A blogger named "Mithras" several days ago posted a "Conservative Blog Taxonomy" making fun of, and criticizing, ten purportedly "conservative" blogs, including this one. In general, Yaaaawn...
But Mithras's post was linked to favorably by many others, including Atrios. Let's consider what Mithras writes about Michelle Malkin: "Far-right affirmative action hire who is so bigoted she'd arrest herself for trying to cross a border.... If she didn't have tits, she'd be stuck writing at Townhall.com."
Malkin (with whom I often, but hardly always, disagree), has propelled herself to blogger superstardom, with approximately eighty thousand daily Sitemeter hits. Given that no one is forcing, subsidizing, or even encouraging readers to go to her website on the basis of either her race or sex, on what possible grounds would Mithras claim that she's an "affirmative action hire" or that her sex ("tits") has anything to do with her success? Seems to me she's acquired her readers the same way other bloggers do: by writing posts that they want to read.
It doesn't trouble me (much) that Mithras, whoever that is, would crudely and stupidly insult Malkin. There's one in every crowd, as they say. But when so many other folks on the left, including Brian Leiter, jump in to endorse his post, one wonders what is going on. Indeed, not a single one of the 465 Atrios readers who commented on his link to Mithras post complained about the Malkin crack; in fact, several of them praised it, and added their own prejudiced elaborations (e.g., "She always reminded me of one of those 14 yo Bangkok whores my globe trotting friend would (unfortunately) tell me about (in way to [sic] much detail)".
Is it suddenly (or maybe not so suddenly, if I recall the attacks on figures ranging from Thomas Sowell to Condi Rice) okay to denigrate someone based on their race and sex if they happen to be conservative? And to use especially offensive language while doing so? Attacking Malkin in this way comes with especially poor grace from the left blogger community, which--dare I note--includes, as far as I'm aware, no female, nonwhite blogger nearly as prominent as Malkin.
Anyway, a whole bunch of people, including Atrios, owe Malkin an apology.
UPDATE: Here is Atrios's response:
Judging from all the link cooties I've been sensing, the entire right wing of the blogosphere has leapt to the defense of the racist Michelle Malkin. Fascinating. There's rarely a bigot they won't defend. Here's a reminder for them all:
Just so we all understand, in the year 2004 Michelle published a book justifying an act that Ronald Reagan apologized for - the mass arrest of Japanese immigrants and Japanese-American citizens of America based on nothing other than their ethnic background. Anyone who links to her or promotes her in anyway may as well be promoting the Klan or Stormfront.org. That includes you Chris Matthews.
The publication of that book, which she did to appeal to the Little Green Snotball brigade, will be a stain on her soul for all eternity. I intend to remind the world of it at every opportunity.
Atrios provides no link to my post, so his readers can't see that it wasn't defending Malkin, as such, but criticizing him an other for linking favorably to a prejudiced, misogynistic attack on Malkin. Atrios's response comes down to "if I think someone's a racist, no type of attack on him or her is beyond the pale." This is just plain stupid. I was going to give example of individuals whom we'd all agree are evil, but who still shouldn't be attacked because they are black, Jewish, Arab, etc., but instead, I'll just state the point. Atrios's post, by the way, attracted yet more vile and hateful comments from his "progressive" readers. (But please, no more comments about how this proves that the entire left is racist, which is also just plain stupid.)
FURTHER UPDATE: Eric Muller wonders if Malkin gets "so much attention" from the right, precisely because she's a nonwhite woman who defends Japanese internment, opposes immigrant rights [not sure exactly what he's referring to], etc. I can't say I've studied Malkin's career, but there is certainly nothing remarkable about a Fillipina (as I've learned Malkin is) not being overly sympathetic to WWII Japanese [clarification: I'm not claiming that Malkin's views on internment are, in fact, related to her ethnicity. I'm just pointing out the vacuousness of stating that they are remarkable because she too is "Asian" and thus should have special sympathy for the Japanese]. And given that just about all of us are descended from immigrants, I don't see anything any more remarkable about Malkin not being overly sympathetic to immigrants (if that's true) than I would if she were Irish, Italian, Polish, etc. I suspect Malkin's conservative readers, who are not likely to buy into the whole "people of color in solidarity with each other" notion, are not especially likely to find her views remarkable.
To the extent that Malkin's ethnicity gives her a certain amount of immunity from the typical "you only believe that because you're a white male" attack, that only forces opponents to deal with her arguments directly, as Eric has indeed done. But if her arguments didn't resonate for whatever reason, she wouldn't be getting eighty thousand daily hits. Conservative readers are rather unlikely to put her on their reading list just so they can say to themselves, "I'm a good person--I read a "woman of color blog" today."