My life as a mole

Saturday, January 17th, 2009 · 23 Comments »

(Originally published at The New Agenda.)

I’ve been outed. A couple of days ago Naomi Wolf was on CNN, talking about The New Agenda. It seems she’d had a look around the website and saw some posts criticizing Obama. I’ll say one thing for Naomi; she’s a smart one.

“I’m interested in knowing who funds [the] blog,” she said. “We know that the right-wing is very very skillful at funding voices of dissent that look like something else.”


As the person who created the New Agenda website, it’s time for me to confess. I can’t live this lie anymore. I’m like Laurence Harvey at the end of The Manchurian Candidate, sweat pouring off me as I struggle to free myself from what I know is evil.

I am a mole for the Scaife Foundation.

My whole life for the past 37 years has been a hellish preparation for the moment when the puppet-masters at Scaife would unleash me on the world, fulfilling my destiny to build this website. They took me from my parents when I was 8 years old, buying them off with a leather-bound four-volume set of Eisenhower Was a Commie: The Collected Wisdom of the John Birch Society. I was moved to an indoctrination camp in West Virginia, a white-roomed sterile-looking compound like the one in The Boys From Brazil, where I and the other children were housed in dormitories and made to memorize all of Barry Goldwater’s speeches. When I hit puberty my eggs were extracted and stored in an abandoned salt mine in Utah where they incubate the blond anchor clones for Fox News.

My adult years were spent creating an elaborate false identity as a left-wing feminist writer. No detail was overlooked: I voted Democrat in every election, I belonged to NOW, I subscribed to Ms., I sent money to Planned Parenthood. My pieces for Womyn’s Weekly and the Organic Lettuce Quarterly were models of progressive philosophy. I lived the part totally: granola, apartment in Dupont Circle, coffee at the gay bookstore. I even wore Birkenstocks, for chrissake.

Finally, the moment came for me to fulfill my destiny. It was late August of last year when the message arrived, embedded in an email that, at first, looked like one of those Nigerian things. “Dearest One,” it began, “I desire to inform you of my desire of going into long time relationship and financial transaction for our mutual benefits hence I write with due respect…” It was signed “Mr. Ademola Nbeki.” But at the bottom, set off in bold Comic Sans font, was a P.S.: “We need you to build a website.” The next day I received a cardboard box in the mail containing 100 unmarked packages of ramen noodles.

My mission, as it turned out, was to build this website for The New Agenda. I did my best to make it look feminist, make it look like some kind of women’s rights thing. I mean, I’ve spent enough time in Birkenstocks to know the drill: fair pay, Title IX, yadeyadeyade. What I didn’t understand was the point of the whole exercise. What were the people at Scaife trying to do? How did The New Agenda fit into their plans?

The penny dropped when I got another email from Nbeki a couple of months after the launch of the site. “We want you to criticize Barack Obama,” he wrote.

What? I was appalled. That would never work! A feminist organization criticizing Barack Obama? Nobody would fall for that. Our cover would be totally blown. I mean, the man is perfect. He’s a feminist dream come true, he’s Christmas and New Year’s and Hanukkah all rolled into one, just like Naomi Wolf said on CNN. For decades feminists have yearned for a man to come along and just fix things, and Obama is that man. Everything about him — the smile, the “cutie” and “sweetie” stuff, the way he pats his wife’s ass in public — it all spells Feminist Superman.

I told Nbeki this, but he was insistent. “Find something. What about Larry Summers? Criticize Obama for that.”

“It won’t work,” I wrote back. “Kim Gandy says Larry Summers has done some good stuff. So what if he thinks women aren’t as smart as men? All the real feminists know it’s stupid to get bogged down with trivialities.”

The reply from Nbeki was brief: “My life before my liberty.” Attached to the email was a jpg of a Red Queen.

I broke into a sweat. Numbly, robotically, I opened WordPress and began typing. I knew it was a mistake; I knew we’d get caught. But I was powerless to resist. The switch had been flipped, the code activated. This was my destiny.

The next weeks were a nightmare of emails from Nbeki, arguments, and Red Queen jpgs whenever I got too difficult.

When the Favreau business happened, Nbeki was all over it. “Write a post on how casual sexism is part of the fabric of society,” he suggested. I tried to reason with him. None of the real feminists were complaining. So what if Obama’s chief speechwriter thinks sexual assault is a joke? Boys will be boys. If there’s anything the real feminists have learned, it’s that it doesn’t pay to get too worked up over that hormonal stuff. Especially now, when we’ve just elected a feminist President!

The Rick Warren thing was another battle. “NOT A FEMINIST ISSUE” I wrote back to Nbeki in furious all-caps. So what if Rick Warren preaches that women were put on earth to obey their husbands? So what if his church says that even domestic violence is no excuse for divorce? It’s a private religious matter. All the real feminists understand that. Barack Obama is going to be the most wonderfully, perfectly feminist President ever, and his Inauguration will be a joyful celebration of inclusiveness for all Americans. Even men who beat their wives. “If we keep up like this, our cover will be BLOWN BLOWN BLOWN,” I emailed Nbeki.

And the Cabinet Watch page — that was all Nbeki’s doing. The Scaife people sent me another 50 packages of ramen noodles as encouragement, but I knew we were playing with fire. None of the real feminists were worrying about how many women Obama would appoint. With a President as deeply feminist as Obama, it’s a given that he’ll choose the best person for each job. If all the best people just happen to be men, so what? Maybe Larry Summers was right.

Long story short, I knew this whole ride was doomed. It was only a matter of time before somebody like Naomi Wolf started poking around the website and realized what was up. All those posts questioning and criticizing Obama! No real feminist would write that stuff.

So I’ve decided to come clean and confess. It’s all true — the front operation, the Scaife Foundation, the ramen noodles, all of it. I’m a right-wing mole.

I can’t defend what I’ve done, though to be honest, I had no choice. My fate was sealed long ago. All I can do is apologize to the women of The New Agenda, who of course had no idea of my real identity. Amy, Sheryl, Nina, Cynthia, Thia, Gretchen, Nancy, all of you: please forgive me. You’re wonderful people, and I’m sorry I deceived you.

Nbeki and I are leaving for Nigeria tomorrow — his aunt has several million dollars she needs help transferring out of the country — so this is goodbye. I wish you all the best of luck.

And remember, if you want to be real feminists, don’t criticize Obama.

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23 Responses to “My life as a mole”

  1. Another Kind of Feminist says:

    Does The New Agenda plan on establishing an official office in Washington soon once enough funds are raised? I think it’s important to have an official meeting place where you can also start an internship program.

    I interned for a feminist organization in Washington in college and it was so disorganized. I finally understood that many of these organizations have just become a name without any real leadership. I think The New Agenda is already garnering more attention and clout than NOW who won’t dare say anything on the Ms. cover. I think this might become the only feminist organization (other than 51 Percent) who will grow stronger under an Obama administration. Good luck.

  2. Anna Belle says:

    Okay, now that I’ve sobered up, I have to confess: I’m an MRA mole. I’m actually a guy (hence the PeaCOCK), and all this women’s history stuff is just to show you there really are no great American women, because women really are inferior.

    Absolutely brilliant post, V.

  3. Sis says:

    “Nbeki and I are leaving for Nigeria tomorrow — his aunt has several million dollars she needs help transferring out of the country —…”

    So, it all turned out well then!

    Before you leave, how about we meet at the border. Bring your stash. And Raoul. I think he’s probably due for intensive retraining. Sure, I’ll do it.

  4. Cyn says:

    Ahh, Violet, we are not real feminists – we are feminists with cajones who have the temerity to demand equality. We stopped tossing our hair and giving men those come hither looks years ago. We are a brazen lot and although we knit, sew, cook and nurture, we can spot a phony a mile away. Real feminists wouldn’t have fallen for your little scheme.

    And if Sis gets your stash, I want dibs on the leftover ramen noodles.

  5. I. Moan Flow says:

    Still keeping secrets I see.

    C’mon, ‘fess up!

    You’re not just a Republican, you’re really a man too, aren’t you?

    It’s obvious from your writing that you don’t know the first thing about women.

  6. anna says:

    Has Anna Belle posted any more on Women’s History since she posted about Margaret Sanger? If so I can’t find it, but you promised it would be a biweekly series.

  7. Violet says:

    She’ll have another post Monday, which is two weeks after her first post.

  8. Anna Belle says:

    Yes, Monday. Plus, there’s tons of women’s history stuff at my place if you can’t wait (and I applaud you if you can’t wait).

  9. quixote says:

    Oh, no. Not the Red Queen. No! N-n-n. . .

    Must. keep. hand. from. touching. that. dial. No! N-n. . .

    Glowing swirl appears. Soon there will be heat. I will eat my own allotment of ramen noodles.

    (Then again, maybe we are real feminists. Doesn’t the Scaife Foundation pay male moles in spaghetti with bolognese sauce?)

  10. purplefinn says:

    Violet, so many points so little time. Brilliant, I echo. Humor needed now as we approach total inaugural saturation. Thank you!!!

  11. libbygurl says:

    Oh, ha, ha, ha, Dr Socks! This is one of the bestest-ever pieces of satire I’ve ever, ever read in my entire lifetime!

    Uh, it IS satire, isn’t it?

    Have you sent your confession yet as a direct email to the One Whom It Most Concerns, i.e., Her Obamagasmicness Ms Wolf? I’d highly recommend that you do. Then she can be enlightened as to what is REALLY going on with The New Agenda, instead of her suffering in doubt and suspicion about TNA’s real agenda.

    Thanks much, Dr Socks!

  12. polly styrene says:

    I am spartacus. And Naomi Wolf should get someone to teach her how to use google one day.

  13. P. Ingemi says:

    Well after all since at least one person from the right like myself reads your blog and everything you say must be tainted.

    Such idiocy by Wolf will be a problem if the new President ever decides to do something she disagrees with. Will she reveal herself to be a person of the right by daring to disagree with the one or will she keep silent? Her own statement suggests the later.

    It’s not a proud moment for feminism when a well known woman publicly suggests women keep quiet or are not themselves. It’s just not honorable and the ridicule you are giving her is well earned.

  14. Elliot Lake says:

    Thank you. And you might post spew alerts to put down the coffee before reading.

  15. Sis says:

    Elliot Lake?

    Elliot Lake has feminists?

  16. octogalore says:

    Awesome stuff, Violet.

    For someone on record (per wiki) as saying abortion is murder and who also says women’s sexuality (but not, apparently, men’s) should be channeled towards marriage and the home, to wonder about anyone else’s links to the right wing is quite ironic.

  17. bluelyon says:

    Confession time: bluelyon is also man and Blue Lyon is merely a front blog for the religious right. I mean, shouldn’t it be Blue LyoNESS if I was really a woman? Just ignore those lovely pictures of me with Hillary. Really good latex mask. Fake boobs too. Ignore Dawkins’ A. It’s all a clever disguise!

  18. bluelyon says:

    oops! How did that happen? Please delete first comment!

  19. Anna Belle says:

    Hilarious, BL! It makes total sense now. With V as a political mole, me with my dis-information on women’s history, and you corrupting the souls of the faithful, heck, we could….we could be the new League of Extraordinary GentleCrossdressers! We could take over the world for the empire, and then thwart the empire at the last moment, and become rulers of the woooooorld. Bwahahahahaha.

  20. song says:

    Love this post.

    Then I guess no one will be offended when we call Barack the
    Wo-manchurian Candidate.

  21. simply wondered says:

    hey vi – i also heard you shot the man who shot jack ruby. or something. YOU FASCIST!

    crappy headline in london paper yesterday: ‘how good looking is my wife’ yep he’s a feminist.

  22. Violet says:

    Richard! So glad you dropped by. I was going to email you this post so you’d know the truth. I’ve felt terrible about deceiving you all this time.

  23. simply wondered says:

    you think i didn’t know? i’m not a fool. and anyway, i am a right-wing mole too – that’s why i spent the 80s on the miners’ picket lines and supposedly trying to stop the cruise missiles being deployed at molesworth. as one of my banker friends said last week: ‘you must feel a bit daft now – all that marching and protesting to try and bring down western capitalism when all you needed to get the job done properly was a few bankers.’ well they certainly got the professionals in this time. i should have stayed in bed and been an actor intsead.
    oh i did.