Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Sunday, 2017.04.30
The characteristic of genuine heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering
impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have resolved to be great,
abide by yourself, and do not try to reconcile yourself with the world. The
heroic cannot be common, nor the common heroic.

		Ralph Waldo Emerson

2007.02.07

Amanda Marcotte: Near-Earth Object From Deep Left Space

A lot has been said about presidential candidate John Edwards’ selection of Amanda Marcotte as his campaign blogmaster. As contentious and divisive as her “writing” is, I’m surprised she hasn’t been dropped by now like a wad of cash from Jack Abramoff. Alas, Captain Marcotte is still at the helm of Spaceship Edwards. Edwards’ sluggish response is a clear indication he is short on change. So here’s my 2¢…

Ms. Marcotte’s writing is bad. So bad, it’s worse than mine. Nice to know I’m no longer at the absolute bottom of the heap. I read 4 or 5 things she wrote and stopped after suffering through a piece she wrote for the Earth Island Journal in June, 2006: “You want guys with that?

The article begins with a laborious recitation of a storyline for some fast food commercial (I don’t watch TV and haven’t seen the commercial, so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of her plot summary.) She then springs to:

What I find interesting about this is that the consumption of meat as a way of homosocial bonding through the disdain of women fits really neatly into other media portrayals of how men are supposed to bond – generally by a shared loathing and/or objectification of women.

Kierkegaard would be amused to see such a divine leap in a secular context. Relax, kid. It’s a commercial. Perhaps it would be helpful for Ms. Marcotte to reacquaint herself with the concept of “shallow.” But perhaps that’s a bit like explaining water to a fish. She continues…

It’s a nasty trick to play on men, trying to persuade them that the path to manhood requires consuming great quantities of artery-clogging beef, especially since men are more prone to heart disease than women in the first place.

Yes, save us easily duped guys from our own choices. Rescue us from those tricksy Madison Avenue evil doers. Ah, but there are those pesky facts in the way of her arguement.

Both men and women have heart attacks, but more women who have heart attacks die from them.The National Women’s Health Information Center

This is only half the story. Consider:

Women are 16 per cent more likely to die within 30 days of a heart attack than men, after accounting for age and other health issues. Their risk of dying after a stroke is 11 per cent higher than the risk for males.

For reasons that are not clear, Dr. [Beth] Abramson says men in every age group are more likely than women to be sent to a cardiologist after a heart attack, which raises their chance of survival by almost 50 per cent. They are also more likely to be transferred to a larger hospital and receive bypass and angioplasty treatments.

If Ms. Marcotte were interested in addressing an issue of gender bias of substance, she would be working, for example, to change the complex issues involved with how our medical professionals are trained and the outdated “traditional” attitudes prevalent in the medical industry. Such attitudes are receding, but a glacial speeds. They require a dedicated, persistent and sustained effort to change. Attacking transient 30 second commercials is easier and well suited to equally transient rants which amount to little more than spitting on the problem. Changing deep seated memes require strategy and tact – attributes I find entirely lacking in Ms. Marcotte’s writing. By extension, the same attributes are lacking from Edwards’ presidential campaign blog presence.

Back to the “commercial as science” analysis:

It’s also a terrible message about the qualities of American men, who are portrayed as stupid, destructive, greedy, and childish. If I were a man, I’d be deeply insulted. My gut feeling is that there are plenty of men who are insulted.

Hmmmmm. I’ve been slapped and praised in the same article. How persuasively polar. If you were a man? Why, I’m deeply offended that Ms. Marcotte, a woman, would presuppose to know the mind of a man. Shocked, I am. Shocked and hurt!

Ack. Ms. Marcotte’s guts are wrong. Try reading tea leaves instead. There are plenty of men who were amused. The humor pitch, something that also appeals to guys, was completely left out of Ms. Marcotte’s analysis. We like to laugh, even at ourselves. Studies suggest taking one’s self so seriously also leads to problems of the heart.

What spatters the rest of Ms. Marcotte’s article is an unconnected litany of perceived global and social problems caused by “fast food companies” – disdain of women, environmental consequences of having cows on the planet, polluted rivers and streams, depletion of the rain forests, depletion of grain resources, soil erosion and, of course, greenhouse gas emissions (gotta get the global warming in there somewhere.) This scaffolding magically collapses to her conclusion:

This commercial demonstrates [the fast food companies] are willing to resort to childish taunts about how to be a man in order to do it. So what men watching this commercial are left with is not just the message that they have to oppose women to be Real Men, but also the implication that Real Men destroy the environment.

Which leads me to conclude that Ms. Marcotte really isn’t walking on the same planet as I am. I’m not so sure she would recognize a Real Man if he opened a door for her in front of her face.

Michelle Malkin has the clearest warning for John Edwards: “Lesson for Democrat politicians: If you lay down with nutroots, it will be hard to get back up.”

How long before Edwards wakes up and sees who is in his bed? The clock is ticking…

[Edit History]

2007.02.07

11:15 – Signs that Edwards may be stirring from his slumbers: “Mr. Edwards’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri, said Tuesday night that the campaign was weighing the fate of the two bloggers.” The second blogger, one Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare’s Sister, under scrutiny for expressing anti-Catholic opinions.

14:50 – “John Edwards has fired the two controversial bloggers he recently hired to do liberal blogger outreach, Salon has learned.” Those would be Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan.

2007.02.08

06:45 – Bryan at Hot Air shines the light nicely: “IMPORTANT ACTION ALERT: Stop taking yourselves so seriously” It echoes what I wrote above about Ms. Marcotte taking herself so seriously.

There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them. – Heisenberg

The kind of behavior described by Bryan is more prevalent among the left than the right and such behavior does more to explain why I am not a liberal than why I am a conservative/libertarian.

And it appears the firing of Marcotte and McEwan isn’t a done deal as yet. Seems Edwards has hit the snooze button. (Was tempted to type that as “schmooze” button.)

11:15 – Looks like it was the schmooze button after all: “Edwards Stands By His Bloggers

2007.02.09

Fixed several minor grammatical errors.