So now Melissa McEwan has followed Amanda Marcotte into the ranks of Former Employees of John Edwards. If you’ve been living in a bubble (or perhaps more accurately, if you’ve been living outside of the bubble that is the blogosphere), you may not have heard that McEwan and Marcotte have been known to say some, well, some unkind things about Catholics. Actually, that’s not really quite accurate. Marcotte has said some really hugely nasty things about Catholics that, while sometimes funny, were pretty much certain to offend the type of Christian who thinks that religion is Really Serious Business and Not An Institution For Fun Or Jokes. You know, your ordinary Christian. (Lighten up people. It’s a joke. Some of my best friends are Christians. Really.) Amanda, as Jonathan Wilde points out, really does have no one to blame but herself.
McEwan, on the other hand, hasn’t really said anything that’s all that bad. Yes, she’s taken some cheap shots at Christians. She talked about Bush’s “wingnut Christofascist base,” for example. Now I don’t want to get all Dennis Miller on you here, but frankly this whole whatever-fascist thing really just bugs the crap out of me. “Fascist” has an actual meaning, people. Okay, so there’s lots of dispute about what the term actually means. But there are a finite number of possibilities. It doesn’t just mean whatever you happen to want it to mean, Humpty Dumpty. And you know what? Even with all those possible meanings of “fascist,” wingnut Christians just ain’t gonna count. It bugs the crap out of me when people on the left just stick “fascist” onto everyone to the political right of John Kerry. It’s nearly as annoying as when rightwingers decide that Hillary Clinton is best described as a commie. Hillary Clinton, fercryinoutloud. The Queen of Triangulation. A commie. Sheesh. Look, when you turn “fascist” into a freakin’ epithet, you people rob it of any real usefulness. So let’s just stop calling people fascists now, okay? It doesn’t advance the conversation at all. It’s like writing “Christobastard.” Or inserting “Nazi” into a comment thread. It ends any chance at rational debate. And it pisses people off. So stop it.
Wait, so where was I? Oh, yeah, aside from calling the fringy Christian right fascists (did I mention that I find that habit annoying?), McEwan really hasn’t been all that terribly offensive. Almost every blogger has said something at least that bad at some point. Marcotte is a loose cannon. McEwan is a blogger. Blogging is all about saying things off the cuff in a spur-of-the-moment kind of way. It’s what sets this medium apart from traditional journalism. If McEwan is out, then pretty much any (interesting) blogger will be out, too.
I think that, in fact, McEwan mostly just got caught up in the Marcotte thing. I mean, from the perspective of Donohue, who really is something of a misogynist jerk, Marcotte and McEwan are the same critter anyway. They both blog. They both are liberal. They both went to work for John Edwards, who IMHO, poses the most serious challenge to any Republican candidate in ’08. They’re both atheists. And, even more damningly, they both lack a penis. On Donohue’s…um, somewhat extreme…interpretation of Catholicism, it’s that last one that’s really their most serious flaw.
My two cents is that Marcotte should probably remain a blogger. She’s way good at it. But I read some of her posts at Edwards’ blog. They’re good, but not really great. Amanda Marcotte without the venom is, well, frankly it’s a little boring. McEwan, OTOH, probably shouldn’t have been hounded from her job. But she’s a good blogger, too, so I’m at least glad that I can hang out at Shakespeare’s Sister again.