Background: There has been a backlash against me in the feminist blogosphere since Pajamas Media advice columnist Dr. Helen Smith interviewed me recently on the subject of the Violence Against Women Act, the way our legal system handles domestic violence, and related issues. The interview is Fighting for Men’s Rights (Pajamas Media, 10/8/07).
Amanda Marcotte has written numerous terrible things about me in a recent blog post, pretty much saying outright that I think it’s fine to beat women, that women should not be allowed to defend themselves, that if a man beats a woman, it’s the woman’s fault, that men should have free rein to terrorize their families, etc. Her blog post is The country started going to hell when they told women they don’t have to just buckle immediately–if I’m misunderstanding her words, feel free to let me know.
Marcotte’s criticisms of me are so distorted and wild that even a couple of her readers have written to me apologizing for her behavior. A few of my readers are gleeful that Amanda sabotages her own case (and feminism) with this nonsense, but I can’t say I share their pleasure. Yeah, Amanda’s an opponent and the feminists are (often) my opponents and I like to win an argument as much as the next guy, but it’s embarrassing to watch someone behave this way in a debate. When you debate someone on TV or on the radio you can excuse their behavior, to some degree, by saying they only had a moment to think. Certainly I’ve said stupid things on the air that I regret. But the standard is somewhat higher for writing, and Marcotte isn’t anywhere near it.
One frequent reader of Marcotte’s readers blog wrote me and said, “Reading her post made me feel truly ill. I think Amanda went over the line, especially considering how gracious you have been toward her.” Yup–pretty damn gracious. I congratulated her privately and publicly when she got the job as John Edwards’ campaign’s blogmaster, and I expressed my regrets to her both privately and publicly when she was forced out. I’ve written about her many times, and not once would you ever find any trace of the vitriol and vilification that Amanda has employed against me this week. I had Amanda on my radio show, and treated her quite respectfully (to listen for yourself, click here).
I’m sure Amanda and her radical feminist friends will see this post as whiny or self-pitying or something–over there it’s the Night of the Long Knives 24/7 on those who disagree–but it’s the larger issue that’s bothers me. Someday men and women are going to have to come together on these issues. Sadly, this week’s events show how far away we are from that.