Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Rit of Fealous Jage

It seems I'm not the only one with a new job in New Media. One of my favorite bloggers, Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon, will be running the blog on John Edwards' website.

(I'm pretty sure that the rule for apostrophes would make this Edwards's website, not Edwards' website. You're only supposed to use the s' form if the initial word is itself plural. As in "The villagers' huts were made of wood." When it's just a word ending in s, you do the s's. As in "The hostess's impeccable taste ensured that it would be a successful dinner party." But that s's just looks wrong to me, even though it implies a correct pronunciation, so I always inadvertedly fix it. I now realize that it has been less than a year, and I have already spent way too much time tutoring the SAT Verbal.)

Anyway, I had two reactions to hearing this news. Firstly, I was upset, because Amanda would certainly spend a lot more time working on the Edwards campaign, about which I care very little, while simultaneously devoting less time to her blog, about which I care a great deal. To me, blogs inform on two different levels. 98% or so of the time I spend reading blogs, I'm finding things out.

For example, reading another one of my favorite blogs, Sadly No!, today, I learned that there's an idiot who calls himself Confederate Yankee (I might have already known that), who thinks it might be a good idea to "out" the actual identity of AP source Jamil Hussein. I'm not sure what he's hoping to accomplish by this, and it's telling that he feels the need to pretend to struggle with the decision openly (because he knows it's wrong).

I don't mean this as a knock on Sadly No!, which may be the single most hilarious blog in the history of the Intra-T00bz. But that's generally the kind of thing I read about there. Morons making very open, public asses of themselves.

It's "finding out" kind of information. "Hey, there's all these right-wing nutters out there pumping one another up for eternal war against the dirty heathen browns. Isn't that weird?"

But I would actually learn things reading Pandagon. Amanda turned me on to good books (including a great bit of feminist film theory called "Men, Women and Chainsaws," which I frequently disagreed with but nonetheless but found extremely interesting) and generally expanded my view of contemporary feminist thought. Over the past year or two, I've become gradually more interested and immersed in cultural studies and film theory, and I owe part of that to reading Pandagon frequently. So I'm sorry to see her involvement with the enterprise take a backseat to her new job on a campaign. I've never met her, and actually I haven't even seen a photo, but it does feel in some ways like losing a friend. Or at least a friendly acquaintance.

After these brief feelings of disappointment subsided, I started to ponder the unexpected nature of this union. I'm surprised that John Edwards, a candidate for President, wanted to bring on to his team a blogger as outspoken and occasionally radical as Marcotte. I think she's a dynamite writer and I agree with her almost all the time, but she's not similar to Edwards in either approach or ideology. Certainly, he must have considered that Marcotte has written provocative posts in the past, and that these could be brought up and used against him now that they have been professionally associated. Edwards' decision makes me think more highly of him - he's a good judge of talent and character, a risk-taker and obviously more Net savvy than most politicians - but it also surprises me. Perhaps this indicates a sea change in his style of politics, that he's realized the stakes and has committed himself to a more forceful, direct and frank campaign this time around. I would find that refreshing, but I'm dubious.

Even more surprising than Edwards' decision to align with Amanda is Amanda's decision to align with Edwards. That's not to say I'm ANTI-Edwards, necessarily. I voted for him for Vice-President once already. Hell, I actually made phone calls to strangers in swing states in '04 in support of Edwards' candidacy. And I'd vote for him for President in '08 if he's the Democratic candidate. Granted, that's not saying a whole lot; the Republicans could nominate ME for President in '08 and I still wouldn't vote for them. The GOP is dead to me.

Still, Edwards has several opinions with which I disgaree,. When asked if he supports gay marriage in New Hampshire last month, he danced around the question before admitting that he was all mixed up and befuddled on the subject. From, naturally, Pandagon:

Edwards indicated that this issue was the “single hardest social issue” for him and that he had engaged in a lot of “personal struggles” over this issue. He believes that same-sex partners in committed relationships should have civil rights and should be afforded the dignity and respect to which they are entitled. He struggled with the question of “how we achieve this?.whether it is through civil unions or partnerships.” He indicated that he is certainly for all of the non-discrimination and equal benefits provisions.

However, he said that it was a “jump for me to get to gay marriage? I am not there yet.” He said that this was a “great conflict for him” and that he continues to struggle with the question internally. He ended by alluding to the fact that his daughter (and most in her generation) support marriage equality. (The crowd applauded after this last statement).

Ugh. I hate this phony bullshit politician thing of pretending to struggle with a big social issue. You're a politician! It's your job to make up your mind about complex issues and pursue an agenda. It's not as if this is a question that has suddenly sprung up overnight. Edwards isn't being asked his thoughts on Kevin Federline's forthcoming Superbowl commercial. He's had at least a few years to, you know, mull it over and come up with a decision.

Personally, I think it's obvious. Gay people get all the same rights as straight people, even if you think they're like totally eww gross because they periodically insert foreign objects into their anuses in what is commonly considered by non-gays to be an unwholesome manner. (Anus's?) So, if straight people can get married...guess what? I know, I know, the 14th Amendment's a total bitch. But what can you do?

But if Edwards disagrees and thinks that the gays should have to pretend they like girls so as to not offend his delicate sensibilities, he should come out and say so. Kerry tried to do this all the time when he was running for President. Remember his whole abortion dance, where he said he was pro-choice but, as a good Catholic, he still thought abortion was wrong and he really agreed with all the religious people who wanted to ban it? What an idiot...

Also, Edwards throws in that obnoxious "but my daughter's for it!" line, which I guess he thinks is going to soften his comments for staunch liberals like myself. Like, "hey, maybe I'm jus' an old fuddy-duddy and I can't get with the times, but you kids are alright! You're where it's at!" Obnoxious. It tells me that he secretly knows better - gays will eventually be granted full civil rights once people my age and younger are running the show - but that he's afraid to say it because the homophobes and bigots will turn on him. The last thing we need in a candidate is a weeny triangulator who's afraid to say what he thinks for fear of alienating the Church Lady. That's what we tried last time, and we lost to George fucking W. I Can't Fucking Put Three Words Together Sensibly Bush.

I mean, can you believe Bush won a re-election campaign against Kerry/Edwards? How horrible did Kerry have to be to fuck up that election? Granting George Bush an extension on his power is like granting Inspector Clouseau double-0 status.

He has a License to Spill

Forgive me for both the pun and digression.

I was talking about my problems with John Edwards. Far more significant than his waffle on gay marriage was his position on War with Iraq. He eventually came to his senses and now staunchly opposes Bush's horrifyingly immoral escalation, but only after voting for the initial Presidential authorization to invade. We don't need people with quality hindsight (although, granted, it would be better than Dick Cheney, who can't even own up to mistakes he made four years ago). If I could figure out back in '03 that we shouldn't go to war, the John Edwards should have been able to figure it out as well. How can we trust him to make the right decision next time?

As if to prove my point, Edwards gave a speech via satellite to a hawish group in Israel which indicates he could be pursuaded to back War with Iran!

Once Iran goes nuclear, other countries in the Middle East will go nuclear, making Israel’s neighborhood much more volatile.

Iran must know that the world won’t back down. The recent UN resolution ordering Iran to halt the enrichment of uranium was not enough. We need meaningful political and economic sanctions. We have muddled along for far too long. To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep ALL options on the table, Let me reiterate – ALL options must remain on the table.

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...I'm going to have to ask you to go ahead and stop running for President now, mm-kay? You're scaring everybody.

Honestly, I'm very very surprised Amanda's 100% behind this guy, enough to move to Chapel Hill, NC and bust her ass on his behalf. Maybe she knows something we don't? Or maybe the money's just really super? Either way, I'll now have to actually lower myself to reading John Edwards' blog. Yeah, that's right, Edwards' blog. Because Edwards's blog looks stupid.

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