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Drop Bombs, Not Feminist Bloggers

By Ms_Xeno on Friday February 9, 2007 03:23 PM

Life couldn't be better. Mr. Smith called about a week back for us Stop Me readers to float him some actual stories. Like magic, the Edwards Campaign Blogger story lurched onto the scene. If you missed the uproar, there's a helpful encapsulation here. Plus an entertaining follow-up here.

To make a long story short, Southern Gentleman John Edwards (or rather, his handlers) hired a pair of liberal feminist bloggers to work for his campaign. His ostensible goal was to tap the vein of young, hip "netroots" bloggers-- not to mention their bales of money. What could go wrong? Both Amanda Marcotte (Pandagon) and Melissa McEwen (Shakespeare's Sister) are popular bloggers and thoughtful, often humorous writers. They love to wittily rip on Bush and his cronies.

Both aparently went ga-ga for Johnny's Neo Society brand of faux-healthcare for all and promises to bomb Iran to smithereens for its own good. Naturally these do just about nothing to set him apart from the rest of the hopefuls the Prog Blogs drool over, but no matter. Perhaps he paid the best, had the nicest teeth, or something like that.

The liberal blogosphere loves nothing more than a doomed recovery project, as we all remember from 2004. Proggies don't want a straighforward path to their supposed goals of peace, harmony and an iPod in every back pocket. They don't want an actual anti-war candidate. There's romance and intrigue in backing a candidate like Edwards, with his aw-shucks charm and skill at stirring oratory;Not to mention his borderline Himmler-esque vow to gently persuade a war-weary public that a few million more bloodied corpses on our hands are just what we need to boost our self-esteem. Every Liberal/Progressive feminist blogger worth her salt would kill for such an abundance of drama in the Tammy Wynette-Patsy Cline vein. There's nothing like being handmaiden to a handsome, slick-haired hawk who has clearly given much deep thought to the efficacy of dropping bombs on helpless foreginers. You can feel something real for a guy like that.

Poor Dennis Kucinich. If I wasn't so justifiably pissed off at him these days, it would be easy to spare him some pity. The poor fellow is as close to bonafide Left as you can get in the Big Tent these days. Yet time and time again he stands alone by the punchbowl with only his pocket protector for company while the pretty girls run off to drool over some yob in a DLC varsity sweater. Weird Al tried, but aparently even he couldn't make nerds cool enough for the in-house Prog set. Maybe if you got that guy who used to be half of the White Stripes to remake your image, Dennis. But I digress.

Everything was going great for a few days-- Until a couple of Right Wing clowns decided to kick up a fuss about the obvious moral depravity of any God-loving, bomb-dropping family man who'd think of letting potty-mouthed liberal feminists anywhere near his campaign. Within a day, the cry went up all over the liberal blogosphere to rally to the bloggers' defense and, of course, all that is good and right in Progville. It was so beautiful that even an avowed Crank like myself could only maintain her cynical, stone-hearted fascade for so long. In the name of the Sisterhood, I sat down and I wrote Johnny the Churchy Southern Hawk this email:

Dear Johnny,

Please do not bomb Iran. It's too expensive and very rude and it won't make your penis grow any bigger. Really, it won't. Can't you just invite Bin Laden and AIPAC and the Saudi royal family over for a barbecue and a few rounds of poker instead ?


The Crank

P.S. --Please do not fire Ms. Marcotte and Ms. McEwen. They are stand-up feminists and surely two of the finest minds the blogosphere has to offer. You will find both women invaluable as you dupe their peers into surrendering yet more money to giant insurance companies who will in turn cover our illnesses and anti-depressants. If and when they feel like it. These two savvy thinkers will also help to place the most humane, feminist spin possible on bombing the bejeezus out of nuke-loving, terrorist-coddling women and kids overseas. Plus they probably have bills to pay. Senator, have a heart !

Well, the story had a happy ending. Johnny has, as of this writing, backed away from any plans to fire my blogging sisters. My Inbox brought the following (clearly personalized) response:
Dear Progressive Blogging Friends,

Thank You for your thoughtful email. I love you and your money, The talent and resources you spend ceaselessly and unquestioningly on behalf of the Democratic Party are invaluable to me. Rest assured that I plan to keep the two bloggers on at least until I've gotten as much cred as I can possibly wring from them. Once I have at least the Veep nomination sewn up, they will be quietly hustled out the back door. I will never so much as mention them again.


Johnny Edwards

P.S.-- You write pretty good for a filthy Nader-worshipping Yankee.

Like I said, life couldn't be better. Unless... unless...

Mr. Smith, am I getting paid for this ?

(BTW -- I want to thank the folks at the excellent blog Opera Glasses and Popcorn for helping me get my thoughts straight.)

Comments (23)


Well done, ms_xeno. I tried to collect my thoughts on this long enough to post, but you and Dennis Perrin said it better than I could reasonably expect to.

It's a damn shame to see two intelligent and interesting young women fall into Big Brother John Edwards' spell (seriously, he's like everyone's jovial but insincere older brother or maybe that "cool" uncle who ends up making a pass at you). The contrite apologies and Johnny boy's stern admonishment both made me wonder where Amanda's fortitude went. I'm assuming it's some combination of pwoggy brain rot (it affects them all) and the simple fact that she probably couldn't afford to lose this job now.

"There's nothing like being handmaiden to a handsome, slick-haired hawk who has clearly given much deep thought to the efficacy of dropping bombs on helpless foreginers. You can feel something real for a guy like that."

Beautiful. Just...beautiful. Brava, Ms, X!


When did Dorothy Parker start blogging here? Lovely stuff, Ms. X.

Hey, thanks, Brother Cranks. I have a hot date at the Red Cross looming, but I'll try to stop by and talk later.

Oh, and MJS, my apologies for the broken link on that first article. It's a cogent Media Matter piece about the smear mechanics and just how very, very practiced they are at bullying the bully boys like Edwards. Tricky Dick himself would be proud. It's here.

owen paine:

i've polled us all
we paine brothers concur

congratulations sizzzzzzzzz

even sour royal sez

"solid baby solid"


we needed this
---a post of a different color ----

surely unlike any
the father of uz all
has tacked up on the board here till now

there better be more inside ya like this
or the paines izz acomin northwest by west
to git ya typin up trouble

owen paine:

as to dennis instead of running for prez why doesn't he try rallying
the best of his house prog-cauc
cell mates
to bolt the party and bust the majority

acts of sacrifice come but uncommonly to pols but

this could make some history

a another limpy nerdy run for prez only makes him look more and more
like some ugly ex tv child star
nostalgia autographs at a folding table
set up by a fountain in the local mall

The best irony of all here is the fact that Marcotte was one of the ringleaders in the uproar that "Kos" had to face over his "Pie Fight" ads (ads she was running herself).

It's considered very bad form in the liberal blogosphere to threaten someone else's ad revenue. "Kos" seems to be a better man she she was since he's stuck up for her through this whole mess.

Then again, he just chopped off most of his blog roll and lowered the ad rates of most of his followers and they're seriously up in arms about that.

That's the real problem with professional blogging. They're all very vulnerable in terms of their ability to pay their rent. There's a reason you see very little debate about "Peace not Apartheid" on "liberal" blogs. Their owners don't want what happened to Marcotte to happen to them when they get that coveted phone call from someone's presidential campaign.

It's not suprise that the "liberal" bloggers actually writing about "Peace not Apartheid" tend to be tenured professors like Eric Alterman (no prize himself), people with sources of income outside the Democratic party and who might just get that call anyway since they've got status outside of being on Kos's blogroll.

royal paine:

gomer's bright brother also
joined up with jack kemp....yup ...to spit ball
putin's russia back aways
as part of his requirements for completion
of the famous players school of foreign affairs
special cram course diploma :

the only wall street certified
12 steps to statesmanship program

his wonderful coming out party
was of course
giving that impressive
circle dance in full war paint
over at fort zion
alluded to by madame x


"Kos" seems to be a better man she she was since he's stuck up for her through this whole mess.

Bear in mind that Marcotte never denied she ran the ad because she needed the money. What angered her and the other feminists was Kos' and his cronies' tone in defending his right to run whatever ads they wanted. They were viciously insulting to the woman posters, Kos regulars, who complained about the ad. This had a familiar smell to some older feminists who'd dealt with so-called "feminist friendly" men before, and for some younger women it was a very revealing moment.

There was a hilarious return volley from Pandagon in which Marcotte (or one of her cohorts) made a fake blog ad showing a "sexy" man's barely-concealed crotch so the men who complained about feminists "being too uptight" could get a taste of their own medicine.

Those were the kind of things that attracted me to the space, but it was the perrennial shunning of political alternatives and the way Marcotte pretty much let it be open season on Greens and Indies in any and all of the rah-rah-Democrat threads that ultimately drove me away.

Owen, I absolutely agree with you about poor ol' Dennis. Just because he has to cling to his delusions doesn't compell the rest of us to humor him. :/

Those were the kind of things that attracted me to the space, but it was the perrennial shunning of political alternatives and the way Marcotte pretty much let it be open season on Greens and Indies in any and all of the rah-rah-Democrat threads that ultimately drove me away.

Because in the end you have to pay your rent and your ISP bills.

It's not easy to avoid working with the Democrats when the alternatives on the left can't support you and seem so downright incompetant and screwy sometimes.

It makes someone like Dennis Kuninich very attractive to support. He does have one foot inside the tent.

The problem is when people start kidding themselves. The rationalizations and the convoluted explanations about Edwards speech on Iran just start to venture into the arena of cognitive dissonence after awhile.

owen paine:

notice this typical proggled demthink
from my personal column creature idol

bobby the K


first state the facts correctly :

"Nader watched for two decades as his and the public's handiwork was undone, with many Democrats serving as corporate enablers along with the Republicans. This frustration, in the end, led him to run for president.."

now the turn

"...I wish he hadn't."

but there was another way ...

" Or, if he had to run, Nader could have run in the Democratic primaries..."

the trap is sprung he's caged in the big tents side show where he can safely
"...energize the progressive base
inspire independents and forced (the ) Al Gore(of the moment)
to speak with a more populist voice"


neutered nader

he and dennis can get yoked to the same plow

oxen for social progress

and rip the shit out of
the stoney patch
at the margin of the electoral landscape

Stanley, somebody on Marisacat's blog grumbled that Pandagon started to seem like "sexual astroturf" or "feminist astroturf" to them after awhile. I think what they were referring to was the sheer quantity of posts that were bascially repetitive in nature. Oh, look, another Right-wing preacher who hates queers ! Oh, look, another stupid utterance by Malkin, and so on.

Which begs the question: How little content and how few hits does a site have to either settle for or purposely cultivate in order to avoid the need for a heavy stream of ad revenue and essentially signing over a crucial amount of editorial control to the Party aparatus ?

I have a low-traffic LJ. mr_xeno bought me a slight upgrade as a gift so I could put up extra pictures (I'm an artist). But that doesn't stop me from telling him that I think Kos is a stupid waste of his time, likewise the Democrats. :p

I really don't want to get obsessed with quantity, get a huge stable of staff, post something long (if not all that innovative or substantive) every day, scour for a giant audience, etc. It just seems like an open invite for somebody else to come in, drop a few dollars, and suddenly be your equal or better when it comes to decreeing what you can post.

The worst of it is that, yes, it leads to massive outbreaks of cognitive dissonance, not to mention sheer laziness. Marcotte's entire criticism of Friedman's campaign, so far as I could tell, was NO ! SAVE THE DEMOCRAT ! Instead of actually looking at his campaign and dissecting what was both right and wrong with it, she settled for calling him a racist. As if her own fucking party wasn't crawling with specimens just as bad in that regard, and worse in myriad other ways. It's hard to sell your party as a bastion of thoughtful people who think critically when there are distinctly limited spheres in which you yourself are or able to do that kind of thinking.

It drives me crazy.

Yeah, Paine. The Democrats whine at Nader for not getting into the harness like a good boy, then when Kucinich does get in the harness they snigger that he's funny-looking and eats weird food and what they really want is Dean the white-haired, iron-jawed partiarch.

It's a pathetic game they play.

I get the sense that a lot of "pwogs" were geeks in college. They're outsiders, fairly left in terms of how they think, but they've come out with this burning resentment in two directions.

They hate the establishment (the press and the DC beltway crowd) that won't have them.

But they also hate (and really really hate) "trustfund leftists", probably the type who seemed a little too snotty and aloof back when they were 19 or 20.

That's just my pet theory (speaking as a geek).

And while they hate the DC beltway crowd and the ruling class press, they're very easily swept off their feet when one of the popular kids pays them any attention.

The supposed geek-vs.-cool divide is a tough one for me to endorse, Stanley. Even though I see your point. I have a geeky background, and some minor assets that are keeping me going though I'm barely employed right now. But I'm sure that my fears are very similar to those who remain in the Big Tent: Fear of impoverishment, fear of lost civil/reproductive rights, fear of global war and environmental disaster and so on.

I'm fatter and grayer than a lot of the "netroots" crowd, but also too young to remember "Nam and not prone to get misty-eyed every time a new Dylan box collection comes out. So I'm generally hesitant to assume that a generational divide explains the disconnect here.

royal paine:

unlike owen i never agree with madame x
she writes too good .....

so its not surprising i see your point here diff then her

its really a projection by the pwoog-nerdians

of course father smiff
is my guide in these waters
he's not exactly native to um
but he been paddlin thru um more then me
you'll have to get an official stop me
call on this from him

being as i'm mostly a wine bar
and beautiful people type and all


I always thought the Kosniks were a young crowd, from reading their stuff online, but when I visited their Chautauqua last year, I was quite surprised to find that Kos-erei spans the generations. I will say that very few of them looked like they'd been cool kids in high school, though. The exception was the firedoglake girls, who looked like Tri-Delts -- very scary.

royal paine:

"the firedoglake girls, who looked like Tri-Delts -- very scary."

as in revenge of the scary
snotty ex co eds ??? ...

send in el teo Royale...

"one lady-fox
exclusion and put down riot......

one mud ball ranger "

Somebody just posted on Marisacat's blog that Marcotte has stepped down. Johnny E. has his cake and eats it, too. Everyone else gets breadcrusts, or artillery, to knaw on. God bless America. :/

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