Adios Amanda: Why Brian O'Dwyer is Angry (and me too)

Scott Shields recently asked you readers of MyDD as to why Brian O'Dwyer is angry re the recent Amanda Marcotte/Edwards blogging fiasco.  I googled "Amanda Marcotte", saw the post, read it and decided to join MyDD.  So hi everybody.

I'll be upfront.  I'm not a liberal or a progressive.  I'm a moderate.  I'm not a Democrat.  I'm an independent.  I'm also a Catholic.  Just like Brian O'Dwyer, who, also like me, is of Irish descent.

I believe that a woman has a right to an abortion, although I'm not much for partial birth abortion.  I was once fuzzy on gay marriage, but when it came down to it...I proudly voted against the proposed state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage here in Virginia.  Unfortunately it passed.  I also was horrified by the pedophelia scandals.  And they had nothing to do with homosexuality or liberal bishops as people like Rick Santorum would tell you.  Oh, and I think Bill Donohue is a pompous bigoted blowhard.  You see, I'm able to disagree with the faith that I was raised.  OK?

Now, as to why the Brian O'Dwyers (and guys like me) were angry (read: offended) by Amanda Marcotte blog postings.

Because she blatantly attacked sacred teachings of the Catholic Church that have nothing to do with the American political scene in 2007.

Because she equated the Holy Spirit (a sacred teaching to Catholics) to a human penis whe she wrote:

Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?

Because she derided the Catholic faith as being "an ancient mythology" when she wrote:

A: You'd have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology.

There were other quotes.  I'm sure if you're reading this, you've read them.  I'll spare you from reading them again.

Now I can't speak for all Catholics, but I'm sure I can speak for a lot of them by saying that the things that Amanda wrote are deeply offensive.  And that it is obvious that they were written with, at the very least, full knowledge that they would be offensive.  They were INTENDED to be insulting.  Yes, that's for sure.

But you see, for many of us that are Catholic (and this could probably go for any religion), you're brought up with certain cultural values...values that transcent religions.  One of them is often a deep concern for the poor, the disadvanteged.  That isn't necessarily a Catholic value, or a Christian value, or a religious value for that matter.  One could easily be an atheist and have a tremendous concern for the poor.  But from my own experience, much of my own values have sprouted of from Catholic values...watching my own parents involved in charities, starting clothing drives on my own.  And as far as John Edwards, one of the reasons I've always admired him is his "Two Americas" theme.  That's not necessarily a winning approach in today's often self-oriented world.  But John Edwards nevertheless has the guts to talk about it.  Sort of like Bobby Kennedy, a good Irish Catholic like me.  And Brian O'Dwyer.  So while I have my own disagreements with my religion on a variety of issues that we now face here in 2007, I'm still a Catholic and don't like seeing my religion so callously derided.

Now I don't see this as a matter of free speech. Amanda is free to right what she wants, say what she wants, blog what she wants.  For that matter, so is Bill Donohue.

In pointing this out, it may help all to realize that there are a relatively large amount of Catholics in the good ol' U.S. of A. - about 70,000,000 - and are not only a reltively large percentage of Americans - about 25%, but they are often looked upon as being swing voters in swing states.  States like Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa.  All purple and in the hearts and minds of MyDDers, hopefully going blue in 2008.

But back to the point at hand.  Amanda Marcotte was hired in a COMMUNICATIONS CAPACITY for the Edwards campaign.  She attacked and ridiculed sacred teachings of the Catholic church in a strident manner - teachings that have nothing to do with the Church's positon on political issues that effect our political scene here in 2007.  I don't know why so many on the liberal (supposedly open-minded and tolerant left) can't see that.  That while Amanda had every right in the world to write them, they are kinda insulting and likel politically untenable in this time of close elections.

So, to Scott Shields, the bottom line as to why Brian O'Dwyer was angry (as I was and many Catholics would be), has nothing to do with the Clintons.  It's because we don't like seeing our religion viciously trashed.

Tags: Amanda Marcotte, blogging, Brian O'Dwyer, Catholicism, Democrats, John Edwards, religion (all tags)



Why are you so angry?

Dude, I can understand that you were offended, but Amanda didn't write anything remotely inflammatory while a member of the Edwards campaign. Not for her own blog, and certainly not on the Edwards blog.

by clarkent 2007-02-18 04:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Why are you so angry?


Her writings beforehand showed her mindset and her attitude...which were both anti-Catholic and totally her right to have.  To be honest, I'm sure we'll see more of her as she may become a bit of a celebrity.

I would be just as offended if a conservative Republican hired a person who had written racially insensitive stuff.  Or anti-Semetic.

by jptrenn 2007-02-18 05:15PM | 0 recs
Shouldn't that be...

...Farewell, Amanda?

Just saying...

by skeptic06 2007-02-18 04:52PM | 0 recs
Welcome, JPtrenn!

I agree with you that the things said were unnecessarily hurtful, targetting the heartfelt religious beliefs of Catholics.  While the First Amendment gives Amanda the right to say the things she did, John Edwards never explained sufficiently why he hired a blogger who had said these things.

I am not Catholic, but I know many persons who are and I understand that the Immaculate Conception is a cherised part of Catholic Tradition.  Just as I wouldn't want to learn that a candidate or his staff had attacked cherised Black articles of Christian faith, I think we need a Government of tolerance where everyone will feel welcomed.

I think you have pointed out to us something that is very important : Even those Democrats among us who are not religious need to respect the fact that a lot of other people are religious, those people have feelings, and they people vote!  I think you're asking us to be more sensitive and I want you to know that I, at least, have heard you.  Keep commenting and telling us how you perceive the Presidential race, particularly from a religious perspective.  It's something we need to know.

by francislholland 2007-02-18 05:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Welcome, JPtrenn!

Thanks Francis.

Odd thing is, not only am I a political moderate, I'm a 'religious moderate'.  But when I read what she wrote, it went totally against my inner core.  Not just because I'm a Catholic, but because it went against that liberal part of me that looks to people like Martin Luther King Jr. for inspiration.  It is accepting and treating others with respect.

by jptrenn 2007-02-18 05:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Adios

What is wrong with calling Catholicism an "ancient mythology"?

by jallen 2007-02-18 06:53PM | 0 recs
or icy green pebbly?

"Because she equated the Holy Spirit (a sacred teaching to Catholics) to a human penis whe she wrote:

Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?"

I just don't see how this follows as an analogy. Characterizing the Holy Spirit that impregnated Mary as "hot, white, sticky" doesn't require a penis to be involved.

In fact, "penis" never occurred to me when I read that. This "hot, white, sticky" is obviously very upsetting to some people, but is it better characterized as "cool, dark, airy"? I've never thought about it. How do people who worry about these things describe this process?

I am not a fundamentalist Christian who's ever worried about the literal aspects of Jesus' parentage. I take it as the Gospels' way of explaining to us: "This guy was so extraspecial it's as if wasn't really human, although we know Mary was his mother." And that's what's important, and it's fine with me.

In other words, I'm sorry you're offended, but I don't find her sentence so overwhelmingly offensive as you do. First, the part that offends you is apparently a literary flourish to decorate the important part: the possibility of Jesus not existing, that Plan B, or abortion, or a condom could have deleted him. That is serious stuff!

Second, I've read more scathing stuff in theology and literary criticism. Read some feminist biblical criticism of the last half century. Or read Zwingli in the 1500s criticizing Luther's stance on Communion as cannibalism.

by joyful alternative 2007-02-18 07:46PM | 0 recs
why are people so easily offended?

I'm a Jew who has spent most of my life in an overwhelmingly non-Jewish environment (less than 1 percent of the population).

I have to laugh when I hear Christians get so offended by someone challenging their dogma.

Amanda was not saying anything bigoted about Catholics--like that they are inferior or should not be hired or are untrustworthy or some such thing. So the analogy to racist writing does not hold up.

If someone wants to mock Jewish religious beliefs, what do I care? As long as they are not saying Jews are second-class citizens or greedy thieves or should not hold elected office, then why would I care?

Go ahead, write something offensive about Jewish theology or bible stories.

If I am secure enough in my faith and cultural traditions, which are not endlessly reinforced by mainstream culture, then why should Christians or Catholics get up in arms over some blogger?

by desmoinesdem 2007-02-18 08:41PM | 0 recs
Re: why are people so easily offended?


Thanks for your concern about the feelings of theose who were offended by this.  

I have no desie to disparage Judaism, nor do I think of Jews as second class citizens.

I don't like seeing any religion mocked.  Or race or ethnic background.  It's not about being secure about one's religion.

People who mock Jewish beliefs may well not want them in legislative positions, lest they try to impose those beliefs on society.  In 2006, Katherine Harris, running for US Senate in FL said that if you're not electing Christians, you are legislating sin.

She was calling for discrimination in voting and was by default disparaging non-Christian beliefs.  She was not attacking Jews per se, but I still found that very offensive.

by jptrenn 2007-02-19 02:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Adios Amanda: Why Brian O'Dwyer is Angry (and

What's offensive is your complete misuse of the term "anti-Catholic."

by Jeffrey Feldman 2007-02-18 08:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Adios Amanda: Why Brian O'Dwyer is Angry (and

Why is that Jeffrey?

by jptrenn 2007-02-19 02:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Adios Amanda: Why Brian O'Dwyer is Angry (and

Nah. I'm not answering your questions.  

I don't see any understanding of the term "anti-Catholic in what you wrote--just the same perversion of it along the lines of Donohue's phony arguments. Sorry, pal, but if you think speaking back to Church dogma is "offensive," then you are as ignorant of Catholicism as Donohue--despite your claims otherwise.

And frankly, I've had enough with people who hide their attacks on Democrats behind fraudulent claims about defending Catholicism. It's dishonest.

by Jeffrey Feldman 2007-02-19 06:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Adios Amanda: Why Brian O'Dwyer is Angry (and

No, I'm not being dishonest.  And it's not a matter of speaking back to church doctrine.  Can't say I'm surprised at your self-satisfied attitude.

by jptrenn 2007-02-19 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Adios Amanda: Why Brian O'Dwyer is Angry (and

That's quaint.  Falling back on what you think you know about me already.  Not surprised by my attitude--which apparently is familiar to you.  Fascinating...given that we've never met.  

Harder than it looks having an actual discussion, isn't it?  Much easier just to wade into a group a strangers and tell them how to behave.

God forbid one of those strangers should talk back and tell you don't know anything about the discussion you're trying to lead...

by Jeffrey Feldman 2007-02-20 05:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Adios Amanda: Why Brian O'Dwyer is Angry (and

Well then Jeffrey, I'll introduce myself. I'm Jonathan.  Jonathan Trenn.  Nice to meet you Jeffrey Feldman.

As far as falling back on what one thinks about the other one...

You've called me dishonest because I was offended by what Marcotte wrote and felt that Edwards and his staff should have been more careful in their hiring.

You've also called me ignorant because I'm offended.

You also seem to think for some reason that I'm doing all of this to attack Democrats...but I'm just hiding it behind another argument.

What Marcotte wrote was, at least to me, not simply 'speaking back' to church dogma.  It went beyond that.

You also said, "Nah. I'm not answering your questions."  Then complained of my response with "Harder than it looks having an actual discussion, isn't it?"  Uh, but it was you who refused to answer questions.

A far as wading into a group of strangers, I didn't realize that everyone new one another here already and that ideas that may be contrary to a large portion of the people here were not welcome...or they'd be misinterpreted as telling people how to behave.

You seem to know about as much of me as I do you.

by jptrenn 2007-02-21 11:38AM | 0 recs


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