NPR Host Juana Summers Gushes Over Nasty Feminist Website Jezebel After It Ends

November 14th, 2023 4:25 PM

The nasty feminist blog named Jezebel was shut down by its owner G/O Media last week, after a long run of libertine-left outrages. But NPR All Things Considered anchor Juana Summers interviewed its founder Anna Holmes and gushed over how it was essential reading and "really relevant" to her life as a woman of color.

But we hammered Jezebel for its nastiest bits:

-- In 2021, Ashley Reese argued for confronting an inadequately leftist Democrat Senator on the toilet: “Absolutely Bully Kyrsten Sinema Outside Of Her Bathroom Stall.

-- In 2020, Molly Osberg penned an anti-Trumper article titled "I Will Personally Be Thrilled If Stephen Miller Dies of Covid-19."

-- In 2017 Aditi Natasha Kini trashed the oppressive centrality of whiteness in America in "I'm Tired of Watching Brown Men Fall in Love With White Women Onscreen."

For Catholics, Jezebel felt like a hate-speech site, with articles attacking cardinals -- "Catholic Bullsh***er Timothy Dolan: Church Is Being ‘Out-Marketed’" -- and even one greeting the arrival of Pope Francis with "F**k the Pope."

For me, it came in an 2013 article by Katie J.M. Baker attacking my priest at the time, Fr. Thomas Vander Woude, for trying to find adoptive parents for an unborn child with Down syndrome. Somehow, this baby was dehumanized as not viable, or "actual."

So many mistreated babies and kids with Downs live terrible lives. Instead of throwing resources at a nonviable fetus, why can't the church help children with Down syndrome who are already alive? Because anti-abortion folks care more about fetuses with fairytale narratives than actual babies.

But never mind that litany. Summers was too busy with her misty watercolor memories to find any space for a conservative political or religious critique, despite her growing up in "private religious schools."

SUMMERS: I mean, in many ways, I am a person who really grew up with Jezebel. I think I was a freshman in college when the site launched. And as somebody who knew early on that they wanted to become a journalist or a writer, it was a site that I knew I always had to read, for all of the reasons that we've been talking about - the themes, the fact that it was irreverent and smart and funny but felt really relevant to my life.

And I know that I'm not alone after seeing all of the tributes that have poured out in recent days and the amount of affection that I felt and still feel for Jezebel. But I want to ask you, how would you describe what Jezebel meant and means to you now?

HOLMES: Oh, to me?


HOLMES: Well, it was meaningful to me because it was an expression of my own feminism and my own frustration around the ways in which young women especially felt reluctant to identify as feminists. I felt that they had been socialized to not do so, thinking that it was somehow a bad word. 

Earlier, Holmes knocked everyone else in the women's-media space: "I had found those women's magazines to be incredibly one-note, heteronormative. They were very white. The magazines didn't reflect the full range of interests of young women. I was particularly irritated by the ways in which we collectively were teaching young women who they were and how to be."

NPR proves once again that they don't drink deeply at the fountain of civility. They love trash-talk about the right-wingers. Those sites are just the best!