Recovered from the Wayback Machine.
I liked what Kevin Murphy had to say in the comments to the post “In Defense of Michelle Malkin”:
The only thing you can learn of substance from such an adverserial segment is that it’s pointless to expect to learn anything by listening to two unprepared pundits argue it out on TV.
We both agreed that it would take little to extend this to weblogging, and with nine more weeks until the US election–oh, how I wish it was over and done with–we’ll be treated to many more so-called online debates, which are really nothing more than contenders standing virtually toe to toe, scuffing it out in the dirt.
I don’t particularly care if people want to argue; it’s not my business, and we’re all adults here. But I am disturbed by a trend I see among a certain group of webloggers, and it was this that brought out my defensiveness of Michelle Malkin more than anything else.
I have no problems with anyone attacking Malkin’s words, or her viewpoint on things. For instance, leaving aside the dangers of abuse and the increase of state-sanctioned racism, Malkin’s views on racial profiling are short sighted for assuming that the foe will always be helpful by looking and acting like the foe.
However, there’s a difference between being critical of the words, actions, or beliefs; and using derogatory or disparaging remarks or techniques in order to discredit the person directly, especially based on a characteristic of birth, not what a person says or believes. This is what I saw with Malkin.
As I discussed already, Atrios calls her LuLu, after a little girl portrayed in the comics . But he let’s her off easy. Listen to some other fine liberal men.
“Malkin has been chosen to foist dumb ideas onto the world precisely of her background and what she looks like, and she needs to be called on that. It’s not like she’s an independent person who just decided to get this idea out there. She’s the product of an incubation system that’s worked the refs for some time now.”
“Yeeesh, Michelle Malkin is a bit of a nutter, but my god is she ever sexy when she’s acting all huffy…Oh so nutty, but oh so sexy. Grrrrrrowl. Gotta love that pout.”
“Michelle Malkin, the sexy, wild-eyed, internment camp vixen, got her ass handed to her by Chris Matthews on Hardball.”
This crew picked out frames of a video of a Malkin appearance to make fun of her eyes. And other things. Of course, one could say we do the same for George Bush–grab shots that deliberately make him look funny. But last I heard, no one said of him, I don’t think she’s attractive in the least , and I do find asian women attractive. She looks like a cheap asian hooker in “Platoon” or some other ‘nam movie.
And, well, I could go on. Calling her a hooker, focusing much of a comment thread on how she looks, making crude jokes about pulling her into bed; talking about ‘digging Asian chicks’, and how sexy she looks.
Some would say that if Malkin didn’t issue the statements she makes, she wouldn’t be generating this kind of remark. That she brought these types of statements on herself.
If that’s so, then where’s the line between her and someone like me? Or Maria. who wrote in the comment thread earlier:
I first saw Malkin on the Bill Mahr show only days before Shelley referred to her column and blog, and though I knew immediately that I didn’t’ agree with her politics, I was impressed by the way she focused on staying within the framework of the debate, rather than try to use cheap tricks, like getting personal or shrill, or play some card or other. Bill Mahr seemed to respect that, too … so no one got into a huff or had to walk off; instead, there were some interesting points made that provided ample stuff (not just fluff) for debate.
So yes, this comment here is in defense of Malkin’s right to be heard in her terms … which to me, in what I saw of her on the Mahr show, seem to be very much the same terms we demand for ourselves when we speak.
In comments in the post “In Defense of Malkin”, Kevin was kind enough to let me know that Atrios uses “Little Lulu” because it is some kind of ‘freeper’ handle for Malkin and her husband.
“freeper” is a FreeRepublican groupie. Right-wing conservative groupies. Gag me.
Anyway, that’s great. But since most of Atrios’ readers are not ‘freepers’, and probably don’t have this context, the term comes across as derogatory–rather than what it really is, Atrios and Malkin are great friends, and love to tease each other online.