I do keep Pandagon on my blogroll and Amanda Marcotte (who along with Pam Spaulding is the main blogger on the site) has gotten in a couple big fights lately that tie into larger issues with women of color and feminism. In the latest one, she’s taken some hard hits from people I respect so I figured it was worth posting on. More after the cut/
Essential, there’s two recent points. First Marcotte’s new book "It’s a Jungle Out There" which is focused on women’s right uses retro images including some involve spear throwing Africans. Sounds like the publisher picked them and she didn’t notice, which is odd as it is really pretty noticeable, and subsequently she apologized. It was definitely an unforced error, as Kalinara notes there had been controversy before and there would be easy ways to keep with the ’jungle’ themeh while avoiding that issue.
Two of the other bloggersI regularly read are going to town on her for this controversy as well a prior one involving accusations of plagiarizing a woman of color blogger. Said blogger, BrownFemiPower (BFP), subsequently took her blog down which makes it rather tricky to evaluate the claims of plagiarism (e.g. none of the links on this accusation work). Here’s a quote with BFP’s reason she’s taking her blog down. Anyways, Marcotte didn’t directly address it on her blog but fought it out on Feministe and vehemently defended her rep (long comment thread, just do a find on her name). In essence she said she got her ideas from a conference and a news article, which seems plausible enough.
Ragnell was also displeased with her for crediting the feminist blogosphere for going after the Open Source Boob project which is another bit of lunacy that Ragnell describes well and I don’t really feel like getting into. Ragnell had been particular proud that the comic community itself said that the whole Open Source Boob thing was dumb and a bad idea, and it does sound like she’s right on that.
Anyways, I don’t think Marcotte’s is actively bigoted, although as she acknowledge the images the company picked for her book were and they won’t appear in future printings. I do think she’s kind of a jerk. But I think she’s also a good writer and it can be fun to watch good writers go after causes you disagree with. But, as I saw at least one commenter note, considering how badly she treats her ideological opponents, it really isn’t that surprising that she decided to fight back hard when accused of plagarism.
So for now, she stays on my roll, although that may cause Ragnell to be unlikely to gain respect for me in the future (don’t think she’ll lose respect for me because I don’t think she knows me). I mean honestly, I keep Sullivan on and he’s ruthlessly unfair to Clinton, starting by allowing someone to print an article in his magazine that dishonestly trashed her healthcare plan.
So why don’t I have tighter standards? Well, I list people I enjoy reading and/or learn a lot from. If she hadn’t apologized for the book screw-up I might take a different line but she did and it seemed sincere to me. If I can find proof of plagiarism I’ll change my mind. As for Sullivan, well I have lower standards for people I disagree with. That and he does post some criticisms of himself, and also self-interest plays a roll, he gives trackback love to those that link his blog. On the same note, I think the Resident Evil series is oft enjoyable, I’m hoping the controversy there causes them to address issues, not that it will get their game banned (and to be clear I doubt I’d support a ban even if it came out as is, boycott maybe, but not a ban).
Anyways, I’m open to argument, you want to dispute something I said, feel free to comment.