But the story continues to develop in the blogosphere, and I'm part of the debate. Marcotte responded to me on Twitter this morning, which was her initial statement since first commenting on the Thomas Ball suicide (and she's updated on Twitter here).
I also tweeted Robert Stacy McCain, knowing his occasional Amanda Marcotte blogging, and he's got a post up: "The Beast of Babylon Wears Bangs: Amanda Marcotte’s ‘Pure Feminist Evil." And he writes:
Being a tolerant sort of person, I have sometimes entertained the thought that maybe Amanda Marcotte is merely misguided or ignorant, an idea I kicked around when she made a complete fool of herself over the Anthony Weiner scandal. But perhaps it is time to consider whether she is in fact deliberately and consciously evil.RTWT. Robert goes out of his way to point out that he's not a men's rights activist. Neither am I, but more often than not I hear of men bearing the brunt of unjust legal separation from children, although I have neither the experience nor expertise to comment more widely on the phenomenon. Note, though, that Thomas Ball was in fact an activist with the Central Massachusetts Chapter of the Fathers' Rights Movement. And those initially blogging on the story are clearly advocates for men's rights. So, it's a pretty fascinating story all around. Indeed, Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Technology has an update on the story, "Amanda Marcotte Continues to Say That Men Use Suicide to Hurt Women." And Snark responds to Robert Stacy McCain, "Amanda Marcotte Is Not Evil." I disagree fundamentally with that post, however, not so much over Amanda Marcotte's alleged demonology, but on the underlying premise of her comments themselves. These aren't one-off, throwaway statements, as Snark suggests. Marcotte claims that men inflict pain on themselves --- even kill themselves --- as a way to further victimize women. THAT is representative of radical feminism and THAT is inflammatory, if not evil, with all due respect to Thomas Ball. But the context is key. Marcotte speaks in furtherance of extreme feminist praxis. (So that's not to say some leftists aren't indeed evil --- Scott Eric Kaufman and Carl Salonen come to mind --- but more that Marcotte's statements, as reprehensible as they are, reflect attempts at political speech rather than actions intended to destroy.)
In any case, Dr. Helen Smith has weighed in, "My take on the Thomas Ball case." And the crucial passage, regarding Thomas Ball's last testament:
His statement is not the ramblings of a madman, it is the mission of a warrior in some sense. He was fighting for his rights and for yours, if you are male. He was trying to bring some urgency to the male plight in this country, one that no one appreciates or cares about until they are engaged in the battle of the courts. If you want to understand more about how men's rights are being stripped by family courts, take a look at Stephen Baskerville's book Taken into Custody: The War Against Fatherhood, Marriage, and the Family.