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February 08, 2007

Talking about the Edwards blogger brouhaha with Taylor Marsh

Taylor Marsh had me on the radio a few minutes ago to talk about the Edwards' campaign's decision to stand up to the right wing noise machine and keep bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan.

Soon, you'll be able to listen to Taylor's February 8th podcast here.

BlogPAC is sending an open letter to the the established media taking them to task for inaccuracies and biases in the their coverage of the Edwards blogger controversy. Edwards may have been the first candidate to come under fire for a progressive blog team, but he won't be the last. As Digby says:

But this is going to be the pattern unless the news media recognises that they have a substantial number of readers who will not tolerate a reprise of the kind of rightwing smear job collusion we've seen in the past. No matter how tittilating the story, when a conservative hitman like William Donohue comes calling with a sob story about how "offended" he is by someone's "vulgar" language, professional journalists should put his phony complaints into context. There's no excuse for this failure to expose the agenda of the rightwing noise machine anymore. With lexis-nexis and Mr Google, it's just too easy to research the accuser and put his comments into context before they breathlessly rush to report the latest little GOP oppo nuggest of misinformation. in many cases, if they do this, they will see that the story is not newsworthy in the first place and if it is, it is much more complicated (and interesting!) than the fake faux outrage.

Click here sign your name to the letter and help support progressive bloggers.

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Comments

In short, whether you're a Catholic, Muslim, Scientologist or Maoist, you don't get the privelage of a magic circle around your own particular beliefs, exempting them from criticism. And yes, this criticism may even take the form of hostility, derision, profanity, and epitaphs galore.

The good news: you're still free to be as offended by all this as damn well pleases you.

Well Rob..

First off you have properly stated Church teachings on birth control, crazy or butt crazy is a bit ill-liberal but I wouldn’t call you a bigot.

Now Amanda does not accurately represent church teachings. She portrays them as manic misogyny or bent prudery, combined with my parade of horribles above.

“Thus anytime you solidify your marital bond without at least being open to procreating you are sinning.”

One possible nuance you might be missing that is often used to represent Christianity as somehow repressive, is the nature of sin itself.

Jesus said it is tantamount to adultery for a married man to even look at another woman with lust in her eyes.
We are all sinners…yada, yada, The whole belief system is under a rubric of sin & forgiveness and so forth.

“I think this idea is butt crazy. I have no clue why anyone would think it wrong to separate the procreative and social functions of sex.

Well, the “social function” of sex under the Christian sexual ethic is within marriage. So separating sex from procreation has helped reinforce an environment were sex is seen as recreational rather than procreation-al.

This has had a myriad of social consequences…
I suggest the work of The research of Nobel-prize-winning economist and UCLA professor George Akerlof, Janet L. Yellen, and Michael L. Katz, “An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics CXI (1996); George Akerlof, “Men Without Children,” The Economic Journal 108 (1998).

The article is not available on-line But a piece By Brad Wilcox discussing it in this very context is.. (the idea being)

{George Akerlof uses an economic model to show how}” the tragic outworkings of the contraceptive revolution were sexual license, family dissolution, crime, and poisoned relations between the sexes—and that the poor have paid the heaviest price for this revolution.”

http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-01-038-f

“The idea is stupid and if widely practiced get us all killed.”

I can only infer that this refers to some neo-Malthusian critique involving environmentalism and population. We could talk about world population trends, what population are rising and those that are not (and the potential of those trends) ect.
However, the practice of natural family planning is quite successful if employed properly and can address such concerns generally. The Church is not against controlling births, more properly it is against “artificial” birth control.

So anyway, Its possible to discuss such matters intelligently and without invective or appearing a “bigot” (something I get called all the time just for saying children need their mothers & fathers)

Your welcome to criticize the Church teaching and advocate against their practice (or completely ignore them) But when you do you need to be sensitive, polite, tolerant, sophisticated and calm. Or people may call you a bigot.

Perhaps this might help to put things in perspective.

Here's an example of genuine, flat-out anti-Catholic bigotry, right here in the good ol' US of A. An Ohio man was sentenced to a "faith-based" drug rehab center run by a Pentecostal church. There, he had his rosary beads taken away from him and was told that in order to successfully complete the program, he would need to renounce his Catholic faith, as it amounted to "witchcraft."

Now, did Donohue or Bill O'Reilly or any of the other stalwart defenders of the One True Church raise a mushroom-cloud-sized media stink about this? Of course not. That would run the risk of upsetting their political bedfellows. Besides, Donohue's schedule was probably already jam-packed, running around the country decrying TV shows he's never watched, movies he's never seen, and books he's never read.

Instead, it was up to the anal-sex loving secularists of the ACLU to defend the guy.

I think I came to the same conclusion as Digby, I just take longer to say it The audience Edwards hopes Amanda and Melissa can reach are long since in the habit of interacting with their news sources, not just letting pap get poured in their ear. NYTimes did a better take on this than Time Mag but even it fails to appreciate that people began reading Pandagon, Shakespeare's Sister [and Majikthise for that matter] because they had developed a distate for being lied to with ink. To the blog reader, crude language or unsparing characterizations that have greater fidelity to the insights and perspectives than the muted English of sponsored press are just how the job is done. Outrage is a normal reaction to attempted imposition of the mores of a self-important minority upon the rest of the population. "You must marry, but they may not." "You must have that baby"...these invasions of a person's most momentous and private decisions can be pronounced in public, or so say the Donahue's of this world. Why can't an emotionaly accurate and honest reply to such pompous prison sentences be aired in public? All of the wounded decency claimed by the righteous wing stems from their fantasy that they do not REALLY live in a pluralistic world and that the rest of us are merely evil or at least mistaken interlopers who need our heads straightened out and our mouths washed out.
The intolerance of SOME people who claim a tolerant creed just burns me...so I am going to quit before this comment winds up longer than most of my posts.

Your welcome to criticize the Church teaching and advocate against their practice (or completely ignore them)

No, Fitz. No, no, no, no, a thousand times no. If I were, in fact, free to "completely ignore" the teachings of the Catholic Church, there would be no controversy here. Amanda would not be fulminating against a Catholic Church that took the position "This is how Catholics should behave; we take no position on anyone else's behavior."

To give one example, when the Catholic Church openly campaigns against civil rights ordinances for gay people, as it has done all over the country, they are not leaving it up to people to follow their own consciences. They are seeking to impose their teachings on society as a whole through the political process.

This isn't hard to understand, and I truly don't think you're an idiot. You may pretend otherwise, but you get this. The Catholic Church does not believe that its moral authority extends only to its followers. If it did, it would not feel the need to exert political pressure on elected officials on issues like reproductive choice and gay rights. And you know this. Please stop with the faux "live and let live" routine; it's disingenuous in the extreme.

But I have never posted on the Liberty site, so you’re barking at the wrong "fitz"

What are the odds? I guess it was a fate accompli that I would think there was only one pecksniffian Fitz on the intertubes, given your .edu address ("Arabs on my campus"), and the fact that there was a Fitz who was obsessing over Islamic birthrates on this Crooked Timber thread. That one is you, right? And is this statement of yours from that thread true?

I got a Bachelors in philosophy before I got a Law degree..

My unreliable memory says that in the 2004 campaigns, John Edwards shared Bush's taste for keeping protesters penned up in free speech zones, away from where he was speaking. Is this right? I've tried googling and found some mentions of heavily screened attendance at Edwards events, but nothing conclusive yet. Source at the time would have been the Nation.

The Catholic League is a right-wing sacroturf organization with a right-wing board that picks on a couple of young bloggers but leaves the anti-Catholicism (and racism for that matter) of Bob Jones University - a fellow right-wing institution that seemingly every Republican presidential candidate must visit - fully at piece.

No Catholic got "discriminated" against in any aspect of public life by Marcotte's rude mockery of Catholic theological and moral doctrine. Nobody lost a job, a promotion, a house or a line of credit. Failure to love, agree with or honor Catholic teachings does not constitute "discrimination" against Roman Catholic American citizens.

Donohue is not a protector of Catholics facing discrimination in public life, but a right-wing media assassin looking to take opportunistic shots at the left to satisfy the donor base that pays him over $300K a year. Martin Luther King this man is not.

at peace - yes, the English speeker showz hiz speling schills.

I just want to second everything Uncle Kvetch has said, thank him for reminding us of the political cynicism that is the calling card of religious authoritarians and/or fundamentalists, and note that this brouhaha has brought out a bunch of grievance-seeking hysterics that make the usually muddled Andrew Sullivan look like freakin' Mr. Spock.

Uncle Kvetch

“This isn't hard to understand, and I truly don't think you're an idiot. You may pretend otherwise, but you get this.”

No its not, in fact it’s immediately obvious… nor do I pretend otherwise.

“They are seeking to impose their teachings on society as a whole through the political process.”

Now Uncle Kvetch, this isn't hard to understand, and I truly don't think you're an idiot. You may pretend otherwise, but you get this…

The Cultural Left is seeking to impose their teachings on society as a whole through the political process.

Catholic agencies given deadline to comply on same-sex adoptions
http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,2001834,00.html

Same-sex couple alleges discrimination by Saskatchewan marriage commissioner
http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=1667e407-a1c2-4ba9-be19-db15918e5018&k=66291

Berlusconi blasts EU rejection Tuesday, October 12, 2004 Posted: 9:26 AM EDT (1326 GMT)
http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/10/12/italy.eu/index.html

By Patricia Wen, Globe Staff | March 11, 2006
Catholic Charities stuns state, ends adoptions-Gay issue stirred move by agency
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/03/11/catholic_charities_stuns_state_ends_adoptions/

French Politician Fined Under Gay Hate Law
http://www.365gay.com/Newscon07/01/012507france.htm

im•pose (ĭm-pōz') Pronunciation Key
v. im•posed, im•pos•ing, im•pos•es

To establish or apply as compulsory; levy: impose a tax.
1. To apply or make prevail by or as if by authority: impose a peace settlement. See Synonyms at dictate.
2. To obtrude or force (oneself, for example) on another or others.
3. Printing To arrange (type or plates) on an imposing stone.
4. To offer or circulate fraudulently; pass off: imposed a fraud on consumers.
v. intr.
To take unfair advantage: You are always imposing on their generosity.

Now uncle, there’s a protagonist in all these links…and I’m sure you can spot it. To Impose something, you must have someone to impose it on. You must be the one seeking the change…one cannot “impose on society” something they already accept.
Now Who’s doing the imposing…
57-43 = Oregon.
59-41 = Michigan.
62-38 = California.
62-38 = Ohio.
66-34 = Utah.
67-33 = Montana.
71-29 = Kansas.
71-29 = Missouri.
73-27 = North Dakota.
75-25 = Arkansas.
75-25 = Kentucky.
76-24 = Georgia.
76-24 = Oklahoma.
78-22 = Louisiana.
86-14 = Mississippi.
56-44 = Colorado
63 – 37 = Idaho
74-26 = South Carolina
52- 49 South Dakota
82 -19 Tennessee
57-43 = Virginia
60 -40 Wisconsin

Yes, we evil liberals are imposing our views on society. First abolition of slavery, then desegregation, then interracial marriage, and now gay marriage. Where will it end?

Alon, that's completely different! Because antagonism for gay marriage isn't at all based upon using legal muscle simply to spite a despised minority group.

Yes, we evil liberals are imposing our views on society.

Precisely. Allowing gay couples to marry or adopt children, or allowing women to make their own choices about their bodies, is forcing Fitz to live in a world where people are permitted by law to do things he doesn't approve of. Oh, the humanity!

Whereas using the law to keep people from doing things Fitz doesn't approve of, or to punish them for doing so, is simply the natural order of things.

Fitz, I shouldn't have bothered. You honestly do seem to buy into the hard-right argument that allowing same-sex couples to marry somehow presents a direct imposition upon you. I don't expect you to explain why this is so--you've never bothered in the past. But it's clear that you'll go on stating it as fact until you're blue in the face, so there's really no point to this discussion.

Agreed on all counts, Uncle Kvetch. Never understood what the problem was with letting gay people get married. Is it a religious question? I've always suspected, of course, that it's simply what it seems to be: hating gay people because they're different. Otherwise, shall we list the hundreds of items in Leviticus that people ignore daily, while zeroing in on this one thing, as (coincidentally, of course) gay people also happen to make conservative folks uncomfortable?

But, of course, we're doing this for God's sake, not our own. Harrumph.

Never understood what the problem was with letting gay people get married. Is it a religious question?

Well, Fitz will be along any minute now to tell you that "it's in the Bible," but I'll leave it to you to ask him why he doesn't get quite so worked up about people who eat pork, or wear clothing made of blended fibers, or commit any of the myriad other "abominations" in the Old Testament.

On a related note, in a recent thread on the subject on Crooked Timber, commenter Brett Bellmore raised an objection to gay marriage that was entirely new to me. See, as it stands now, when a straight guy says "I'm married," people immediately know that he's straight. Whereas if gay marriage were allowed, saying "I'm married" would leave open the possibility that one interlocutor might think--wrongly, of course!!!!--that one might be gay. And Brett, the poor dear, wanted to know just how he was expected to deal with that. I suggested that he might just have to resign himself to having the words "I'M NOT GAY" tattooed on his forehead sometime in the not-too-distant future. And then I was roundly chastised by a third party for being so uncivil. That'll teach me to rise above my divinely allotted second-class status.

Well, Fitz will be along any minute now to tell you that "it's in the Bible,"

No, it will be a bunch of half-baked and quarter-digested social science. I've seen the act before.

Fitz is under the impression that one can compare "the cultural left" (sorry, "The Cultural Left") to The Catholic Church. If that's the case, can't those who identify with that group (presumably they will call themselves Cultural Leftists) complain that Fitz is insulting their beliefs when he criticizes their political advocacy?

And, yes, Fitz, I'm mocking your creative approach to Standard English orthography. It's a fate accompli that as a master of obviation I would do so. I'm not seriously engaging with your "arguments."

Here's a suggestion: you want to be taken seriously? Write an article in a peer-reviewed journal and send us the reference. Or start your own blog and make some substantial posts. Cut-and-paste drive-by posts with this level of erudition and argumentation are just never going to impress me.

Ah.....

It's been so long. I almost forgot the name calling, the aggressiveness, the biases, the calls for IP numbers, the threats and the ganging up.

But it's all still wonderfully here!

And Alon, you are here too! Should I make a trip over to Feministing, just for old times? Do you think they still remember old Jane?

You know, when Edwards fell into this PR nightmare, and the names surfaced, I just shook my head. I thought, damn these girls aren't just nasty, they're ambitious too! They want to take down a democractic candidate after they've convinced him it's in his best interest to defend them.

That's impressive.

Anyway, I clicked on the Taylor Marsh article while I was here. Decent site. But more paranoia, as Marsh plays the "with us or agin us" card by pointing out there are dark, devious elements walking amoung us who are out to get Edwards. Then you click on the other link to it, and it's just one pathetic anonymous comment from a staffer on someone else's team.

One lone poster seemed to think it was over the top, saying:

"I became somewhat uncomfortable when I read the tone of this thread. I think we all know that journalists writing a story have a tendency to reduce quotes, supporting data, et al to tell the story, and this reduction often simplifies info to the point of stylistation. I dont think that at this point, using the quote to engage in a kind of game of "what candidate do we want to punish" is a good idea."

Hmmm....well, maybe not a good idea, but certainly fun! Yehaa.

Fire em? Kill Edwards. Hire em? Support Edwards. Sounds quite reasonable to me. (Is the door locked?)

Thankfully, while you all suck or slap Edwards, depending on your mood, Obama is rising like a strong north wind.

Never understood what the problem was with letting gay people get married. Is it a religious question?

My theory is that, given their all-too-common obsession with specific sexual acts, that legitimizing them through marriage (let's ignore the fact that straight couples can do the same things, after all) makes them mundane and therefore less titillating, not to mention more deserving of privacy on a social level. And of course they're also obsessed with gender roles, which are obviously a bit more complex an issue when dominance & submission aren't assigned by [bad assumptions wrt to] biology.

UNCLE KVETCH

I provide you a list of half a dozen links of gay "marriage" being imposed on individuals and organization and you run away and declare the discussion void.

"Fitz, I shouldn't have bothered. You honestly do seem to buy into the hard-right argument that allowing same-sex couples to marry somehow presents a direct imposition upon you. I don't expect you to explain why this is so--you've never bothered in the past. But it's clear that you'll go on stating it as fact until you're blue in the face, so there's really no point to this discussion."

Well Uncle, allowing same-sex couples to marry somehow presents a direct imposition upon you.

This has never been our argument, this is your obvious straw man....

This is but one of our many arguments...

Men and women are members of a class that can produce children. While any member of that class may not or cannot produce a child, they remain members of a class that can produce children. Same sex pairings can never produce children. They are members of a class that can never produce children. Therefore same sex “marriage” necessarily severs marriage from procreation. It both androgynizes the institution and separates it from any necessary link to childbearing.
Mike
Self-pity is the worst kind of narcissism.
So called gay “marriage” does two things necessarily. (that is it follows axiomatically from the very definitional change)
#1. It androgynies the institution.
#2. It separates it from any necessary connection to procreation.
You can have this type of yuppie coupling as our ideal, but it fails to promote (and indeed undermines) the integration of the two sexes as a essential part of marriage. Most people are heterosexual and only opposite sex pairs can conceive children. Your standard explicitly states that a child’s natural Father (or Mother) is non-essential to marriage. That any combination of adult is sufficient.
It further reinforces and locks in the notion that all family forms are inherently equal. They are not.
Yes, there is a philosophical maxim that reads – “If it’s everything it’s nothing”. We cant defend what we cant define. You are attempting to severe marriage from its historical and biological heritage, this will have a net effect. (leaving aside the already discernable effects in Europe) That effect is that marriage is outdated and any family form including single parenting is acceptable.

to put it more succinctly

“Marriage is neither a conservative nor a liberal issue; it is a universal human institution, guaranteeing children fathers, and pointing men and women toward a special kind of socially as well as personally fruitful sexual relationship.
Gay marriage is the final step down a long road America has already traveled toward deinstitutionalizing, denuding and privatizing marriage. It would set in legal stone some of the most destructive ideas of the sexual revolution: There are no differences between men and women that matter, marriage has nothing to do with procreation, children do not really need mothers and fathers, the diverse family forms adults choose are all equally good for children.”
What happens in my heart is that I know the difference. Don't confuse my people, who have been the victims of deliberate family destruction, by giving them another definition of marriage.”

Walter Fauntroy
Former DC Delegate to Congress
Founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus
Coordinator for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s march on DC


I provide you a list of half a dozen links of gay "marriage" being imposed on individuals and organization and you run away and declare the discussion void.

Fitz, when you can produce evidence of someone being coerced into marrying someone of their own gender under penalty of law, you can start squawking about "gay marriage being imposed on individuals." Until then, you're simply not making sense.

The rest of your post is more of your usual Just-So argumentation. Marriage is essentially linked to procreation, because I say so. Yadda yadda yadda.

Please bear in mind that this latest go-round started because you made the patently ridiculous claim that those of us who disagree with the Catholic Church's teachings are welcome to simply ignore them. This is false. I cannot simply ignore a Church that actively works to deny me equality under the law. A woman who wants to make her own decisions about childbearing cannot simply ignore a Church that actively works to make those decisions for her.

I have no desire in sticking my nose into your personal life, Fitz...where the hell do you get off sticking your nose in mine, and then whining about what I'm "imposing" on you?

I did't declare this discussion void...but at this point I will certainly declare it pointless. You're essentially an authoritarian theocrat whose political compass seems far more skewed towards, oh, Saudi Arabia, or maybe mullahcratic Iran, than Western liberal democracy. I don't see what's to be gained from yet one more reiteration of "Help, help, I'm being repressed by complete strangers doing things I don't approve of!" I wish you luck in finding new sparring partners; I've had enough.

"Whereas using the law to keep people from doing things Fitz doesn't approve of, or to punish them for doing so, is simply the natural order of things."

Talk about playing the innocent, It is the forces of the cultural left that is pooring this gasoline on the already burning culture war…

Like we don’t know who we are really dealing with

the value I place on family diversity and on the freedom of individuals
to choose from a variety of family forms. This same value
leads me to be generally opposed to efforts to standardize families into a certain
type of nuclear family because a majority may believe this is the best kind of family
or because it is the most deeply rooted ideologically in our traditions.
Instead, we should embrace equally all forms of “intimate relationships.”

The aim to de-privilege marriage by treating cohabiting, same-sex couples, other kinds
of relationships just like marriage. In this view, protection of diverse constructions of
intimacy becomes the central public task of family law.1

1. Katharine T. Bartlett, “Saving the Family from the Reformers” (Brigitte M.
Bodenheimer Memorial Lecture on the Family), University of California, Davis Law Review 31 (1998): 817. {One of the ALI three main reporters in contracting the “principles of family dissolution”}

As my multiple sites (above) prove, it is the left that has conflated tolerance with capitulation. It is they who won’t cede pluralism within their belief system. It is they who are ill-liberal, anti-intellectual, and un-democratic.

The New "High Bar" defenders of marriage must overcome!


"Fitz, when you can produce evidence of someone being coerced into marrying someone of their own gender under penalty of law, you can start squawking about "gay marriage being imposed on individuals." Until then, you're simply not making sense."

Edwards failed to defend Amanda from a bigot. It's as simple as that. Now that Amanda has quit the Edwards' campaign, I assume we'll hear more details about what, exactly, happened. But in broad outlines, we already know: Edwards failed to defend Amanda from a bigot.

Kerry/Edwards were slow to defend themselves from attack in 2004. They defended themselves weakly when they did defend themselves at all. Apparently the Edwards campaign has learned little in the last few years.

I'd say all this bodes poorly for Edwards.

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