Why Did McEwan Say, Exactly?

I posed a question in an update to a previous post but, failing to get an answer, thought it deserved elevation to its own.

There has been a running controversy about some statements Amanda Marcotte, John Edwards’ blogatrix, made on her personal site, Pandagon. Those statements have been well documented.

Over the last couple of days, though, her campaign cohort Melissa McEwan, a/k/a “Shakespeare’s Sister,” has been lumped into the discussion by the the Catholic League, major media outlets, and the blogosphere. I’ve followed suit, discussing them as a unit, simply because of that discussion. Some readers, notably Cernig and Anderson, think this is unfair.

While I’ve seen lots of offensive quotes from Marcotte around the blogosphere since this controversy erupted, I haven’t seen a single one from McEwan cited. Is this a bizarre case of guilt-by-association, with John Edwards throwing her under the bus for expediency?

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it: Aside from simple uses of vulgar language, what has McEwan written that could be characterized as either anti-Catholic or that might otherwise have “personally offended” John Edwards? Please supply links if possible.

UPDATE: yetanotherjohn takes the challenge and offers up some excerpts. None, I think, are on par with the more outrageous Marcotte quotes that have been cited. The most problematic one is less so when take in context:

This seems to be a particular, peculiar attribute of the American Right, not necessarily unique to them, but by them indisputably perfected. The Right is always being victimized, so they claim — why, the Left even tried to steal Christmas from them! Every argument is framed so as to perpetuate their perceived victimhood; their battle against gay marriage is not about their own rancid bigotry (of course), but instead about the threat to the sanctity of their own marriages; banning compulsory prayer in a public school is simply about restricting their religion, with never even the most cursory examination of how their religion might have been imposed on someone else. They are perpetually, irrepressibly injured, never without a new grievance or outrage.

For anyone with devoutly religious and/or politically conservative family members, this phenomenon is nothing new. And although it has always been irritating to me, I also found it quite pitiable — what an unfortunate way to spend one’s life, looking for slights and discriminations that weren’t really there, convincing oneself of it until life was little else than miserable expressions of cynical ire.

While this could certainly be offensive to religious people, I read it to say she pities those who are perpetually outraged, not those with devout religious beliefs.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. lily says:

    Thank you, James.

    BTW, I don’t know if you noticed,but I thanked you from following up on the misinformation beinng spread about Nancy Pelosi.
    I had the dates mixed up–Hastert started using the plane after 911, not in 1995. However, the nonstop flight plane was given to Hastert with no outrage from anyone and Pelosi is right that there shouldn’t be any heartburn about her getting the same perk.

    The stories about her wanting to fly lots of stafferes and supporters around are simply made up. It started with the on air speculation of a reporter, but I can’t remember which one, and since has been repeated as fact.

    This is why I don’t watch or read the MSM any more. On blogs people are honest about having biases and the reader can respond.

  2. Here are some possible candidates. I picked one archive week at random (First of January 2005)

    Even when victims of nothing but their own depraved selfishness and racism, they seek to blame others. It’s not that they’re isolationist, xenophobic fuckwits — it’s that they just don’t like giving money to terrorists who hate us for our freedom, that’s all. One Sri Lankan in an Osama t-shirt was enough for Rush and his caller to condemn an entire people and, in the process, justify their own indifference.

    The prize, however, as always goes to the Religious Right, who are so audacious in their claims of victimhood and self-righteous finger-pointing that it evokes as much awe as disgust.

    For anyone with devoutly religious and/or politically conservative family members, this phenomenon is nothing new. And although it has always been irritating to me, I also found it quite pitiable — what an unfortunate way to spend one’s life, looking for slights and discriminations that weren’t really there, convincing oneself of it until life was little else than miserable expressions of cynical ire.

    As far as other things Edwards might find objectionable.

    Okay I admit it. I’m completely in love with Sen. Obama.

    You’ve got nothing to say to me To help me believe
    In America.

    (Note: It’s unclear which of Edwards two Americas she was talking about).

    …the Democrats …are a useless bunch of wankers.

    If Allen had said the following, it would have been clear grounds for calling him a racist.

    O’Reilly scolded Williams like a bad puppy, and Williams, in a performance worthy of Stepin Fetchit, responded with wide-eyed naivety and shame

    And something that he should have found objectionable is the following. Such certainty in the matter is not the sign of a rational mind.

    …massive problems in Ohio that threw the election to Bush (and yes, there is much evidence to support this – the election was stolen again, there is no doubt, it is NOT a conspiracy theory)…

  3. Jim Henley says:

    Now hang on a second, hoss. If McEwan didn’t say anything that the scourge of secular Jews in Hollywood who hate Christianity William Donahue pronounces anti-Catholic, then “John Edwards throwing her under the bus” is way down the chronological order of injustices here. Before that could have happened, William Donahue and the GOP publicity machine would have had to enact a “bizarre case of guilt by association.” It seems very odd to play up Edwards’ potential injustice to McEwan before the injustices that would have necessarily preceded it.

  4. RJN says:

    Didn’t Hastert have a smaller Gulfstream type plane? Doesn’t Pelosi want a bigger one?

  5. James Joyner says:

    It seems very odd to play up Edwards’ potential injustice to McEwan before the injustices that would have necessarily preceded it.

    Well, he’s the one running for president, not some schmoe lobbyist. I’d expect Donahue to run with the research of eager researchers in this case whereas I’d expect Edwards, with direct access to McEwan, to ask her about the situation (or have someone on the staff that outranks McEwan but reports to Edwards do it).

  6. bains says:

    Anderson complaining of using guilt by association???
    I don’t know of McEwan, haven’t paid much attention to her site. I have read Marcotte’s rants, and have followed some of the “discussions” she has “engaged” in. (scare quotes on purpose, read her prose and you’ll understand.) So the question I have is, should we dismiss all the critics of Marcotte because of McEwan’s somewhat less incendiary comments? And if so, isn’t that an equally false attribution of innocence by comparison?
    Unfortunately for Anderson, Marcotte’s comments are all there, for all to read – and I’ve yet to read any lefty take her to task for her hateful speech… talk about noise machines.

  7. James Joyner says:

    should we dismiss all the critics of Marcotte because of McEwan’s somewhat less incendiary comments?

    Nope.

  8. cian says:

    The president accuses those who disagree with his policies in Iraq of treason (what else does ’emboldening our enemies’ mean); Our vice-president labels 60% of Americans who believe our troops should come home, as cowards (not having the stomach for the fight). Marcotte and McEwan, I would respectfully suggest, are amateurs when it comes to making inappropriate and offence remarks.

  9. bains says:

    (what else does ‘emboldening our enemies’ mean)

    It means Bush is HITLER!!! And Haliburton is STALIN!!! And everyone associated with them are wannabe JINJUS KAHNNNN!!!!

  10. RJN says:

    Go bains.

  11. Anderson says:

    Unfortunately for Anderson, Marcotte’s comments are all there, for all to read – and I’ve yet to read any lefty take her to task for her hateful speech… talk about noise machines.

    Then you don’t read very many lefty threads, do you? For that matter, I’ve said more than once that I quit reading Pandagon after it became Marcotte’s blog. Her undergraduate feminism is not terribly effective politically, however much it might cheer up her and her fans.

    I just think it’s sad for McEwan — whose blog I rarely read, but not out of any objection, it’s just a big internet — that she was cast as Dumb to Marcotte’s Dumber. People deserve to be judged on their merits, and as JJ recognized, that wasn’t happening with McEwan.

  12. Cernig says:

    There goes Bains, proving Melissa’s point about the perpetually outraged.

    James, your conclusion? It seems obvious to me that Melissa McEwan has been railroaded even if Amanda Marcotte has not.

    Then, there’s the whole question of beginning this witch-hunt on the basis of a demand from Bill Donahue, a man who says that Jews want all of us to have homosexual anal sex.

    Regards, C

  13. James Joyner says:

    James, your conclusion? It seems obvious to me that Melissa McEwan has been railroaded even if Amanda Marcotte has not.

    While I wouldn’t go so far as to say “railroaded,” she certainly seems to be in a far different category than Marcotte. Even the potentially objectionable quotes I’ve seen are in the context of thoughtful discussion.

    The only truly objectionable thing I’ve gathered is that she seems enamored of the word “Christofascist.” For whatever reason, I’m unable to bring up the context of that using her Google-based site search or Google’s advanced search.

    Your search – Christofacist site:shakespearessister.blogspot.com/ – did not match any documents.

    Does she use that term in the way Andrew Sullivan uses “Christianist” or is it something more than that?

  14. Cernig says:

    James,

    Commenters on her site have suggested that she should in future use Sullivan’s term instead.

    Regards, C

  15. Steve Verdon says:

    I just think it’s sad for McEwan — whose blog I rarely read, but not out of any objection, it’s just a big internet — that she was cast as Dumb to Marcotte’s Dumber. People deserve to be judged on their merits, and as JJ recognized, that wasn’t happening with McEwan.

    I have to agree with Cernig and Anderson on this point.

    Cernig’s issue about the witch hunt is a bit off though as it initially started, IMO, with K.C. Johnson (who, IIRC, supports Obama) and his post on Marcotte. I picked it up and ran with it, as did Overlawyered.com and several others. It then mutated from Marcotte’s obnoxious and vile posts on the Duke Lacrosse case to anti-Catholicism and sucked in McEwan with whom I have no beef (in fact the quote James has updated to the post I pretty much agree with).

    Marcotte has made her bed over the months with despicable posts…now she has to lie in it. Cry me a f–kin’ river.[/Marcotte Mode]

  16. James,

    Perhaps I misread the challenge. I looked at one week at semi-random (I looked for a time that the liberal juices would more likely be flowing). I found a few quotes, some of which I threw in more for humor (such as the Democrats are wankers and the Obama quote).

    But what I was looking for was something that a reasonable person could view as offensive, especially of on religion. In short, was Edwards lumping them together in throwing her under the bus with Marcotte or is the independent writing by McEwan that it would be reasonable for Edwards to be referring to. Given Edwards lack of vetting before hand, I make no claim that he isn’t lumping them together, just that there is writing that a reasonable person could view as offensive to a religious person.

    Her statement boils down to if you know some one who is devoutly religious, then you know someone who is always looking for slights and discriminations that aren’t there. I think a reasonable evangelical could take offense at that. Her even larger context was that we were not charitable enough in giving to the tsunami victims. That is also an insult, especially given the facts.

    Between the two, I agree that she is less offensive of the two. My issue with both is less to do with their views (they are welcome to them) than there lack of reasoning ability. Her certainty that 2000 and 2004 were stolen elections (not facts in dispute that honorable people can differ on, but certainty) and Marcotte’s rant that Rehnquist death means the end of all privacy and birth control in this country both strike me as someone who is not thinking very logically or critically.

    I think there tendency to see what they fear or want, rather than keeping things in perspective, is going to be a liability down the road for Edwards. While what they wrote should have given Edwards pause before hiring them, the real reason for not hiring them is their extremely circumcised view of the world.

  17. Bithead says:

    James:

    As DavidL said, today:

    Dawn Eden, Dawn Patrol:

    Pandagon blogger Amanda Marcotte, a familiar name to readers of this blog, whose online persona caused controversy after John Edwards hired her as his campaign blogmistress, has issued an apology of sorts

    :

    My writings on my personal blog Pandagon on the issue of religion are generally satirical in nature and always intended strictly as a criticism of public policies and politics. My intention is never to offend anyone for his or her personal beliefs, and I am sorry if anyone was personally offended by writings meant only as criticisms of public politics. Freedom of religion and freedom of expression are central rights, and the sum of my personal writings is a testament to this fact.

    I guess it’s nice to know that all those times her blog referred to Our Lord and Saviour as “Jeebus” — in 114 blog entries to date (the most recent last Sunday) — she was only kidding

    A search of Pandagon archives shows that Amanda has yet to devise a similarly ha-ha name for Mohammed. Well, give her time; she’s been on the Edwards campaign for only a week and a half.

    Earth to Edwards, when a blogger makes reference to Jeebus over a hundred times, their intent is to malign. Anybody who fails to either recognize or admit Marcotte’s malicious intent, is either too stupid or too dishonest to be president.

  18. James Joyner says:

    Bithead: Right. That was my take yesterday and I stand by it. The question is whether McEwan is being unfairly lumped in with Marcotte.

    yaj: No, I agree that there’s plenty to take offense at there. It’s just much more subtle and nuanced than the stuff Marcotte wrote and her points are, upon careful reading, targeted.

  19. Blue Gal says:

    Thank you for asking this question and starting this conversation, James. I found you through a comment thread at Shakespeare’s Sister. I consider myself a proud “Shaker.”

    I think your gut instinct is right. This is a case of guilt by association. I think McEwan is one of the most thoughtful writers in the left wing blogosphere. She does drop an F-bomb, as we all do, but speaking as a member of the religious left, I have never known her to engage in ad hominem attacks against anyone’s personal faith.

    Thank you again for raising this question with your readership.

  20. Mike says:

    I’d like to second Blue Gal on that, James. Obviously folks will have their political differences. But honesty is always a policy worth pursuing. Melissa is an opinionated writer, who will throw around a choice word or phrase with the best of them.

    But there isn’t a bigoted bone in her body, as far as I can see.