Friday, February 16, 2007

PandaGate postscript

I wasn't going to devote any more blogspace to Pandagon blogger Amanda Marcotte's brief tenure as blogmaster for the Edwards campaign, but Marcotte's self-pitying and self-serving confessional inspired me again. Predictably, Marcotte portrays herself as a victim of sexism and "pure misogynist emotion," and her downfall as a frightening message to young feminists. (Maybe the lesson to young feminists is to avoid hate speech posing as feminism.) Reading her lament, I was reminded of an icon created by LiveJournal blogger mcity, in this thread last September, to poke fun at Marcotte's buddy and Pandagon regular ginmar. Since the icon is too small to have a visual effect in a blogpost, I took the liberty of recreating it in larger size with full credit to its author. I think it's perfect for the occasion.

Marcotte has had some unpleasant experiences these past couple of weeks, and it would be ungracious to mock her if she didn't make herself such an inviting target. But she loses what sympathy one might have by refusing to take responsibility for her extremism. For instance, here is her explanation of the dust-up over the Duke post:

I announced that I was taking the job on Jan. 30, and the same week, I noticed a small flare-up of oddly aggressive and misogynistic comments in my moderation queue over a short, irritated post I wrote about the coverage of the Duke lacrosse rape case on CNN. I assumed that some anti-feminist blogger had linked me and so, in frustration, I went and rewrote my by-then week-old post to mock the commenters by spelling out my views in childish, easy-to-understand language.

Really? Here is the original comment, about being stuck at the airport:

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.

And the rewrite:

Since people are determined to make hay over this quick shot of a post, I’m deleting it and here’s my official stance. The prosecution in the Duke case fumbled the ball. The prosecutor was too eager to get a speedy case and make a name for himself. That is my final word.

So the second version of the post spells out the views expressed in the first one in "childish, easy-to-understand language"? Seems to me that Marcotte's stance in the original post is much more accurately summed up as: "Anyone who thinks that the Duke lacrosse players may be innocent, and is concerned about their ordeal if they are falsely accused, must be an evil racist and misogynist who believes white boys are entitled to rape black women." Evidently, Marcotte translates her own posts as creatively as she does those of others.

On another topic, Marcotte sarcastically notes in the piece:

Also, shockingly for a would-be Democratic staffer, I had often said negative things about Republicans on my blog.
I will leave it to the reader to determine whether "saying negative things about Republicans" even begins to describe this response from Marcotte to Patterico on her blog.

Speaking of which: Patterico, agree with him or not, is a class act. See his post on the resignation of the second Edwards blogger, Melissa McEwan:

As for the Shakespeare’s Sister blogger: I have a very vague memory of her piling on me once, but it’s a memory so distant that it means nothing to me now. [UPDATE: Apparently I’m wrong about this, as she notes in the comments.] Other than that, I know nothing about her other than that she once used the term “Christofascists” — which, by itself, is (I think) a completely insufficient reason for anyone to oppose her working for Edwards. Maybe there was more, but I haven’t seen it.

I think it’s a shame that she’s not working for him, and a bigger shame that so many people apparently sent her ugly e-mails and comments. I do in fact denounce anything like that without hesitation, and I am going to send her a friendly e-mail of condolence. I have no idea how it will be received, but hopefully it will help, in some small way, to counterbalance the ugliness she has faced.

By the way, for examples of such ugliness, one need only look at the comments thread on McEwan's post announcing her resignation: for instance, here and here. The woman-hating jerks who spew this vileness are not only disgusting human beings who take pleasure in hurting others; they also also a gift to the equally hateful radical feminists who are always looking for proof that misogyny permeates attitudes toward women in America. Never mind that the overwhelming majority of men, liberal or conservative, would be appalled by such vulgar invective.

I've criticized Shakespeare's Sister before, and may do so again. But her commentary contributes to civil discourse and exchange of ideas in the blogosphere; and in that, she is the opposite of Marcotte. I join Patterico in expressing my sympathy to Melissa McEwan. I am not suffciently familiar with her writings to judge whether or not the Edwards campaign made a good deicision in hiring her; but I do know that the verbal abuse she has endured is repulsive, and is truly an embarrassment to the right.


goy said...

Hi Cathy,

"...her commentary contributes to civil discourse..."

When I read posts like this one, I have to disagree. There are others, but this one has always stood out in my mind. And it isn't just because of the unwarranted profanity and intentionally uncivil vulgarity-purely-for-effect, which you can readily find in much of her work (more of a Marcotte Lite than a true opposite).

In this post, as in so very many I read in blogs, Melissa has manufactured a strawman - an imperious claim that "...what’s driving this policy [is] an attempt to keep homosexuality out of the gene pool ..." This is the sort of incendiary, unsupportable rhetoric that makes virtually all discussion of gender-related issues impossible.

McEwan's characterization of the FDA's policy as tantamount to a hate crime against gays requires that one ignore the fact that the FDA's rules do not prevent "directed" donations, which pretty much blows her entire "...somewhere deep down..." fantasy, and makes this rhetoric not only incendiary, but intellectually dishonest as well.

Ultimately, the problem here is that in foaming at the mouth with unwarranted - uncivil - accusations, any valid points that might have otherwise been brought to bear on the issue are lost. In their place ensues a pointless, vitriolic debate over a fantasy regarding the aims of the "Dominionists". Few things could be further from 'civil' in my estimation.

Anonymous said...

Edwards hired these bloggers? Are Marcotte's readers Edwards' target audience. Does he actually _want_ the loyalty of the angry, unhinged, anti-Everything Left?

I missed all they hype as it was happenning, so I thank you for the posts about it.

I had my doubts about Edwards before, but this is too much. Is he really trying to reach out to this group of people? Are these people really so important to the Democrats that one of the front runners actively courts their support?

Ann Coulter would have zero credibility if people like Marcotte, and Edwards, for goodness sake, would just behave.

Mark said...

I have no doubt that 'woman-hating jerks' exist, but given the history of blog post alteration and other distortion and manipulation of even easily verifiable facts into which Marcotte and the other bigots with whom she runs have already descended in this affair - and likely others too - combined with their seeming inability to learn from this experience or entertain a world view in which they are anything other than victims, it seems highly likely that they themselves posted at least some of the misogynistic comments to which you refer in an attempt at damage limitation.

As for the rest of us, there are, at least, some lessons to learn from this tawdry affair:

One is the overwhelming good of the blogosphere as an exposer of bigots and liars of whatever stripe.

A second is that, no matter how many concessions we make to radicals, some among them will never be appeased no matter how reasonable we are nor where we draw the line, and they will have no compunction whatsoever about claiming to be or to represent mainstream interests or the victims of the most heinous crime(s) du jour, nor about hurling at their critics the most vile slurs and falsehoods if it furthers their cause. Many of them simply cannot even see themselves for the extremists they are and the fragmentation of the media combined with the rise of the internet, enabling as it does the development of isolated pockets of like-minded souls, will only exacerbate this problem.

The third, and perhaps most important point, is that those brimming with hate will always seek to obtain the power to force their opinions on others - i.e. political power - and that, as each and every one of us has someone who hates us, not necessarily for anything we have done, but simply for who we are, the only way we can all remain safe is to stick to the principles set out by the founders of this nation who themselves had first hand experience of tyranny: we simply must stick to the principles of limited government.

Finally a personal note. Of all the guys I have talked to over the course of my lifetime, I can certainly recall those not happy with their partners and those who whose repertoire included jokes that denigrated women, but I cannot recall ever having met one whose life is so consumed with hatred for the opposite gender that it has become, as seems to be the case with an unhealthily large number of feminists, a core focus of his existence.

Matt S said...

Virtually anyone familiar with the world of left-wing political blogs knows of Marcotte's particular "style". She possesses the remarkable ability to irritate and repulse people who more-or-less agree with her. That a major presidential candidate hired her without being aware of what she had previously written or without telling her to stop blogging simply boggles the mind.

Put another way: what the hell was Edwards thinking?

reader_iam said...

Which Edwards?

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