Why Amanda Marcotte Matters

Amanda matters because she’s nobody. She’s some smart-mouthed girl from Austin who you and I will never meet. She has a couple of cats. She says snarky things on the internet.

And today, she resigned from her job with the Edwards campaign.

Can you believe that?

Is there a word for when you want to cry and cheer at the same time?

A lot of people have expressed how sad they are for her and how fucked up the whole situation is, but I feel proud, too.

Which is corny to say: that you’re proud of a woman you’ve never met who wouldn’t know you from Eve if you bumped into her on the street. But I am proud.

I’m proud because what happened to Amanda, no matter how shitty–and don’t get me wrong, it was shitty–proves that what we’re doing here scares the shit out of a lot of people.

It’s so scary to them, in fact, that the second Amanda found herself on ground familiar to them, they set out to destroy her.

And it’s not just her.

Others have already commented on how this works to silence us all. "Go with the program, step out of line, stick your head up, stand out, and we will come down on you as hard as we can–everyone from CNN to the New York Times (those "liberal" bastions)–and don’t you forget it."

But I take from this a different lesson, that, if we scare them this much, we must be doing something right, even if all we’re doing is articulating what we think and having just one other person say, "Yeah, I get that" or "No, you’ve got it wrong and here’s why."

The world, as it works now, works because folks who are not you and me control the messages that get disseminated into the larger culture. What we do scares the shit out of a lot of folks because they can’t control what goes on out here and every day, more and more people get access to it.

Amanda is nobody, just one lone woman with a computer in Austin, Texas.

She didn’t give anybody’s husband a blowjob; she didn’t molest any interns; she didn’t lie about weapons of mass destruction; she didn’t out a CIA agent.

And she almost derailed a presidential campaign. Ha, sorry, I guess that sucks for Edwards, but for the rest of us?

Shit, if I had a beer, I’d drink a toast to Marcotte right now.

I feel inspired.

33 thoughts on “Why Amanda Marcotte Matters

  1. So the right wing has a noise machine. Does the left wing have a noise machine?Is one side speaking truth to power, while the other side is advocating hate speech? Forgive me if both sides look pretty similar to me.

  2. I had this dream last night that I was at a dog show just for German Shepherds and I met your wife there, but I didn’t know she was your wife, and I was telling her about the giant German Shepherd who lives down the street from me, who looks just like Dr. Phil, but she wouldn’t believe me, and so I said that, if she taught me how to crochet lampshades, I would mail my neighbor’s dog to her, so she could see how big it is. And so we went to your house, to have a look at the dog and to crochet lampshades and you were so pissed you stormed off and hid in the bathroom.I should have blogged about that; it would have been funny.Did I have a point?Ah, yes, I did. It’s when I imagine you start to read my posts and all notion of who I am and what you know about me falls away as you’re consumed by a white hot rage at the hippie liberal shit in front of you same as all the other hippie liberal shit that’s been annoying you all day at whatever hippie liberal sites you read just because you enjoy the feeling of getting your dander all up.Because, sincerely, my large-penised friend, when did I ever say that the right had a noise machine that is unrivaled by the left? When did I ever insinuate that the right was filled with nothing but hate speech?If you want me to address stuff other leftists are throwing around, say so and I’ll be glad to do it. But you’ve got to say that’s what you’re doing otherwise you leave me no way to respond.Plus, a.) you’ve known me how long? You know I’m not enamored with the codified party of the left and that I identify more with people who don’t have a voice than people who do, regardless of party and b.) I think you’d be bothered by the notion that an atheist can lose her job on a political campaign for being an atheist and not hiding it. Unless you’ve found god recently…?

  3. Hear, hear! I want to cry and cheer. I am not sure resigning is the best decision but I applaud her and now she has more freedom to write what she wants without the fear of causing any more distraction.

  4. The problem with Marcotte wasn’t that she was opinionated. Her problem was that she she was rude and insulting. Aunt B, I ask you this question:Would you read sections of her writings to your parents as your own?Would you ask, to your preacher dad:" Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit? A: You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology."Seriously think about you saying that to your dad, and not in a merely academic sense, but in actually meaning it.Hell B, you admit you don’t even want your parents reading your site or publicizing it to their friends, and yet you have the gall to criticize Edwards for not wanting to be paying people to publicize such commentary.I call hypocracy.

  5. " Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?A: You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology.

    Is that Amanda Marcotte? Because, that’s pretty damn funny.

  6. It’s funny because it is true.Mark your calendars, because after a snappy comeback like that, today is the day Amanda Marcotte can do no wrong in my eyes.Tomorrow may be another story.

  7. Yeah, that quote makes me wanna hire her myself. To do what, I don’t know. Sit around and make me laugh, I guess.

  8. Lee, I don’t want my parents reading my blog or publicizing it to their friends for the very same reason you don’t want to stand butt naked in front of your mom. Do you think your mom has never seen a penis before? Hell, she changed your diapers; she’s seen yours before.But it’s just weird and too intimate in a way that kind of ooks me out. And I wouldn’t want to put my parents in a position of defending me to a bunch of people I know don’t have the sense to mind their own business.But, if push came to shove–taking Marcotte’s quote completely out of context–if I believed that, that there was nothing salvagable about Christianity and that it had degenerated into an unfixable mess of hatred and hypocracy, fuck yes I’d tell my dad that.Yes, it would suck, for both of us, and so I might try to be funny about it, but I wouldn’t keep that from him if he wanted to know my opinion.In fact, I think, if he wanted to know, it’d be gravely insulting to not tell him.But let’s go back to what Marcotte said and put it in context. She’s not a Christian. In fact, she’s an atheist. This is no secret. Anyone who reads Pandagon for a few days can figure that out.There’s a certain segment of the Christian population who believes they’ve found the loophole that lets them be enormous jackasses while still keeping up a Christian front. It’s usually a two-pronged assault.It starts out with the refusal to acknowledge that other people might not be Christian. And so, they can come to a blog run by an atheist feminist and bombard her with questions and comments that can all be boiled down to "What if Mary had aborted Jesus?"Do you see how that question has no meaning to someone who’s not a Christian? What if Mary had aborted Jesus? The world would be different. How? Who knows?But what they’re digging for is some chink in the armor, where, if you say "Gosh, that’d be too bad, considering how important Jesus is," they can say, "Well, but how can we know what other important person a fetus might be? You wouldn’t want to run the risk of someone aborting God? How can we take such risks? Surely, you never thought of that before and now you must see that we must all be anti-abortion. Ta da!"Maybe they don’t see that as hateful, but believe me, when you’re on the other end of it–that steady refusal to believe that anyone could be non-Christian and be genuine about it–it feels hateful.And so, in response to those folks who were constantly bombarding her with the bullshit "What if Mary had aborted Jesus?" question, she was mean and snarky.The second prong of Christian bullshit you can see going on over at Pandagon right now, where some folks are practically dancing with glee that now they get to pray over her, "Oh, well, this sucks for you, but maybe now you’ll repent and become a good girl. At least know this: that Jesus loves you."Again, that’s incredibly mean.Here’s what I don’t get. How come a man like Donahue can stand up and say that kids priests molested could have stopped it if they didn’t want it, can basically say that Hollywood Jews are ruining America, and can pretend to speak for the Catholic Chruch when he seems opposed to Vatican II, and yet someone he doesn’t like is rude and insulting? Or Michelle Malking wants to round up all Muslims and put them in internment camps and someone who stands against her is rude and insulting? Or Jonah Goldberg runs around talking about slapping his penis against the faces of the people who disagree with him and the person who disagrees with him is the one who’s rude and insulting?God, in fact, I think this brings us back to Exador’s point, which is that folks on both sides (all sides?) behave this way.I don’t see Marcotte as some liberal martyr. To the extent I see her as a martyr, I see her as one for bloggers in general.Yes, it might delight conservative bloggers now that they’ve managed to knock off-track someone who’s annoyed the piss out of them for years.But now they’ve set a standard for how all bloggers should be treated and scrutinized by the media.I hope they’re ready for that.I’m not.

  9. *Maybe they don’t see that as hateful, but believe me, when you’re on the other end of it–that steady refusal to believe that anyone could be non-Christian and be genuine about it–it feels hateful.*This verbalizes a feeling I’ve had for years. Thanks.

  10. Chris Clarke’s* recent experiences with "well-wishers" when Zeke died — after he explicitly requested that no one "comfort" him with stories about a doggie afterlife, he was bombarded with stories promising him that his doggie would have an afterlife.*One of my favorite bloggers, a lyrical writer about his natural surroundings, and a civil and intelligent advocate of this cause and that, not all of which I agree with; check out his blog, Creek Running North

  11. Gaaah, I hit "confirm post" too soon. Anyway, what I meant to say is that his experience is typical; some people just can’t get their heads around the idea that not everyone shares their basic world-view, and figures that if they only expose other people to their world-view, even against those other people’s stated wishes, those other people will see the light. This is rude once; it becomes hateful with repetition. Of course, in this country, non-Christians have had long experience in being on the receiving end of such behavior. Christians, being much newer to it, tend to get a lot angrier about it.

  12. I have to second Britney on this: *Maybe they don’t see that as hateful, but believe me, when you’re on the other end of it–that steady refusal to believe that anyone could be non-Christian and be genuine about it–it feels hateful.*It perfectly articulates how I feel too. In fact, Aunt B., everything you said does. Coincidentally, I’m watching the Friends of God documentary right now. Wow.

  13. Hear, hear, Aunt. B. You’ve just articulated something that’s been eating at me for a while, but that I couldn’t quite put to words. Thank you.In effect, it is what Amanda Marcotte so frequently takes on: that condescending, post-medieval notion that being a ‘non-believer’ automatically puts one in an inferior, pitiable position. I was raised as a Christian, and I still sort of identify myself that way, though I subscribe to no denomination. I do not find Amanda’s snark (which is aimed at the hypocrisy built into so many orthodox regimes) offensive; if what I have that passes for faith is so weak that said snark would threaten it, then it ain’t much to begin with. Anyway, Amanda regularly skewers the sexism, racism, homophobia, and general assholery that more closely follows the teachings and example of the Pharisees than those of Jesus Christ. So she is a ‘non-believer’; so effing what?I’ll take her morality over that of a homo-hating, racist, war-supporting self-identified Xtian anyday. I’m just extrapolatin’ here, but I think the Prince of Peace would be far more comfortable breaking bread with a sincere and irreverent atheist like Amanda Marcotte than with a self-glorifying neo-Pharisee like Pope Ratzo, Herr Donahue, or Pat Robertson.

  14. You do know that Jesus was a Pharisee (= proto-rabbinic Jew), right? All the specific Biblical passages he quotes, all the paraphrases of Hillel, demonstrate this. At a minimum, early Pharisaic ideas were one of the strongest influences on him. If you look at what he was actually quoted as saying about Pharisees, he (like Amanda) is clearly attacking the hypocrisy of some members of the group, not condemning them all.This is a perfect example, BTW, of one type of insult that Christians and post-Christians routinely and unthinkingly deal out to certain groups of non-Christians. I’m just saying.

  15. NM, you point to something that has always weirded me out, the way that some Christian thinkers act like there are no more Jewish people–that the only way we can find out anything about the "strange" and "exotic" religion of Jesus is to study histories written, by and large, by other Christians.It’s as if there are two histories of Judaism growing up side by side–one lived by and written by Jews and the other written by non-Jews and one often has little to do with the other.I mention that because I also learned growing up that Jesus stood apart from and opposed to the Pharisees and it was implied that Jesus knew a little about Elijah and, obviously, the Psalms, but the extent of his religious training or even the type of training he was likely to have received?I don’t really have a clue.And I feel like I don’t well-enough know how to articulate my point, but the people who taught me that were well-meaning. They had nothing against Jewish people (I doubt Jewish people were even on their radars, except for my dad’s strange fascination with believing that his maybe-Jewish ancestry matters).But the things they taught me were still wrong and hurtful to folks like you.You can mean well and still hurt people. That goes back, I think, to the Marcotte situation (or even farther back than that) and why I think it’s bullshit to "punish" bloggers for what they say.Hard as it is to hear, sometimes, we have to talk to each other and really, really learn how to listen, precisely because we can mean well and still do harm.

  16. Slarti, I am sure that if you tried very hard and planned ahead for a couple of weeks, and roped in a couple of your friends, you could manage to be insulting. I’m not trying to diss your insult skillz here, but you are just too friendly and nice for me to take things you say the wrong way. So if you had ever acted in such a way in front of me I would have corrected you, and you would have filed this fascinating new fact away for future reference, and you would privately have thought "what a pedant!" but wouldn’t have said it until I left the room, so no offence would have been taken.And B, I know that this stuff is meant in innocence and comes from ignorance.* Once again, I will compare the 21st century favorably to the 13th** and point out that during the 12th and 13th centuries Christian authorities in France routinely confiscated and burned copies of the Talmud, because it had suddenly been brought to their attention that for the past thousand years Jews had been using this book that wasn’t mentioned in the Bible. Yes, really. Also, popular lives of Jesus from the 18th century told how Mary had gone to school in a convent, and when Jesus got lost as a little boy she ran to a church and said a prayer to St. Anthony. So things have improved some.*My understanding is that the new book The Misunderstood Jew is intended to clear up some of the ignorance on both sides of this divide. I can’t be sure, because I’ve had it on reserve from the library for a few weeks, and it hasn’t come in yet, so it’s not as if I’ve seen it and have a clue, but I think I probably recommend it for this purpose.**This kind of hurts me, since I do love the 13th century very dearly.

  17. Thanks for the finer point, NM, but the Pharisees to whom Jesus referred were the same ones to whom I refer (both historically and figuratively). That seemed pretty clear to me from the context, but, hell, I like a marginally relevant tangent as much as anybody. Nitpick away…

  18. Aunt B., This is misplaced outrage/cheering/sadness. Marcotte was a bad choice for Edwards to have as his representative to the blogging community, especially if Edwards is attempting to create a populist movement to get elected with. No one likes to rally around hate.And this hasn’t "scared" anyone. All this did was make Edwards look like a fool. Conservative bloggers are laughing their asses off about this because it shows that the radical left is still not ready for prime time. I believe the right has the same problem. Markos from the DailyKos made a big deal about speaking truth to power through the blogosphere by using his influence to get Ned Lamont nominated over Lieberman. The end result was Lamont getting absolutely crushed by Lieberman on election day. The blogosphere has to grow up some more before mainstream America is ready to take it seriously. The Marcotte dustup is further proof.

  19. "What we do scares the shit out of a lot of folks because they can’t control what goes on out here and every day, more and more people get access to it."Wordy-mc-WORD." Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?A: You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology."Yes, I consider myself a Christian. And yes, that’s still hella funny.

  20. Amanda was hung by her own words… stupid thoughtless words at that. Worse yet… she crawled away like a coward… removing various posts and comments in shame and fear.No one is scared of Amanda. We love Amanda. Amanda does so much damage to the feminist movement… she makes the lives of those who hate feminism so easy.Fish in a barrel.Aunt B… your comments that you’re scarying people?What are we scared of? A bunch of girls fucking our brains out?Oh no… please… don’t. Not that!Am I terrified of extremely intelligent and confident women?Why of course I am! That’s why I married one.Point of fact: Feminism as an ideology is totalitarian domination at its worst.

  21. Totalitarian domination. Ha, I wish. Then I could have some dudes clean my tub. But, alas, it seems that no matter how many times I order my male readers to show up here and get to scrubbing, not one of them ever does.Maybe I haven’t gotten the secret password that will bring you all to your knees yet. Maybe only the NOW feminists get that…?Anyway, my point was, as I said eleventy billion times in this thread already was not some leftist vs. rightist victory, but some thoughts on the little guy (or gal, in this case) vs. the corporate media monstrosity.And, though I already said it, I’ll say it again, this is the level of discourse now set. Not only can someone who says something unpopular lose her job over it–which I think we all already knew from the Bill Hobbs incident–but people tangentially related to her can get run out of their jobs. Look at Shakespeare’s Sister. She never said anything "anti-Catholic" as far as I’ve read, but because she’s a feminist blogger who was hired the same time as Marcotte, she’s been run out, too.Is that how we want to play? Do you want to sit around worrying that your wife might someday make an enemy who would hold what you’ve said on the internet against her? I don’t.I don’t like it. I think it’s bad for public discourse and bad for the health of the Republic. People should be able to hold and articulate unpopular opinions without fear that total strangers are going to cost them or their loved ones their livelihoods.I can’t believe you, of all people, would stand by and cheer to see someone lose her job for the same kinds of stuff you do every day.That makes no sense to me.

  22. Conservative bloggers are laughing their asses off about this because it shows that the radical left is still not ready for prime time.

    Rubbish. First off, how do you define ‘radical left’? To the average ‘conservative’ these days, that means anyone who doesn’t kiss their collective ass (which would mean anyone to the left of Holy Joe Lieberman. Second, you’ve put the cart before the horse. The readiness problem isn’t with the ‘radical left’, it is with "prime time." "Prime time" political discourse is channeled through the corporate media, over which an inordinate amount of influence is exerted by conservatives and right-wing reactionaries. Case in point: right-wing crybabies whined loudly about Marcotte, and the corporate media made it public (and the coward Edwards failed to stand up for her). Did the corporate media give equal time about John McCain’s right-wing hatchet man? No.This is all primarily due to the success of the Right Wing Noise Machine, which apparently has some people believing that there is actually a substantial political entity in this nation which can be called ‘the radical left.’ Of course, that general gullibility speaks to a stubborn ignorance and reactionary bent rampant among the populace, which in turn explains the success of cornpone fascists like Bush (and the Hollywood fascist Reagan).Conservative bloggers should be laughing, but only if they love the feel and taste on their hands of Iraqi children’s and U.S. soldiers’ blood.

  23. "Conservative bloggers should be laughing, but only if they love the feel and taste on their hands of Iraqi children’s and U.S. soldiers’ blood."Wow. Thanks for making my point all that much more obvious. Keep telling the right how they "love the feel and taste of Iraqi children’s and U.S. soldiers’ blood" and you will continue to be about as relevant as Ned Lamont.

  24. gargh. all’s i know is: it’s gonna be a loooong two years.is Melissa still with them, then, or no?i think y’know that if you’re gonna go into professional politics, then yeah you’re gonna run into shit like that. and generally speaking i could see why someone running for national candidacy in this country would at least want someone who wasn’t prone to, as AM has put it "taking a piss on religion." because, a lot of people -are- gonna take it as, "taking a piss on me." potential voters, that is.that said: he certainly ought to have known all this when he -hired- her; she wasn’t doing anything new. and, once he did, he ought to’ve stuck by it; making conciliatory gestures to the likes of -those- people, -this- early in the game, does -not- bode well. he fucked up. several times over.

  25. and no, that doesn’t mean i think we ought to censor ourselves. i think we need to be -more- outspoken. just: know what you’re doing when you do it, and what the likely consequences are. and when they come: you deal with it. responsibility, iow. you pays your money and you takes your choice. that goes for Edwards, and yeah it goes for Amanda as well. that shitstorm was just the faintest breeze compared to what’s coming down the pike for anyone who’s running for office. you need to know. and you need to decide what’s worth risking and what isn’t, and when. then again, i’d sooner have a non-op root canal than try to work at that level of electoral politics; so, there is that.

  26. and no, Kos didn’t cause Lamont to lose. Even Hamsher probably didn’t cause Lamont to lose, although her arrogance didn’t help. Lieberman choosing to put self over party and all the weight of his "relationship" with the voters is why Lamont lost. it just wasn’t enough, is all. so it goes. you live you learn. you try again. and again. and again. that is what the Right does, and why it’s such a well-oiled powerful machine.and if something isn’t working, why, you try something else. that is what the Right -doesn’t- do, and that’s why they’re finally grinding down.

  27. Melissa left yesterday.And yeah, I admit to being baffled. Edwards should have looked at her blog and decided before hiring her whether it was worth the hassle. Once he hired her, he should have stuck by her.

  28. oh, well, crap.well, selfishly, i am pleased that Melissa’ll still (?) be with "us" in the blogosphere.yeah, great, Edwards. at least Clinton waited until -after- he was elected to start throwing people under the bus. this just makes him look weak. it pisses off the base and it doesn’t impress anyone else, least of all the people who, hello? weren’t ever on his side in the first place? Malkin? Thingie? get real. dumbdumbdumb.i am happy that Obama is in the race, whatever happens. godDAM it’s gonna be a long two years.

  29. Oh, you know, in some of his recorded and written comments about trying to derail the Edwards campaign, Donohue clearly violated the terms of the Catholic League’s tax exempt status. If you look through the comments to yesterday’s posts on Shakespeare’s Sister you will find an easy-to-download form that will allow you to complain about this to the IRS, should you be so minded. I am so minded myself, since I think that those who harrass and encourage harrassment need to know that the tables can be turned on them.

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