Wednesday, February 14, 2007

After the Love is Gone, What Used to Be Right is Wrong

Now that feminist bloggers on the official blog of Presidential hopeful John Edwards have been purged, the gender politics expressed by women posting on the site has become unintentionally comic, because the level of banality in pursuit of the most inoffensive discourse rises to the worshipful passivity of this Internet slideshow, "Elizabeth Edwards -- a Touch of Class," offered as a valentine today to Edwards' wife.

TIME Magazine provided some coverage of the Edwards blogging controversy of the past week about the potential liabilities of having women with a loquacious past on the payroll like Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon or the webmistress of Shakespeare's Sister, Melissa McEwan. Ironically, TIME's cautionary tale about digital media, "Bloggers on the Bus," also contains a number of errors that were later electronically corrected; so much for the greater authority of print journalism. CNN has also weighed in with a broadcast notable for its showcasing of "interactive" touchscreen technology in which the newscaster pushes on digital thumbnails to bring up screen shots of the offending sites. Looking at the basic format of the Edwards blog, it strikes me that campaign organizers misunderstood the political blog profoundly as a genre, given how they categorize entries as "diaries" not "postings of agitprop with metadata."

In "Edwards Campaign Fires Bloggers," Salon explains the involvement of right wing bloggers in the flap, who accused Marcotte of anti-Catholic bias in her more incendiary comments on reproductive rights. More Salon coverage explains the back-and-forth battle over the bloggers' temporary reinstatement in the context of Bill Donahue's war on popular culture on behalf of the arch conservative Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, who produced this militantly anti-secular Christmas display in front of historic Independence Hall in Philadelphia. In response to Donahue's abuse, Marcotte has published an IRS form with her complaints against the non-profit Catholic League in a clever use of bureaucratic paper ephemera for rhetorical ends. Now right-wing blogger Michele Malkin -- who has instigated a fair number of blogspats herself -- has cast Marcotte as another form of Internet celebrity, the "Angry German Kid" on YouTube. Perhaps more fatally, Marcotte had also raised the ire of Edwards' base in North Carolina when her sarcastic comments about coverage of the Duke lacrosse assault scandal were reposted by her opponents. Given her neutral self-presentation in introducing herself on Edwards' blog, not all of the criticism of her as a firebrand seems fair.

I've been actually working on an article about a very different Marcotte controversy, "Burqagate," which generated its own firestorm of comments within the progressive blogosphere about Eurocentrism, religion, and gender and showed how the alteration of digital images could be taken as a form of argument.

Today, there's more hard feelings among feminist bloggers as Bitch Ph.D. announces her new gig at the Suicide Girls website, while in "Porn Again" fellow pseudonymous blogger Twisty Faster takes Bitch to task for cooperating with the patriarchal establishment. I read both their blogs and appreciate how cleverly they have developed their digital personae and even integrated other online genres -- such as academic gossip and food writing -- into their blogging and acknowledged their membership in other virtual communities -- such as groups for alternative mothering or for cancer patients. Bitch Ph.D. has been a visitor here, of course, and is very obviously a member of my tribe, but I'd certainly show the same hospitality to Twisty, should she ever darken my electronic door.

Happy Valentine's Day All.

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Blogger BJ said...

Hi! I thought you and your readers might be interested in some post-Easter news about Pope Benedict XVI...
The Pope's car is being auctioned off to raise money for Habitat for Humanity:
The bidding is already more than $200,000! Personally, I think this is a really fun and creative way to raise
money. The auction goes until April 14th if you and your readers want to check it out.

5:31 AM  

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