I am Amanda Marcotte, Part 2

This morning, The New York Times (NewsTrust review) ran a good story about Sen. Edwards and the blogs. After my post yesterday, ”I am Amanda Marcotte” as well as the Facebook group I set up, and after Sen. Edwards statement, I’ve received a lot of personal comments and questions.

I’ve been blogging for years and on the Internet much longer. An enterprising investigator can find stupid things I wrote online twenty-five years ago. I’ve been hired by campaigns to blog for them. I’ve been told what I can and can’t write about. I’ve had things that I’ve written, both before and during campaigns criticized, and I’ve had people try to prevent me from getting jobs or get me fired because of things that I’ve written. It is for that reason, that I believe who writes anything online, whether they be liberal or conservative needs to stand with Amanda and Melissa.

People have asked me what is so offensive about what they have written. I must admit, I don’t particularly find calling conservative Christians “Christofascists” particularly offensive. I’ve probably done worse and will probably do worse in the future, perhaps even by the time I finish this blog entry. However, even for me, I found Amanda’s hypothetical question about the Blessed Virgin Mary and Plan B over the top. Those who are curious can read it here. It is liberal shock blogging. It is brilliant and offensive. I would have been both proud and embarrassed to have written something like that. As one person on the Facebook group wrote, “I wish I was as badass as Amanda Marcotte.”

When I initially read Sen. Edwards statement, I felt it was a little lame. He shouldn’t have criticized his bloggers the way he did, and he should have come out swinging harder at the Neo-Pharisees a little harder. (Okay, there is my offensive swing at the extreme right wing Christians. Maybe I won’t get a job with the Edwards campaign after all.) I felt that Sen. Edwards should have responded much more quickly. After all, the Internet is nearly real time.

Yet as I read what Amanda had written, thought about my own reaction, the reaction my parents would have had to such language, let alone the demonstrations that “The Last Temptation of Christ” brought out, I find I agree with Sen. Edwards. While his response may have been politically expedient, I also believe it is truly authentic and I respect him for it.

As to taking on the Neo-Pharisees, yes, I would have loved to see John drive them from the temple. Yet as others have noted, this is a task best suited to surrogates. I am very excited to see BlogPac take up the cause. I hope everyone participates in standing up to the Neo-Pharisees and to making sure that the media looks at their statements with critical eyes.

With regards to the timing, I think Sen. Edwards ended up getting it about right. In my past, I’ve had too many discussions with campaign managers and political consultants and not enough with the candidates themselves about what this topsy-turvy world of the Internet really means. I must applaud Sen. Edwards for his discussions with Amanda and Melissa. I hope other candidates follow his example, both in dealing with critics and in dealing with staff.

Some friends have suggested that this would be a small event that would soon be forgotten. I wasn’t sure if my reaction was so strong because I’ve been in Amanda and Melissa’s shoes or if it was really this important because it is part of the significant change in the role of the Internet in campaigns. I hope it is the later.

(Cross-posted at MyDD)

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