Thursday, October 29, 2009

An Offer I Can Refuse

enyart, personhood, initiative, abortion,
Yesterday, I got an email:

Dear Ms. Failure:

I read your blog on personhood at “Forever in Hell”, (an apt name for the blog of one in the legal profession I must say).

But seriously, a radio station in Denver will be examining the implications of “personhood” over the next several weeks. (This unabashedly “fundy” movement started here in Colorado in 2007, and there is an effort afoot to put it back on the 2010 ballot)

If you’d like to put your 5 minutes of thought up against one of the “fundys” who started the “Personhood Movement” I’d be glad to set it up.

I understand if you decline, (so far I’ve found no one on the anti- personhood side willing to debate).

Call or e-mail to schedule or to decline.

May your god bless you according to your works,

Doug XxXxxxxx
I'll admit, I was complimented. A little hesitant, in that I've never done anything live, and I sound like a congested 7-year-old, but ummmm . . . why not? The "Ms. Failure" salutation is a little odd, in that it's fairly obvious nobody named me "Personal", but okay. May your god bless you according to your works, actually had me thinking I wasn't talking to a fundy. (Works are anethema to the Once Saved, Always Saved crew, and "your god"? There is only one god to that sort.) So, you know, Unitarians maybe.

But questions were in order. I asked whom I would be debating. (Note the signature. All it included in the initial email was a name and a phone number.)

Ms. Failure:

You’d be speaking with Bob Enyart, (google him, you’ll find plenty)! He’s exactly the brand of fundy you zealously ridicule and would therefore be an apt foil.
"Zealously" gave me a bit of a twitch. It's one of those fundy words the rest of the world doesn't use much. Though lawyers are instructed to "zealously defend" their clients, so not conclusive.

Then I looked up Bob Enyart. Oh, yeah, not just a fundy, that one.
Enyart is also known for his views on adultery, homosexuality and abortion saying that they are acts which should be punishable by death. Enyart pickets the homes of doctors performing abortions resulting in one Colorado town banning such protests in residential areas. Enyart also angered families of AIDS vicims when he read the men's obituaries on his television show calling the deceased "sodomite"s. Enyart has also led residential protests against executives of a company which provided construction services for Planned Parenthood offices leading to similar neighbor complaints. Most recently Enyart has criticised presidential candidates who do not share his view on abortion.
Enyart is a proponent of corporal punishment of children saying that their "hearts are lifted" by spanking. He was sentenced with 60 days in jail for misdemeanor child abuse in 1994. Enyart hit his then girlfriend's 7 year old son with a belt hard enough to break the skin. Upon release from jail, Enyart's parole officer filed an objection with the court to Enyart's appearing on the Politically Incorrect television show but a judge disagreed allowing the appearance.

A series of late night phone calls by Enyart to the general manager of the Kenosha, Wisconsin station which carried his program but publicly disagreed with Enyart's views prompted Senator Russ Feingold to call for an FCC investigation to see if any laws had been broken by the talk show host.

In June 2009, Bob Enyart was sentenced to 9 days in jail for criminal trespass following a protest at Focus on the Family over an allegation that James Dobson has gone back on a pledge never to support a political candidate who, in any way, backed or allowed abortion. This sentence was imposed after Enyart refused both to pay a fine or do community service.
And then I realized why they were contacting me (as it turns out, Doug works for Mr. Enyart. The signature on his later replies made that clear, though the connection was edited out of earlier emails): plenty of feminist bloggers feel the same way I do about the Personhood Initiative, only they are experienced debaters, and likely wouldn't give Mr. Enyart the time of day. Basically, if you're contacting me for debates, you're scraping the bottom of the debating barrel.

I am thinking of tuning in to see who they roped in to Mr. Enyart's "foil" on this particular subject. I'll count myself lucky it wasn't me.


  1. Oddly enough, this: "I understand if you decline, (so far I’ve found no one on the anti- personhood side willing to debate)" is all I would need to know not to get involved. Well, and all the scare quotes, really.

    The use of the parenthetical (and the way it's phrased) tells me one of two things: either no one is taking this seriously or no one wants to be involved in a train wreck/obvious set-up. Of course there's a third possibility that he'd say that whether you were the first or the one million and first person he contacted. That and the fact that I can almost see a self-satisfied smirk on his face as he writes it.

    And wouldn't that be a great lead-in? "Random internet blogger and legal secretary Personal Failure is on the show today to debate this issue..."

    Methinks the odds would be stacked against you no matter what. Especially since debates are all about who has the biggest set of credentials and "anonymous blogger" is a bit less impressive than "that radio host you listen to all the time," even if said radio host is a massive dipshit and said anonymous blogger is a Rhodes Scholar.

    Oh, and the use of the term "anti-personhood." I don't know what you call them where you are, but 'round these parts we call that a red flag...

  2. Random nameless blogger hates children! Tonight a 5!

  3. Why won't you think of the children?

    Also, I think you should introduce yourself as "Ms. Failure" from now on. Possibly go all James Bond style.

    "Failure. Ms. Failure. And I'll take that martini with booze, not virgin."

  4. Bah, you love children, especially with barbecue or buffalo sauce.

  5. I especially enjoy the tears of orphans. Goes nicely with embryo stew.

  6. Mmmmm embryo stew, that really warms the cockles of ones heart.

  7. Make sure those embryos are well dissolved in your martini, though, or they tend to lodge and grow. Parasitic buggers.

    Personally, my warning bells would’ve sounded at the very first letter, warning me that something was definitely up. The odd use of what appears to be scare quotes, the fact that “no-one else” had accepted when there are many more prominent or experienced debaters out there of the same view as yours, the lack of information pertaining to what would happen and who you’d be debating against – and most of all, that cryptic “may your god bless you” when you are quite affirmatively an atheist – it’d be quite suspicious to me, to put it mildly. I would definitely have demanded some clarifications, post-haste.

    I think we’d like to see your letter of refusal, if you sent one (you did send one, right?).

  8. You were wise for declining. It would not be a true or fair debate.

  9. Gee, I've been commenting here for quite a while, do we know each other well enough for me to call you 'Personal'? Or would that be too forward?

  10. Not only would this debate have been a ruse, but the man appears to be a lunatic. It is interesting that he would even picket James Dobson. Hey, He's on your side. Just weird.


Comments are for you guys, not for me. Say what you will. Don't feel compelled to stay on topic, I enjoy it when comments enter Tangentville or veer off into Non Sequitur Town. Just keep it polite, okay?

I am attempting to use blogger's new comment spam feature. If you don't immediately see your comment, it is being held in spam, I will get it out next time I check the filter. Unless you are Dennis Markuze, in which case you're never seeing your comment.

Creative Commons License
Forever in Hell by Personal Failure is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at