It is the return of The Bygone Blogger! This blogger of old has some more stuff to say about the controversy surrounding Mike Matthews and his DSEA resignation based on old blog posts Mike wrote. In which we learn, once again, things are NOT always what they seem on the surface and some of the pitchfork throwers aren’t exactly innocent! Take it away (again) Bygone Blogger!
It’s really pretty simple:
If you would laugh at an Amy Schumer or Bill Maher comedy special that employed vulgar language. …
If you’d vote for a President who’d “grab ‘em by the pussy”. …
Or even if you’d not demand that Greg Meece resign from his post at Newark Charter School for referring to potential minority students who couldn’t get into his school as being part of a “bucket of crabs,” right after using the culturally insensitive slur that DSEA was engaging in a “jihad” against charter schools. …
Then you’re an absolute hypocrite (as well as probably a moron) if you think that Mike Matthews has anything to be ashamed about in his three years of foul-mouthed political commentary at Down with Absolutes.
Let’s talk some particular cases:
I’ve already explored the DWA post about former State Representative Helene Keeley, whom Mike mocked for her confused support of censoring video games. And, yes, he employed sexual (or, at least, politically incorrect) references to her physical attractiveness then and at other times he criticized her record as an elected legislator.
But now let’s look at outcomes.
Two things happened in October.
Mike Matthews was confronted with past writings that could be seen as an embarrassment to the union he led, and immediately resigned.
Helene Keeley decided not to run for re-election, and—if multiple reports are to be credited—very carefully avoided telling anyone during that time that she’d landed a $95,000/year job at the Delaware Lottery, based on the rather flimsy assertion by the State Finance Secretary that she was qualified because, “She’s been involved in gaming issues along time.”
Mike Matthews resigns to spare his organization grief.
Helene Keeley resigns to collect $95K per year in a taxpayer-funded job created out of political collusion.
Who should be apologizing here?
Or maybe we should be acknowledging that Mike—and other bloggers—could smell a dead fish when it was plopped on the ground in front of him, and wasn’t afraid to write about it.
Between 2006-2009 Down with Absolutes covered a lot of ground, and was home to a bunch of other bloggers besides Mike Matthews.
Mike himself wrote not just about politics, but about a live comedy show he participated in, food he was cooking, movies he’d seen, and his own struggles with weight loss. That was pretty much par for the course in blogging. H. L. Mencken he wasn’t, but neither are we talking Stormfront here.
Unfortunately, a lot of his posts are actually lost to us today. The infamous Wayback Machine only catalogs (by my memory) about 25-30% of the posts that appeared on DWA between 2006-2009, and I’m pretty sure that nobody holds a complete archived copy.
But going back through a number of other contemporary blogs like Colossus of Rhodey, Delaware Liberal, Delaware Libertarian, Delaware Politics, Delaware Watch, First State Politics, Resolute Determination, Rhymes with Right, and others, you can still catch echoes of what Mike was writing about.
He was relentless in criticizing corrupt politicians like Ruth Ann Minner, Thurman Adams, Helene Keeley, and Anthony Delucca—actually goring Democrats far more often than Republicans.
On the national scene he was a relentless critic of Bush-era policies to trim health care benefits, restrict scientific research, engage in endless wars or empire, and balloon the deficit through irresponsible tax cuts.
He criticized religious bigotry in no uncertain terms; stood up for the rights of Hispanics and other immigrants; and advocated for LGBTQ rights long before he forced his way out of his own lonely closet.
That last deserves some mention, because again Helene Keeley shows up in an interesting light. When DWA-gate broke earlier this month, Keeley (who already knew she was about to hit the Lottery Jackpot but wasn’t yet telling) blew off Mike’s comments about her looks by saying she didn’t take him seriously back then because she knew he was gay.
Apparently the beauteous Helene has the most accurate “gay-dar” on the face of the planet, because there are numerous posts throughout DWA in which Mike describes himself as “straight,” and I can testify from personal knowledge that he fooled damn near everybody—possibly including himself for a time.
Ask yourself how do people grappling with questions of their own sexuality often deal with it in public? Then go back and look at Mike’s comments about attractive female legislators and his well-known faux crush on Christine O’Donnell. You might begin to read his blog (what’s left of it) in a different light. There, between the lines, is actually a man unintentionally (?) sharing his own internal struggle with the world.
He wasn’t perfect. In 2006 he could often find common ground with Michelle Malkin (a failing that had ended by about 2008), and his take on radical Islam sometimes bordered on paranoia (or, in other words, he was right about where the rest of the country was then, as documented in many, many polls and election results).
Nor, to be brutally honest, was Mike’s sarcasm and satire (often ladled on in huge gobs that could have used an editor just to improve potential reader comprehension) much worse than that occurring on other Delaware blogs—or even in the News Journal.
Like I said above, it was Newark Charter School’s Greg Meece who created (and never backed away from) the infamous and implicitly racist “bucket of crabs” analogy in a WNJ op-ed, and who would later use a Muslim-bashing slur to attack DSEA.
It was David Anderson’s Delaware Politics that. …
… got censured by the Anti-Defamation League for gratuitous Holocaust references,
… attacked Christians who supported marriage equality as not being real Christians,
… and published repeated comments about Jews, Hispanics, and African-Americans asserting that they had created a “racially identifiable” sub-set in our country that didn’t accept “white” values, and were therefore much more susceptible to poverty and crime, and less capable of benefiting from education.
David today is a member of Dover City Council and running for State Representative. He has never apologized, nor have the people after Mike Matthews ever pilloried him for publishing a blog whose posts and comments often promoted anti-Semitism, nativism, and racialist rhetoric under the rubric of “free speech.”
It was Delaware Liberal that. …
… referred to Ruth Ann Minner’s womennis [sic] and John Carney’s mangina [also sic],
… while making retard jokes about babies, foreskin jokes about attorneys, …
… and referring to Catholics as child-diddlers.
“Hitler in a Housecoat”? That’s Governor Minner in DL.
Many of the people involved in DL at the time (and still today) have gone on to hold quite responsible positions in today’s Delaware Democratic Party. Everybody knows who they are; nobody’s asked them to apologize; nobody’s demanded that they step down.
(To be fair—the entire DL blogging crew, past and present, has come out strongly in support of Mike Matthews. Sadly, the same cannot be said of David Anderson or his compatriots at Delaware Politics. David is now pretending that he really didn’t know anything about any of this at the time.)
For the search-challenged I’ve included a highlight of the hits from those two blogs in the document below.
Mike Matthews is a stand-up guy, a hard-fighting labor unionist, a proud progressive, an LGBTQ advocate, and one out-fucking-standing teacher of special needs students.
The chief difference between himself and his critics, his political targets, and his peers as bloggers, is that Mike says what he says over his own name, and takes the lumps for it.
They cower behind B-listers like Atnre Alleyene, Meghan Wallace, and Helene Keeley, while the hit continues, and Delaware Secretary of Education Susan Bunting (you’d call her a “pimp” for the Vision Coalition, but that would be inappropriate due to her gender—let’s stick with “madame”) is “investigating” whether Mike’s teaching certificate should be yanked in some star chamber proceeding as Paul Herdman skypes in, shouting, “Bring me the head of the dog!”
Oh, wait, that was the Saudi Embassy in Turkey. Sorry, never mind.
Mike Matthews found his voice with Down with Absolutes. Instead of staying in the basement, he got a Master’s degree, lost a ton of weight, confronted his own personal demons, and started a career of being the advocate of the powerless and the victimized.
Fuck everyone who thinks Mike Matthews has a goddamn thing to apologize for.
We need more like him, not less.
And his kind is in short enough supply that we can’t afford to let them take down the only Mike we’ve got.
Stop apologizing, Mike. Get back in the goddamn game.
Or go apply at the Lottery Office—Helene might have a no-interview job available.