those not-quite-household words "kyte" and "kythe" weren't already at the end of the line. (I'm going to start using those soon, too.)

And by the way, the websites where a word like "kyriarchy" crops up will send you straight through to the other side of the rape-crisis-feminist looking-glass. It's plenty nutty in there, so leave a trail of breadcrumbs.

People who use words like "kyriarchal" probably shouldn't be complaining about "misandry." (Remember: "kyriarchal" is a "neologism," whereas "misandry" is simply a "made-up word." Thank heavens that's been cleared up.)

charlotte said...

There are two Americas: males and female victims. John Edwards aspires to be America's First Female Victim President.

Anonymous said...

She's not a liar; she really is delusional. The thing that got her axed was another Virgin Mary post even after she'd got her second wind; she did it not out of a death-wish to be fired, but because she really doesn't recognize that she's so warped. To her, Of Course! (insert depraved feminist claptrap).

Marcotte is a sick person. I don't know if something happened to her or whether she took too many critical theory courses about "The Other," but she legitimately is not right in the head.

Anonymous said...

On the comment from this morning about why the libs couldn't just admit she'd said some awful things--

Function of two things. The first is, due to media bias, they never have to admit they're wrong. Just stick with the story long enough and the usual suspects will frame the story such that their version becomes truth. They know this--it's even explicit in recent controversies such as the "GOP obstruction" of a debate on the Iraq War. Reid's announced strategy, without making any bones about it, was to just wait it out and let the NYT and Wash Post tell people what "really happened." Best example of this is to see when the last time was a Democrat lost a presidential or VP debate. To my knowledge it's never happened. Even when Cheney abused Edwards like a little kid in '04, you'd never have known it by the media coverage.

The second and related factor is the odd victim mentality on the Left, brought foremost to the surface after the SwiftBoat deal, that abhors above all else their perceived unwillingness to fight back against "smears." Doesn't matter what's true and what's not, the cardinal sin these days is not to stick to your story no matter what. No matter what. That's what happened here, and again, the SwiftBoat stuff was the narrative that ran Edwards' decision to be such a coward and not fire them in the first place. He recognizes that to the people he needs to get nominated, the worst thing you possibly can do is admit you're wrong (unless it's on the Iraq War, in which case such an "admission" is necessary).

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TMink said...

I usually don't use this term, hysteria, because it means, you know, wandering uterus. But in the case of Marcotte, it seems as if her uterus has wandered to replace her brain.

Well, she is hysterical and having a uterus for a brain is a nicer thing to say than shit for brains.


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Marcotte is a truly, abominably ugly human being. And thats just the inside....

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Why is it mostly the hideously ugly women who ramble on inanely about rape? I wonder if Amanda looks inside occasionally and recoils in horror, from her true desire to be dominated?

nate-dogg said...

Kind of amusing only men respond to your post, and Dr. Mrs. Old Perfesser. But, that's libertarians all over for you, I reckon. 98% single misogynists with bad hygiene and the very occasional woman who agrees with them.

Anonymous said...

It isn't that Marcotte is bold, or offensive, or heroic, or cutting-edge, or a martyr, or anything as glamorous or even as interesting as that. It's that her writing is infantile. The narrowness of her interests and the certainty of her outlook combine into a seamless blend of immaturity.

Haven't seen anything like it since the old high school paper. Has no one told her she's not very interesting, and that the only one who likely cares who she sleeps with is her own boyfriend?

Anonymous said...

"People who use words like "kyriarchal" probably shouldn't be complaining about "misandry." "

Personally, I love code words word. They allow you to get to the heart of the matter and skip the BS buildup. Articulate is supposed to be code for racist, for example. But there are better words, like "Patriarchy", which is code for "I'm an idiot". "Kyriarchal" must be code for "I'm such an idiot other code words for idiot don't come close to describing me."

colagirl said...

Great post, Cathy, with many excellent points. Amanda's batsh*t is so extreme, and covers so much of the spectrum, that it's really impossible to get it all, and I felt that none of the mainstream media's accounts really did it justice (although to be fair, many of her full postings were not suitable for publication in a family-oriented venue). Many of the commenters here have raised excellent points as well, principally being "how on earth did she slip by the vetters at Edwards' campaign?" TBH, she is so full of hatred and rage that, based on her online personality I would be concerned about meeting her in a dark alley....Good job.

Steve Watson said...

Just a tangential comment: 'kyrie' just means 'lord' or refers to someone who has authority. It doesn't necessarily refer to God, though it can be used in that way; for example, in the chants 'kyrie eleison,' 'kyrie fons bonitatis,' etc.

Cathy Young said...

Thanks to everyone for their comments! (Especially nate-dogg; that was a great contribution to constructive debate.)

TheMantheMyth: Can we please give the "ugly feminists who can't get laid" trope a rest? It's, well, ugly, and it only discredits critics of radical feminism. (Plus, Amanda Marcotte is anything but ugly. On the outside, at least.)

I appreciate the elucidation of the word "kyriarchal" (and here I was starting to question my own cultural literacy!). So, basically, kyriarchy means ... domination by those who are dominant? Not only is it a neologism, it's also a tautology.

Mark said...

"This provision is based on the false belief"

Yeah, I'll say. It's tough to tell in most battering cases who the victim is. Marcotte probably had trouble parsing your convoluted passages that teeter on the edge of saying nothing, but imply a conspiracy is lurking in the shadows. Oh woe is my poor fellow man: The guy who beats his wife.

Here's the world's tiniest violin award.

Cathy Young said...

Mark: give it a rest. My "convoluted" passage makes it very clear that I'm talking about cases of mutual violence.

I'm awaiting, with bated breath, your explanation of Marcotte's vicious distortion of Kathleen Parker's columns.

Amy Alkon said...

What's most telling about Edwards and/or his campaign is the complete lack of judgment in hiring this woman.

Anonymous said...

Amanda has a post up listing some of the many vitriolic, hateful, and abusive things many self-identifying Christians have sent to her. The obvious conclusion is that someone threatening to rape her is unlike to be an exemplar of Christianity and a poor choice to indict all of Christendom over.

Or more generally, "if someone self-identifies as X and then behaves irrationally, one ought not accept their self-identification as X to be rational."

Amanda takes certain Leftie ideas and jumps down the rabbit hole with them. She's a caricature in a smaller echo-chamber than I think certain commenters here realize. It should be obvious that it's unfair to characterize her as a Leftie at that point.

We also know the Left isn't the only plant in the political forest that produces nuts. You and I would be much better off sending those types onto the Springer show to keep each other busy so the rest of us can discuss and debate real issues.

Cathy, I bothers me even way over here on the Left that you were used as an inappropriate and misrepresented foil for her to preach her ideas. Please keep up your great work!

MikeT said...

I don't see what the big deal is with Donohue. The ADL has done the same thing. Hell, they're even supporting the latest hate crimes statute which makes us take a bold step toward European-style censorship. I am not a Catholic, but this seems very hypocritical.

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Here's one Democrat that could not behappier to see the Edwards campaign self destruct. Anyone trying to even appeal to the likes of Marcotte and her following, let alone someone who hires her, will make a crappy nominee and most likely a bad president in the unlikely event that he gets elected. I've had enough of crappy nominees and bad presidents for now. Liberals need to back away from this nonsense and ask ourselves whether there is not at least a grain of truth in the insults hurled at us by the screamers on the right. Thanks, Cathy, and all folks in the reasonable middle, for giving us the truth without the screaming.

Anonymous said...

"Has no one told her she's not very interesting, and that the only one who likely cares who she sleeps with is her own boyfriend?"

Don't tell her that--it might ruin the entire experience of sex for her. :-)

Ever since her Mouse Words days she's been doggedly expounding in about every other post about her unmarried, cohabiting and non-procreating status, like she's hoping someone will be outraged by it. I always wonder, does she really think anyone actually CARES about all this?

From that silly snippet about her inviting twat, I guess she does. In that respect, at least, she's certainly delusional. I think she'd like to consider herself some kind of sexual revolutionary but she's a couple of generations too late to the party.


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and, well, yours, I find it impossible to feel even the slightest twinge of sympathy for Kathleen Parker.

Steve L. said...

Until I read this post, I never realized that I was a woman abuser. According to Marcotte, when an ex-girlfriend came through my door drunk and trying to punch me, I abused her when I grabbed her wrists to control her. I also realized that I abused her teeth when I let her bite my arm as I was trying to stop her from hitting me.

I guess I need to head down to the police station to turn myself in.

Cathy Young said...

Again, thanks for the comments everyone. MikeT -- I think you're being way too kind to Donohue, but that's an issue for another day.

To the last anonymous: I saw Parker's column on the California rape case. Suffice it to say, I didn't care for it. I thought it was a very superficial analysis of the case; it was pretty clear to me that she had not read the detailed accounts of the incident. But I don't think that gives Marcotte the right to slander Parker as someone who supposedly thinks that only a vestal virgin can be a legitimate rape victim.

Knemon said...

"kyriarchy" will probably never catch on, but it's actually not a bad term.

The "kyrios" in Greek law was the male guardian of a female - whether father (before marriage), husband, brother (for widows/orphans), whatever - since women couldn't act as independent legal agents.

So in a way it's more accurate than "patriarchy," since what they're complaining about isn't (perceived) rule by "fathers," but a (perceived) system where any man is or can be privileged over any woman.

They're still fools, but not for using this word.

Mark said...

"I'm talking about cases of mutual violence"

I don't know what the numbers are, but I'd wager low. Usually the woman kills the husband in his sleep if there's any fighting back at all. Battered man syndrome fails the smell test.

All polar opposite opinion writers do is selectively hang their opponents from the nearest tree. Both sides do it, but few deny it so well as the far right. Parker's blatantly biased. That's why she isn't a reporter and neither are you.

Anonymous said...

If they are talking about a (perceived) system where any man is or can be privileged over any woman, would this not be andrachy?

Analogous to misandry etc. Presumably the women in an ancient greek house could still have power over male servents, slaves etc.

The idea that Patriarchy means "rule by your dad" brings to mind an image of some outraged teen complaining that her dad will not let her wear her latest dress in public "and it's, like, so unfair".

Incidently Mark: "Usually the woman kills the husband in his sleep if there's any fighting back at all." You can prove this?

Anonymous said...

Or maybe Miss Marcotte is a calculating genius, and she used her brief tenure over at Edwards campaign to sabotage him.(as if he needs any help) To further her agenda.

Maybe she used the gaff at the failure of Edwards, and company to research her in depth, as an opportunity to strike?

She is after all a militant feminist, and Hillary is running. Why would she help further the political aspirations of a man, when a woman is running, that would be like giving aid, and comfort to the enemy.

Just my two cents here, but I have yet to see this possible scenario addressed, and wouldn't put it past someone as sick, twisted, and filled with as much vitriol as Miss Marcotte.

Douglass said...

I'm not suprised by this.

It is the boiler-plate result of of feminist thought and action.


You give her that much credit?

I'd assume that John Edwards was fabricating feminist street-cred in anticipation of a bout with Hillary.

Also, I figure Donahue jumped the gun by a year or so.

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